Simple pictures of Tuscany on New Jersey Network this evening lulled me into a daydream of last year’s trip to Italy. This prompted me to reach for my Puccini CD, purchased in his birthplace of Lucca. I turned down the sound on the TV and let Puccini be the soundtrack for the images.

My thoughts wandered to Irene, my gracious hostess, and our drive from Pistoia to Lucca late one afternoon. On the way there we spoke a jumbled combination of English, Italian and French and somehow understood each other. On the way back that evening, we opened my brand new Puccini CD and blared it as we drove. She seemed transported. I marveled at the experience and, frankly, was anticipating the cheese we had just purchased in a wonderfully aromatic cheese shop for dinner.

Irene and her family were amused by my reaction — let’s call it disbelief — when I tasted the mozzarella. Buttery. Like nothing I’ve had before. Not even in Hoboken, where the “mutz” is really good.

Ah, I long for a return trip to delight all my senses.