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Italy with children-any advice?

Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Italy with children-any advice?

Hi..we are travelling to Italy for a week long holiday.My daughter will be almost 6 then and my son 1. We are flying in to Venice mid August. I have booked rooms in a nice hotel for 4 nights in Venice,thinking that after spending 2 days seeing Venice, we could make day trips to Florence and Milan(wife very keen on Milan,as she really likes fashion). Then we are spending 3 days in Rome.

Is it reasonable to plan these day trips to Milan and Florence(by trains) with children or not?
Hindustani is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 03:47 PM
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I wouldn't subject young children to gruelling day trips to Milan and Florence. You will be on the train for 7 to 8 hours, and it will also be steaming hot in mid-August, with limited air-con in buildings. And if you want haute couture in Milan, August is a bad time to go as most fashion houses are closed and city will look deserted. Even in Florence, most of the things you want to do, such as looking up churches and museums, will be of little or no interest to your children and I'd imagine they will complain loudly, as the heat is even worse than in Milan.
Why don't you go to places much closer to Venice, such as Verona or Padua (Padova), or spend a day at the beach on Lido.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 04:55 PM
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If you must do all these cities, why not start out in Venice, move to Milan, move to Florence and move to Rome?

Personally, if I found myself in Italy in August, I would find a nice lake to sit by for the entire week. It is easy to get to Milan from either Laghi di Maggiore, di Como and Garda. There is a huge amusement park in Garda, too. I would let my wife go shopping in Milan by herself as often as she liked while I relaxed with the kids by the lake, feeding swans, eating those amazingly colorful huge gelato concoctions in glass bowls that the Italians eat and taking boat rides.

Have you double checked your nice hotel (anywhere) has air conditioning? Rome is likely to be hotter than a frying pan.

Sorry to be so down-sounding, but I'm not sure many Italians would take small children on public transport and into cities during as much as you plan to do in August.

nessundorma is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 05:00 PM
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I'd just question the idea of taking a day trip to milan fullstop. I'm sure you're a good and wise dad so on that basis I wouldn't let the addition of children be a major factor in your decision cos I'm sure you'll look after them right. I'd just not do that day trip, just because I wouldn;t
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Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 05:09 PM
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I hope I didn't come across as if I were questioning hindustani's sense of parental responsibilty. I merely want to convey that Italian infrustructure -- meaning air conditioning and train punctuality -- is not always the best.

One can find oneself stuck on a crowded, unairconditioned train for hours. Likewise, the air conditioning in hotels frequently breaks down.

Even outdoors, a place like Venice or Firenze has very little shade and it is crammed wall to wall with tourists in August. (Milan, in that sense, will at least be empty, so you can pop into any air conditioned bar and find a seat.)

Temperatures in Firenze can top 100 degrees in August. Likewise Rome.

Obviously Italian children survive all this. But they are not enduring 4 and 5 hour train trips, eating food they don't usually eat and under the stress of being away from home and everything familiar.

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Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 05:42 PM
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no no no, not at all.

Problem with these types of forums is that the mono nature of text can create communication problems.
bhuty is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 11:16 PM
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Hi there,
As someone who has taken many trips to Italy with small children, I think what you are proposing is going to be very difficult. The kids will need downtime and those day trips are very long days.

Rent apartments in those cities, or better yet, stay at an Fattatoria (or agricturismo) near the other cities where there is a pool. Your kids need some downtime too.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 11:48 PM
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Thank you all. No, I did not think that anybody was questioning my parental responsibility. I think all comments were in good faith and concern.

Thank you for your valuable comments. I think going to Garda would be a better plan as suggested and we might skip Milan and Florence altogether for this trip.
Do not want to stress the children out too much.

We are staying at the Al Ponte Mocenigo in Venice and Albergo Del Senato in Rome. These are air conditioned and seem pretty good.

Now I need to find a good place to stay while at Garda. Any suggestions?
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Old Mar 4th, 2006, 03:50 AM
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Hi H,

May I suggest that you stay in Venice instead of moving to Garda?

You could, if you really want to see Florence (which I would do), train there from Venice, drop your baggage at the left luggage office, spend a day in town and then continue to Rome.

The kids can get some sleep on the train.

ira is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2006, 04:04 AM
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It looks to me like you aren't going to have a car, yes? There are two towns on Garda that are accessibile by train: One is Peschiera del Garda and the other is Desenzano. The amusement park (if that interests you) is in Peschiera del Garda, although I believe you can also easily reach the park by boat. Desenzano is a bit further to the west, and therefore closer to Milano.

When I stayed in Peschiera del Garda, I stayed in a corner of it called "Fornaci" which is the furthest point from the train station, so I don't think you want that.

