We were no strangers to Italy, one of our favorite countries in the world to visit, when we planned our trip to Lucca to stay with our American friends, Bob and Donald. Speaking no Italian is no deterrent, but there is, of necessity, a distance of sorts interacting with the locals. With Roberto a whole new experience unfolded. His joy with the language — even as he was still mastering it — was a delight to the Italian shopkeepers, restaurateurs and other locals. His skills opened up a new Italy to us, one that felt both genuine and personal.