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Trip Report Pizza margherita, per favore. Three generations visit Tuscany, Rome and Venice, by ms_go and daughter.

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I was awakened from sleep (as deep as one can sleep upright in an economy seat, anyway) by the change in pitch from the engines as the plane began to descend. Glancing out the window, I saw that the pervasive cloud cover that had started near Zurich was now gone. The view was replaced by rolling hills, olive groves, small clusters of stone houses with red tile roofs'all bathed in sunlight. Ahhh'finally back in Italy!

Discussions about this trip began several years ago, as my brother and I pondered the possibility of an extended family vacation in Italy'once his children were old enough for transatlantic travel but while our mother was still able. Last year, we put the proverbial stake in the ground by booking a villa in Tuscany, and now the rest is history.

Some background

The participants:
-Me (mid 40s) and my 15-year-old daughter ('DD' in this report)
-My mother ('mom'), mid 70s
-My brother and his wife (B & SIL), both about 40, with their three boys: 'Podolski' (9), 'Del Piero' (7) and 'Dida' (turned 4 while in Rome) as per the football jerseys they acquired early in the trip and wore often

We sought a good mix of culture, history and relaxation, and after some study and discussion, settled on one week in a centrally located spot in Tuscany and five nights in Rome. After that, mom, DD and I continued on to Venice for four nights. B/SIL and kids flew to London to spend some additional time with her sister's family.

We are neither high-end nor budget travelers. With a group of our size, we quickly ruled out hotels (we would have needed four rooms), instead looking at villas and apartments. And while we ate well, for the most part we did not plan our trip around food; we ate when and where needs dictated'typically one meal a day out, with breakfast in and snacks and sandwiches to fill up at other points. Let's just say there was a lot of pizza and wine consumed! In fact, we've decided to name the trip report after the most commonly ordered item and the one Italian phrase mastered by all members of our traveling party (well, aside from 'grazie' and "gelato").

I should add that, with the exception of my nephews, all of us have been to Italy at least once. This was my third trip to Rome (mr_go, DD and I spent a week there a few years ago), my fourth trip to Venice and my third time in Florence. While we aimed to cover some basics, our goal was not to 'do everything.' With young children, we also didn't plan for a lot of time in museums. Essentially, each of us contributed some priorities to 'the list,' and we tried to fit those in to the extent possible.

I did not take detailed notes, so this report will probably end up to be more of a random series of thoughts to which I'll add as I have a chance. DD will contribute along the way.

As always, I gleaned much good information from this site and would like to give back what I can. A collective thanks to everyone whose posts helped in planning this trip!

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