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First trip to Italy-2 weeks with a 9 year old

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First trip to Italy-2 weeks with a 9 year old

Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 01:09 PM
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First trip to Italy-2 weeks with a 9 year old

My little family (husband 41, me 34, daughter 9) is in the process of planning our first trip to Italy this summer. Actually it is our first trip to Europe. We are flying into Rome on a Saturday and will stay 4 nights in Rome. We were then planning on renting a car on the way out of Rome and we have booked a villa in Northern Tuscany (Pietrasanta) for 10 nights. We will then drive back to Rome, return the car spend one more night in Rome before flying home.
Other than that.....we need help! I have been researching, and there is just SO much to do. I dont want to over-book us, but I do want to take advantage of the time we have there. Our daughter is a fantastic traveler. She will do okay with museums as long as there is some fun time in there as well.
While in Rome I want to spend one day at the Vatican. Of course I would like to see the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and any other suggestions you may have???
Then on to Tuscany.....since we will have a car we were thinking of taking day trips from our villa. Where would be some good places to go? Florence is an hour and a half drive we were thinking of going there to spend a day. Pisa and Cinque Terre are both about a half hour away.
I would like some help from people who have traveled with kids and/or spent time in North Tuscany.
Thank you in advance for your help!!
lantis7 is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 01:33 PM
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I suggest that you see Florence on your way to Pietrasanta -- but don't drive there. Instead, starting from Rome, take a morning train to Florence (90 minutes), stow your luggage in the Florence train station, and then do your "day trip". Later in the day, go back to the Florence train station, get your luggage, and then pick up a rental car and make the drive to Pietrasanta. If it were me, I would pick up the car at the Florence airport.

To visit le Cinque Terre, consider driving to Lerici (big parking lot there) and then taking a ferry ride to le Cinque Terre. To get back to Lerici, take a train to La Spezia, and then a taxi to Lerici to pick up your car.

Pisa is great with kids. Try to time your visit for later in the day, and hang around to see the Tower lit up at night. In fact, in the morning, consider a visit to the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa, housed in a spectacular building with lots of dinosaur bones, etc., a few kilometres outside of Pisa

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/pisa/769263

Other possibilities for day trips from Pietrasanta: Lucca, the marble quarries at Carrara (of special interest if you are staying in Pietrasanta) plus Montecantini Alto and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana + Barga

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/tr...ernighter.html

http://www.welcometuscany.it/tuscany...ar-station.htm

http://www.tuscanypictures.com/garfagnana

Don't let anyone talk you into going to the Pinocchio park not from from Pietrasanta, which has fallen into disrepair.

There is a pleasant beach at Pietrasanta, so you'll want to give yourselves some days just to enjoy that.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 01:54 PM
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Ahh, such a wonderful memory...taking our son to Italy the first time when he was 9 years old! He aked one day, Mommy, can we go see the Leaning tower of Pizza?
I was off and running.
After drafting our itinerary , which included a visit to Pisa, I asked him to research a church in every town or city that we would visit. Upon arrival in each location our first order of business would be a visit to "his" church where he could be our tour guide and tell us a little about the church and the locale. It was a great way to keep him engaged , although perhaps towards the end of the two weeks when I heard him mumur, "oh, man not another church", I could have limited it to two or three locations. He is now 21 and loves to travel. During his spring break from college last year he and 3 friends found their way to Genoa, found "a guy with a sailboat" and rented it for a week. They traveled down the coast of Italy from Genoa to almost Pisa and back in a week, with little to no naviagtaion skills and no navigation equipment. My point being, your daughter will gather great benefits from traveling from such a young age and it will enhance your own experience beyond your imagination.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2015, 06:50 AM
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Great advice above

Villa, does it access to a pool, it gets hot and damp in Tuscany and a pool is a must.

You may even want to sleep the heat away so don't just carry on with your USA ways, it might prove better to have a break midday.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2015, 11:51 AM
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>

It was already well on its way to disrepair when we were in Collodi about eight years ago. And it didn't look as though it had ever been anything to write home about.

I had mainly wanted to see the gardens of the Villa Garzoni, which were in even worse repair. I hope someone has done a little gardening and repairing there in the years since I saw them. It was enough to make a gardener cry.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2015, 02:08 PM
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Our DD was 10yo when we took her on her first trip to Europe - two weeks in Italy. Our itinerary was a little off the beaten track, because we wanted to visit some places that were new to us. Also, she was interested in visiting some castles, which are not so prevalent in Italy. DH and I love art and museums; we weren't sure how much she would like them. Turned out, she LOVES art, and I ended up adding museums as we went through our trip.

And, I think our opinions are different from most, but we didn't think our 10yo would like Tuscany so much, even though we love the area. Because we love to sit and admire beautiful towns and drink wine. Not so exciting for kids.

So here was our fast-paced itinerary:
Venice, 3 nights
train to Florence, 3 nights
train to Bologna, 1 night (because I love Bologna and it's not so touristy)
Pick up rental car, visit Ravenna (the mosaics are amazing), then on to San Marino for one night - one of the world's smallest countries, with three castle towers
Urbino for 3 nights, in Le Marche. Lots of castles and art too
Macerata (mid-Le Marche). More castles
Drive to Rome for 4 nights

In Rome, San Clemente is unusual - church on an older church, on a Mithraic temple, on a Roman home

For the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, as I suspected, our DD ran out of steam before we got to the Palatine Hill.

She loved the cat sanctuary, located at the Torre Argentina, where Julius Caesar was assassinated.

There are not a huge number of palaces in Rome, but we enjoyed both the art in Palazzo Barberini and the palace itself.

Hope this helps!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2015, 02:34 PM
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Living in Italy, I am surprised to read that Italy doesn't have a lot of castles. Tuscany alone has dozens and dozens of them, but they are all over the place, in every region. Anyway, you are going to a part of Tuscany that is not primarily a wine-growing region, so there are a variety of attractions for your family to enjoy (including seeing the castle in Lerici).

I entertain a lot of American families passing through with kids between then ages 7 and 12 (and older), and it is really impossible to generalise about kids that age, and even parents who know their kids well often are surprised by what attracts their child's curiosity when traveling (like it turns it some kids really love art museums, while others get interested in food... etc)
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Old Nov 23rd, 2015, 04:05 PM
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Check out Eating Italy Food Tours of Rome. We did a food tour with our children (6,9,12) and they LOVED it! Plus, they got to see how and where Romans shop for their food and meet local shop owners. We all loved it.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 05:39 AM
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Thank you all so much for some unique ideas! I really like the idea of her doing some of her own research and letting her be our "tour guide"
We have our own pool at our Villa, so that will provide a cool down and some down time for all of us.
I was looking at the beaches in the area, they look like they are mostly pay beaches. Which is fine, I was just wondering how that works? Do you just go to the beach and there is an attendant? We live in Miami so I am just used to walking up to a beach and plopping down, I just wanted to make sure we are following the rules while we are there!
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 12:03 PM
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Also curious about those 'rules' for beach users.

We can park our car, pull out the sunshade, set up a cricket pitch, ...

https://flic.kr/p/AQwTi6
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 12:13 PM
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The charges for beaches on the Amalfi Coast are 15 euro for one sunbed per day. I would imagine similar charges elsewhere although the lounges directly in front of the water could cost more. An attendant will find you a sunbed or you locate your own and they will approach you and you will pay in cash. These fees also include showers.

Some beaches do have a free area where you can just put your towel down but there are no amenities such as showers.
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