I am so pleased to have my friend, Elizabeth, from Pretty Pink Tulips, guest posting today! She is sharing a post on traveling to Florence with her family last summer. I was fortunate enough to help her plan the trip - it was a pleasure to work with her from start to finish. Her photos will have you booking a flight to Italy immediately! Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your trip with all of us!!
And, if this post whets your appetite for Italy, check out Elizabeth's other posts from her trip here, here and here.
Without further ado...I will hand you over to Elizabeth and her adorable family for a taste of Florentine beauty...
Traveling to any foreign country can be exciting, yet a bit stressful.
Where should you stay? What should you do? Add children to the mix and you need to consider things from their viewpoint, as well. When we began planning our trip to Italy, I knew I wanted my sons to experience the beauty, architecture and art, but a 9 and 12 year old can only take so much of that. So, how to make it fun for them?
First, I enlisted the help of Sandy Grodsky, the voice behind the travel blog, You May Be Wandering who has turned her love of travel into a career as a travel advisor. I am fortunate in that Sandy lives fairly nearby to me and we were able to meet in person. I knew I could trust her and that she would guide me well. She started by asking me how our family liked to travel and what we'd like to do and then gave me an edited list of hotels and tour agendas. We tweaked and tweaked until we had an itinerary that gave us a variety of activities and a pace we could handle.
This was our 3rd trip to Europe with our boys, so I knew a few things that worked for us.
1. We will fly coach using miles in order to stay in a nicer hotel
2. We wanted to stay right in the heart of Florence and prefer a smaller hotel
3. We like private tour guides and only wanted to have formal plans for half of our days
4. Expensive restaurants were not important to us
We toured inside and above Florence. Learned the difference between 12th and 14th century frescos. Visited artisans practicing centuries-old crafts, such as creating mosaics, leather goods and paper. Made gelato from scratch. Got up close to some amazing art by Botticelli & Michelangelo. Tasted wine in Tuscany and learned what makes a Chianti Classico. Climbed Giotto's Bell Tower for the best view of the Duomo. And, savored the Italian cooking.
Yes, this beauty came home with me from the Scuola del Cuoio (the leather school inside the monastery of Santa Croce)! After they stamped my initials inside in gold.
Home of the Medici family...Pitti Palace next to the Boboli Gardens.
We adored our boutique hotel in the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, J.K. Place Firenze, which served as our home base.And, one of the best things we did in Florence, was spend an hour at sunset with our new friend and photographer, Alberto, of Flytographer. I'm thrilled that I have photos of the entire family to remember this special trip. I HIGHLY recommend them! Not only was it fun, but I had my photos before I got home. They are in over 100 cities around the world, so book them for your next vacation.
I'm happy to answer specific questions about our trip.....just ask. I'm already dreaming of going back.