Joni Vanderslice: A Summer Under the Tuscan Sun

Ciao!

I have been traveling a lot this summer but have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to bring my children with me. The majority of my travel time has been in Italy as I have been putting the finishing touches on our seven year design project, the Castello di Casole.  On my first trip in June, I was able to bring my daughter Grace,  and on my second trip in July, I was able to bring my daughter Sarah and her best friend Ella.

There is something about traveling with children that makes the entire experience special. They can be less serious about the experience and they savor every bite and take in every detail.  While these trips to Italy were primarily work related, I was lucky to be able to turn them into “work-cations.” I’d like to share some pictures of the two trips through the eyes of my daughters and their friend by sharing their photographs.

My first trip to Italy was with my youngest daughter Grace.

Grace chronicled our trip with her camera.  Here she is in the Bargalgi chapel with our dear friend Lina Loconsolo. We rarely get to go in this chapel and it was so beautiful. What a treat! Lina is our right hand and more in Italy.

I love how Grace captured so many details of the trip, including these lemons that are growing in the courtyard of the Hotel.

The photographer’s feet.  Love the nail polish!

Grace was in Italy for the initial stages of the Hotel Castello di Casole installation.  It was great that she was there to photograph the install process, and I sent these pictures back to the rest of the company so that they could see the progress of the project.  In this picture, workers were installing the marble around columns in the Bar Visconti.

She also took this detail shot of the sconces in the lobby of the Hotel.

Being around during the beginning of a project has its perks.  Grace will forever carry the title as the “First American in the pool” at the Hotel Castello di Casole!

Towards the end of our trip we even came across this parade!

At the end of July, I headed back to Italy and brought my oldest daughter, Sarah, and her best friend Ella.

Here are the two fashionistas on a shopping trip for antiques and accessories for the Hotel.

Shopping for Italian ceramics.

We did a lot of sight seeing, including visiting the Duomo in Florence.

Ella was our official photographer.  She has a great eye for detail. Here is a great shot from a building in Pisa.

We ate A LOT of Gelato!

We visited the studio of Linda Leopold in Casole d’Elsa. Linda’s work is in Tosca, the restaurant in the Hotel Castello di Casole.

Here is Sarah examining her work …. totally enamored!

The girls would have a mini-photoshoot wherever we went.  Here is Sarah posing on the balcony in Siena Piazza Del Campo.

A shot with Ella and Sarah.

We were also able to eat a lot of delicious food. Ella captured the details of each meal so beautifully.

This is the bread basket at the Tosca Restaurant in the Hotel Castello di Casole.

A delicious dessert, also from Tosca.

It was amazing to see the Hotel open and to enjoy the fruit of our labors. Here are Designer, Adrienne Warner, and I in the Hotel Courtyard.

And here I am with Sarah.

This is a detailed shot of a fence in Florence on the Ponte Vecchio. Couples lock their love together forever symbolically on these gates.

Artists in Siena.

And of course…more gelato!

I came across an Italian phrase recently. ‘Cuori sorridenti e luoghi allegro danno vita a moment lieti’ translated to English means ‘Smiling Hearts, Beautiful Faces, Good Times, Happy Places.’  This saying perfectly captures what my trips to Italy brought for me this summer. If you haven’t had the chance to travel to this fabulous country, I hope you can do so soon.  Take your children if possible, or do your best to take on the experience as a ‘child at heart.’

Visit Castello di Casole!  http://www.castellodicasole.com

Ciao! Ciao!

1 Comment

  • Joni – what beautiful pictures of your beautiful girls…………and such a lovely time together. Memories to last a lifetime….Italian style.

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