Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Is Florence a must or a nightmare when traveling with a 5 year old?

Is Florence a must or a nightmare when traveling with a 5 year old?

Old Mar 11th, 2005, 06:22 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Is Florence a must or a nightmare when traveling with a 5 year old?

We leave for Italy in two weeks, and are very excited. I won't bore everyone with our itinerary, but my question concerns whether we should try to see Florence with our 5 year old in tow. We are driving from Venice to San Gimignano on Tuesday afternoon. We are unscheduled until Friday, when we will drop off the car in Siena and spend the day and the following morning there before catching a train to Rome (of course, we'll hang on to the car if a train strike occurs).

So... that leaves us with all of Wednesday and Thursday in Tuscany. I would love to see Florence and the Accademia and Uffizi galleries, but I don't know if the "challenge" of having to entertain our 5 year old in these museums would ruin the visit. Is it better to spend a couple of days touring the Tuscan countryside, or spend one day touring, and the second day fighting the crowds (and our 5 year old) to see some of the world's great treasures? Will I kick myself for being 40 miles from David and not seeing it?

Finally, if we have one or two days to do as we please in Tuscany, what would be a good itinerary, keeping in mind that we will have our little one with us? Bear in mind that we do have a car.

Thanks everybody.
gravysandwich is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2005, 08:09 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh, that is a tough one. The Accademia is a very small museum and it would be possible to focus just on David and be out in a short time. The Uffizi would be much more of a challenge but you could always see how the day is going and decide whether or not to go at the last minute. There are wonderful gelaterias in Florence, the cathedral dome to climb (if that would appeal), the Arno to stroll along, piazzas to run around in. If you'd really like to go, I'd go for it. Touring the countryside, while wonderful for adults, might be boring for a child who probably wouldn't appreciate much of the scenery.
KathrynT is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2005, 08:32 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello gravysandwich, I remember some of your other post. So you will be leaving in two weeks, you must be excited for sure!

I read Kathryn's post and I tend to agree with her. Although I have not been in Florence with a five year old I found myself thinking about it.

I thought about when I was five years old. I thought about when my daughter was five years old. And the grandsons were five year old.

One thing for sure I can tell you, all three generations certainly enjoyed San Francisco when five years of age.

Florence is an easy city to walk in. It does have tons of tourist but what important city doesn't. And around the beginning of April is not going to be as busy as summertime.

Walking along the Arno River. The piazza's, the gelato, the Piazza Michaelangelo (with the wonderful view of Florence with the Arno River flowing through it), the statue of David. The restaurants. Italians love children!
Heck, I would even take him/her into the train station. Personally I loved train stations at that age.

BTW, at that age my parents just loved Sunday drives in northern California. I was soooo bored, sitting in the back seat of the car wishing I was anywhere but there, LOL. So maybe a lot of driving in Tuscany for your little one would not be as exciting as it would be for you. Just a thought.

Whatever decisions you make I sure send wishes for a beautiful trip. And your lucky little one. Best regards.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2005, 04:38 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 232
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with loveitaly that your 5 year old wil probably enjoy Florence lots more than riding around in the car with you. Florence is dazzling! So much to see and do, a great place for walking, people watching and soaking up the atmosphere. Take your child to the Boboli Gardens (be sure to buy some cat food to feed all the hungry cats) and walk up to the Belvedere for a wonderful view. There's a cafe there, too.
Athena39 is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2005, 05:13 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,325
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A couple of years ago, we brought our then four and seven year old daugthers to Italy and stopped in Florence for one night. Both my husband and I had been to Florence numerous times so we didn't mind not seeing the museums and doing the usual touristy things. The girls happily looked into the jewelry shops on the Ponte Vecchio, ate several cones of gelato, ran around Piazza della Signoria and loved the park with carousel and other games in Piazza d'Azeglio (which was right in front of our hotel). Had we had more time, I would have taken them to see David in the Accademia but I would not take them into the Uffizi. That museum takes at least an hour to get through if you are just throwing a passing glance at all the masterpieces. Is that how you want to see it? Five is a bit too young to go to museums like the Science Museum and the zoological museum, La Specola,although they would be good choices for older children. But I agree that he or she would much prefer walking around Florence with you than seeing the Tuscan countryside from a car.
Grinisa is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2005, 05:16 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,755
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
..I think no where is a disaster providing you think like a child..avoid long car trips (as stated above!!..my kids got car sick so that was "enforced")_, find a park, chase the pidgeons, walk through an outdoor market..I remember one of my children being amazed at seeing an animal carcass- he thought meat came from white ttrays with plastic tops..walk along a pond lake, river..drop a leaf and see where it goes...avoid any prolonged art gallery but some museums work..and sometimes a gallery will work for one or 2 pictures..talk about the picture and make sure it is child friendly...one of my kids had a morbid facination with reliqueries..anythin will work if you see the world through their eyes..oh and that is great fun!
travelbunny is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2005, 06:34 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,244
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
Yes, go to Florence! The Boboli Gardens, as mentioned, is a great stop for kids.
Surfergirl is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2005, 06:46 AM
  #8  
mms
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Our children were 5 and 8 when we went to Italy. We spent several days in Florence and the kids had a great time. We went to the Accademia and it held the interest of both kids. That was the only museum we did there, but only because it was so beautiful out that we took advantage of that and wandered the town. We all enjoyed the walk up to the Piazza Michelangelo and the views from there. As long as we stopped for gelato every so often, we were all happy
mms is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2005, 07:06 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 265
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have been in London and Paris with 7 and 8 year olds, so I understand your problem. I have never been to Florence, but a short visit to the Accademia sounds possible, based upon the other posts. Here is something I have been tempted to try, but never have: could you and your husband "split" the day? One of you visit the museums in the morning, while the other hangs out with your son in the parks etc. In the afternoon or the next day, you switch. Has anyone else tried this tactic successfully?
Marsha is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2005, 01:10 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Marsha, that in an excellent idea.

