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.
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.
Florence is a magical city! And, we made the most of it, thanks to the help and guidance of Sandy. She gave us a daily itinerary, including all of our transportation details. Recommendations for things to see that were not included in our tours. And, checked in along the way. If you are thinking of planning a special trip and would like some assistance, I can’t recommend her highly enough.
I’m happy to answer specific questions about our trip…..just ask. I’m already dreaming of going back.