Italy, the highlights

The Sharmas took to the skies this summer and together we spent 11 days touring Tuscany and Rome. We fell in love with Italy, and, of course, have dreams of returning. The best part of the whole trip, and what I hope is captured in these photos, is how relaxing and revitalizing it was to take time away and spend it together, drinking coffee, sipping wine and (usually) laughing at the day’s adventures.

Each day is remembered by where we ate gelato, the kinds we each had, and who scored the best pasta of the day. A few days in, everyone’s favourites became clear: for Vikas I think it was driving the switchbacks of Tuscan roads; Sarah loved the regional wines and finding great restaurants each place we visited; Kevin, surrounded by his crew, ate more pasta than he could have ever imagined; and Scott was thrilled to ride a bike all over the grounds at La Campagna and win the Yaniv card tournament (beating his sister by one game) we played each night. Although my cappuccinos were near the top of the list, my very favourite moments came wherever we happened to be, and I could hear my children and husband laughing out loud at whatever seemed to be funny.

Waiting for the restaurant to open one evening, we sat in this quiet nook, looking down on a Tuscan valley, listening to Vikas contemplate the local traffic, as the Italian nonnas came out to cool down and have an evening visit.

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Spectacular scenery aside, Kevin is happiest when he has his crew.IMG_0432

A bench setting seems to makes us smile. Didn’t think of it until now, but somehow it supports the family trend.IMG_0448

Same place, different bench showing off three pretty grown-up children we are lucky to call our own.IMG_0424

After many nights of a beautiful day’s end, I wondered if the locals ever tire of the view. Somehow, I think not.IMG_0451

Thanks Hither and Thither for your recommendation to visit Osteri il Grattaciello in Siena. Probably our most authentic Italian meal, Sarah knew it was the perfect place to enjoy a local lunch.IMG_0355

With the sparkle in his eye, I think that Vikas learned that every vacation should include wine at lunch!IMG_0353

Rome will be remembered for its beautiful fountains and photo settings, enjoyed by us as backdrops for photographs and to refill our water bottles (and the occasional splashing at the less busy spots); exactly what was needed in the 39 degree heat.IMG_0842

In my mind, Italy should be filled with colourful geraniums, and it lived up to my expectations.IMG_0245

The historical Rome became known fondly as the “Mr. Russell trip,” Scott’s history teacher who inspired in him a love of learning about days long past. Caught here is Scott’s pure joy as he experiences the Pantheon for the first time.

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To say that I loved the the wrought iron window covers and balconies is a bit of an understatement.IMG_0242Hot chocolate here as a change of pace from the days of having your very first grown-up cappuccinos.IMG_0741

We had to ask. Tourists seem to love it: the granita or Italian equivalent of whipped cream for breakfast, I mean iced coffee.IMG_0825

Sibling love, day after day, I’m not sure I could ever get enough of it, here…IMG_0237

and here…IMG_0819

and here!IMG_0881

Thanks Italy!

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