The bag dilemma: Which handbag to bring on a trip to Italy?

So we’re getting ready to go to Italy again in a month. The ratio is expected to be about 50/35/15, business/other commitments/pleasure – which would be a vast improvement over last year, which was more like 70/25/5. The big question looming on my mind has not been “will my 2-yr old behave on the 14-hour flight?”, or even “what should we bring for the in-laws?”, but “which handbag should I bring?”

On one hand, I know I am going to need to fit everything but the kitchen sink in my bag – and only because we happen not to be in the market for an Italian kitchen sink at the moment.  With a perennially-hungry toddler and a sometimes forgetful husband in tow, I will need room for lots of snacks, a water bottle, extra diapers and clothing, our passports, my wallet, and my camera, and those are just the basics. I will also need free access to both my hands – one to prevent my toddler’s hands from touching anything and everything (the dirtier the better), and the other to push the stroller which our daughter only want to sit in if it is nowhere in sight. Given these conditions, I am thinking my trusty old backpack, or my roomy Campomaggi shoulder bag that I can wear cross-body style.

On the other hand, we will be attending two trade shows there, one of which is where hundreds of leather  handbag makers from around Italy and beyond will be showcasing their offerings … so I don’t exactly want to be walking around with a nylon backpack. Besides, Italians are so fashion-conscious that I would feel like I was committing some kind of fashion cardinal sin if I were to carry a handbag that did not perfectly compliment my outfit. Hmm … now a sharp charcoal-grey satchel by Giudi is starting to sound better.

So which bag will it be?

I have yet to settle this important debate in my head, but I am leaning towards all three … the backpack, the crossbody bag, AND the grey satchel (which I don’t even own yet!). I am usually a really light packer, but having a kid changed all of that, so I will definitely need the backpack to help me navigate the airport carrying enough snacks to feed an army.  The crossbody will be nice for those  few hours of leisure when we may find ourselves strolling down the streets of some quiet medieval town … still carrying tons of snacks but not wanting to look like a mule. And lastly, I definitely must look presentable perusing the isles at a handbag show. The grey satchel will be a must-have, so I can easily coordinate it with my outfits each of the 8 days we’ll be attending the shows.

OK, so it’s settled. I need to bring all three bags. Oh, and maybe even pick one up while we’re there… after all, my birthday IS coming up in five months!

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