And, if this post whets your appetite for Italy, check out Elizabeth’s other posts from her trip here, here and here.
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.
Castles Crowns and Cottages says
I am crying from the joy of seeing these lovely boys accompanied by beautiful parents who provide fun, discovery and a safe environment for them to see the world. Elizabeth is SO gorgeous, and her husband and little men are just beautiful. HAPPY DAY dearest Sandy and Elizabeth! GREAT TRIP! Anita
The enchanted home says
Great post! Here are my thoughts-
Your boys are so cute and look like so much fun!
Great travel points for everyone to consider!
I am craving pizza at not even 8am!
This makes me want to book a trip to Italy NOW!
I am going to forward this to my friend who is going to Italy and staying in JK Place for Thanksgiving, she will love this post as she has 3 young kids.
I love the family shot, hope you blew it up so you can enjoy it every single day as a reminder of this fabulous family trip!
Thank you for sharing:)
sojourn travels by tara says
I loved this Post, as Florence is one of my favorite places to visit and I have also traveled there with my kids when they were 9, 11,15. What a great experience for your boys!
I also appreciate the tip for the photographer! I am always wanting to get family pictures while abroad, you can't ask for better backdrops!
Thanks again for all the information
pve design says
Now if this is not a testament to Sandy and her travel skills, I seriously do not know what would top this! All your boys are so handsome and I love seeing how dreamy your trip was. I have the :travel: bug now.
I Dream Of says
Looks like a dream trip, no matter what your age. I love how Sandy found just the right mix of activities for Elizabeth and her family! And we took a tip from Elizabeth and used Flytographer when we were in Edinburgh last fall they were fantastic! Now I just have to get my Christmas cards done…
pretty pink tulips says
Thank you, Sandy, for not only helping us plan a trip of a lifetime, but for allowing us to relive it here on your beautiful travel blog!!!
I can not emphasize enough to anyone thinking about planning a trip anywhere how amazing Sandy is. She exceeded our expectations by 1000%, no exaggeration. Her love of travel, her organization skills, her follow up and follow through surpass any travel advice or planning I've had in the past.
Thinking of you today, Sandy, half way around the world. I hope your trip exceeds your own expectations!
The Buzz Blog says
It was great to revisit Elizabeth's trip here on your blog, Sandy, and we can't wait to have you plan our next family adventure. We hope you're having an amazing time in Asia!
C + C
Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns says
Florence is indeed a magical city and Elizabeth and her family have proved that you can take young children there and not only see and absorb the history but also experience the lighter sides of travel.
I love this post and the beautiful photos of Elizabeth and her family!
Hope you are having fun Sandy!
Elizabeth, I remember seeing this post when Sandy talked about the Flytographer service. Looks like an amazing trip with gorgeous souvenirs – great pictures and a beautiful leather purse!
Sandy, I can't wait until we start planning my trip to Spain!
I love this and now I know who to call when I decide to take the adult girls if they still want to come with us, to Florence!!
Castles Crowns and Cottages says
Deaerest Sandy, you are in SINGAPORE NOW! Thank you for coming to Minneapolis all the way to greet me! HAVING FUN?