Venice was a pretty amazing introduction to Italy for our family and certainly one of the harder cities to depart and say goodbye to. We are used to exploration on foot, but Venice took it to another level. The windy streets, walking briskly single file up and over small bridges and canals, doing our best to keep up with the flow of tourists and locals through seemingly endless pathways. After time here I was certain we would all need new soles for our shoes.
It was certainly a challenge to pull away for photos as it seemed every few feet there was something equally or more interesting than what we had just passed moments before. One thing we have grown used to however, is moving on and the final “pack-up and out” mornings when we depart for the next city and often next country. Despite the favorite stops such as Venice, the excitement of what lies ahead keeps us seemingly fresh as a family, not so much our clothes, but certainly our spirits. The travel days are Michelle’s claimed “favorite days” as it means all of our belongings all get a bit more organized (I use the term organized very loosely) and we all squeeze into our car, hitting the road for the next city, often country, and the new adventures that await.
Thankfully we had a few city stops planned for Italy as it seems to have a pretty ideal blend of geography, history, culture, and of course food. When traveling with a family and 9 and 11 year old children, varied geography and historical sights are far overshadowed by Italian cuisine, especially their pizza (which can be comfortably consumed three times a day).
Our second stop on our Italian tour was Florence “Firenze” if you are feeling like a local. We found a pretty sweet house right inside the city through Airbnb (we love them by the way) which included free parking (I love this by the way).
Michelle’s previous post highlighted our first day of travel to “Dreamy Tuscany.” The four days after we spent once again walking cobbled streets, taking in the endless sights and statues. Our house was quite close to the Piazzale Michelangelo which offered an amazing panoramic vista of the city. Michelle and I awoke early one more to take in the sunrise from this vantage point. Simply amazing…, so much so we talked the kids into joining us the following day. They weren’t quite as impressed, but were game nonetheless with a little bribing and promise we would stop for some sweet breakfast pastries shortly after (chocolate filled croissants).
After breakfast we toured the Galleria dell’Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s David. The museum is quite small which made it easy to navigate as a family and while the David is quite remarkable in person, the adjacent rooms with rows and rows of marble carved busts were just as impressive. As you can see there are numerous replica statues of the David scattered throughout the city which I found interesting to photograph as many different ways, and times of day, as I could.
Our final afternoon included a visit to the San Miniato al Monte basillica which resides just up a set of stairs from the Piazzale Michelangelo, one of the highest points in the city. Construction of the church began in 1013 and one of the adjoining buildings is run by the Olivetan monks who have been active here since 1373. The interior was quite stunning with some of the most impressive frescos and mosaic tile work we have seen thus far in Europe. Despite Frankie uttering, “I hate castles” a week or so back, this was once historic setting we all felt a worthwhile stop with so many awe-filled moments of wonder.