Italy with 2 little ones

Old Jan 3rd, 2017, 07:20 PM
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Italy with 2 little ones


I am traveling to Italy in May for a family trip, it will be 5 adults and my 2 daughters - which at the time will be an almost 3 year old and a just turned 1 year old. We will be there for 12 nights - 8 nights at a villa in Tuscany (Chianti region) from which we plan on doing some day trips, and 4 nights in Rome. We will be flying in and out of Rome.

Should I bring 2 strollers? A double? One and a carrier? Are car seats an issue to get with rental cars (I prefer not to travel with ours). Best way to bring necessities without over packing?

I have traveled a fair amount with them here in the states but not internationally yet. If anyone can offer any tips or advice on traveling with 2 little ones to Italy, it would be most appreciated! Thank you
cj37 is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2017, 02:32 AM
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I would bring two strollers. A double would be a bit wide for making your way in Rome, and you do have plenty of adults who can push the strollers.

Strollers are useful in some places, and not in others. It's best to use strollers that fold easily and can be carried for a short distance, because sometimes you find an obstruction in your way. In crowded buses, you may also want to fold the stroller. If you have a simple sling carrier for the smaller child, that wouldn't take much room in the luggage, and would be useful for those places where a stroller doesn't work. (I assume the three-year-old can walk on those occasions.)

Some people advise using strollers with sturdy wheels for the "cobblestone" (actually just paving blocks) streets, but we never found that necessary.

I don't know how difficult it is to get car seats with rental cars in Italy. I live here and have never rented a car here. My daughter always brought her car seat when she came to visit me, but she was always using one of our cars.

Almost everything you need can be found in Italy, so I would count on getting diapers and whatever other infant things you need in Italy. Their clothing would take up little room in the luggage; just bring things that can be washed out easily and dried quickly, and don't worry about having several outfits per day.

Even in the summer, it can be chilly in the evening, especially at higher altitudes, so you may want to bring tights or long trousers, and a cardigan, for the evenings and early mornings.

We always found a day pack more useful than any sort of diaper bag.

You might want to bring a fever thermometer, because those you find in Italy will be in Celsius, and you don't want to have to convert the temperatures when you have a crying child. I've been in Italy for almost 20 years, and for normal temperatures I'm more comfortable in Celsius than in Fahrenheit, but since I measure fever temperatures so rarely, I never have a sense of what's worrisome or not. Italians tend to call even a very slightly high temperature a "fever".

Any other medical things you might need are easily found in Italian pharmacies. You have to ask for medicines at the counter; they're not displayed on the shelves as in the US. It's good to know the generic name for medicines, e.g., acetaminophen rather than Tylenol. The generic names are spelled a bit differently in Italian (e.g., acetaminofene), but any pharmacist will recognize the English spellings. (In Italy, they use paracetamolo more than acetaminophen, but I've been told it's exactly the same thing.)

Diapers are sold in pharmacies, but they cost a lot less at the supermarket. Milk for babies and children is also sold in supermarkets, if your children don't drink normal milk. No medicines are sold in supermarkets; some larger supermarkets have a "parafarmacia", which is managed by a pharmacist but can sell only over-the-counter medicines.

I don't know what other sorts of things you might be considering whether to bring or not.

Restaurants are usually very happy to prepare a simple plate of pasta or rice for a small child. You can ask for it dressed with butter and cheese, or with tomato sauce, or with any other simple sauce. You can also ask for small plates so that you can cut up things on your own plate to serve to the child.

Not all restaurants have high chairs, especially in Rome. Ask before you sit down. I found a stroller useful when the child was willing to nap during lunch. At least no one had to hold her throughout the meal. If you want to do this, you should make sure there's room for a stroller near your table. It's often easier if you eat outside. (However, that's where the smokers eat.)
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2017, 08:07 AM
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Bvlenci thank you so much for all the advice and suggestions! I'm thinking two easily foldable strollers is the better option as well and the carrier, like you mentioned.

Any tips on adjusting them to the time change?
cj37 is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2017, 08:19 AM
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Having traveled countless times from the USA to Italy and other places in Europe with babies and toddlers, my own experience was that they adjusted to the time difference a lot better than I did. For one thing, they usually slept on the plane, which I was never able to. They were usually ready for a nice nap just about the time we wanted to have dinner the first night in Europe, so would doze in their strollers while we ate, and then slept well again that night and thereafter.

Of course, that could just have been my kids - YMMV.
StCirq is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2017, 08:23 AM
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It is a legal duty in Europe for babies up to a certain height and age to have child seats. You can google the details. So you need to order them with the car or take your own.
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2017, 08:38 AM
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Thank you for the replies!

Another thing I was just thinking of... I was figuring 2 rental cars would be best for when we are staying at the villa in Tuscany so that we aren't all tied to doing the same thing everyday (especially if other adults want to do more ambitious day trips and I want to take it slower with the little ones).

Should we get 2 cars or one car and one passenger van so that we can all travel together on some days?
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Old Jan 4th, 2017, 01:08 PM
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Unfortunately the laws about car seats are very often ignored in Italy. I often see small children standing up in the front-seat passenger area. Or sitting on Mommy's lap in the front seat. I've never heard of anyone being fined for using their child as a human airbag. I knew someone in the US who had a child temporarily removed from his custody because his child was using a seat belt instead of a carseat. The child was old enough to use a seat belt where the family lived, but they had crossed into a state that required a car seat, based on weight.
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Old Jan 4th, 2017, 01:18 PM
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Something I might add is that Italians are very nice towards kids.
You'll get unsolicited help and should you require some they will happily provide.
WoinParis is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2017, 01:28 PM
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Yes, children are welcome almost everwhere in Italy.
bvlenci is offline  
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