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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.

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163 thoughts

  1. liz kartchner says…

    lovely post!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Cameron says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Cynthia H says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. MelanieJ says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Mikkel says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Libbi M. says…

    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...?

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Genevieve says…

    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...

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Kendra says…

    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!!!

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  9. Ali Edwards says…

    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.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Carolyn E says…

    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.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Ali Edwards says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Gabriela Duclos says…

    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.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Avital says…

    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.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Elizabeth Saumell says…

    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 :).

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. katie says…

    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.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Kristi K. says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Deb J says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. tara says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Reyna says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Michelle says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. donna tullis says…

    ali...that is the most amazing 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 happy you have this wonderful time with your deserve so much goodness in your life!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. AngieS says…

    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...

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Maria says…

    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 :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Baggsy says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Silvia Fontana says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies

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