My favorite film director, Federico Fellini said that all you need to make a movie is snow and a train. Had both, riding the rails in late November from Milano south to Firenze. Being half-Italian (on my mother’s side), I felt totally at home with 9,000 runners from 60 countries as we poured through this bellisimo medieval town, striding over 800 year old narrow cobblestone streets with the Florentines leaning out their apartment windows shouting encouraging ripostes and tossing flowers down upon us. . . Sunday morning ancient church bells chiming. . . traversing in awe open piazzas loaded with Michelangelo’s statue of David and Ammannati’s Neptune fountain and moving past the dream-like Duomo cathedral constructed of exquisite pink and green marble 150 years in the making. Finished in the Piazza Santa Croce, kicking it in over a red carpet. Two full days after the race to play. Wandered the town and Uffizi Gallery to pay homage to Botticelli’s stunning “Birth of Venus” (on the half-shell) and “Primavera” paintings. I cried seeing that divine female beauty in the originals. And (carbo-loaded) constantly on food to die for. The Italians give such tireless attention to detail and creating perfection, be it food, clothing, leather goods, hand-made books, cathedrals or Ferraris. I often say that Nature makes the best beauty, but the Italians come close, very close indeed.