Italy 2010 : I Want To Remember



Italy was an adventure.

A beautiful, not-too-stressful, family-centered, very hot, trek from Oregon to Italy.

We traveled to Italy because it was something that Chris' Dad & Mom have always wanted to do and the time was now (trips like these seem to be easily put off for any number of reasons...too many "somedays"). We took the kids. We also took our friend Katie with us as an extra pair of hands (and a whole lot of heart).

We spent our first five days in Rome, then moved on to a villa outside
Siena, then on to Monterosso in the Cinque Terra for two nights,
and then to Milan for our flight home.

Traveling to Europe from the west coast of America is definitely a trek - with kids in tow it's even more interesting. The things we had on our side: Simon loves to travel (loves airplanes, buses, etc - really any sort of transportation is exciting to him at least initially) and Anna is a very go-with-the-flow toddler. All that said, I think Chris and I did a really good job at setting our expectations for this trip. We knew we weren't going to see everything (and had no intention of trying). We knew we were going to be on modified schedules based on how the kids were doing, how much we wanted to push it, and how we all felt.

We were going for the overall life experience and for the chance to spend time with Chris' parents & sister.

I found the best way to share some of our trip with you is to write out some of the things I want to remember and pair them photos. Some of the thoughts were prompted by the photos themselves (a good way to organize your writing after a trip) and some came about through the process of sitting down and making myself write some of these things out. Others came to mind by the use of the very simple I want to remember prompt. 

Here's a look at our Italy adventure in words + photos:

I want to remember Simon and the gladiators. He saw
them and wanted to do battle with each one. This worked ok the first few
times but each one of these guys is out there doing a job - they want
money for each interaction and photo.



I want to remember the green umbrella that was picked up from a street vendor that soothed and protected the non-sun loving 8 year old.


I want to remember the artfully decorated cows that greeted us around different corners and that Anna immediately ran to and would have stayed and looked at for hours if we weren't headed somewhere else.



I want to remember how amazingly, almost incomprehensibly old everything is there. I simply have no concept of time that goes back that far. 



I want to remember how Katie and I maneuvered our way through the Vatican after realizing that our tour guide was going to make it way too long for two little kids (conducting the tour in both English and Russian). We created our own abbreviated tour and still got to see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's.



I want to remember how everyday was punctuated with gelato (sometimes more than once).





I want to remember how the purchase of a sword and a shield brought days of entertainment.




I want to remember the two of them, at their individual ages, interacting throughout this adventure.






I want to remember how great piazza's are for getting the wiggles out while waiting for dinner (feeding pigeons is a bonus).


I want to remember how much he loves travel by plane, by taxi, and by train (so much more so than by car).



I want to remember staying outside of Siena and taking in the beauty of the vineyards.



I want to remember the simplicity of the mornings without being in a hurry.


I want to remember the light.



I want to remember the connections and the laughter and the hand-holding and the "Simon, get over here" and the naps and just being outside of usual day to day.






I want to remember how much Simon loved going into the churches and lighting candles and saying prayers for loved ones.


I want to remember looking up and seeing the churches and other buildings reaching up and touching the blue sky.




I want to remember the colors and the pride in the neighborhoods in Siena.





I want to remember the crazy experience of attending il Palio - a very famous horse race around the Piazza del Campo in Siena. Thousands of people packed in to the center, thousands more along the edges in seats put up just for this event, thousands more standing in balconies and even more hanging out of windows in the buildings above.


I want to remember how I said all along that I would just stay back with the kids because large crowds are not my favorite thing.


I want to remember how I went anyway and loved it.


I want to remember arriving in our final destination of Monterosso and taking a deep breath at the chance to relax in a beach town for a couple days before beginning our adventure home.



I want to remember renting a paddle boat with a slide and peddling our way out into the Mediterranean and each of us taking turns going on the slide (even Anna riding in Chris' lap).



I want to remember how so very much he loves the ocean.



I want to remember how much I love to see other parts of the world and how very thankful I am to return home.


I'm looking forward to heading back again next year (without the kids) and seeing a few different parts of Tuscany for an entirely different adventure on a tour with ScrapMap. You can learn more about that trip here.

163 thoughts

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  1. Annamaria

    2010-07-26 02:50:38 -0400

    Glad you loved my country this much! Fun to know you were here all the time and I was browsing your blog to get inspiration :)
    Btw, the one in Liguria's not the ocean, just a sea, the mar Ligure (not sure if it makes difference in the States, but here we consider the ocean and the "sea" 2 different things).

  2. Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams

    2010-07-26 03:28:07 -0400

    Beautiful...such vivid, warm photos and thoughts. I love the light and the smiles and the memories...thanks for sharing this with us, Ali.

  3. Marianne

    2010-07-26 04:51:00 -0400

    Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Misty

    2010-07-26 06:09:58 -0400

    Your photos are amazing and I really enjoyed reading about your family's adventure. I was in Italy six years ago and your photos brought so many lovely memories flooding back today. Thanks for sharing!

  5. tam

    2010-07-26 13:29:50 -0400

    All I can say is Thank you! Your pictures and words are so wonderful. How lucky your children and family are to share such a gift.

  6. Paola

    2010-07-27 01:50:00 -0400

    Ali! thanks for having described Italy with affection and admiration! I especially love the Monterosso pics because I spend my vacation in these places! come back soon!

  7. Libbi M.

    2010-07-27 04:07:37 -0400

    thank you so much!

