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Mom and dauther (5) Italy logistics questions

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Jan 10th, 2019, 01:14 PM
  #1
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Mom and dauther (5) Italy logistics questions

Hi everyone! I'm planning to take my 5 year old to Italy for approximately 2 weeks in June. I've been there a few times before she was born but it's time to show her one of my favorite countries. We have travelled alone extensively but this trip is making me a little more nervous. I want to visit Tuscany, Bologna and Amalfi Coast. The only new area for me is Bologna and the logistics of getting there are throwing me off.
1-Fly to Florence (1 or 2 nights) Rent car and drive to Tuscany.
2-A few nights in Tuscany at an agriturismo with cooking classes or something and then return car back to Florence.
3-Train to Bologna (2-3 nights). I'm dying to see what the foodie rage is all about.
4-Train to Naples. Driver to Positano. A few nights in this area.
5-Fly out of Naples.

Does that make sense or should I rearrange flights and cities? Should I just drive to Bologna? I know I'm backtracking a little. I'm also concerned about driving to Tuscany. I haven't been to that region in 15 years and I'm worried about trying to navigate on my own and deal with a talkative child at the same time. Please tell me it will be easy! Otherwise is there any way I can get a driver to Tuscany and a way to get around a little while I'm there. I don't plan on doing too much moving around, probably just go to markets, visit San Gimignano and some other areas. We are pretty adventurous and I'm a great driver so maybe I'm getting concerned for no reason.

Open to any other suggestions from people who have taken kids to Italy.

Thanks!
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Jan 10th, 2019, 01:32 PM
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Yeah why not return car in Bologna and take train next day or days to Naples? You could also go by train to Salerno and take a ferry to Positano from there - kid may love it for a few minutes at least. Anyway book Bologna or Florence to Naples train as early as possible for much cheaper rates than full fare - you can always get on trains by buying same day but you can save a ton often by booking the limited number of discounted fares at www.trenitalia.com or www.italotreno.com - two competing rail systems using same high-speed lines and stations - take whatever is cheapest. For lots on trains check www.seat61.com (sage tips on booking discounted tickets yourselves online) -general train info www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.

You could consider stopping off with private driver at Pompeii on way to or from Naples.
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Jan 10th, 2019, 02:04 PM
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I did take my children to Italy, many, many years ago when they were that age. They loved Venice and Rome and enjoyed Florence. You know your child better than anyone else, but much of your itinerary seems more geared to adults. There is no way I would take a small child to Positano to deal with mostly steps and climbing. I do not think that will be easy!

All over Europe, their favorite times were staying on farms, staying with local families, visiting castles and swimming, lakes and pools. They did not appreciate mountains and scenery, but did like art museums as long as they were well prepped.

My kids much preferred trains to cars.

At that age, they liked The Netherlands best, Germany second, Paris next, Venice and Rome (not all of Italy) last. In the end, you know what you want and your child will enjoy going with you, regardless of what you do.
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Jan 10th, 2019, 10:17 PM
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You say that you want to show your 5-year-old the country that you love, but I agree that your itinerary seems to be what YOU love. What are you going to do in Florence? Is your 5-year-old-daughter interested in art and museums? In Tuscany, she seems a bit young for a cooking class. In Bologna, it seems unlikely that your 5-year-old daughter is a foodie. And yes, Positano is a city on a very steep hill. How will your daughter do with all that climbing?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for exposing children to travel and different cultures, but this itinerary seems geared to you.
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Jan 10th, 2019, 11:10 PM
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Here is one aspect of driving around in Tuscany now. https://goo.gl/maps/gPUGmqkxvC72
You are enjoying a drive around Tuscany stopping by a charming hill town like this. There are other cars following you. You see a narrow road ahead, but you just saw a larger car driving ahead, and it seems your car should have no trouble going this way. Since you are a great driver, is it ok to proceed?
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Jan 11th, 2019, 12:04 AM
  #6
kja
 
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Let me start by commending your wonderful motivation to share places you love with your daughter! Whatever you choose, I’m sure your love and enthusiasm -- for her and for Italy -- will make for many absolutely wonderful opportunities.

I’m sure you know your daughter and her interests, and honestly, none of us can say what might be a good or bad plan for her. By your daughter’s age, I was already a great fan of art museums; in contrast, sitting in a beautiful place (such as Positano) for more than the time it takes to ingest a beverage is still not my forte some decades later (alhough I can now sometimes enjoy those moments). I’ve seen enough “junior chef” TV shows to believe that some 5-year-olds have extraordinary interests in cooking, but even those shows suggest that few children that young have palates of sufficient sophistication to appreciate or understand "foodie rages." Many people don’t mind moving from place to place with only a night or two in each location, but jet lag can be HARD on people – do you know whether your daughter will be able to move on just a night or two after your arrival in Italy?

I also think you are wise to question whether you can manage driving on unfamiliar roads with a talkative young one – particularly if you are trying to share your visions. Driving takes much more of one’s attention than generally acknowledged, so drivers don’t really get to see scenery (meaning that you can’t really point things out to her), nor can they safely look around whenever someone points (as your daughter might want to do). If you can plan a trip that allows the two of you to share public transportation, you might find it more conducive to sharing each other’s experiences, while also indulging in a bit of “people watching.

