Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

July 23, 2010

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.


  • 1.
    liz kartchner said…

    lovely post!!

  • 2.
    Cameron said…

    FABULOUS. I lived in Italy for three years and I miss it soooooo much! Thanks for the tour. :)

  • 3.
    Cynthia H said…

    I love the picture of Anna in her white hoodie, the closeup of Simon in his red striped shirt, and the picture with the beach umbrellas. Sounds like an awesome trip!

  • 4.
    MelanieJ said…

    Amazing . . . simply amazing! What wonderful memories you have documented :)

  • 5.
    Mikkel said…

    That comment about Simon and Anna interacting the the subsequent photos brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully written and recapped. TFS.

  • 6.
    Libbi M. said…

    wonderful post. thank you for sharing. would love to know how you put together a vacation like this. did you plan this thru a travel agency? how do you know what sites to see, things to do, etc…?

  • 7.
    Genevieve said…

    Beautiful! I went to Italy last year for 2 weeks and this brought back a lot of memories, I’m glad you enjoyed it (and I have pictures of my in some of the exact same spots as Simon & Co!) :) Now if only I could be as inspired to try writing some things down…

  • 8.
    Kendra said…

    Beautiful post, beautiful photos. We went to England 6 years ago and I am STILL srapping, trying to capture and relive those vivid memories.
    But of all the photos here, the next-to-last one of Simon with that irresistible smile and eyelashes that could just reach out and flutter on your cheek–OH MY!! What a handsome, beautiful boy!!!

  • 9.
    Ali Edwards said…

    We used a local travel agent and used the reviews on Trip Advisor ( to make the actual selections of the places we stayed. We bought a couple guide books and had a few family meetings with Chris’ parents in advance to talk about where we were go, address expectations, etc. Like I mentioned above, Chris and I were not at all intent on “seeing everything” – it was more just about being there, walking around, eating, taking things in from the ground.

  • 10.
    Carolyn E said…

    Just beautiful!
    Love the way you documented your trip by stating what you want to remember…great mini album idea!
    I might just do that with my Disney album I’ve been putting off.

  • 11.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I really, really love that one too Kendra :) .

  • 12.
    Gabriela Duclos said…

    you brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful words and amazing photos!
    I am going to be in ROME at the end of August and I so look forward to it. Thanks for the photos, I now look forward to it more.

  • 13.
    Avital said…

    Italy is our favorite destination. We’ve been there 4 times already and we will definitely go again with our kids, once we have children…
    There is nothing like the classic and cultural beauty in Italy. In every corner you can almost grasp history with your own hands.
    Norway was beautiful. Iceland – amazing. Ireland – wonderful. Belgium – gorgeous. Germany, Austria and Swiss – classic. France – stunning. Greece – wonderful. But Italy is all the above and then some.
    Your photos are amazing. They capture a tremendous amount of joy in them.

  • 14.
    Elizabeth Saumell said…

    This post alone can turn into a beautiful mini album! Your photos are gorgeous! I am inspired to scrap my own family trip to Italy when I was a teen…beautiful memories. I am in the process of planning another trip there…soon :) .

  • 15.
    katie said…

    Oh what a wonderful trip it looks like you had. And Simon is such a good brother from all that I’ve seen and read. But that picture of him in the red striped shirt – he’s going to be a heart breaker Ali.

  • 16.
    Kristi K. said…

    Awesome post! Many favorite photos, but the absolute best is the one where Simon is holding Anna in the plaza and noticing how long his legs are. That boy is growing!

  • 17.
    Deb J said…

    What great photos and remembrances. You have such beautiful children who take great photos.

  • 18.
    tara said…

    Amazing Ali – amazing chance of a lifetime that you will never forget. Lovely photos. Lovely words. Missing you.

  • 19.
    Reyna said…

    The pictures are amazing but I am struck by how much Simon has grown! Gosh.

  • 20.
    Michelle said…

    That little Anna is absolutely adorable! The pictures of her in the little purple sandals and the pearls is my favorite!
    The kids look so sweet. You can really tell how much those two love each other!
    I did a few pages of my boys using, I want to rememeber when I saw the one you did of Anna a while back. It has so much versatility. Thanks for the idea!

  • 21.
    donna tullis said…

    ali…that is the most amazing post…you truly are here on this earth to touch our hearts with your thoughtful words and pictures…i so love you! and omg that picture of you and anna…breathtaking to say the least…so happy you have this wonderful time with your family…you deserve so much goodness in your life!

  • 22.
    AngieS said…

    I loved your photos Ali, they brought back many wonderful memories of Rome and Italy for me. But I especially love the idea of “I want to remember…”. What a fantastic way to document a family holiday. I look forward to seeing exactly how you take these special words and photos and put them on paper!! Thank you for sharing…

  • 23.
    Maria said…

    Wonderful post, Ali .. very touching with marvelous pictures. You have a beautiful family – I’ve enjoyed watching your children grow. Those cows look familiar – I saw them in La Jolla, CA a couple of years back … It looks like they’re enjoying their travels also :)

  • 24.
    Baggsy said…

    Oh I loved reading this today. I’m packing right now to leave for Italy tomorrow. We’re driving from London and it will take 3 days. It is a trip we’ve done quite a few times before and we’re so excited to be going back there. You captured it so perfectly – just as I remember – and I can’t wait to get there now!
    One of my most favourite memories of past Italian adventures was also going to Il Palio. I loved the colour, the ritual and the way they take the horses into the churches to have them blessed before the race. It is such a unique event isn’t it? I know what you mean about the crowds but what a fabulous experience.
    The best thing of all about the Italians is that they love children and family so you can go anywhere with little ones. We love being able to all go and eat in restaurants together in the evening without anyone batting an eyelid. Happy times!

