Monday, April 9, 2012

We are family... I got all my sistas with me

What a whirlwind of a week I think I've finally recovered from. Really more like a whirlwind of a month... March has flown by with lots of visitors, traveling and fun all of which I've failed to blog about so bear with me... my blog posts are about to be super out of order and all over the place.

For now I'm going to blog about hands down the best week of my abroad experience, a week of getting to share all the incredible adventures of Italy with my FAMILY!!!!

It started out in Venice with just the girls, before my dad met us back in Florence a few day later. Venice was filled with lots of delicious fish, boat rides, gelato searches through the windy streets and canals, naps, and moments of giggles and delirium from everyone's exhaustion....

We had a great tour during which we went to the beautiful church in San Marc square where the apostle Mark himself is buried- pretty cool. Followed by our cute little Venetian tour guide leading us through all the secret local passageways to avoid tourists and see amazing views of canals.

 The day ended with a lovely gondola ride.

 We met my dad and our driver, Massimo, in Florence Sunday to set out into Tuscany for a couple of days. First stop for the Crosby family was obviously the World Champion of Gelato. That's right... WORLD CHAMPION. It's located in the center of San Gimingiano, a hill town outside of Siena with middle age towers and beautiful views.

Here is a view of San Gimingiano from a vineyard outside the town. The village looks just like Duloc, the village in Shrek... which is reason 2 it had to be our first stop in Tuscany.
 After Shrek town we went to Siena and then to our hotel out in the middle of the beautiful Tuscan hills. This is just one of the endless beautiful views.

 If you've seen Letter's to Juliet, this hotel is the place where they stay in the movie... so naturally our cheesy romantic comedy loving selves had to go and reinact all the scenes... 1. lying in the grass looking up at the stars. Along with visiting the room where Amanda Seyfried stayed and eating dinner at the same table where they ate in the movie.

The next day after some tennis playing and Maggie's first and very interesting massage experience :) we headed out on our day 2 of Tuscan adventures stopping at many lookout points, taking lots of pictures, and seeing many quaint little hill towns.

 If any friends who came to visit us are reading this... the vineyard with the house in the background to the left of Ellie is Vigna Maggio, the vineyard we visited when y'all were here. When I told the driver we walked there from Greve he died laughing....

 After our Tuscan escape we came back to Florence for a few days where we essentially stuffed our faces with every favorite meal I've had in Florence condensed into a 3 day period. Lots of sightseeing, scarf buying, stair climbing, and gelato eating.

We concluded the trip with an AMAZING trip to Rome. While Rome wasn't built in a day, we surely saw it ALL in one. Though it meant starting the day at a lovely time of 7:15 in the morning, the early rise was definitely worth it. We were of the first 10 people allowed into the Vatican, and one of the few to get a full experience of the Sistine Chapel before it opened to the public. It was definitely an experience I will never forget.
View of St. Peters from inside the Vatican
 After the Vatican, St Peters, the Sistine Chapel, and some replenishment with the best bread I have ever eaten/ probably ever will eat- Pizza Bianca.. (who knew flour, olive oil, and salt could taste so good) we went to peak through the famous keyhole....

After the keyhole we went to what was the highlight of my day if its possible to have one, the Coliseum where we got private access to areas where no one else could go. Getting to stand out on the gladiator stage made us all feel slightly famous and if you know my dad then you know he took full advantage of that... practicing his Pope wave and showing off his super athletic skills to all the crowd looking down at us.

Hours and many other sight seeing stops later we ended the day with a visit to the Trevi fountain where we tossed in our coins and made our wishes. Finding it hard to find anything else I could possibly wish for after this special time with my family, it was a perfect way to end a perfect week. How blessed I am!

Ciao and Happy Easter!

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