Last week my daughter and I took a long-awaited trip back to Italy. We haven't been there in eight years with the pandemic and travel restrictions, it took some time to go again.

There is one region in the south of Italy that we hadn't been to yet and I heard I have a cousin there, so we went to Puglia, the heel of the boot.

Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

After a long overnight flight with no sleep and a long layover for a connecting flight from Rome to Bari, we rented a car and drove further south.

When we finally arrived at our hotel parking lot, we spotted some stray cats and a young woman attempting to give one of them some food. I asked her what she was giving them, and she said "Prosciutto". Just the way she said the word made me think, "These people might be from Jersey."

We were checking in at the front desk at the same time as her and her family and I asked where they were from. Her father said they were from New Jersey.

Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

It turns out they were part of a bigger family group all staying at the same hotel as us. They were from Manalapan, North Caldwell, Morganville and Holmdel. We spent part of every day with them either at the pool or dinner in town.

They were the nicest, warmest, most fun people you could ever want to meet. We've all met people on vacation that you thought you could be friends with, but these people truly are my newest friends.

I am looking forward to getting together with as many of them as I can as soon as I can.

There's something about people from New Jersey, or maybe it's the commonality of where we're from that makes being friends so easy.

The vacation was awesome thanks in part to Greg, Dina, Giulia, Rosalie, Anthony, Marilyn, Gabrielle and Johanna!

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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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