{personal} Blitz trip to Italy

For Christmas Chris gave Samantha and I a weekend trip to Italy. Well, he purchased the flights and paid for the rental car, we were lucky enough to have a friend to stay with in Milan (Thanks Zoe!!). We flew out late Friday night, drove to Milan, woke up at 6:30am and drove to Florence for the day. I have spent a few weeks in Rome but had forgotten the amazing “feel” that comes with Italy. I have become so accustomed to the tense energy I feel comes along with Paris. Quiet people, dressed in pressed black clothing rushing from metro train to metro train. Now don’t get me wrong I love Paris and will be excited to see it during the warmer months but just physically being in Italy I felt, warmer. People didn’t avoid eye contact and my smiles were returned. Plus, um there is a gelateria on every corner. I am a hug fan of bread so Paris has got me there, but I am fairly certain I would gain a good 50 pounds during a two year tour in Italy. Ice cream is my “thing”.

Florence was magical and I am dying to see it in the spring when flowers pour off balconies and I am not shivering as I eat my gelato. I completely caught my breathe (and Samantha’s arm) when we rounded the little side street corner and BAM right in front of us was the Duomo.

We had an amazing lunch at a place suggested by good ‘ole Rick Steves that was at least 3 times the cost he had it listed as (I guess thats what happens when you make it into Rick Steve’s travel guide right?) I had to refrain from lifting my plate to my face and licking it ha! We visited the Basilica di Santa Croce where Michelangelo, Galileo, Dante, Machiavelli are buried. We actually walked right past it first thanks to my silly GPS, I actually stopped and took a picture of the “random” although not so random, church.

We then weaved our way back to the car passing countless fun touristy stores.

We then drove all the way back up to Milan where I was lucky enough to meet a blog reader and a fellow Foreign Service officer who is moving to East Timor this summer. We stayed up way to late chatting and laughing and eating as much of Zoe’s home made minestrone as I could shove in. The next day we set off to explore Milan itself. I could not believe how good Zoe’s little guy was the entire time. He walked the whole day and didn’t complain ONCE!! After one block my kids would have been whining and crying about how “tired” they are etc. Though you could tell he had seen some of the exhibits before.

I actually snapped the above picture in the duomo in Milan where you have to pay 5 euro for a wristband to wear that allows you take pictures. There are girls in red cloaks that jump out at you and make sure you do have a wristband and get mad at you if you don’t. When one jumped at me I said to Zoe “No one expects the spanish inquisition!!” (name that source). I did NOT buy a wrist band but figured since I was taking a picture of Owen and not the architecture I was okay. You could take as many outside as you want.

It reminds me of the drippy sand castles I would make as a child. Oh and the building on the right is the oldest “shopping mall” in the WORLD! How cool is that? And so fitting that it is in Milan no? This was also when Samantha’s shooting in manual lesson ended ha! Though the building looks awesome….

Interesting tid bit, there is a statue on the Duomo that people say Frédéric Bartholdi  copied for the Statue of Liberty design.

We stopped by the church where the Last Supper Fresco is but unfortunalty we didn’t get to actually see it as tickets were already gone when we found out we were coming. The church itself was a work of art.

After a quick stop for Gelato it was off to the airport and home to Paris! It was an incredibly fun weekend and a fabulous Christmas present! I can’t wait to go back and explore more of Italy when it is warm and I have a real excuse to buy gelato every ten seconds. Plus how kid friendly is that? Bored? Here’s another gelato ha! I am thinking next it will be Venice though. Anyone been there? Would the kids be okay on the gondolas?




  1. 2

    Shelly says

    We love Italy and we love Rick Steves. Though we’ve also found that the prices are often higher than he quotes too. (It was funny when we were in Sorrento a couple of years ago and a restaurant owner who saw us walking by with a Rick Steves book followed us around telling us that her restaurant was good – even if it wasn’t in the book – and that we should write to Rick and tell him to add her.)

  2. 3

    Emily says

    I want to go to Italy. Gelato is so yummy, and Italy looks gorgeous, and well, I just want to go.

    I am glad you had a good time. I am impressed with Owen as well. My kids would be with your kids. Zoe must have some super secret parenting strategies.

  3. 7


    I’m not sure how I got to know into your blog in the first place. But I know why I’m drawn into it. You certainly take beautiful and inspiring photos. I love how you capture life.

  4. 8

    Merritt says

    I have not been to Italy, but John Brenedt has. His book, ‘City of Falling Angels’ is AMAZING. It’s set in Venice and talks about many landmarks there. It’s a great read period, but might be good before you head to Venice, too.

  5. 9

    Samantha says

    Oh Kelly, I just loved your pictures of Florence and when I looked at them I thought I’ve been there, I’ve been there too. Incredible city that I was so fortunate to spend 3 days in. Go back in the warm weather and it has a different feel again. As for Rome, just magnificent. So much to see.

  6. 11


    How lucky are you to get a present like that! I would log to go to Italy one day – I’m a huge history buff and absolutely live off gelato!

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