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. Karissa says…

    Wow! Couldn't help but pop in and comment about how BIG Simon is looking in those pictures! Looks like a wonderful trip!

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  2. Paula says…

    Read the book playing for pizza a couple yrs ago and it made me want to go to Rome...that one & davinchi code of course. This takes me back 10 yrs to when went very different than the states. Looks like you enjoyed your trip!

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  3. Paula Gentry says…

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos and experience. You look radiant!!

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  4. Jenny says…

    This brought tears to my eyes Ali... I lived in Italy during college and it was the best time of my life. I am starting a savings for a trip next summer right this minute, thank you for inspiration and emotional stirrings!

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  5. Danielle says…

    You captured such lovely pictures of your adventure. I found myself lost in a few of the pictures longing to be in them with my family!
    Thank you for sharing with us, Ali. And thank you for the idea prompt to journal about our family trip this summer.

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  6. mary says…

    wonderful photos as usual. thanks for the post! I just relived through your photos our trip to Italy 2004; we visited many of the same towns....rome, siena, cinque terre
    I'd go back in a heartbeat! Think I'll go pull out our Italy album :-)

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  7. Beth Ann says…

    Oh Ali...thank you for sharing your photos and story. Because of physical limitations, I will most likely never travel to Italy, and it is wonderful to see it through your eyes. You are a beautiful family. Thanks again.

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  8. Lizzie says…

    Ali, this was a beautiful post:)
    How amazing you got to see the Sistine Chapel! My son and I studied Michaelangelo for an artist last year in school.

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  9. Carole Hepburn says…

    Completely and totally fabulous - thank you for sharing your adventure !!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Ellen says…

    Fantastic photos; You really made it your trip- tailored it to your family, needs, etc. Thanks for sharing these- I want to go!

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  11. Carla G says…

    What a beautiful memory! Can't wait to see what you do with it overall. It's great you captured some of these memories before they're lost. I love the "I want to remember" format.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Jessica McDougall says…

    i just said OH MY GOD out loud to so many of these, Ali. They're magical. I can't believe how much Simon is growing up and how happy I am to see how he embraces having a little life companion in Anna. Wow. AMAZING. Love you!

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  13. Deirdre says…

    I'm always so inspired by your art, but I believe these are some of the best photos you have ever taken. Breath-taking. My fav is the one of Simon and Anna sitting in the piazza.
    Have you decided on a format? I'm thinking minialbum of just kid photos for them and a big Shutterfly album to highlight the beauty. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  14. Elena says…

    Oh Ali, what a beautiful post. So well done. I am myself struggling with the way to showcase the pictures from out last trip. I might have to still your idea. Thank you so much for the constant inspiration.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Jeni Barbas says…

    Lovely photos and memories and Simon is getting so big and so handsome! Isn't Siena amazing!! I was there in the summer of 1995 just after the Palio and we stayed in the neighborhood that had won the race. I was so amazed at their pride and all the celebrations. Truly stunning to experience the difficult culture and sights and sounds. Thanks for taking me back :)

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  16. Sabrina says…

    Ali, I love this post! Gorgeous photographs accompany the important moments - this may be exactly what I needed to capture the moments of our vacation from a couple weeks ago. Thanks for inspiring me and for sharing your talents with us!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Birute P says…

    These photos and memories are have such a talent for putting your thoughts into words! I'll be joining you on that trip to Tuscany next year with my friend, Heather. I can't WAIT to see this beautiful place!

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  18. heather fiore says…

    your photos make the viewer feel like they are right there with you..the one of the family with the candles is stunning and you didn't even take it, you have family well trained! I wish i could have Simon meet my dylan they are just 2 peas in a pod, and funny enough i too hate that type of crowds. Your children are blessed with a wonderful family.

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  19. Tammi Burke says…

    You really take the best pictures! Especially the ones of Simon and Anna together. I never seem to catch the good shots like you do!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Merian Candioli says…

    Oh my....I wish to have all english words to describe my feelings reading your post. Adorable family, and for me, a wish to become true.
    Hugs from Brazil.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Chieko says…

    Great photos as always.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. minnie in pdx says…

    Thanks for sharing your family adventure. My family and I will be in Rome on Tuesday, starting that long trek from Oregon on Monday morning. Your pictures just enhanced my excitement.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Jennifer Hisi says…

    What a great way to document and share trips without it being overwhelming but still personal. And what great photos!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Michelle W says…

    Your photos are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your memories & photos of Italy.
    Makes me want to visit.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. kelly purkey says…

    i've officially fallen in love with italy through your post. and your family is so beautiful, ali!

    Reply 0 Replies

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