Here is a link to venere where you can check out reviews of hotels in Peschiera del Garda:

And here are hotels for Desenzano:

Spending your time in Lago di Garda will be a very different trip from the one you planned. However, if you feel a need to see some beautiful art and the weather is tolerable, Verona is only a half hour away from Peschiera del Garda by train. At the train station in Verona, you will probably want to spring for the cost of a taxi to the historic center, but it's only a 5 minute ride and will cost you very little. Verona has a castle which your daughter might very much enjoy seeing, a Roman arena and a perfect art museum, as well as many enjoyable piazzas and restaurants. It would be easy to go more than once.

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Old Mar 4th, 2006, 04:09 AM
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You might especially take a look at these reviews for the Hotel Garden in Peschiera del Garda:

And I also wanted to say that there are many boats that go to other towns on the lake, some of which are very festive and others which are very atmospheric. The scenery at the northern end of the lake is very dramatic.
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Old Mar 4th, 2006, 04:10 AM
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I'm sure you will be fine at Albergo del Sanato. The air conditioning is great.
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Old Mar 4th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Thank you all. I am trying to book Hotel Garden as advised. Seems like a good plan. I would probably now make it 2 days venice, 2 days Garda(see verona one day) and 2 days rome.

Hmm,....I am all excited. There seems to be something for everybody here.
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Old Mar 4th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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I hope you enjoy it, and the best thing about it is that it is a very flexible plan. If you arrive in Italy and it is having an unseasonable cool spell, the transportation options in Lago di Garda still let you do very active touristing. But if it's miserably hot, which would be typical for August, you might really enjoy just stepping onto a boat and going to Bardolino for gelato and taking a nice a bottle of Bardolino wine back to your hotel to drink by the lakeside in the evening.

I hope you will have time to get all the way to the northern half of the island to see some of the great scenery. In Verona, if you like wine, a glass of Amarone is a treat. It's a very lovely, very easily touristed town.

Buon viaggio!

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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 10:51 AM
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Hey Nessundorna,

I have slightly changed plans after talking to my wife. She feels we are better off based in one place and hence I am booking all 7 nights at Hotel Garden. It is economical and seems good as well. My only problem seems to be the train from Venice Marco Polo to Peschiera Del Garda because we arrive at 2050 and the last conecting traon is at 2100. We can get to Verona though. Is taxi from Verona to the hotel going to cost a lot?
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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A taxi from the train station to Verona will not be expensive.

However, some additional thoughts:

Before booking yourself in Hotel Garden for 7 straight nights, ask if they have air conditioning. If they say no, ask them to recommend another hotel that does.

Your wife might want to reconsider and plan on spending the first night or two right in Venice in an air conditioned hotel, since that's where you are arriving. You are arriving quite late. It will take you some time to get to the train station. And additional time to get to Verona. It makes more sense to stay in Venice for at least the night and then move, rather than go to Verona to spend the night and then move.

Given the unpredictability of how your youngest will react to travel, I would urge to you spend two nights in Venice, in comfort, getting adjusted.

Even though Peschiera del Garda is convenient to Milan and Verona, it is still a long way from Firenze, especially considering you will have to change trains in Milan, Firenze is often brutally hot in August. You might want to play that one by ear.

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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 08:59 PM
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I checked the Hotel Garden website and it does have air conditioning. You might want to look at the website, which has pictures of the rooms, so you can see it is a very basic hotel. But be careful: The website plays music, so you might not want to look at it if you're in an office with a boss nearby!

I also was reminded looking at the website that the historic town of Mantova is only 38 kilometers from Peschiera. I have never been there, but I understand it is rich in art treasures. You might consider it as an alternative to Firenze.

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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 02:03 AM
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Namaste, Hindustani!

We just went to Mantova last weekend, report here

Re. travelling with kids, Lake Garda is indeed a good choice as there are lots of water parks, amusement parks, and I think even a safari park nearby.

I've also found (travelling with my own daughter when she was small) that kids love the kinds of sites they can run around in, e.g. ruins. Also keep an eye out for public parks with swings etc. - there is one in just about every small town, and they're usually clean and well kept.

In general, you will find that Italians like kids and are very tolerant of them "being kids." When our daughter was 3 we ate at a fancy restaurant (in Verona, if I remember correctly). The meal took time, and an active toddler was not going to put up with that, so she was running around the restaurant. I got worried when she discovered that the wooden floor made a wonderful noise when stomped on at full strength.

I shouldn't have worried. The restaurant owner swooped down and hauled her off to the kitchen, where she was abundantly fussed over and spoiled by the staff through the rest of our meal. No one else was disturbed (though they hadn't seemed to mind anyway), we had a great meal, and everyone was happy, including the staff who enjoyed making a fuss over her.

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan (personal) (work)
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 04:39 AM
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Thank you guys. I think you are right in saying that we should spend about 2 night in venice. Will do so.

And also montova. What a lovely site,deirdre!
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