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Family with young children travelling to Italy

Family with young children travelling to Italy

Old Jan 17th, 2013, 04:53 PM
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Family with young children travelling to Italy

Some call us crazy - but we LOVE travelling overseas with our children (boys aged 4, 6 & 8)! We are Australian's and have booked a trip to Italy from 21 Sept - 10 Oct 2013 (in and out of Milan). We are considering hiring a car for the first half of the trip and travelling to Monaco, Cinque Terre, Portofino and then perhaps down to the Amalfi Coast before coming back to Rome for a few nights. Then we thought we might hire a motorhome to see the some of the major tourist attractions of the north of Italy. Has anyone got any suggestions/tips for us??
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:02 PM
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Must be the "Australian" thing as we are doing a similar thing in July Our Trip is 8weeks through Europe though. We are leasing a car. At this stage we thought about a week in Varenna ...great apartments ..amazing views and good prices! Thought we could see the lakes and train to Milan etc.

then we thought about a week somewhere in Tuscany and then we got stuck.

looking forward to hearing what you come up with! Fun isn't it
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:10 PM
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Not an itinerary I would do with 3 small kids.

Monaco is really only for the uber wealthy or those who want to live like them for a day - super exclusive shops, luxurious restauants and hotels - and a casino that you can enjoy if you're James Bond. (We like to visit the casino to see the beautiful people off the yachts in the harber in their gowns, jewels and tuxes - but we don't mind spending the money for a day and bring appropriate clothing to get inside (casual will not be allowed in).

Staying along the coast is OK - but it's starting to get chilly and most beaches aren;t good for kids - rocks or pebbles vs sand.

I think I would pick 2 or 3 places to stand still - in an apartment of small villa - so the kids have time to be kids and you can do sightseeing day trips in between.
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Old Jan 18th, 2013, 12:07 AM
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Thanks for your tips so far!

Crazyfamilyof4 - I just checked out Varenna, and it looks great. Please let us know if you find a good deal for a family apartment.

Nytraveler - I wish you hadn't mentioned James Bond - because that is going to make my husband want to go to Monaco even more now!!!! lol Good tip about getting cooler along the coast line and basing ourselves at an apartment or small villa.

Thanks - please keep the advice coming. Having travelled in Europe, Asia and New Zealand with small children over the past few years has taught us that being well prepared and organised is one of the keys to a smooth happy and enjoyable trip for all!
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Old Jan 18th, 2013, 01:05 AM
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What do you think are the "the major tourist attractions of the north of Italy"? If they are in Florence, Pisa, Verona and Venice, then they are more easily visited by train than motorhome.

It would make more sense to hire the motorhome for the first part of your trip and use trains for the second half -- but obviously you need to check out the cost of drop-off fees for motorhomes no matter where you pick one up.

If you know that "being well prepared and organised is one of the keys to a smooth happy and enjoyable trip for all" then you should locate a motorhome travel message board for Europe, because few people on Fodor's travel that way and they will have few details to offer about where to park.

Personally, I would find an all-coastal trip along the Mediterranean a fairly unrewarding way to spend time with small children. The areas of beautiful scenery are filled with steep, steep staircases that children dislike climbing in the hot sun, and if you get a villa or apartment, you will probably not enjoy carrying groceries to it. The flat coastal areas with sandy beaches, whether in France or Italy, are built up with lots of high rise condos.

Since you are flying into Milan, at the doorstep of Italy's most beautiful lakes and mountains, you might think about whether you want to spend 24 hours getting from Australia to head to the beach for 10 days. Consider the seeing the beautiful lakes and the unique Dolomiti mountains (plenty of James Bond driving there), and then give up the car at the gates of Venice, and travel by train to Verona and Florence before returning to Milan.
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Old Jan 18th, 2013, 03:26 AM
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The Italian lakes and mountains seem like an ideal itinerary with children. The ferries around the lakes are great fun. And in the mountains cable cars. What kids don't like that? Venice too. Kids I was with when I went their were fascinated by how the city runs with all boats (garbage boats, police boats, bus boats, etc.)
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Old Jan 18th, 2013, 03:50 AM
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I would not go out of the way, relatively speaking, to see Monaco. Am sure you know that the children can't go in the casino at all. The gardens which wind down to the marina are beautiful and at marina level there's a small amusement park but nothing special at all in terms of rides.

I've been once and while I didn't hate it, I left wondering what all the fuss was about. I have heard parking is difficult but don't know the details so could be wrong.
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Old Jan 18th, 2013, 05:06 AM
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Re: Monaco

We went to Monaco (Monte Carlo) when my son was about 6yo. as a daytrip from Nice. We rode the public bus to Monaco which was really nice since the route was a bit more scenic than going by train.

We enjoyed watching the changing of the guards at the palace, walking down the gardens to the marina and visiting the Oceanographic Museum (in Monaco-Ville). We even toured the Royal Palace and the magnificent Cathedral where Princess Grace is buried.

All in all we had a wonderful time!! I am even thinking of a return visit this Fall when we are near the area.

Hope you and your kids will have an enjoyable day too.
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 05:04 PM
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Thanks so much for your advice, everyone. We are starting to think twice about renting a motorhome. We are thinking that a self-drive car tour might be a better option when travelling with small children (aged 4, 6, 8). Our thoughts are that a car will give us more flexibility, parking will be easier, driving (especially in smaller towns) should be easier, too. As much as I loved travelling Europe by train when I was a young adult - now, the logistics of getting on and off trains and walking to hotels with three small children and all the baggage in tow, make it seem like a more difficult option. Does anyone have experience self-driving around Italy (with children) and any other tips to share?
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Old Jul 17th, 2013, 06:51 AM
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Hi, noted these posts are months old now but we are travelling around the same time in Italy - into Milan and out of Rome. We're travelling with our three kids (6,4 and nearly 2). Someone suggested the Lakes to you which we are doing. Done a bit of research and they look like a fabulous region to explore with kids. We're also staying in an agriturismo in Umbria as research into this area shows some (hopefully!) wonderful things for kids with national parks etc. We're also spending time on the Amalfi coast and organising some day trips to Pompeii and Herculaneum - the boys are really intrigued with the stories around these places and Mount Vesuvius. Anyway, sure your planning has moved on from where it was at when these posts were current... Good luck and here's to happy, safe travels!
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