We packed our bags in the van and headed straight to the airport — our entire family: my mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, husband, and five-month-old son (yes, he was five months old!). All seven of us were off to the trip of a lifetime! Where were we headed you ask? Italy, of course!
Over 24 hours later (with multiple layovers), we finally made it to Rome . . . just in time to find out the airline had lost my luggage! It was almost midnight, and we were exhausted and just wanted to get to our hotel room!
Three days later, my luggage was reunited with us. Boy, was that a grand way to start the trip off! I didn’t care too much though. I was just overjoyed to be living a real-life dream come true.
After a much needed night’s rest, we made our way to Florence (or Firenze, as the locals call it). This city is where I truly fell in love with Italy.
Firenze is filled with rich culture. The people are the warmest you’ll ever meet. You’ll see the locals giving hugs and kisses to every person they greet. They treat people they’ve met for the first time as if they grew up together. They love their home, and they want everyone else to love it too.
I remember rushing around trying to see as much as I could within the two short days we had to experience this city. Along the way, I stumbled across a little sandwich shop only big enough to fit two, maybe three, tables inside. I ordered a Caprese panini and a little cannoli (which happened to be the best cannoli I have ever tasted! Goodness, I want one now … lol).
I sat at the table and looked out to the cobblestone street filled with thousands of people passing by. I saw one of the most beautiful Basilicas made of green and white marble, and I just took it all in. I felt like I was living in a dream! It was so beautiful — the culture, the food, the people, all of it. That was my favorite moment of the trip. I was just so thankful to experience Firenze.
The streets were lined with local painters all painting what they deemed beautiful. There were streets upon streets of leather goods — real, genuine, Italian leather. I wanted to take it all home! There were shops full of silk goods, Italian pottery, handcrafted wooden pieces . . . I mean, everything you could think of!
The pasta was all handmade. Yes. All handmade. And it was delicious! I’m determined to make handmade pasta myself now.
The cheese boards were out of this world. I’ve never had cheese like what I had in Italy. Oh, and espresso? People stop to have espresso roughly around seven times a day! Can you believe that? But trust me, once you have a sip, you’ll immediately understand why!
It’s just a tiny shot. They have stands everywhere you go. You walk up to the counter, order a shot (maybe $0.70 – $0.80), stand at a table with friends and drink the shot of espresso, then merrily go on your way. People stop to do this often! They seem to go at a much slower pace in Italy. They seem to enjoy every part of the day. It’s so different from the busyness of America!
We were in Italy for fifteen days, and this is just a recap of Florence. There are many other amazing cities we visited, but this is the place I fell in love with.
Now imagine this: All of these shops were in beautiful brick buildings that have been standing for centuries! Italy is unlike any place I’ve ever been. It’s like stepping into the past, yet all while still standing in the present.
They are definitely in with the times as far as technology goes, yet they still hang all their clothes outside on their patios to dry. They have new businesses, new stores, new restaurants all residing in the old buildings from years past. It’s the neatest thing to experience.
The present and the past meet at one time in one place: Italy.