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. shelly k says…

    Thanks so much for sharing! What an awesome adventure for your family!

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  2. Veronica says…

    Thanks for sharing this Ali, I love the way you approached your vacation 'journal'. Looks like you had a fabulous time!

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  3. Ariane says…

    Beautiful photos! Especially the first one of the angel statue. Sounds like a wonderful adventure.

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  4. KathleenA says…

    This is wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  5. Michelle A says…

    This post gave me goosebumps. Your photos and words together painted such an amazing picture and let us experience a tiny bit of Italy with you. It is one of my dreams to go to Italy and I've always I want to take my kids too (6 and 2). This definitely confirmed that for me! Thank you for sharing.

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  6. says…

    I sooooooooo love the picture of Simon and Anna "marching" in the grass with their backs to you!! It reminded me of a page in the book "Where The Wild Things Are". Truly beautiful and priceless picture

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  7. Sudie Alexander says…

    So beautiful. Love the moments you captured on film and with words. Blessings, Sudie

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  8. Kathy says…

    Wow! This brought back memories! The kids look like they're having a great time and they're both just adorable. I love Simon's thick lashes...hopefully Anna will get them too :-). I would love to know how (if)you're planning on scrapping this trip. I've been fortunate to take several trips to Europe and I have a heck of time both creating a scrapbook and creating order out of the chaos of 1,000+ pictures. Ohhh, gelato...I have to go back! Welcome home!

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  9. Jill says…

    gorgeous ali - simply gorgeous :)

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  10. Erika Melnychuk says…

    thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures! Can't wait to see what ones you take when we're in GREECE!!!! Lots of Europe for you this year :)

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  11. marisa says…

    Thank you for sharing!

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  12. Jessica D. says…

    I know you'll take these words + photos and make beautiful pages with them. I need to sit down and do this with some pictures of my summer so that I don't forget what I want to remember! Thank you so much for sharing your adventures and your family with us!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. ~M~ says…

    Beautiful entry, Ali. I loved your photos and also how you gave them some context.
    I love gladiators. Am obsessed with them (slightly). Have gladiators as my desktop picture, use pics as avatars in online communities, have read tons about them. I have mentioned before my degree is in anthro (archaeology) so I can in fact comprehend things and places that old. Would LOVE to see the Colisseum in person.
    Did you know successful gladiators were fat? Yeah. The fat protected the internal organs from shallow cuts, and fat also bleeds a lot more readily when cut, and the crowds loved blood. Fat gladiators survived longer and were popular with the crowds. Who would have guessed, right? Loved all the shield and sword photos. Thanks for posting.

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  14. Annamaria says…

    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).

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  15. Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams says…

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

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  16. Marianne says…

    Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Misty says…

    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!

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  18. tam says…

    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.

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  19. Paola says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Libbi M. says…

    thank you so much!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Kay says…

    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.

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  22. JanineBoyd says…

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

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  23. Scrapbook Obsession says…

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

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  24. JenBowles says…

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

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  25. Rosanne Kruse says…

    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!

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