We’ve officially completed our first week on our adventure! It’s been a whirlwind with little downtime, so we’re all finding ourselves a bit tired (in a good way). Tired, mostly, because Renzi and I are doing what we normally do, trying to cram as much in as possible in a very small timeframe. Surprisingly, traveling from place to place while hauling our luggage is a feat in of itself. Yes, even though we all only have one carry on and a suitcase, it’s still a lot of luggage to carry around. Thank goodness we only brought what we did…and I never thought I’d say that!
A recap of our time in Italy so far:
After arriving, we took a train to Florence where attended a friend’s wedding (they’re from Oklahoma City!). We stayed in a wonderful little villa/farm right in the Tuscan countryside. The rehearsal dinner, venue, and reception were absolutely spectacular and we felt very fortunate to have been invited.
We slept a little (jet lag is the worst!), explored the small towns of Fiesole and Firenze, and spent time with friends that were also in town for the wedding. What a joy to have these people help us kick off our journey! We also spent a morning at the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, which Jackson will highlight in a blog post later this week.
Following our time in Florence, we spent an evening with one of Renzi’s dear friends, Carolina, in her home right outside the city. To say Carolina was the most amazing host I’ve ever had would be an understatement. She blew us away with her hospitality, amazing home, kind spirit and ridiculously tasty food. Our boys were spoiled rotten. They were able to watch movies in Carolina’s home cinema and even made pizzas with a renowned chef in Italy.
When we (reluctantly) left Carolina’s, we forged ahead on a three-hour drive to Rome (but not without a 55 euro fine we received on the tollway because we put our toll ticket in the wrong toll booth. DOH!). Renzi visited Rome about 17 years ago, so he was able to show us things he remembered as we began exploring.
We settled into our apartment in the Malti district, which is a relatively new and popular part of Rome a few blocks from the Colosseum. One of the best bonuses? We had TWO bathrooms. Major score for this momma… all boys and one bathroom to share is not easy. ?
We spent the last few days of our week exploring Rome by golf cart. I’d like to give a big shout out to our guide Lorenzo for an amazing experience. He even let the boys drive for a bit! We were also able to squeeze in a tour of the Colosseum, Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum with a tour guide named Nina.
We then took the boys to Gladiator School, where they trained to fight like gladiators. They enjoyed this so much… maybe because they got to duel in the ring for points and mom and dad didn’t yell at them for fighting for once!
Our trip to Rome wouldn’t have been complete without an early morning Vatican tour with a guide named Claudio. He showed us the importance of the Vatican and shared his knowledge of the Catholic faith.
Claudio also led us into the Sistine Chapel where we were able to see the beautiful ceiling paintings Michelangelo painted so many years ago. We finished up the day’s tours at St. Peter’s Basilica and had the chance to tour the crypts underneath the church where the apostle Peter and so many Popes were laid to rest. Unbelievable experience for us for sure.
Update on the boys:
The boys were amazing during our first week of travels, and I’m impressed by their ability to adapt to whatever has come their way. Their energy and excitement for everything has really helped me over the last few days when I started to feel homesick.
Jackson has impressed me with the questions he asked our guides and with the knowledge he had of Roman and Greek history. He taught me so many things over the last few days that I never even knew about…like Obelisks.
Walker took so many tours like a champ, and even though I know he’s six years old and would have rather ran through the streets of Italy at full speed, I was impressed with his ability to be serious when we needed him to.
We’ve decided to take it easy these next few days in Rome. We have no official tours planned and no reservations we have to be at. We’re going to take advantage of the wonderful markets and cook in our apartment, sleep in when we want and explore the city at our leisure.
Tuesday of this coming week we’ll be heading back to the Italian countryside where we’ll stay in a Tuscan villa to explore more of the Italian countryside. I’m hoping to perfect my spaghetti sauce while we’re there.
Until the next time. Ciao Bella!
– Lee Anne