EVERY TIME WE go over to Italy, I wish we went more often. If for no other reason, the prices. Just a few minutes from the French border you can find huge pizzas for 4-5 euros and parmigiano-reggiano cheese for nearly half the price of the same cheese in France.
Yesterday was Kerri's birthday so the kids decided "Lunch in Italy" was a good way to spend the afternoon. We went to one of our favorite small villages -- Dolceacqua -- and tried to eat at pizzeria we have been to on a few occasions but it was closed do to the fact that it was...Monday. So, we crossed over the 1st century bridge that leads to the old section of the villages and ate at another little place just off the main square. Three large pizzas, a four-cheese gnocci, salad, bottled water, and a terrific fresh-tomato bruschetta later, I paid the €35 bill and we got ready to present Kerri with one of her gifts: a stop at the local Lidl (a sort of discount supermarket here in Europe). You can get fantastic bargains at Lidl stores in France, but the deals are even bigger in Italy. (Just one quick example: I bought a case  of canned tomatoes for €4.35. It was like being at Cosco!).
We gotta go more often. Oh, turns out we'll be going again in less than a week. More on that later.
Photo: arial view of Dolceacqua, Italy -- just 7 km north of Ventimiglia.