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These Italian photographs are a collection from our travels through Italy by car. What made these vacations so special were our passengers -- our children (age 2 and 5 on our first visit). Touring by car gave us the freedom to wander at will, to change schedules on impulse, to spend a few extra days in a small village or to move on to the next town. Having children with us made our daily itinerary different from the average tourist. Rather than just spending many hours visiting ancient castles, museums and churches (which we did), we went to parks, playgrounds, and beaches, took carriage rides, visited the fire boat station in Venice. Shopping sprees took place in toy stores, and our most popular food stop was the gelateria. Italians saw us as parents, not as tourists. They gave the boys treats, pinched their cheeks, invited us to their homes. What we experienced was Italy -- the art, the beauty, the scenery, the food -- but also its back roads, its farms, its people. By opening their hearts and their homes to us, they showed us how la dolce vita can be in this extraordinary country.