The first six days of our trip to Italy were in Venice. If you haven't seen that post yet, Venice with Kids, be sure to check it out! Lots of good information on traveling to Italy, specifically Venice as the name implies, with kids. This post isn't so much about tips of traveling through Italy with kids as it is about sharing the photos of this part of our trip.
We rented a large van from the Venice Marco Polo airport and set out for Borgo San Felice in Tuscany on a Wednesday morning. I just love road tripping through Italy. It's all so scenic but oddly, my favorite part are all the tunnels. No steep hills to go up and down or winding around mountains, the roads always stay level and connect through a series of well constructed, modern tunnels and therefore the distance between destinations is shorter when traveling on the A1. In contrast, once you leave the main freeway, the roads are extremely windy and curve with the rolling hills. We found out the hard way that Apple get car sick easily so she was pretty miserable every time we got in the car in the Tuscan countryside. But the main freeway is controlled privately in Italy and you'll notice how well maintained the roads are. You can thank the tolling system for this I guess. Another thing I love about driving through Italy on the main freeway is the rest stops. Coming from the states, the word rest stop is enough to make your skin crawl and reach for your sanitizing wipes. Completely forget about that image and be sure to stop at one along the freeway in Italy. They are clean, well designed, well stocked and connected directly to the freeway. The one we stopped at on our way down actually was built OVER the freeway so we had lunch and watched the traffic roll by beneath us. The food is excellent with gourmet choices. It's so convenient... they didn't have high chairs though. :(
The drive from Venice to Borgo San Felice took us about four hours. It was here, shortly after our arrival as well, that we were reunited with Leo's family: His Papa, sister and her two children. As I mentioned in my previous post, this was the first time they all were able to meet my children in person after years of weekly video chatting. It was a very special moment to us all.
Borgo San Felice was a medieval Italian village in the Tuscany region turned winery and hotel after they restored the village to its original architecture. The surrounding hills of San Felice are dedicated to their grape vines and they have a stunning collection of estate wines produced each year. A tour of the winery was one of the highlights of our stay but simply walking around the grounds each day made for an enchanting experience. They boast a beautiful outdoor pool that just opened the week before our arrival but the air temperature was unfortunately still too cool to enjoy it. Their dining options were amazing and it was great having a place for breakfast, lunch and dinner on site. We occupied two of the apartment style accommodations here and one had a kitchen so we were able to cook ourselves too.
Siena is the closest city and a beautiful one to visit. This was my first time here although I've been to the Tuscany area before. A very walkable city, we had several great meals, gelato and plenty of shopping options.
We also celebrated Apple's first birthday!
Such a treat for us to all be together for this great milestone and in such a special place that we'll never forget. You might notice in all these photos that she insisted on walking everywhere, only she wasn't ready yet to walk on her own without holding on to one of our hands. It killed our backs! But thankfully a few weeks after we got got, she finally let go and took off.