Bambina Mia
Toddlers, Parties and a Day in the Life.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Want To Go To There

I am a planner. I love making lists just to cross something off. That's why I'm planning a family vacation to Italy slated for 2013. It's not that ridiculous. By 2013 my 1 year old will be a sentient 5 year old and (hopefully) better able to get something out of a European getaway. Plus it gives me that much time to get the scratch together to afford this fantasy trip, do all the research my little heart desires to find some fabulous apartments and discover some kid friendly adventures to embark upon with the bambina.

Il Ponte Vecchio

Piazza Reppublica

My love for Italy began in '94 when I traveled to study abroad in Florence as a young pup of 19. I'd never lived outside of my parents' home, never mind half way around the world. It was three overwhelming months of travel, art and adventure; there were trains that derailed in the middle of the night, all the Renaissance paintings an art history major could desire and life-long friendships forged.

But really it was the small delights of everyday living in this larger-than-life city that would ignite an enduring desire to return to Italy. Things like going to the phenomenal glass and steel, two-story central market for groceries, where a poster of fluffy frolicking kittens could be found hanging incongruously above the butcher case filled with pigs' heads and all sorts of delectable entrails. Or discovering our favorite gelateria just off the straw market near il porcellino, where the counter girl would top our Nutella gelatos with a heaping spoonful of the chocolate-hazelnut spread, swabbed from a comically enormous brandy snifter full of the stuff. Somehow little things like grocery shopping or going for an ice cream became elevated to an experience.

The Duomo at night - Florence

I returned 6 years later for a whirlwind week in Italy with my mother to show her why I fell so in love with this romantic, frustrating, crazy and glorious country. We went to all of my old haunts in Florence and then north to experience Carnevale in Venice - truly amazing.

Cypress lined lane in Chianti region

Hilltop view from Orvieto

Back for a third time and a second study abroad program in 2002, again in Florence. Almost a decade older and hopefully wiser, this trip was less about seeing-all-I-can-see-because-I-may-never-have-the-chance-again, and more about just living in the city. In fact, most of my time there was spent either scouring the scads of stationary, paper and art supply stores for ridiculous amounts of hand marbled and fancifully printed sheets of Italian paper or hunched over a studio bench practicing my newly acquired love for bookbinding. Artistically, it was the most prolific and creative time of my life.

Wisteria covered balcony, Minori

View from our apartment balcony, Minori

Cut to March, 2007. My brand new husband and I honeymooned throughout Italy for 2 weeks. He'd never been before and graciously let me play tour guide. One week in Florence and three days more in both Rome and the Amalfi Coast and my husband was a smitten kitten. He, too, was bitten by the Italy bug. So I've been to my favorite place in the world with all my favorite people except for my dolly-baby, Abby. And since she was conceived there, it seems only fair that she gets to explore her roots. So here's to Italy 2013! See you there!

How it feels to be back in Italy.

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