As many of you know our family recently did a 3 week European vacation to London and Italy. It was the first big international trip for the kids (outside of Mexico) and we had a blast! London was for a family wedding so we spent most of our time for festivities around that but we did manage to do some sightseeing which I’ll share below.
For Italy, we rented a gorgeous villa in Tuscany and had everything set up for us by my brother-in-law who outsourced a travel agent that he’s worked with in the past.
Get ready for a full camera roll of our trip and guide of our Italian vaca which so many of you gals asked about when I shared on IG stories throughout our trip. So, let’s start with Italy since that itinerary was most requested!
Where we stayed: Villa Barcarelli
We stayed in one place throughout the duration of our vacation and took day trips. This made it so much easier to set up a home base for a week rather than constantly packing and unpacking…especially with kids in tow!
Villa Barcarerlli was exactly what you’d imagine an Italian villa to be with breathtaking views. We were vacationing with my husband’s side of the family and a total of 14 of us. So we had 6 spacious rooms, a pool, tennis court and access to a beautiful hiking trail.
We also opted for a driver that took us out on day trips. So we essentially used the villa as home base and did several trips throughout the week. Considering the size of our group, this was the BEST decision ever. Plus we were in a very remote, tucked away villa that I couldn’t even imagine trying to drive through ourselves. We also hired a chef 3-4 days out of the week which made it feel like an actual vacation. As icing on the cake, we had a cleaning service come during the day while we were gone so we didn’t have massive amounts of dishes or unkempt rooms to tend to. Again, really felt like a vacation instead of a “trip” as it often can when traveling with kids. Below are a few more snaps off the camera roll from the villa.
Day 1: Arrival
We got to Pisa Airport from London at around 10pm..we were delayed by 4 hours! As soon as we got in and settled we made a quick dinner and headed to bed around 1am.
Missing some of the fam in this pic but with our amazing driver Stefano
Day 2: Pisa & Luca
We started our day with a guided tour of Pisa and then visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Only my little man came up, Mila was still a little too young to walk up all the steps herself so we had her stay back with my husband and he went after us. We then made a quick stop at the quaint city of Lucca where we had our first gelato and bought some art chosen by the kids! We usually headed back to the villa by 5-6pm every day to eat dinner and enjoy the amenities of the house.
Mimi took the opportunity to pose at every stop! 😉
Day 3: Florence
This was the longest tour day for us but it was so worth it. Definitely a lot for Mila at 4 but we had a stroller to transport her when she just got too tired of walking around. But mostly everything we did was great for her and she was the youngest of the kids in our group. We started our day pretty early around 7am to get to Florence which was about a 1.5 hour drive. We toured the Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Gallery & a 2-hour guided tour all in 1 day. The best and definite highlight of this day was running into my parents who were on their own European vacation cruise who happened to be in Florence for the day too!!!
This was the perfect day to wine taste after jam packed day in Florence the day before. The vineyard was gorgeous and we ordered a few dozen bottles of wine after downing a few glasses and nibbling on an amazing charcuterie board.
Day 5: Siena & San Gimignano
This was surprisingly my favorite day of the trip! I absolutely fell in love with the people and cities. The architecture was gorgeous and everyone was so unbelievably nice. A definite must-see in my opinion. Also, all the food is pretty darn good in Italy but we went to the cutest little restaurant in Siena that with fresh homemade pasta I still dream about! Now if only I could remember the name =/
We also happened to be visitng the day teams were announced for the Palio De Siena so it was an awesome sight to see.
Day 6: Cinque Terre
This was also one of my favorite visits of the trip. We didn’t get to hike because we had the kids but it was such a fun day! We took the train in from La Spezia. Be careful here on the trains- we had a pickpocketing incident on the way in which was unfortunate but didn’t let it ruin our day! We stopped at Vernazza and Monterosso. It was so beautiful and had our fill of good food, gelato & drinks. This is where you want to indulge in all the seafood and get the fried calamari in the little paper cones – sooo good!
Day 7: Free Day!
The ladies attempted to do some shopping, however it was Sunday and apparenty everything is closed for most of the day! So we just relaxed by the pool and enjoyed our last day in Tuscany!
Now for the London part of our trip. We mixed a family wedding with some sightseeing. Here were some highlights:
-The London Eye
-Tower of London
-Olympic Park & Slide
And now for the camera roll..from wedding to touring the city, it was so fun! Plus we were there during the world cup and England won that game so it was awesome to be around the pubs!
And that about sums up the Desai European vacation 2018! If you gals have any questions about where we went or what we did, feel free to message me. For those planning a trip soon, happy travels!