Florence, Italy!

Last summer our family went to Sweden and Italy, and it recently dawned on me that I've still not posted about the last leg of our trip - Florence! Oops! Usually coming home from a trip is so chaotic, unpacking and readjusting, that it's the last thing on my mind to actually blog about it. Plus I was instagramming my way through Europe (#morricefamtrip15) so I feel like it's already been shared, in a way. But I still want to document this trip on here, as I did many times before (Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Siena), because it was such an incredible opportunity to travel with our little ones and see the world together. For more info on how we travel so frequently (due to free flights!), check our the info Brad shares here.

Florence was the last part of our time in Italy, and I'm so glad we started in smaller, more quaint Siena, because Florence is a machine! Suddenly the name of the band makes perfect sense ;)

It's the centre of some of the most famous art in the world and is crammed packed with culture and history. All good. But also a lot of tourists and crowded, small sidewalks. So not the easiest with a triple stroller, but still incredible nonetheless.

We vowed long ago not to choose our travel destinations based on what would be easiest with kids, as it rarely matched what we desired to see and experience. We've often lucked out in that the places we wanted to visit were also surprisingly kid-friendly (Scandinavia!), but we never go somewhere expecting it to be easy with our kids. Italy was actually less family-friendly than we had imagined (at least the two cities we were in), but we weren't traveling for comfort or the familiar, so that was alright :)

Especially these days when staying in North America is not much more affordable than heading to Europe (the Canadian/ American dollar exchange rate is horrible right now, whereas trans-Atlantic airfare is getting cheaper and cheaper), we aren't tempted in the least to do Disney or a beach vacation with our tribe. The added bonus is that our kids are already city kids, so they're used to the fast pace, public transit, small restaraunts and cafes, and stairs everywhere, that European cities - especially Florence - are known for.

When we first arrived in Florence we had a crazy experience at the Airbnb we rented! Our first time in years of renting from Airbnb (where we've had nothing but rave reviews), we were so disappointed. The apartment was NOT like the photos showed on the website. One bed that was supposed to be a double (for Brad and I) was actually a twin! And there was no laundry machine, as they stated in their ad. We were also going on our third week away from home, so I was feeling the discomfort more than I would have if we had just arrived in Europe and I was in the honeymoon phase. But Airbnb really is a fantastic company, and when we contacted them they solved our problem immediately. Within an hour they had booked us at another apartment, just down the road! They even covered the increased fees of this new, much nicer apartment.

After five amazing years of use (and traveling the globe!) our Uppababy Vista was broken on the flight from Montreal to Sweden! You can see above the main seat was hanging by a thread. The airline took full responsibility though, and we were able to replace our beloved stroller with the newest model! Mom. Lottery. We lucked out with a very accommodating airline, but they're not all that way. For our next trip, I'm investing in the Uppababy Travel Safe Bag. If anything happens to our stroller while it's in that bag during our travels, Uppababy replaces it, no questions asked.

Our apartment was above the oldest known restaraunt in Florence - how cool! The great great grandson of the original owner still owns it today! He was also our landlord and carried all of our bags up the five flights of stairs and had candies waiting for the kids. After such a bad experience just an hour earlier, we were in the best kind of shock. Our apartment was insanely cool, and just steps from the Uffizi gallery (housing Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and their pals).

Exploring Florence was so fun, but the streets were packed! I'm so glad we stayed right in the city centre, in the heart of all the action, because the crowds didn't swell until after 10am, so in the morning we could go out to the Ponto Vecchio and have it all to ourselves! I sometimes went on early morning runs and loved the bridges and the cobblestone streets, and simply exploring the streets while they were empty. Get ready for an Italian bridge montage!

Downstairs from our apartment was the famous restaurant that I mentioned. There were three older gentlemen who were chefs there and were always poking their heads out of the kitchen for a cigar and to chat with the neighbors. They loved our kids and really personified what we were expecting all of Italy to be - warm, enthusiastic, in love with children. This was sometimes true, but not always. I explained some insights that my Italian intellectual uncle shared with me in my post on Siena, if you're interested. Every time we'd walk by with our triple stroller one (or all) of them would yell "bellissima famiglia!"  and they called Brad "Bread", haha! They were such a perfect addition to our trip :)

Florence was so full of art and culture, we didn't find it necessary to pay admission for much - there was so much simply in the streets! Our kids loved the massive statues and they may or may not have called the nudes "Mr. Penis Statue" HAHA! 

Exploring a new culture with them, and seeing it through their eyes is so priceless. Of course, I am looking forward to the day that just Brad and I can travel alone again, but traveling with our meatballs is pretty amazing too. 

Grazie, Firenze!

ps - we ALWAYS use Airbnb when we travel because we love having an actual home environment for our family. Especially with kids who go to sleep at 7pm, it's nice to have a completely separate "adult" area of the house for evenings. And I need a kitchen! We don't eat out much when we travel, to save money, so cooking our meals at home is a must. If you've never used Airbnb, you can use our referral link to save $46 off your first stay, anywhere in the world! Just sign up here :)

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