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Italy with 14 month old--looking for advice

Italy with 14 month old--looking for advice

Feb 15th, 2011, 06:05 PM
  #1  
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Italy with 14 month old--looking for advice

I've recently received an invitation to speak at a conference in Northern Italy toward the end of May. My husband and I have always wanted to visit Italy and have decided that with the conference covering my airfare this is the time to take that trip. But unfortunately now I don't have very long to plan. We do plan on traveling with our son who will be around 14 months old then.

What we have working for us is flexibility. We are thinking of taking 3 1/2 to 4 weeks and trying to make the most of the time there. So far the only thing that is locked in is spending time in Gorizia between May 20-22. We have not bought plane tickets and could do our sight-seeing before or after, although I would prefer after (work first, play second).

So I'm looking for advice on a) itinerary, b) tips for traveling with baby, and c) advice on lodging (we are looking at places around $1000/wk though less is even better).

Places that are of interest though not all necessary: Venice, Lake Garda, Florence, Tuscany, Rome, beachfront? My husband's grandparents were born in a couple small towns southeast of Rome so hoping to daytrip there from Rome perhaps. So far I've been looking at homes/apts via homeaway.com. Would love input. I found Fodors Forums by reading a couple of trip reports from other Italy w/baby travelers.

Thanks so much for your input!
Travelingwithbaby is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 03:03 AM
  #2  
 
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In my experience, it's going to be difficult to find centrally located apartments for $1000/wk in places like Rome, Florence and Venice, especially in May. Maybe others can give you a different point of view on that.

Be warned about Venice and small children. I assume you're going to bring an umbrella stroller, which can be a major pain. Venice has many, many small bridges with steps (and no ramps), so each time you encounter one, you'll have to lift the stroller and child going up and down the bridge. For that reason, I usually warn people off Venice if they're traveling with small children.

IMHO, Florence would probably be the best city for traveling with a 14-month-old. The city is small, mostly flat (except for surrounding hills) and easy to get around. When looking for an apt., you may want to check to see if the building has an elevator. Many don't, so you could be in the position of renting a 4th-story walkup, meaning you'll be carrying your child every time you go in or out. Not a deal-breaker, but something you should be aware of.
k9korps is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 03:27 AM
  #3  
 
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Sorry that I have to disagree, but I wouldn't want to have to manage Florence with a stroller. The streets in the center of Florence are extremely narrow, very few of them are pedestrianized, and so the sidewalks are worse than narrow: they're minimal, and the traffic is rushing down ten centimeters besides your shoulder. Even without a stroller, I found that quite uncomfortable.
franco is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 04:46 AM
  #4  
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Thanks for the advice. I'm really appreciative. We definitely plan on bringing my ergo carrier, a good baby carrier that he is comfortable in (at least now at 11 mos) and that I use with him a lot. I hope that will work for areas where a stroller doesn't make sense.
Travelingwithbaby is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 05:05 AM
  #5  
 
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Good thinking on the carrier. When we traveled to Italy with our toddler, we had the trifecta of transport devices: a backpack, a really good foldable stroller, and (gasp!) a harness and leash (lack of impulse control + canals in Venice = disaster).

In terms of your itinerary, are you planning on renting a car or relying on trains for transportation?

I'd think hard about what you want to see. Too much moving around can take a lot of the fun out of travelling -- with or without children.

It's fantastic you have so much time for the trip; will you consider staying a week or longer in each location? that will make renting an apartment a lot easier. One company I have used -- Parker Villas -- even used to have a progressive discount if you booked multiple weeks through them (5 percent of the first rental, 10 for the next week, etc.) even when you changed location.

Agencies are usually a lot pricier, though. I've had good luck renting from owners directly using vrbo. com and holiday-rentals.co.uk.

Good luck with your planning -- and take tons of pictures!
pavot is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 05:22 AM
  #6  
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Renting a car depends on which places we end up in. But we are open either way. I was thinking either a week in each place or something like 4 nights in each place to see a little more. My gut tells me that something like that is going to be easier on my son.

Right now I'm thinking something like this:
Fly into Trieste, head to Gorizia, after our stay there, 3-4 nights in Venice, (I'd love to see Lake Garda but its probably too hard), then over to Florence for 4 days, then some place in Tuscany for 4-7 where we could do day trips to the more scencic spots and perhaps Pisa, then Rome for 5-7 nights,and then some place onthe coast for 3 nights before flying out. Does that sound unreasonable?
Travelingwithbaby is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 05:51 AM
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Everyone is different, and my travel preferences might not be the same as yours. I have to admit, I'd slow down more than that, going for more nights in one place at a time. But I do understand the desire to see as much as possible while you have the opportunity.
pavot is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 06:03 AM
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That sounds a bit busy to me, but I think you should go with what suits you. If I'm reading correctly, you're talking about packing up and moving 5 times, plus departure.

I will respectfully agree to disagree with franco, but also note that I was speaking comparatively: Of the cities you mentioned, I still think Florence is the easiest for couples accompanied by small children. The carrier will work well, in any case.
k9korps is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 06:18 AM
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We took our (then) 14-month old to Italy (Puglia) a couple of years ago and found that people couldn't have been more helpful or accommodating. We took a lightweight folding pushchair and a baby carrier (similar to the Ergo). Definitely used the carrier more than the pushchair.
Although few of the restaurants we ate at had high chairs or children's menus, it didn't matter as staff were always willing to rustle up something simple for her to eat, to bring a cushion or sneak her a cookie.
Nobody batted an eyelid when she got fractious and cried, even on the plane.
All in all I'd say Italy is one of the most (if not the most) child friendly places we've visited.
My only real piece of advice would be to try and find self-catering accommodation if possible, as it really makes a difference to be able to prepare and store food, drinks etc. It's not always practical/possible to eat out every evening in restaurants with a young child, so having your own kitchen can be very handy.
hanl is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 07:33 AM
  #10  
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Quick question if I chose to eliminate staying at 2 different places in the Tuscan part of the trip, which would be easier/more feasible with baby. Staying in the countryside for a week and daytripping into Florence or staying in Florence for a week and daytripping into the countryside?
Travelingwithbaby is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 07:40 AM
  #11  
 
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I'd chose to stay in the countryside -- assuming you'll have a car -- and go into Florence for a day (or two). I've done this on several trips.

Then you'll have the opportunity for siteseeing in other hilltowns and villages as well (and you may get more for your money in terms of accomodations).
pavot is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 07:53 AM
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Here's a link to one place we stayed and really loved. It was peaceful but also really convenient to the highway that whisks you north to Florence and south the Siena.

I hate that they don't list prices, and we were there in May about 5 years ago. If I remember correctly, the Rosso apartment was around $100 a day.

Good luck with your decisions!
pavot is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 10:15 AM
  #13  
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Pavot, thanks so much for that advice. Could you re-post the link? It doesn't seem to have come through
Travelingwithbaby is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 10:15 AM
  #14  
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Pavot, thanks so much for that advice. Could you re-post the link? It doesn't seem to have come through
Travelingwithbaby is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 11:49 AM
  #15  
 
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Eeks -- don't know what went wrong there. Try this:

http://www.fattoriacasasola.com/engl...mmodations.htm

We stayed in an apartment in the Montarsiccio house. It was wonderful. Scroll down the page to read what they offer for families. And again, good luck with your decisions!

And do keep us posted....
pavot is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 12:53 PM
  #16  
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That place looks lovely. Thanks for link!
Travelingwithbaby is offline  

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