Italy: Part 1

The contrast of having done a 14 hour road trip minus Jared to take the kids to Utah while we were away made the travel to Italy even more relaxing and enjoyable.  We got snacks in the airport.  I bought a new book and off we went.  On the flights we solidified our itinerary a bit, caught up on some movies, and tried to sleep.  It really is relaxing and enjoyable to travel without kids!

Our plan for the week looked like this:

Saturday (Day 1):  Arrive 9:30 am.  Colosseum tour 2pm.  Drive to Cortona to where we will stay for the week.  I booked the Colosseum, Vatican, Florence, and Venice tours through Viator after reading reviews on  There were usually 5-7 couples per group.  We wore head sets and the guide told us about the history of what we were looking at.  We met some fun people in these tours and got tips from our tour guides about where to eat and shop, etc.  

Sunday:  Sleep in.  Relax.  Explore Cortona.

Monday:  Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano.  Return to Cortona.  Note:  On Mondays a lot of museums are closed.  We knew Pisa would be closed but wanted to walk around and see it.  In Siena, we downloaded a tour on our phone to tour the cathedral but didn't want to have to stick to a time frame to get to a tour since we didn't know how long we would want to be in Pisa and San Gimignano.

Tuesday:  Florence.  Tour of Florence Accademia and Uffizi Gallery 10:15am.  Drive to La Spezia that night and spend the night.

Wednesday:  Take train from La Spezia to Riamaggiore and spend the day hiking Cinque Terra with a private guide.  Take a boat ride along the Cinque Terra coast and then drive back to Cortona that night.

Thursday:  Relaxing morning in Cortona.  Breakfast.  Drive to Venice.  Eat dinner and explore Venice that evening and spend the night there.

Friday:  Venice.  Tour 10am.  Water boat tour 4pm.  We also knew we wanted to get a gondola ride in sometime while we were there.  Drive back to Cortona that night.

Saturday:  Pack up.  Shop in Cortona.  Breakfast.  Drive to Rome.  Vatican Tour.  Check out the LDS Rome Temple site.  Dinner.  Spend the night in Rome.

Sunday:  11 am flight back home.

We arrived Saturday morning at 9:30 am.  It took a bit to get through customs and get our car rental.  We found a place to park near the colosseum, spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to pay the parking meter (haha!), and made sure we knew where our tour group was meeting.  We then had a bit of time to walk around and explore and get some food...and some gelato.

The Colosseum was beautiful and humongous and magnificent.  We parked and then saw this and my jaw dropped.  I felt like we had taken a step back in time.  There were old fountains of fresh water everywhere that we used to refill our water bottles.

When we arrived in Cortona and gotten all of our belongings in the place we would be staying for the week, it all hit me at once.  Exhaustion, homesickness for my kids, and worry.  I had a mini break down worrying especially about Olivia and cried a few tears.  Jared sent me to the shower and heated up our welcome meal.  After I had showered and eaten, we headed to bed...and slept until 2pm the following day.

The door Jared's standing in front of is to our little apartment for the week.  Super cute!  We actually won it from an auction at an event we went to.  It was through Together in Tuscany.  They were great to work with.

That day we shopped and found a place to eat and walked the streets.  We found an old church and museum to visit and then headed to a monastery that was set in the woods with a little river running through it.

Cortona, in front of one of the churches we visited.

 Looking down from the walled city of Cortona to the rest of Tuscany.

Day 3:  Pisa, San Gimignano, and Siena

To be continued...


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