What do you do to keep your children occupied on holiday when you want some quiet time after lunch and they're too old to nap? When it's raining and you're stuck inside for the day or when it's the middle of the day and too hot to be in the sun? Do you take toys, colouring, books to read, watch TV or try to stop them jumping off the sofa and using the bed like a trampoline in my case?!
Oh August, the boys have loved you so much! What a wonderful time they had in Italy. 25 days in total and I got to share seven there with them. I was not ready to come back home at all! I'm always a bit sad at the beginning of September because it means that summer is coming to an end but there are lots of lovely things to remember. We spent a lot of time apart this month but I'm happy the boys have had such a great experience and their Italian has definitely improved.
Get our family photo albums out of my Mum's wardrobe and you'll see plenty of photos of my brother and I as children on holiday on a British beach, digging holes, making sandcastles and burying each other, sometimes in wooly jumpers, sometimes in swimming costumes or shorts. I remember the donkey rides, tea from a flask and the fact that packed lunch sandwiches always tasted so much nicer than if they had just been made.
The last few years we have holidayed on the east coast of Italy in the Marche and Abruzzo regions. We tried both self-catering and full-board accommodation. Going away with family means that you want to travel to a place that meets everyone's needs. Somewhere that is great for kids but makes the adults happy too. Somewhere that caters for those that want to be active, but also for those that just want to totally relax and forget about their busy life back home for a short while. Matteo loves the beach and the sea air, whilst I am more than happy by the pool. The boys love both, as long as they are active they're content. This includes playing football on the sand and going in their boat on the sea as well as jumping in the pool and riding on Daddy's back.
I wrote a little bit in my first #dolcevitabloggers post about my time doing Erasmus in Urbino. I travelled to quite a few places in Italy during the five months that I spent there but I would still say now that it remains my favourite city. I just loved the cobbled streets, the architecture and the amazing surrounding scenery of the Marche hills.
So when did my connection to Italy begin? Most people think it began when I met Matteo in 2003 but actually it was quite a bit before that. My first taste of Italy was as a teenager. We stayed in Sorrento and visited Pompei and Capri. Something about the people, the food and the language must have drawn me in as while I was doing my A levels I started teaching myself some language basics using an audio course.
I love Italy, it would make sense really seen as I live with an Italian, have a degree in the language, used to use it in my job and have travelled there every year but one since 2002. There's just something about the people, the language, the history, culture and food that caught my attention.