Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Tuscany, Italy 2015

 We have just returned from a lovely week long break in Tuscany, Italy. The weather was very kind and it was just what we needed after a busy and stressful few months.

Grandad taught the kids how to play Boule.

We visited Chianti Sculpture Park. The owners of the park have opened their home and gardens to visitors. Their home, a derelict terracotta workshop was a real inspiration and fused a living/working home with an art gallery. I would just love to live there but as that is not possible M and I discussed how we could bring more inspiring art into our home, not just through sculptural pieces but in all aspects of furniture and everyday items. It was quite an amazing place!

Running around the sculpture park Lj took a fall, she recovered quickly but as I carried her to the next art piece she collapsed in my arms. It is always a heart stopping moment when you see your child (or any child I imagine) go pale and pass out but thankfully she came round herself and we were able to to give her a drink and a sweet to get her energies up. A few minutes later she was up and running and posing for the camera.

As we had hired a car at Pisa Airport we were able to drive for a day trip to Florence. We were able to park easily on the edge of the city with a 15/20min walk to the centre. As recommended we had prebooked tickets for the Uffizi Museum and took a lunch time slot so avoid the crowds. The kids have a set of story books by James Mayhew which explore famous paintings through a character called Katie. We picked out some of the paintings which we might see in the Uffizi and I took pictures from the book on my camera. Then as we walked round the gallery we were able to spot the paintings we had previously discussed. M gave us a kid friendly history lesson on the Renaissance and we watched out for paintings of 'Madonna and child' by the various artists. We were in the gallery for 2 hours and I was so pleased with how the kids maintained their excitement and enthusiasm. Of course we had to sample lots of flavours of gelato as a treat for such good behaviour!

 La Primavera by of our favourites!

 One day just wasn't long enough in Florence so perhaps M and I will have to organise a little weekend break there one year.

We took another day trip to Sienna. This time we were advised to park at the railway station in the north of the city. By doing this you can use the shopping centre escalators (all 6 of them) to rise up to the level of the city and it was also 1.60Euro for all day parking!

Photo by Lj. We decided to buy the full ticket for the Cathedral so that we could see the baptistery, museum and climb the tower. I was not so prepared for this visit but found in the cathedral shop a handy little children's book on some of the paintings, sculptures and mosaics.

The last city we took a day trip to was San Gimignano. This city is small but famous for its towers and is fun to explore and read the history of man's wealth and pride.

In between visiting the beautiful sites of the Chianti region we ate lots of pasta and gelato and drank lots of Chianti Classico.