Young Children & Italy

Old Jun 14th, 2004, 04:08 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,546
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Young Children & Italy

Taking the kids, ages 1 and 3.5, to Italy this fall for two weeks. I've been doing research in guidebooks and online for kids things, like good playgrounds, zoos, aquariums, etc. but haven't been able to find much. Does anyone know of a resource they can point me to, or have personal experience? The areas are one week in Tuscany and one week in Verona. The plan is to break up the days so we do something for them one day and something for us the next, so they don't get too restless. Thanks!
MonicaRichards is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 04:23 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,473
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We recently got back from a week around Verona, and although we didn't have our kids with us, here are a few things I noticed that may be of use to you:

GardaLand is an amusement park not far from Verona, accessible by bus. I haven't been there so I don't know if it would be appropriate for your young kids, but it may be worth investigating.

There may be water access around Lake Garda (around Sirmione?), if it's still warm enough.

Also on Lake Garda, there's a cable car leaving from Malcesine that goes up to the top of Monte Baldo. There was lots of snow up there in May.

Go out to Venice for a day or two, as they will probably love the boat rides.

I'll let you know if I think of anything else...good luck in your search!
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 04:30 PM
  #3  
awbaker
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
There is a guidebook available called italy with kids, by barbara pape & michael calabrese. I believe I saw a new edition of this at Border's within the last month.
 
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 04:37 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,546
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks! I'll check out the book and GardaLand. I think we'll be meeting more locals on this trip than on our previous trips....
MonicaRichards is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2004, 06:30 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,546
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
topping....
MonicaRichards is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2004, 06:55 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's been some time - mine are teenagers now - but Italy was always by far the best European country for us to travel in with small children. We had no trouble finding playgrounds where they could mingle with other children. Waiters took them away from us at restaurants and fed them warm milk and biscotti while we dined, people stopped us on the street to pinch their cheeks, etc.
I don't know how you could possibly plan a trip with "one day for them and one day for you" - I can't imagine kids of that age understanding "your day." I traveled all over Europe with little kids, and in my experience we just had to take it one hour at a time and see what they were up for and when and plan accordingly.
StCirq is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2004, 07:36 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 49
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We took our 18 month old and our friends took their 2 year old to Tuscany (one week) and Rome (1 week) last summer. We did not split the days up as an "us" or "them" but we made sure to react to their needs. They actually loved hearing their voices echo in the churches and train stations and often napped in their strollers in museums (yes we had some luck and also very low maintenance kids). We stopped when we saw playgrounds (there were lots in Tuscany), had a pool at our place in Tuscany, limited our lodgings to one per week, stopped for gelato frequently, allowed them to put their hands in the fountains etc. We found that the adults saw all they wanted while the kids enjoyed the surroundings too. We saw less than we would have had we been there without the children and we left some musuems/churches more quickly than we might otherwise have done but overall it was a wonderful wonderful trip and all six of us had a super time. We still managed to see all of our "must sees". We also ate out frequently (not breakfast ... we stayed at a villa for a week and in an apartment for a week) and found the kids LOVED the pasta, pizza, bread and oil (our son still asks for "dip" with his bread) and gelato.

You will have a wonderful time and the kids will too! Enjoy! I wish we were going back.

Tory
tory is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2004, 07:45 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,546
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I meant by one day for us and one day for them we would do a child's activity for a whole day on "their" day and then play it by ear more on "our" day. For example, we really will go to Gardaland, something I would never do were it not for kids! But they will also get to see St. Francis' Basilica, etc. Thankfully, my husband and I have already done the museum/church thing in Italy so we won't be crushed to miss it this time around.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2004, 07:52 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,305
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As a general comment, you're in for a great time. Italians love children. You will be treated like royalty wherever you go!
HowardR is offline  
Old Jul 17th, 2004, 03:55 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,546
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
topping to see if there are more replies...
MonicaRichards is offline  
Old Jul 17th, 2004, 10:17 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,755
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Since my child is nearly the same age as your oldest (she's 4) and we have been traveling to Italy since she was 1 year old, I have some ideas for you.

I know the area in Tuscany so can help you with that.....go to Pinocchio Park in Collodi (near Lucca). It is accessible via train or car and is a wonderful family outing for all. There are fountains, lots of greenery, not to mention huge carvings of Pinocchio and the various characters in the book. Mind you, it is not the Disney version of Pinocchio, but the true, Italian version of the book. I went there 9 months ago and my (then) 3 year old loved it so much that we are going again in 2 months when we return to Italy.

