Here at The Gracious Posse we strive to celebrate inspired living with practical style. Thanks to members of the posse, style-makers and other creatives from around town and around the world who serve often unknowingly as our muses, we endeavor to share ideas and goals that are achievable with information, patience, planning and desire. Whether a simple recipe that we had never before tried, a flower arranging tip or a glimpse at the interior of an artist’s studio, we hope that our posts bring you a bit of delight or food for thought as you navigate through your busy days.
One of the benefits of writing The Gracious Posse is that Ellen and I receive loads of inspiration from each other, as well as the rest of the posse. Ellen’s series last summer on her choir tour to Italy is a prime example. As I witnessed her preparation for Ten Days, Five Cities, Six Concerts and Countless Italian Memories and then helped her edit it and her other posts about the trip, The St. James’s Choir Tour Moves on to Remarkable Ravenna and Fabulous Florence, St. James’s Choir Tour of Italy Stops in Siena for Her Scenic Hills, a Stunning Cathedral, and Plenty of Horsing Around, The Grand Finale ~ Rome, and her Italian “Poscritto”, I got bitten bad by the Italia bug. It festered in my brain last summer, and at dinner one night right before my daughter was heading back to school, I suggested a family trip to Italy in 2014. Surprisingly no one balked, but I knew it was still a pipe dream. How can you make plans for a big trip when you have no idea where your children be or what they will be doing the following summer?
Notwithstanding my doubts and seemingly insurmountable roadblocks, our Italian dream actually came true. Despite all of the craziness of my younger child’s senior year, I pulled together a family trip to Italy with just over two months of real planning. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, buy the plane tickets and pray that the rest falls into place.
Thirty-one summers ago, I had spent several idyllic days in northern Italy on the obligatory post-college graduation backpacking tour through Europe. Venice intrigued me most back then (perhaps because we could only spend a day there), and I always regretted not getting to Rome. Our daughter had visited Rome and Florence five years ago as part of an amazing pilgrimage with her church youth group following the life of St. Francis of Assisi, and she couldn’t wait to return.
At mBf’s recommendation, I downloaded a copy of Rick Steves’ Italy 2014 to our iPad and took care of my first order of business in Italy ~ booking a tour of the Vatican. You cannot arrange the official tour more than 60 days in advance, so I waited to see how my luck went. Once scheduled, I began to figure out the rest of our ten days on Italian soil. I made sure that they were filled almost to the brim because who knows
if when we will return.
Unapologetically American tourists, we marveled at more amazing and ancient sites than we could have imagined with the help of some fabulous guides. Wow seemed to come out of my mouth every time we turned a corner. For a myriad of good reasons, Italy is the ultimate tourist destination and the perfect place to take a family of four that includes two young adults. Overwhelming though it sometimes seemed in the middle of a long tour, seeing together the beauty and history that has influenced so much of our world is a treasure that I will never forget.
I am so thankful for the inspiration of Ellen’s trip which led to our own. I am looking forward to sharing some of my favorite pieces of the journey with you. Maybe they will motivate you to make your own reservations whether to Italy or some other long desired destination. Stay tuned . . . .