Gravysandwich, taking turns with whatever musueams you two wanted to see while the other parent has fun with you little one is quite a good idea. Oh my, sometimes the simple ideas are the best.

I would think the Straw Market would be fun for all of you also.

And riding in the car and getting carsick. LOL. Travelbunny, my dear father would not listen to me that "I did not feel well" so I leaned over him from the backseat of the car to tell him again and threw up all over his suit! I was about six years old at the time. He sure stopped in a hurry anytime after that when I mumbled anything.

And gravysandwich, I just wanted to say I am so glad you are taking your child. I did the same. Only regret is that we did not have more journeys. But we were sure lucky to have the ones we had. Have fun!
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2005, 03:07 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great replies by everyone, and I have been convinced that a trip to Florence is a good idea, and we will, indeed spend a day there. We are staying in San Gimignano, so we will probably drive there rather than take the train (I know, I know, don't drive in Florence. We won't, we'll park outside the city).

Thanks again for all the great feedback!

(Mr.)gravysandwich
gravysandwich is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2005, 01:55 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Two years ago we drove into Florence and parked in a large covered parking lot adjacent to the train station. There were many signs for the station along the way although we did stop to ask for directions in our fractured Italian once. Traffic was heavy for a few blocks, but it was quite doable as we had had a few days of driving under our belts by then. Just a suggestion.

P.S. I'm so glad you're going to Florence!
KathrynT is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2005, 03:45 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks KathrynT (and everyone else),

We will try to do as you did, and park close to the train station. In a rather demented sort of way, I am looking forward to the entire driving experience while in Italy. Heck, we flew all night from the USA in '91, rented a car at Gatwick, jumped into the car and encountered Monday morning rush hour traffic on the M1, which included driving on the left, changing gears with the left hand while in a right hand drive vehicle, you know the drill). How bad can Italy be....?

BTW, this is a great website. It is incredibly informative, very friendly, and has been a wealth of invaluable travel tips.

I will probably be posting more in the next couple of weeks as the pre-trip frenzy begins in earnest.

gravysandwich

gravysandwich is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2005, 05:01 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi gravysandwich, and please post a trip report after you get back home and settled in. I imagine you will have a lot of things to share with us!
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2005, 07:53 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That's a big 10-4, LoveItaly.
gravysandwich is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2005, 06:01 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I know your trip has come and gone but I went to Florence 2 years ago with a 4 year old and she loved it and remembers it all like it was yesterday...carriage rides are a must...help tired children and they love the horses, great for tired parents too...we met Lola and Morgan boyfriend and girlfriend horses. We also had a trip to the top of the Duomo, what an experience for a child! Helping the street vendors manage their Gelato stands! Costume galleries, so many things for a young child to love. Not to mention no tv in 8 days after being in the country and seeing Scooby Doo in Italian...she didn't seem to mind ;-) She is 6 now and is so excited to return and we go again in a couple of weeks!
Angelwilltravel is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2005, 09:17 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Angelwilltravel, put gravysandwich name in the searchbox here on Fodor's and you should be able to read his fantastic trip report of their time in Italy.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2005, 10:27 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When my child was five I would take him with us into art museums. You just have to make it a little interesting for him. We would look for the animals in a picture or look at portraits with eyes that follow you as you walk. Whenever we went to the Huntington Library we would talk about how the kids dressed in the old days (Blue Boy and Pinky).

I would encourage him to laugh at parts of a picture just to keep him interested, such as ugly babies or babies that looked like old men.

In a few years he was recognizing artist's works and he never became a nightmare to be with.

IMHO, it is worth a try for short periods at a time.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
jojuice
Europe
16
Oct 26th, 2009 01:44 PM
Indecisive
Europe
15
May 7th, 2007 04:04 AM
Gia
Europe
27
Jun 7th, 2006 01:43 PM
kfl1111
Europe
5
Feb 8th, 2006 10:00 AM
DianeP
Europe
19
Jan 28th, 2004 06:59 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information