Traveling to Europe is an immersive cultural experience—one that may seem intimidating to take on with small children. From historic landmarks to museums to amazing restaurants, there’s so much to see and quite a lot of walking to be done.
But that didn’t stop Inspirato member Joe Santora and his wife, Andrea. They saw a European vacation as the perfect opportunity to teach their two children about the vastness of the world, the richness of other cultures, and the invaluable life experience that comes with traveling abroad.
Joe and Andrea put effort into preparing their children—who were 5 and 7 at the time—for the trip and getting them excited for what they would see.
“We took some time to learn the language up front, and then spent some time with the kids talking about things we were going to see,” Joe said, “so then when they did see it, they were like, ‘That’s right! That’s what you showed me in the book or the video.’”
Joe and his Care team planned the summer trip with a mixture of relaxation and more active sightseeing in mind, which was beneficial when it came to the kids. The family started out with a more leisurely start to the trip in Venice; packed in plenty of sights in Florence; took it easy in Tuscany; ran in Rome; relaxed on the Amalfi Coast; then finished up the trip with some time in Paris.
“It was a great experience. We got to see things we’d only read about in books, whether it was going down the Grand Canal or seeing artwork by Michelangelo or Da Vinci,” Joe said. “In France we went to the Louvre, saw the Mona Lisa; we went to the Uffizi in Florence and saw the statue of David.”
The exposure that our kids got to just the world in general… At one point they were playing soccer at the base of the Eiffel Tower with some other little kids. None of them spoke English; one kid was from Brazil; another was, I think, from Spain; there were some French kids, too. They could not communicate at all through language, but they were all just playing soccer, having a great time together.Joe SantoraInspirato member
Joe credits his Inspirato Care team for helping the whole process go smoothly, from booking the accommodations to recommending activities while the family was abroad.
“It was so easy to say, ‘This is where I want to go,’ and they just took it and ran with it,” Joe said of his team.
For example, Joe’s son, Massimo, turned 8 while the family was in Tuscany. To celebrate during their stay at Villa Dante, the family booked a pizza party at the house one night and a gelato-making class another. Joe had nothing but praise for the two chefs, Nando and Daniele.
“Nando was amazing—just amazing. The kids loved it. He let them make the pizzas,” Joe said. “Then Daniele came in, literally took us by the hand, and explained to us in extreme detail how to make gelato. … Those two were just so great with the kids.”
Joe hopes his family’s trip can inspire other Inspirato members to do the same. Between the cultural exposure and the time spent together, Joe said he loved seeing Europe come to life for his children. One of his favorite memories of the trip was a spontaneous bike ride with his daughter through the scenic streets of Paris—special moments that will stay with them throughout the years.
And he knows that they’ve taken those lessons with them in their day-to-day lives, too.
“Even in the last three weeks since we’ve been home,” he said, “the amount of things that they’ve referenced, or have seen in a TV show or movie—it’s all come to life for them.”