Also accessible via train is "Il Terrenia" located between Pisa and Livorno. This area where local Italians go to has a terrific section for kids, complete with miniature rides, caroussels, play/climbing areas, etc. Best thing of all, you can walk across the street to the fabulous (free!) beach and lay out on a beach lounger or under an umbrella with your kids. It's a terrific beach town area and there are sidewalk cafes and gelato places around. We spent an entire day there and it was difficult to leave.....it's another place we plan to return to soon!

If all else fails and you can't get to those 2 places above, we found lots of local parks that worked just fine. It allowed her to get out and play with the other little children. You could bring a picnic lunch and make an afternoon of it.

I have gone to the zoo in Rome and Milan, and the aquarium in Naples. However, I don't know about the zoos in Tuscany. You could google the cities you will be staying in and look for that info.

Like the others have said, Italians love children and will welcome yours anywhere you go. It is my most favorite country in the world for this reason (among others!)
Huitres is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2004, 12:00 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 397
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My daughter (who has also been to amusements parks in the US) has always enjoyed Gardaland - it's got a pretty standard complement of rides, for all ages. See http://www.gardaland.it/servizi/html/orari.htm for the opening times, noting that in October it will only be open on weekends.

There are also water parks around Lake Garda, but I doubt they would be open beyond September.

There are little playgrounds in every small town you pass through. We did a lot of road trips when our daughter was young. She's 15 now, but it took us years to lose the reflex: "Ooh, playground, gotta stop."

And everyone's right that Italians love kids and will be happy to accomodate them almost everywhere.


best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

http://www.straughan.com
DeirdreStraughan is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2004, 03:28 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,257
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When our kids were 3 and 5, one of their favorites was the Pinocchio Park. We read the story together so they would know what to expect. Then outside the park they sell Pinocchio marionettes, which the kids loved (although had a hard time operating with all those strings). We adults enjoyed it too. It was part playground, part sculpture park.

We all also enjoyed the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Granted, it is touristy. But it was a good thing to describe to the kids before the trip to get them excited about the trip. Then they enjoyed seeing it and calling it the Leaning Tower of Pizza. They got a little souveneir sculpture of the building to take home. Such a simple thing, but still talk about several years later.

We found that the best routine for us was to go out touring in the morning and to a restaurant for lunch. Then we'd come back to the hotel or villa around 2 or 3 pm for a rest. Later we'd go for a swim and make dinner at the villa. The Italian dinners were just too long for the kids, but lunches were more do-able. In the evening, we'd go out for gelato or a stroll.

Lunch is usually served from 12/12:30 to 2:30/3. Dinner starts at 7 or 7:30. Many places close in between, although some are open all day.

Have a great trip!

(We just got back from our second trip with the kids 2 days ago. We've found that there are particular joys to travelling with the kids at each age. Now the kids are 9 and 11. This time, we enjoyed the historical sites around Rome, visited Pompeii, climbed the towers at St. Peters and Siena, rented a boat on Capri, took in an opera in Verona [the only kids there, but it was fine]. But, we didn't get to go to any playgrounds!)
travelgirl2 is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2004, 04:35 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 978
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
With kids that age, I would suggest the Tuscan coast, somewhere between Castiglione della Pescaia, Punta Ala and Follonica. Mostly excellent sandy beaches with a calm, accessible sea. It would certainly be possible to find something on the seafront.
Excursions can be the Stork and Turtle park in Massa Marittima (www.carapax.org). Centro tartarughe ?CARAPAX? (=turtles) and Centro Cicogne (=Stork centre).
Also the "Giardino dei Tarocchi" (Tarot Garden) of Nikki de Saint-Phalle in Garavicchio (www.nikidesaintphalle.com/entrance.html).
And of course places as Massa Marittima, Suvereto, the San Galgano abbey, Montalcino, Siena and so on.
baldrick is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2004, 03:37 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,546
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much everyone! We will be staying in one of those agriturismo things near the Tuscan coast. We'll go to Gardaland and Pinnochio Park and Il Terrenia. The three year old is already looking forward to Italy (ice cream every day, lots of pasta and now rides!).
MonicaRichards is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Karen_Montebello
Europe
7
Aug 23rd, 2011 01:58 PM
bambi1
Europe
13
Jan 31st, 2011 04:56 AM
ztrip
Europe
7
May 28th, 2009 10:29 AM
markreynolds
Europe
9
Jan 7th, 2008 11:43 AM
traveladventurer
Europe
5
Mar 15th, 2005 04:28 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information