Italian life centers around la famiglia (family). It’s a culture of great tradition and strong bonds, even when family members live across the ocean. This spring, we celebrate that family heritage with a story of Tea’s photo producer, Alexis, who traveled to northern Italy so her children could meet their Italian relatives. Here, she shares her story of a trip that will forever live on in their hearts.
My husband Rob is half Italian; his mother is full Italian and her father has many relatives living in the Northern Coastal region of Italy, close to Savona. Rob hasn’t visited his Italian relatives since becoming a father to our two kids, Stella (5) and Marcel (2). So last fall, our family packed our bags and flew across the ocean to visit them, with Tea in tow. I have been behind the scenes of many Tea photo shoots over the last five years, as Tea’s Creative Producer. I love my job, but a few months back, I was thrown for a loop when I was asked to bring my family in front of the camera for a photo shoot in Italy. To be honest, I was a little freaked out by the idea at first, but I also loved the thought of taking a chance and going on an international trip with my family to visit with my husband’s Italian relatives. I’m so glad we went for the challenge, it’s a trip we will never forget.
It was a first international flight for both Stella and Marcel. Rob and I had all the usual worries about such a long flight, but with Nonna and Papa’s help (Rob’s parents), we felt like we could take on the challenge. They were so excited to be going back to Italy, since it had been about 15 years since they had last been to visit the family. And this time, they got to bring their grandkids!
During the trip we were able to spend some quality time with our Italian family, including a trip to Ranise, the family’s olive orchard. The 400-year-old olive trees are tended to by members of Rob’s extended family and have been passed down through generations. It was amazing to see Stella and her cousin Eleanora play together amongst the historical orchard in its beauty and serenity, perched on top of a hill overlooking the quiet valley above the Italian coast.
The best part of the trip for us was just being together and getting to explore a new place, discovering it as a family. Looking back, it is the small moments that stay with me. Picking up rocks and stones with Stella on the beach. Turning down small winding cobblestone streets, not knowing where you will end up. Playing soccer in the piazza. Watching little Marcel dazzle the aunties with his “Ciao, ciao!” And, of course, eating delicious pasta and gelato in every town we visited.
It was also really special for me to have my family see a little bit of what I do at Tea and to see what the brand stands for—making the foreign familiar and turning the great big world into a place that feels just a little bit smaller and more welcoming.