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Recreation/Fun Things to do in Tuscany with Teenagers


Recreation/Fun Things to do in Tuscany with Teenagers

Old May 10th, 2001, 07:39 AM
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Recreation/Fun Things to do in Tuscany with Teenagers

Still working on plans for our trip to Tuscany--me, my husband and our 2 sons who are 17 and 21. The older one has been to Italy on a student exchange a few years ago and is interested in seeing more of it. The younger one has already stated that he doesn't want to spend the whole time in museums and churches... We will be renting a villa between Siena and Florence and I'm looking for suggestions on fun things to do there. They both are adventurous diners, so meals will probably be a highlight, and my husband would like to tour some wineries. (This is hard work trying to please everyone!!!) We will only have 10 days there and probably will spend at least 1 night in Rome. Any ideas would be appreciated! What about a day trip to Elba?
Old May 10th, 2001, 10:04 AM
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My daughter went to school in Italy aged 16-18 and I visited her school on trips to Tuscany/Umbria several times...the key seemed to be the presence of other young folks. So, Florence was a big hit(lots of school, young folks everywhere). This group particularly enjoyed side trips to Fiesole, a public bus ride away from downtown Florence which has a very good Etruscan museum for you and ruins for kids to scramble over. The kids also loved San Gimignano, the towers were of great interest.In Umbria (very close) we did a lot of hiking in the hills outside the towns esp Perugia, an ancient university town and my group liked picking out their own lunch paninis/pizza to take on the hike. Lake Transimigno (pardon spelling) had a terrific old castle for wandering round which had also played host to a bunch of rock concerts and that proved a good blend. Local food festivals were a hit and on everywhere (wine,of course, porchetta in Norcia,truffles and artichokes all have their own days of celebration). Mostly, those kids liked to be left alone long enough in city squares (piazzas, I should say!) to give the appearance of being without adults hovering over them and to wander around and find things to show us rather than constantly, us showing them! I hope you have a wonderful time...we are off with my daughter, now 19 and her 20 year old friend to the same are at the end of May, so they can't have hated the previous visits!
Old May 10th, 2001, 12:00 PM
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You could turn two boys that age "loose" in some of the smaller towns and even in a city like Siena. Whenever we have taken children to Italy, we make it a rule that we see something of "cultural interest" each day, if available, but we do not spend hours in museums. In one trip to Florence, it was only a quick look at David and "Venus on the Clam Shell" as my son named it. (killed us, but pleased him and we had already walked the Uffizi on another trip) Lots of gelati and they will be able to drink the wine also. Aside from getting lost or having pockets picked in Rome, I don't think you'll need to worry too much about them. It's also great fun if you take the time to learn little stories about stuff they might see. I had a fascinated 20 year old when he heard the story of Fra Lippi's model for the BVM! He really got into some of the architecture too (read the story of the Ghiberti Baptistry doors in Florence) and the life of Puccini, quite a character, in Lucca. Sometimes you need to work a bit to make them enjoy it, but it's worthwhile. Consider getting something like Rick STeve's Europe 101--a good place for the 17 year old to start.
Old May 11th, 2001, 12:28 PM
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Thanks Kam! I agree they will enjoy the trip a lot more if they read about the area first... Only problem is we're not going until next June (2002), and I seem to be the only family member interested in the planning so far! I managed to get my husband to look at a villa catalog for 10 minutes last night, but he just said I'm doing a good job planning!!!! Guess I'll be the official tour guide next year, because I generally obsess over the planning stages when we travel (which is not nearly often enough for me)! Thanks for the ideas. I'm sure they'll all show more interest when it gets closer to the time of our trip. In the meantime, I'm having fun planning it.
Old May 11th, 2001, 12:30 PM
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LJ--sorry I didn't thank you too--there were some great ideas in your post. I was thinking about hitting San Gimagnano, and the lake sounds very nice too--
Old May 13th, 2001, 01:51 PM
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Thanks for these suggestions. I am taking my 16 yr. old son in June and have been looking for ideas for a lone teenager rather than one going with siblings or friends. Anyone know of a safe way he could go out on the town in Siena or Rome without parents? He wants to travel outside Italy, too, but not alone. Anyone know of another teenager who will be there in June who might like to hop a train for a week of touring? Is that a safe thing for him to do? I went to Europe with a friend when I was 18 and was fine, but it's so different for someone alone.

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