  • 25.
    Silvia Fontana said…

    Beautiful photo and beautiful family! It reminds of my last trip to Italy. Definitely Tuscany is a great place to visit with no kids, so romantic… You are going to love it!

  • 26.
    cher said…

    fantastic sharing Ali..ty! I must say…those 2 kids of yours are so darn cute! luvvvvvvvvv the ind photo of Simon so much! Sounds like it was a perfect trip!

  • 27.
    dawn said…

    simply beautiful! Love seeing Simon being a big brother he is so gentle and loving with Anna. Looks like everyone had a good time and there was fun for all. Thanks for sharing….

  • 28.
    julia said…

    Hi Ali!
    Again you outdid yourself…you put your memories in such beautiful words…simple but yet so touching!
    Funny: about 10 years ago I swam right at the spot where Simon jumped in the water. I was in Roma and then Monterosso as part of a school trip. We were there in May/June and the beach was almost deserted because the swell was too heavy…we dived in the water anyways (young people are like that I think)…oh, how I loved Cinque Terre…I’d love to go there sometime in the future again.
    Greetings from Germany,

  • 29. said…

    I really enjoy seeing the beautiful pictures of where you have been but I really love Simon and Anna’s pictures together, that is what you will remember the most in the coming years. You love and appreciate Simon and Anna and that is good to see. Enjoy your day, you seem to know whats important in life, good for you.

  • 30.
    AnyaL said…

    WOW…. you just convenced me that we still should make that trip to Canada we told our kids about, but were not sure if we still should go since we didn’t have enough reasons to, and since we already went to Myrtle Beach… lets set the date!

  • 31.
    Karen G said…

    Beautiful pictures and a beautiful story told in what you want to remember! Love Anna’s sweet yellow sandals, Simon’s smile (my boy loves bus rides & on a plane, he kept telling people that the pilot needs to “throddle back!”…made me & the flight attendants smile), that you made a long trip with two kidlets fun for your whole family, and the simplicity of how you’ve shared it with us…thank you! :>

  • 32.
    pam said…

    I love your recap of your trip through the I want to remember eyes. Looks like it was a wonderful experience despite the challenges of traveling with young children.

  • 33.
    Sara said…

    This is almost exactly opposite of a trip I did 3 years ago- Cinque Terra, Tuscany (Castillina), and Rome. Love the photos, but also love the memories they bring back. :)

  • 34.
    Tricia said…

    Love your photos. My friend Amy and I will be going on the Tuscany trip next October through scrapmap. Can’t wait. Visiting Italy has always been one of my dreams. Thanks for sharing.

  • 35.
    cinback said…

    Following your philosophy of pictures + words, I am presently working on an album from our lake trip that follows a similar format to this…just simple words explaining the moments I want to remember. I am also piggybacking on your ” I Love You Today” album from a week ago and I have printed all my pics at 4.5X10. Thank you for inspiring me! I am having so much fun!

  • 36.
    anna said…

    sigh. this is my dream travel destination! i have much to learn before i go!
    can’t wait to see what kind of album you’ll make of this or how you plan on documenting it!

  • 37.
    Brandi said…

    Beautiful post-you sooo make me want to travel to Italy for a family adventure of my own-thank you so much for sharing.

  • 38.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Awesome! Looking forward to traveling with you two!

  • 39.
    Jessica said…

    AMAZING pictures Ali! What great memories for you and your family!

  • 40.
    Marti Richards said…

    That just put a big smile on my face! Gorgeous family- gorgeous trip! Italy is #1 on my “I want to go there” list- looking at that shows it is possible to do it with my young ones. Thank you for sharing your memories!

  • 41.
    linda said…

    Lovely photos and I’m so glad you have such a great memories. I fell in love with Italy after visiting and now live here…so happy in the Tuscan hills!

  • 42.
    Jean said…

    Beautiful photos! So much eye candy – thank you for sharing it with us.

  • 43.
    Daphna said…

    So true about putting these kinds of trips off for someday, and aren’t you glad someday was now? Because looking back, you usually regret only the things you didn’t do. BTW lovely photos as always, thanks so much for sharing. Makes me want to plan a trip like that right now!

  • 44.
    Susan Bowers said…

    What an awesome way to ‘remember’ your trip and your memories. So inspiring. Thanks for sharing a piece of your time.

  • 45.
    Candace Bunch said…


  • 46.
    Heather Bulloch said…

    Awesome photos Ali! I am so happy you and your family were able to enjoy Italy and see so many gorgeous cities. It was always my favorite countries to visit while living abroad. Have a wonderful weekend. ~ Heather

  • 47.
    Jujudo said…

    Lovely post about your vacation. Seems like you had a great stay in Italy as a familytime. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  • 48.
    jenn said…

    Fabulous way to capture the trip! Can’t wait to see how you scrap it (if you would share that with us)
    did you take a note book with you to track some of the memories??

  • 49. said…

    WOw! Love the way you captured the trip! The photos are GORGEOUS! What memories you have made with your family! It’s a reminder to me, that no matter what he kids’ ages (10, and 6) I need to be BRAVE and enjoy these limited years with them before they’re on their own! A friend just told me “you only have 18- summers with your kids, what will they remember?”
    Welcome home Ali.

  • 50.
    Mandyb said…

    love the things that you have captured…not just the norm….colours, food, views down low, children down on steps….from behind…..such a lovely trip through photos for us to see…thank you

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