  8. Kay

    2010-07-27 08:28:50 -0400

    I lived in Italy for a couple of months and unfortunately didn't get the chance to REALLY become part of the city because I was so busy studying all the time. However, I am lucky enough to say that there are some things that will live with me forever. Here are a few:
    1. The way I felt the first time I stood in front of a Caravaggio. Tears...many of them.
    2. Sitting in St. Peter's on my (very few) days off. I am not catholic, nor do I practice any religion, but there is something very spiritual about that place which even those who don't believe in a higher being can appreciate.
    3. Cantalope wrapped proscuitto for breakfast.
    4. Being ridiculously sea sick on a 10 minute ferry ride to Capri. Most definitely worth it.
    4. Sitting on my stone deck over top the Mediterranean in a storm - watching the waves crash in front of me.
    5. Snooping though the vineyards of Tuscany.
    6. Spending my nights after studying at Alexander's Jazz Club - in a dark, smokey corner.

  9. JanineBoyd

    2010-07-27 10:23:59 -0400

    Amazing photos and memories! I've just uploaded some of our own Italy photos as well - so can't wait to go back there :)

  10. Scrapbook Obsession

    2010-07-28 05:19:40 -0400

    I loved hearing about your trip so much, it inspired a blog entry of my own. Please come read if you get the chance :)

  11. JenBowles

    2010-07-28 07:27:44 -0400

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories and your inspiring and beautiful photos. I feel as though I've just visited Italy myself. Almost :-)

  12. Rosanne Kruse

    2010-07-28 08:38:41 -0400

    The first time you wrote about your vacation to Italy...I was actually sitting in my 'home' in Italy. My husband, amazingly, got a job there and we (me, my husband and 3 kids...aged 2, 4, and 5.5) spent an amazing 3 months there. We lived in Montalto di Castro, a small town 90 km north of Rome on the shore. It was an amazing time with an amazing amount of sights to see and an amazing amount of pictures that I took. I have been putting a ton of energy into designing my scrapbook for Italy (I just returned to the states 2 weeks ago) and want to have something soon to show least they would have a picture of what our life was like for 3 months. I am currently thinking that I will do something similar to your december daily album. I have learned that I am really liking your style of using pictures with words and the different sizes, etc. I am currently looking for papers that remind me of Italy (I am thinking like damask patterns, gold leaf/foil, etc) without screaming Italy. Would you have any suggestions? If you are interested, I have been able to chronicle our journey on my blog...I LOVE how the pictures are with my words and I don't have to fear forgetting much! Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Mandy Ford

    2010-07-29 04:43:42 -0400

    Wow - what an amazing trip and I love how you have documented it here. The photos of your two children interacting are so sweet, and Simon with his sword and shield is so cute!

  14. Ann

    2010-07-29 06:02:32 -0400

    Absolutely a wonderful story photos+words!!! I just can't wait to see how you incorporate them into an album! Your pictures are gorgeous and your words are so meaningful.
    I have to tell you that I love that last Simon one the best! What a great shot!

  15. Lara

    2010-07-31 05:14:48 -0400

    I want to thank you for letting me see my Country through your eyes. love your photos and the smiles of your kids.
    hugs from Italy

  16. crisitna

    2010-08-01 11:23:55 -0400

    Your Photos are wonderful! I'm happy to know you love Italy! I live in Ancona, find it on google.
    It's not too far from Rome, but full of beautiful things!
    Kisses, Cristina

  17. Janet

    2010-08-03 05:03:10 -0400

    Beautiful photos, wonderful memories with your family. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Jessica

    2010-08-03 05:46:16 -0400

    I have a random question for you. Reading your blog, you've inspired me to take a trip to Europe (either Paris or Florence) with my son (he'll be a year old). Did you have a car seat with you or need one for traveling in Italy? I'm assuming no, but thought I'd check since I'm a new mom and have never traveled abroad before. :)

  19. Ali Edwards

    2010-08-03 06:25:45 -0400

    Hi Jessica - we did take a car seat with us (and purchased a seat for Anna on the plane). She sat in the seat on the plane, in the rental cars, and on the trains as we traveled from one place to the next. It worked really well as it's somewhere she is used to sitting for longer periods of time and is comfortable there. We used it in our rental car driving from Orvieto to Sienna, from Sienna to the coast, and as we drove to the hill towns (often an hour drive away). We also used it on the trains. For us it was a must :).

  20. Giulia

    2010-08-06 20:02:24 -0400

    "My" Italy! "My" Rome! Love your photos! Bye Ali! Your are a very scrapper ... I admire you!

  21. Gayle

    2010-08-07 14:32:51 -0400

    Love your ideas!!! Thank you!

  22. Marcia

    2010-08-09 01:09:08 -0400

    Catching up on my blog reading and just came across this post on your Italy trip - thanks for sharing them! I've now been to Italy 3x and I LOVE it and can't wait to go back. But I also love seeing pictures from others' journey there and seeing how one single country brings inspiration to others because of its rich history and culture.

  23. Solgunn

    2010-08-10 21:59:27 -0400

    Wonderfully captured. Very inspiring. I love travelling and Southern Europe is one of mye favourite holiday destinations (I live in Scandinavia).

  24. anna

    2010-08-11 22:43:35 -0400

    Wow! I was reading yours blog and I have recognized Rome and Siena! fantastic! I live to Verona, the city of romeo&giulietta! I council to you to visit it the next time! And Venice also! :)
    Sorry for my very bad English! :(
    Ciao, Anna

  25. Clair Pearson

    2010-10-26 06:26:11 -0400

    Just a quick note to say I loved our post about Italy, it brings back memories of our trip in November 09 - and recognised a lot of the shots from my own photo album. I definately want to go back myself, and would love to spend more time in Florence, as we were only there for a day and fell in love with it.


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