S: Madding Family Trip to Italy 2011
FC: Italy April 8-16th, 2011
1: Friday, April 8th Depart Cincinnati -> Paris -> Florence We left Cincinnati at 5:30 pm and landed in Paris 8 hours later. No one slept except Anna (maybe an hour). We had some time for a little shopping at the airport in Paris before we took off for Florence at 10:30 am (4:30am Dayton time). We arrived in Florence on Saturday at 11:55 am local time. Thankfully all of our luggage made it and we were able to take a taxi (hard to find one that would fit all five of us) to our hotel...the Hotel Pendini on the Piazza della Repubblica in the heart of Florence. We stayed here through Wednesday morning. | Buon Giorno, Italia!
2: Our Room Hotel Pendini
3: We were fortunate to get a room that had 2 bedrooms and our own bathroom. We had a nice little balcony area off of the kids bedroom that was nice to open when we were in the room.
4: We went to bed early on Saturday evening and slept until morning! The boys and I ventured out in the morning to the square in front of the Hotel Pendini. Around 1pm, the rest of the Madding crew arrived: Uncle Scott, Aunt Aimee, Andie, Emilie, Grandma and Granddad (Dylan didn't make the big trip being so little). We grabbed a slice of authentic pizza for lunch at the Pizzaria Del Duomo and took in the sights in the afternoon. The kids loved watching the street artists at work. Later we took in our first taste of gelato!
5: By Sunday evening everyone had arrived and we arranged for all 22 people to eat dinner at a Trattoria across the street from the Duomo. We celebrated the evening with wonderful antipasto dishes, spaghetti, and lasagna. After a carb filled dinner, some at the table could not keep their eyes open any longer. It was a big first day in Italy!
6: Monday We went to the Museo Galileo with Grandma and Granddad to see different kinds of clocks, telescopes, microscopes, globes, and measuring devices. The museum even had a "relic" of Galileo....his finger!
7: After the museum, we headed to the Piazza della Signoria for lunch and to take in the replica of The David. Afterwards, PJ and Sam split off to the Ponte Vecchio where they took in the Petti Palace and Boboli Gardens on the south side of the Arno River. After walking all that way, they took a taxi back to our hotel and by chance got our same taxi driver that drove us from the airport! | This replica, placed in 1910, stands on the original site of The David | replica of The David Piazza della Signoria
8: We went away from the square for dinner to a ristorante called the Mariano. We were early so we walked the streets and window shopped until it opened at 7pm. We sat in the basement and had some delicious Italian food! After dinner we proceeded to our favorite Gelato store for dessert! | Monday Evening
10: After gelato, Grandma treated all the kids to a carousel ride in the square. Can this night get any better?
11: The square outside Hotel Pendini was such a fun place to be at night. The boys and their cousins discovered some fun glow discs being sold in the square. They had fun ending each evening flinging their discs high into the air and catching them.
12: Tuesday | We started off the morning at the Galleria dell'Accademia to see Michelangelo's David. Amazing! We went from that breathtaking site to climbing the Duomo (463 steps) to the top. What a memorable day!
14: Florence Leather Market
15: Hosteria il desco (located near Piazza della Signoria) | Rehearsal Dinner
16: Traveling by Train | Wednesday morning we checked out of the Hotel Pendini and caught a taxi to the train station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella Centrale. It was a beautiful 45 minute trip to the San't Ellero where a van met us for a 10-minute trip up the hills to our Villa.
17: Villa Pitiana
18: Scenes from the Villa | Grandma | Emilie
20: Our Room at theVilla | Our View | The Loft | Our Ceiling
21: Dave and Lyra treated the group to a "wedding eve" dinner from a pizza parlor in town. We enjoyed our meal in the Villa's learning kitchen and sat amongst the pots and pans. At the end of the evening, we accidentally tripped the circuit breaker and ended up cleaning up in the dark. | Pizza Party
22: The Ceremony | Dave and Lyra April 14, 2011
23: Dave and Lyra April 14, 2011
26: The Reception
27: Dance Party
29: On Friday morning we loaded our suitcases into a large passenger van for a 45 minute drive back to Florence. We spent our last night at a Best Western deep in the non-tourist part of the city. We ordered lunch from a deli counter that didn't speak any English and enjoyed our delicious Panini on the sidewalk. After resting in the afternoon (and watch a man feed a cat on the rooftop!) we headed out to find a venue for our last Italian meal. We savored every last morsel, including dessert, at the Trattoria Florentina!
30: Going Home | There's no place like home!