For several years now, I have keep travel journals of our family vacations. Sure, it takes a good amount of time to complete, but I find that capturing the moment in our family life to be priceless. For this trip, the travel journal doubled as my plein air sketchbook.
We went to Italy. It was a big trip. My focus was to show the kids some of the places I love in Florence and to discover the Eternal City (Rome). And, as a teacher, I couldn't help but to make an educational experience out of it, so I made sure that my kids knew about Brunelleschi, Galileo, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Dante as well as a few words of Italian before we left.
Personally, I prepared myself by reading several books. Caroline Murphy's books on Isabella de Medici (Murder of a Medici Princess, 2008) and Felice della Rovere (The Pope's Daughter, 2005) connected a lot of the history for me. E. M. Forster's A Room with a View (1908) and Mary McCarthy's The Stones of Florence (1959) despite their distance from my own time there (1998-1999) shared many similarities with the Florence I knew.
Also, I read my old journals. I think 20 years gave me enough distance to see my experience there in a new light. I was glad to carry that understanding with me as I walked those same streets with children in hand.
Fiesole, the ancient Etruscan town, was our first stop. Below the cathedral sits the Roman amphitheater. In the foreground are some remnants of the Roman baths that were once used here. As we walked through, the breeze was divine and the loudest sounds we heard were the birds and locusts.
On our last evening in Florence we climbed up to Forte di Belvedere. Fiesole is visible upon the distant hill to the right. We had a snack while we watched the colors become more and more intense. A glass of crisp white wine from San Gimignano may have been consumed. ;)
Following our four days in Florence, we spent four days in Rome. After a long hot march through the Colosseum and the Roman Forum we found respite at the pizzeria Massenzio ai Fori. I ended my meal with this lovely cup of espresso.
On the last morning, I went for an hour's walk by myself and painted this elephant sculpture carved by Bernini in front of the church Santa Maria Sopra Minerva before the heat rose considerably. Though we greatly enjoyed our entire trip, it was a good day to leave. Ciao Italia!
7/6/2018 12:25:56 am
beautiful Julia glad you all enjoyed
7/6/2018 05:40:33 am
7/6/2018 07:15:09 am
I always look forward to your blog, but this particular one...(understandably so) was so special. I am thrilled you were able to share your incredible memories with your children and offered them the gift of creating their own memories. My girls are now (almost) 23 and 25 and their memories of our trip to Italy have left a deep impression on their hearts, their desire to travel, to see the world as a much bigger place than their own backyard and their creative souls. To this day, they speak of Italy and all its splendor with tremendous gratitude...that it exists and that they were able to walk those inspiring streets! Thanks for recording your trip so artistically...both in your words and your exquisite little sketches!
7/6/2018 11:11:28 am
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Emily! I hope our trip proves as meaningful as yours did with your family!
Leave a Reply.