If you follow my personal ramblings on this blog, you'll know the hubster and I often frequent Italy, he proposed to me in Venice (many moons ago!) and we've been lucky enough to visit Italy several times since, just the two of us.  We adore this country, the food, the people, the stunning cities and countryside.  Anyway, we've been saying for a while that we'd take the girls out there, Florence wanted to see Florence so we booked flights last year.  This was a bit of a dilemma for me, as I have a lot of Summer weddings this year to give my attention to and the only gap I had was in June, which meant taking them out of school.  I know this is can be a bit of a heated topic but honestly I'm firmly in the camp of believing that, as responsible parents, we should be able to make our own decision about allowing our kids to experience everything we can offer them.  I could only offer them this trip in term time, and so it was then or not at all.  I certainly felt the weight of this decision in the weeks leading up to it but these ten days, introducing them to another culture, trying new foods, learning about Italy's rich history made it totally worthwhile.  Not to mention that we spent quality time together as a family, which is a bit of a cliche but any of you with growing children will know that barely a weekend goes by when at least one of them is off with their friends (as they should be) but they grow so, so fast and they made memories that I hope will stay with them their whole lives and I know I don't have many summers left with them all together.  This to me, is priceless.

We stayed in a beautiful lodge in the tiny little village of Ghizzano, that first image is the view from the front garden!  There were woods and a lake on the grounds and obviously an amazing swimming pool.  My girls are not water babies at all (having had years of swimming lessons to no avail!) but they were in it every day and came home able to swim (another life skill learned that they wouldn't have done had they been in school!).  We were close to Pisa and Florence, both around 45 minute drive away, close to some fabulous little restaurants and markets so the hubby could indulge in his passion for cooking.  We also visited the stunning walled towns of Volterra (where the Italian scenes in New Moon were filmed if you are a Twilight fan!) and St Gimignano.  Looking through these photos we also seem to have eaten a large amount of Gelato! 

I shot all of these photos on my new Fuji XT-1 after deciding not to lug one of my Nikon beasts to Italy with me anymore (I love you D750 but you weigh a tonne and you hurt me!), and it is a little gem!  Not at any point did it disappoint, packed a mean punch dealing with those very sunny days and basically delivered everything I asked of it!  Grace (my eldest) took a few of the photos of Florence (our youngest) on it, and found the dials very user friendly (not to mention her flare for great framing is really coming along!) and I think I'll have to watch it as she's got her eye on it now!  If you see me this Summer at a wedding or portrait session, I'll probably have this little baby round my neck in addition to the big guns as its bloody awesome!

Incase you want to know where each location is, I'll list them in order for you!

Ghizzano, St Gimignano, Florence, Pisa, Volterra.

Now all thats left is to find some wall space in my home to hang some of these beauties (easier said than done!).