Italia with a side of Mina

Italy is a place I’ve always dreamed of going.  Even back when the thought of travelling outside of the US was scarier to me than it was exciting, Italy was on the (very short) list of places I knew I wanted to go . . . someday.  I think my enthusiasm grew from my interest in the Renaissance and Reformation eras of history and a fascination with the art in and from Italy (even though I really know nothing about art).  That, and pizza.  It seemed like if all that good stuff came from one place, it would be worth checking out.

But, after spending our first summer here in Vienna, I was pretty certain I was not going to venture any further south in the summer months, unless it involved sitting on a beach somewhere.  The European notions of handling summer heat, largely without air conditioning, don’t work very well for me, and I figured that if I couldn’t handle that at a northern latitude, venturing to Italy during warm weather didn’t make a lot of sense.

Our initial plan had been to see Italy this past December, so we could enjoy the festivity of Rome and the Vatican once everything was done up for Christmas.  Though when I sat down to plan that trip, back in the fall, I realized that December is one of my favorite months of the whole year HERE, so why would I want to leave?

But now, we’re really going.  The trip to Italy has been planned.  We’re going in February (cool weather, few crowds).  We started off (as we often do) with an overly ambitious wish list of destinations:  Rome, Florence, Siena, the Cinque Terre, Venice.  From experience, I’ve learned that trying to manage that in a week, with the kids, would be miserable for all of us.  So, we narrowed it down to three, and then decided to limit ourselves to just two, so we can really enjoy them, slow down, relax and have a great time, with no pressure.

So, we’re going to Rome, and then to Venice.  Because I can’t imagine a trip to Italy that didn’t include Rome, and Venice seems so beautiful, and so romantic that I didn’t want to miss it (not to mention we literally have to travel through it to get anywhere else in Italy).  We’re taking the train the entire way — the overnight train (our first) from Vienna to Rome, a train from Rome to Venice and then the overnight home to Vienna.  We have plans to see a lot of the sights in Rome, to ride on a gondola in Venice, and to eat a ton of Italian food.  (Benjamin is overjoyed that we are going to the country that invented pizza.  We’ve promised him pizza and gelato every day.)  I am super excited.

And, we get to bring Jo along with us on this adventure.  And then, to make it all even more exciting, my sister, Amanda (or “Mina”, to the kids) is coming over to join us for our trip.  We are all so excited.  The kids did a happy dance (quite literally) when I told them she was coming.  Seeing Italy is a dream come true, and being able to do it with my family makes it even better.  Looking forward to Italy!

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