La Bella Vita

I recently had the incredible fortune of traveling to Italy with both my mom and my daughter...I had been a few times before, but this particular experience was a bit of fairy dust and magical medicine all rolled into one, for each of us in our own way. 

We stayed with family who have lived in Florence for the last 50+ years and and who now live la bella vita in true Italian fashion.  Our days were bookended by the most simply sweet and leisurely time eating amazing home cooked meals, imbibing of the local grapes, sharing stories and otherwise just being present in each other's company...a luxury that almost makes my heart ache (she said as she ate a lunch of almonds and coffee over her keyboard at 4 p.m.).

In between those generous slices of heaven, we navigated the beautiful and historic city with what seemed like a billion of our fellow tourists.  Apparently, they didn't get the memo it was off-season, so despite the fact we were also contributing to the masses, it was hard not to feel a bit overwhelmed and selfishly long for a city that more closely resembled the one of my imagination.  Portovenere and Cinque Terre were no different (damn you Rick Steves), though the (top secret) house we stayed in on the coast provided it's own brand of stunning beauty and respite.  

I have such immense gratitude for the abundant generosity of our people in Florence who so lovingly took us in and for having had the opportunity to share this sabbatical of sorts across three generations of family.   And hope that in sharing these images, they can provide some small measure of the profound mental escape hatch they have given to me.