I’m waking up in a tiny hotel room in the heart of Venice at the break of dawn.

My family and I arrived in a humid and scorching Italy the day before, after a long and exhausting trip from Whitehorse, Yukon. The plane took us directly to Frankfurt, with a connecting flight to Venice.

Our 10-year-old son had decided to stay awake for the entire trip here, but on the short flight to Venice he finally crashed and we had to practically carry him out of the airplane.

Our eight-year-old daughter, who usually suffers from airplane sickness, threw up a couple of time towards the end of our trip, making the last leg of our journey a lot to be desired.

But now we are rested, wide awake and it’s 6:00 in the morning.

We are waiting for breakfast to be served in our tiny hotel, located on a cobblestoned side street in the heart of Venice. They serve up a delicious breakfast consisting of all kinds of baked goods from breads to pastries and, of course, a frothy cup of cappuccino for me and my husband.

We are starving, still jet lagged and our bodies used to a different schedule.

Venice is quiet when we venture outside, the sun shining from a crystal clear sky, but it’s not stifling hot yet.

Walking along the impossibly narrow streets, we are hit by smells of fresh baked bread, mixed with the dampness of the canals. The water is muddy looking, but I don’t find it has a bad odour as I had feared.

Later on in the day the gondoliers will be trying to get us to go for a ride in their gondolas for exuberant prices, but for now the streets are vacant of street vendors and locals tempting us with the best deals.

The piazzas are crowded with cooing pigeons looking for handouts, the breeze still holds a slight coolness and we can hear footsteps from the odd tourist taking in this beautiful morning in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

As we get ourselves acquainted with the surroundings, I find myself in awe of the ancient history all around us. It’s too early to go inside any of the churches or historic buildings, but just walking around taking in the ambiance is almost more fascinating.

Slowly the streets fill up with tourists, and we have to share the magic of this city with others. We stop at a stand selling fresh coconut milk right out of the shells. The kids are not too impressed with the flavour, but it’s refreshing.

Venice is our first stop on our tour of Italy and we continue on to a lake resort in Umbria, in a rental car that barely has enough room to hold our luggage.

The lovely pool at the resort and the quietness of the town is a welcome break from all the walking we did in Venice.

Our next stop is Rome, where we take in the amazing history found everywhere we look, and finally a stay in a hotel on the side of a mountain in Tuscany.

My fondest memories of our 10-day trip through Italy are the small ones.

The quiet streets of Venice in the early morning, walking in Rome and almost stepping over the ancient ruins spread all around the city, stopping at a beach in Tuscany for a swim in the waves and even our long winding drive up a mountain side in search of our elusive Tuscany hotel.

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make the sweetest memories.