Sunday, November 11, 2012

Traveling to Tuscany with Kids

When you travel with children you are necessarily obliged to try and make them happy, no matter what their ages, as this will surely make your vacation less stressful and more enjoyable. So, planning a trip to Europe might seem immediately intimidating: What will the kids do? Surely they’ll get bored! How will they ever adapt to all the changes? At this point many get cold feet and head back to Disney… but the truth is, if you plan it right, kids can have a great experience visiting a foreign country. Whether they are in elementary school or in high school, here are some of the ways to make it happen:

Rent a villa. This is an excellent way to have loads of extra space for the kids (indoors and out) without having to compromise on the beauty and luxury of your accommodation. Unlike what it may seem, it’s also an economically smart choice. There are properties of all price points, and many will run you less than getting 2 or 3 rooms in a hotel. Having a whole house to yourselves means that you can get everyone to feel “at home” by establishing a comfortable routine for the kids that keeps them on a relaxed schedule with plenty of time to unwind. 

Plan itineraries that are FUN. Children always request to do “cool” things – so fulfill their wishes. Tuscany has an array of activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. In a previous post you’ll find a list of 10 Great Things to Do with Kids in Florence. 

Here are a few more ideas:

Children love to see the world from above! 
It seems that for most kids, if there is some climbing involved, they’re happy. This means that in the art cities you can climb the towers, church steeples and anything else that will let the kids get a bird’s eye view of where they are. Oh, and you’d be surprised how much fun the adults find it too!

I already mentioned that in Florence you can climb to the top of the Duomo’s dome, as well as up the adjacent bell tower. However, there is yet another wonderful way to see Florence from 40 meters off the ground: it’s called the “camminamento della ronda”,  which translated means “patrol ramparts”, and as the name would imply it can be found atop the Palazzo Vecchio – Florence’s City Hall.
This elevated walkway, fully restored in 2009, was used in the 1300s by the guards who kept watch on the city’s seat of government. This is a great opportunity to get an up close look at what it was like to be a sentry in the Middle Ages as you walk around the entire perimeter of the building taking in the amazing 360° views of the city. The visit, which lasts about 30 minutes, includes an area where a glass floor panel allows you to see the inside of the building from above – another spectacular experience.

If you still have the energy, the building’s tower (La Torre di Arnolfo) is open to the public, and will allow you to reach a height of 95 meters!

In the countryside, a great attraction is to visit one of the many Adventure Parks where kids can climb trees and experience the woods and nature from up high. Located throughout the region, these suspended playgrounds are sure to put a smile on your children’s faces. Once again, this is an opportunity for adults and children to enjoy a fun experience together.

If you still need something else to pump your adrenaline: take a ride in a hot air balloon! Seeing the extraordinary Tuscan landscape floating above the hills is an experience you’ll never forget.

For more suggestions, read our Travel to Tuscany with Kids - Part 2.  

Something tells me that if the kids find out about all the fun things they could do in Tuscany, it won’t be too hard to convince them to come along!

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