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7 weeks Europe with toddler - Itinerary advice

7 weeks Europe with toddler - Itinerary advice

Jul 23rd, 2014, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534

I looked at your trip report and the hills southwest of Pisa where you stayed is really very remote from the typical scenic areas of Tuscany where most tourists visit Tuscany. (Including the fact that you would have arrived to beds that were made up for you.) I don't think your one experience is typical and I would recommend an agriturismo in Chianti or the val d'Orcia. There are lots and lots with lovely reviews on Tripadvisor and booking.com from people who did November stays in those areas. I wouldn't recommend staying in the area you stayed at any time of year.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 08:59 AM
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This is they type of agriturismo I would recommend for someone with a toddler

sandralist is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 09:13 AM
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Here is somebody who stayed near Pienza with a baby in December

sandralist is offline  
Jul 24th, 2014, 03:25 AM
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Thanks for all that helpful info and links. So I think we will stick with our original locations, including Normandy and Tuscany. An agriturismo sounds ideal, and the Pienza/Montepulciano area sounds lovely.
I'm now thinking perhaps it would be best to limit the time in some of the cities that may not be very toddler-friendly. So maybe 3 nights Venice, and 5 nights Rome, with a couple extra days in Normandy and Switzerland (probably Bulle/Gruyere area).
I'm a bit worried about rainy days but hopefully we will find enough indoor activities in these areas.
Bilby88 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2014, 03:34 AM
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I agree with limiting your time in Venice. I love it there, but it's really not the perfect place for families with toddlers.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2014, 09:08 PM
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Ok so I'm keen to stay in the Val d'Orcia area of Tuscany, so now just wondering about car hire - would it best to catch a train from Venice to Arezzo and hire a car from there? I was originally thinking of getting one from Florence or Siena, but that may be too much backtracking since we wish to catch a train to Rome afterwards.
Bilby88 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2014, 06:09 AM
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Hi Bilby88, I think going with self-catering accommodation is best especially with a little one you can work around meal times and naps. Many restaurants and shops/attractions are closed here in Europe during lunch hours so you have to factor that in. Also, here in France there is not much in the way of kids menus so if your child is fussy-eater you may be stuck with frites and nuggets Also, accessibility is an issue - many train stations don't have elevators so you will be moving your luggage plus baby stroller up/down stairs.
The weather in Normandy late-Sept may be adverse. I live in the south and the weather is generally clearer days until late October, you could switch your itinerary to be Paris-Switzerland-Provence or French Riviera then progress to Italy. For Italy I recommend sticking to the smaller towns and daytrips into the bigger cities. We stayed in Castellina in Chianti which was a nice rural base (local villages) but close enough to visit Siena and Florence. Siena and Florence were pretty chaotic last time I visited and that was December. Also, another tip, double-check confirmation and prebook any carseats you need with rental car companies. Good luck, great itinerary
LifeinFrance is offline  
Jul 28th, 2014, 06:15 AM
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"Also, accessibility is an issue - many train stations don't have elevators" you wouldn't have thought that the EU had accessiblity legislation in for years now? ;-)
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 28th, 2014, 06:17 AM
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>>would it best to catch a train from Venice to Arezzo and hire a car from there? <<

I don't think so, because you almost certainly need to change trains with luggage + toddler and you get very little advantage for doing so. If you are unwilling to pick up the car in Venice (which may be cheaper and faster) and drive to the val d'Orcia, or if you cannot find a one-seat ride to the Tuscan town of Chiusi from Venice, then I would suggest picking up the car in Florence. You can find detailed information on the web (again, the Slow Travel website) for driving out of Florence to the val d'Orcia. If you still feel uncomfortable picking up a car in the city after reading that, then you might want to pick up the car at the Florence airport.

You always need to check to make sure that car rental offices are open at the time you are planning to arrive, since most in Italy close between 12.30 and 4pm, with the exception of the airports. They are almost always closed on Saturday afternoons and all day Sundays.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 28th, 2014, 11:54 AM
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Sorry -- I just realized my last paragraph could be misread.

In Italy, car rental offices at airports are open 7 days a week, usually from early morning to midnight. Car rental offices inside cities and towns usually close for several hours at lunch time. In addition, on weekends, they may be closed on Saturday afternoon and almost always will be closed totally on Sundays.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 28th, 2014, 02:59 PM
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We took our daughter to Italy for the first time when she was two. She's six now and has been three times - and we are planning her fourth visit!

Traveling with a toddler was much easier than everyone warned me it would be. You're going in to it with the perfect attitude, being that you're planning for plenty of down-time and not too many cities. There are so many great public parks, which was key for my daughter to run around and get her energy out, while I sipped on a cappucino.

We spent a week in Venice on her first trip there. Again, she was two. We stayed in the "local residence" portion of Venice and took the ferry over to the main island every day, which was her favorite part of the trip. It rained nearly every day, but with our rain gear it didn't slow us down much. We had an apartment and went to the market every day to get food to cook most of our meals at home. If I had it to do over again, I would have cut the time in Venice down to maybe 3 days as that is enough time.

We've been to Tuscany several times as well and were based in Cortona, Chiesi and Lucca. Lucca was probably my favorite place to be with the kids - we were there nearly two weeks and never grew tired of things to do and see.

I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you may have if any of these locations sound good to you. I still have details on all of our apartments, which were fabulous in each of these places!
SheriMG is offline  
Jul 29th, 2014, 04:04 AM
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Yes you are correct bilboburgler, sadly accessibility legislation is not enforced strongly enough.
LifeinFrance is offline  

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