Traveling with Teenagers in Tuscany

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May 27th, 2012, 06:57 AM
  #1
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Traveling with Teenagers in Tuscany

I will be traveling with 3 families to Italy in August - 6 "kids" ages 16-18. My family is planning the section Venice/Tuscany. Venice has been a breeze, but I could use some help with Tuscany. We will be at Hotelito Lupaia, near Montepulciano with 3 rental cars. Anything out of the ordinary to keep the teens interested would be great. To give you some context for our trip so far - we will have bicycled in Florence, gone on a scavenger hunt in Venice and I will locate geocaches in each town we visit. Thanks for your suggestions!
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May 27th, 2012, 11:36 AM
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I just posted this on another thread: Drive south on SR2 to Lago di Bolsena (about an hour if you don't stop), then follow the signs east to Civita di Bagnoregio, a tiny medieval town that sits on top of a mesa that is slowly peeling away, making the town smaller and smaller. They have been trying since the 1400s to find a way to save it. It's like a fairytale sight, and there is a restaurant (closed Tuesdays) right at the end of the road that is quite good. A nice place to have a real Italian lunch and look at the view. There is a long, steep bridge that you can walk up to get into the town, and it is fun to see the town and look out on the drop-off.

From there, go on to Orvieto, which is a pretty, small town to visit, with lots of ceramic stores and a stunning Duomo with a gold mosaic facade. Park in the free parking lot at the bottom of the hill below the train station and take the escalator and then the funicular up into town, a short and fun ride for a euro or so. You can walk or take the bus up to the Duomo. Get a map at the info station next to the stop. The hill is riddled with caves and tunnels, and you can take an underground tour that starts in the Piazza del Duomo. You can also eat in a restaurant that is in the caves -- (Grotte del Funaro). Near the funicular stop is a deep, deep well (named San Patrizio, I think) with a spiral staircase you can walk down into, but it costs a few euros apiece to do it. The stairway itself is quite a thing. The well was dug to provide water during sieges. There is also the ruins of an old fort near the funicular stop. Great views from there. For the adults, or kids who like art, don't miss the side chapel in the Duomo with gorgeous frescoes of the Last Judgment by Signorelli.

Also on the trip to Bolsena you will see Bagno Vignoni, a town perched on the edge of the hill with hot baths that the Romans frequented. The central piazza is actually built around a big hot pool, although you can't go into it. Near the parking lot the stream suns through Roman channels and drops off the cliff to pools below.

On the return to Montepulciano, either take the A1 autostrada or go back to the SR2.
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May 27th, 2012, 12:14 PM
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We are also travelling in that area in June/July with 3 teenagers of the same age - one of the things we are planning on doing is a cooking class. I have been communicating with Katia from Il Vicario (based a few kms from San Gimignano) and she has been so accommodating in helping us plan a class. The reviews on the web about their classes are great - they seem to be so friendly and helpful and loads of fun!
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May 29th, 2012, 12:25 PM
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Thank you charnees and Kaapie! Kaapie, if you are going to Venice with your teenagers, try to find the Venice scavenger hunt on-line. I think I might have run into it in the Fodor's site. It sounds like a great place (and way) to let the kids "off the leash" for a bit.
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May 29th, 2012, 12:45 PM
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Here is the Venice with teens hunt link:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-teenagers.cfm
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May 29th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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That's it! Thank you jamierin!
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May 29th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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IMHO the thing those kids will want to do most is find some student cafes and bars and hang out with the locals. I hope you are located IN a town - so they can do so - since they are too young to drive rental cars and drunk driving is very srict in italy - lower blood levels than in the US and NO tolerance. (Also somethng for the adults to think about if they re going out to dinner - who will be the designated drivers).

(Caveat: this is my experience taking our DDs to europe a couple of times - they wanted big cities - not boring countryside - with museums, shops, parks, and film festivals.)
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May 29th, 2012, 01:55 PM
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yes - kids like cities. if you can team that with some swimming [at the right time of year of course, not in December] they will be truly happy - and so will you.

in August, that could be a priority.
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Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:48 AM
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Suzanne & jamierin - thanks for the info on Venice.

Suzanne, as annhig mentions, that time of year can be pretty hot in Tuscany. We have made sure that when travelling through the countryside, all of our hotels will have swimming pools. Sometimes this means that you are 1 or 2km out of the centre of the town but it is so worth it!
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Jun 3rd, 2012, 07:54 AM
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Hi all -

Suzanne has the pool covered, and what look like beautiful rooms too! Can't wait to hear about the hotel when you return.
http://www.lupaia.com/swimming-pool.html
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Jun 3rd, 2012, 08:13 AM
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very nice - not sure if I've seen rocks in a swimming pool before.

i note that it's got a restaurant as well, though it is hardly cheap.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 01:31 PM
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Thanks all for your wonderful and helpful comments. We will also be in Florence and Venice before heading to Rome, so this is our down time. I tend to plan very active vacations, so the kids are always clamoring for some quiet. I suspect this is our last year before we lose them to the bars and cafes at night, but they are looking forward to the pool - I'm thinking of keeping the afternoons free for that. We sought a hotel with air conditioning also, knowing it can get hot. I was a little worried about the distance from different restaurants for dinners, but we have the cars and hopefully our phone GPS units will work!
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Jun 6th, 2012, 02:21 PM
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I was with a large group of teens in Orvieto, and they didn't really love it. In fact, most of them thought it was a long drive with little payoff.

I might take them to Lago di Trasimeno for a visit to Castiglione del Lago. I think teens would enjoy that, and the lake is available for cooling off. Still 45 minutes, though.

I'm sure you have picked places you want to see. What are your plans?
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Jun 6th, 2012, 03:50 PM
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Why not do a spa day in nearby Chianciano? You could also find some horseback riding or perhaps a balloon ride.
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:23 AM
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I am so sorry I was not on this site for awhile - I had a graduating senior and have been busy. I love those last two suggestions - thank you for taking the time to post them. I'll be checking them both out on line. Good tip on Orvieto - it was recommended to us by an older couple. We do have to get the train there tho', and drop off the rental car, so it may still be on our itinerary.
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:44 AM
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I would have thought a visit to Volturra is core, I lose track on which Vampire series is based on a mass slaughter here but a little bit of googling should pop it up. Ah yes the "twilight" series. Any interest?
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Volterra and Siena were fun for our kids as teens. If you're near Siena for the Palio, plan on being tere. Wonderful eighborhood parades, spirit.
They all loved Florence too.
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 12:36 PM
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lots of wine for the parents and seperate wine for the kids...for sure..
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 12:38 PM
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also in the cities let the kids go off totally on their own... they will find plenty to do... florence is jammed with students..
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