Good luck with your decisions!
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Jan 11th, 2019, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by greg View Post
Here is one aspect of driving around in Tuscany now. https://goo.gl/maps/gPUGmqkxvC72
You are enjoying a drive around Tuscany stopping by a charming hill town like this. There are other cars following you. You see a narrow road ahead, but you just saw a larger car driving ahead, and it seems your car should have no trouble going this way. Since you are a great driver, is it ok to proceed?
IMO, great lesson, greg!
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Jan 11th, 2019, 05:10 AM
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How great that you want to travel with your five years old! I love your enthusiasm and I think there will be plenty to do for both of you. I have 2 young daughters and they adore Venice, Tuscany and yes the Amalfi coast! I can't help you with Bologna because I have not been. In Tuscany we stayed in a agriturismo near Pienza, where we loved making pasta, the swing set, the organic garden, the visit to a farm, hunting for truffles, playing soccer with children. In terms of driving, I think you will be fine. Just study those maps before leaving. The Amalfi Coast is a favorite of mine with and without children. My last trip we stayed in Ravello and Positano (children were 2 and 5 ). They loved exploring,small hikes, gelato, trying to adopt every cat, running in the small piazza. We made a game of find all the mermaid symbols around Positano and talked about Ulysses. There is even a small museum in Positano that my five years old found fascinating. You can click on my name and find my trip reports with children to the Amalfi coast if you want.

If your daughter and you are adventurous, you will have a wonderful time.
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Jan 11th, 2019, 07:10 PM
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Thank you all for your comments. I appreciate the positive feedback/responses and the concern as well. Thank you for the train tips PalenQ.

This trip is really for her, she’s half Italian and I want her to start to experience true Italian culture and not a watered down American version. I do have a unique child. I either got lucky or the experiences she’s already had traveling with me have made her quite adventurous and worldly. She was enjoying sushi like a champ with me in Tokyo last year. She will try anything I give her and she really just loves food. When I told her we were going to Italy and would be having pasta and gelato everyday, her eyes rolled back. What kid wouldn’t want that? There are so many cooking classes geared to kids in Italy, many are in Tuscany and the chance to stay on a farm and explore the outdoors and pool I think are perfect for a kid. Here’s one geared to kids:
http://www.algelsobianco.it/

She takes cooking classes here frequently and she actually loves museum and churches! That one even I don’t understand. I just wish I didn’t need a car in that area. Maybe we can get a driver there and just stay at our agriturismo. Still hoping someone can shed light on what other options I may have besides driving there.

Positano is near and dear to my heart. I stay at a convenient hotel on the water and we both love the seaside. She was in my belly the last time I was ther and I wasn’t able to take that awesome boat ride with Gennaro. They advised against it. I’m excited to be able to go back there and do that with her. I think the boat rides and exploring the town along with Ravello and Amalfi will be so much fun. What kid doesn’t like hopping on steps? Thanks ToujourVoyager, I was starting to think I might be crazy until I read your post. Could you please tell me which agriturismo you stayed at?

I’m actually surprised about Rome and Venice being recommended. Rome can be so crowded and crazy. I doubt she would enjoy or appreciate the Colossem and ruins, , the Vatican is too much, and the fountains will be exciting until she realizes she really can’t jump in. I know there is more to Rome than that but I had just written it off as too much for a kid her age. Venice scares me much more than Positano. I can see her falling in a canal. I know it would be an awesome experience but she’s much too energetic. Still both places are on the table. At least I wouldn’t need a car in either one of them.

Any more experience out there on Bologna? Since I’ve never been, I’m not sure what to expect. Is it easily walkable once we arrive? I’m hoping it’s quieter and less touristy.

Thanks again for for all the tips. This community has been an amazing resource to me for over 20 years.
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Jan 11th, 2019, 07:30 PM
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We liked Bologna based on our fall trip. Here's our trip report: Florence or Bologna? 7 nights early October

Yes, it is immediately walkable if you arrive by train. Miles of covered walkways that work nicely in case of rain. Very busy pedestrian traffic all the time, but most local, including lots of college students.

Your daughter might enjoy a "family" at Carpigiani's Gelato University and Gelato Museum. We almost did it. Looks like fun. https://www.gelatomuseum.com/en/book...r-families-304
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Jan 11th, 2019, 07:39 PM
  #11
kja
 
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Originally Posted by littlebella777 View Post
Still hoping someone can shed light on what other options I may have besides driving there.
Would you be willing to skip the places that require a car for this trip? So much of Italy is accessible by public transportation!
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Jan 11th, 2019, 11:55 PM
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I don't think I'd stay in both Florence and Bologna as they are so close to each other by train. There are plenty of places in Tuscany where you can stay without a car but more so in towns themselves. Personally, I prefer to stay in a small town rather than in the countryside because I like to walk out of my front door to a bar, cafe, restaurant, gallery, etc. I can still walk into the countryside if I want. If you stay somewhere like Montepulciano, Pienza, etc, (heaps and heaps of choices) they typically do have regular train and/or bus services, not always super frequent but enough to get around. My kids have always been allergic to being trapped in a car and much prefer (even now they are much older) to travel by public transport.
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Jan 13th, 2019, 12:26 AM
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In Tuscany we stayed in:

Agriturismo in Pienza Siena Tuscany

I think our daughters would get along; mine also love sushi and love going up and down stairs in coastal italian towns.
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Jan 13th, 2019, 11:57 AM
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For a driver, check out Luca at hillsandroads.com. He is based out of Siena but goes all over. I used him quite a while ago but have seen numerous more recent good reviews. If you know where you want to go, you can give him the itinerary and he'll tell you if it's realistic. If you don't know, you can give him your likes and he'll suggest an itinerary. When I used him, it was in a few separate sessions, once from Florence to Siena, a couple of days later from Siena to Pienza and then a few days later from Pienza to Orvieto, so it doesn't have to all be the same day. Each day included numerous stops.

Great if you have cooking classes geared to kids. I have done many on my trips where it wasn't really geared to kids.
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