10 August, 2015


I haven't been able to put words to our time in Italy, though I've sat down and tried many times. Here are some highlights:

We stayed with Martin and Sybille, the parents of a dear friend from St Andrews, who were the most generous of hosts. We were well-rested, well-fed, and the children left just as spoiled as when we leave grandparents' houses. 

We also met up with my brother (Uncle Nick) and spent five days together, double-buckled in the car ride to Pisa, swam in the Mediterranean together, and shared meals in the City or back at the house. We were born a year-and-a-day apart, and growing up we were the best of buds, so it was just great to have his company, catch up in person, and for the children to spend more time with him. 

By day it was deathly hot (nearly 100ºF/over 35ºC), but as the sun went down the evenings became cool and refreshing, perfect for the standard Italian dinner at 8PM, always on the terrace. After the children were in bed, every night was a late night on the terrace with our hosts, with the latest being 4am when we hauled ourselves to bed after gripping tales of WWII, always accompanied by Florentine wine, cheese, and cigarettes. . .

Daily gelato. We probably tried a dozen, but Gelateria Vivaldi was our favourite, and owned by friends of our friends.

Peter hoped to see more art (the queue for Michangelo's David was over five hours), but we were there in high tourist time. Next time we'll visit in the off season when it isn't quite as busy. Peter and Nick were able to spend a day alone in the City suit shopping and later that night we all went out (sans children) to experience night life with the locals.

Architecture, art, history, shopping! A favourite sculpture was Perseus with the head of Medusa, which the children wanted to look at every day, and Piazza della Signoria became the meeting place where we would connect with Nick every morning. 

Food. The food! We may or may not have brought home one suitcase full of pasta.

Some of the children's highlights were swimming in the sea, all-you-can-ask-for gelato, chocolate cereal on the terrace every morning, Martin's homemade biscuits, and his chocolate as "medicine" for scuffed knees and stubbed toes.

If you ever have the chance to visit to Firenze, go! It is beautiful and so very classy and we left with incredibly full hearts.

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