Forehead smacking moments of revelation are a common, if painful, occurrence. For Marvin Zonis and Lucy Salenger, it happened one deep-winter day in Chicago as they worked together in their North Michigan Avenue office. Outside, fat, soggy snowflakes plummeted to the street from the steely gray sky, adding to the already grimy slush piled knee-high along the gutters.
Marvin, a business professor and adviser on international politics, was chatting to a friend who had recently transferred his business, and life, to Florida. "I can live anywhere. Why would I stay where the weather is so terrible?" was the friend's answer to Marvin's query about his midlife switcheroo.
"That's when we both looked at each other and thought, why indeed?"says Lucy, recalling the moment that altered the direction of their lives. She's originally from balmy Los Angeles, while native-Chicagoan Marvin had been enduring the extremes of the northern climate for too many years. They decided then and there to expand their domestic horizons and establish a second home where the winter climate is warm and welcoming.
"First we looked at Florida, but what we found wasn't to our taste. Then L.A., because it's where I'm from. We even looked at London-we have a daughter living there-but the climate is not what you'd call warm," says Lucy, running through the list of possibilities. "Then we remembered how much we had always enjoyed our visits to Italy, so we thought why not give it a try, and decided to focus on Tuscany and Umbria."