Where to vacation with a 20-month old in Italy or elsewhere?
April 16, 2010 7:32 PM   Subscribe

Where to vacation with a 20-month old in Italy or elsewhere?

My husband and I are trying to plan a two-week vacation in the fall (October) with our son, who will be 20 months old then (read, toddler). Somewhat arbitrarily, we’re thinking of going to Italy, and we’re a little stumped about how to plan it.

The facts are these: We live in California, but we’ll be going to Washington DC for a wedding in October anyway, so we figured we could use that as a good stop-over point to break up the flights to get there. We thought we might rent an apartment in two different places (one week each) so we will be more flexible with dinners and bedtimes. We would ideally use those apartments as a home base to explore a variety of places. Our son has so far been pretty good with transitioning sleep schedules etc when we travel back East to see family. We need advice, though, on a bunch of things.

(a) Is Italy a good choice? If not, where else would you recommend? We’ve thought about maybe Mexico or Costa Rica since they are closer, but we aren’t sure about how easy that will be with a toddler.

(b) Where should we stay that will offer options of things to do that we will all enjoy? Maybe it would be nice to do one urban location and one more rural, but where? (We’re not super into beach vacations, for what it’s worth. We do like to eat great food, but it seems hard to imagine that we would go horribly wrong on that front anywhere in Italy.)

(c) What will be good things to do with our son that will be fun for us and for him?

(d) Anything else we should consider?
posted by bigd to Travel & Transportation around Italy (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have traveled in Europe with a toddler and universally people there are sooooo much nicer about kids than in the US. It's kind of astonishing really. Everywhere we went people were happy to accommodate a special request for a small child. It's a long flight but I think that Italy is a great choice. We've also had great experiences in France, Spain and Portugal but Italy is lovely too.

My favorite town in Italy is Siena. It would make a great base to explore Tuscany, and it's just gorgeous. But as you rightly note, it's hard to go wrong in much of Italy. Enjoy!
posted by ambrosia at 7:39 PM on April 16, 2010

Italy is awesome! If you're looking for city and rural-ish, Florence is a good start, and near to Sienna/Tuscany which would be lovely that time of year.

You can also do a week in Italy and a week in Switzerland, Austria, or Southern France by taking a train ride of about 6 hours to most of those countries.
posted by kirstk at 7:52 PM on April 16, 2010

I traveled to Italy with a friend and her toddler to Torino and the Riviera last year. One thing that I would consider is that small people have a harder time adjusting to jet lag than people who can talk and appreciate the concept of time zones. So give yourself a couple of days of helping the young'un adjust. To that end, I wouldn't plan to travel around a lot-- choose one or two destinations, and work on establishing a routine in these places.
posted by pickypicky at 8:12 PM on April 16, 2010

We did this exact same trip last year with our then 15 month old. We spent a lovely 2 weeks in radda in chianti in Tuscany. We rented a home and took day trips evry day for 2 weeks. It was great, the boy settled in, and the grown ups got to see a ton of italy. We made it as far to florence, sienna, and pisa and lucca as well as many small towns in the more immediate area. We stayed in a rental home called 'mezz luna' with my parents. It was such a memorable trip - you'll havea great time.
posted by askmehow at 9:08 PM on April 16, 2010

Mezza Luna that is
posted by askmehow at 9:09 PM on April 16, 2010

Sienna is beautiful, but it is halfway up a mountain and so the majority of the roads are very steep, I don't how much you use a pushchair but it will be a lot of work in Sienna. Look for places that are flatter, such as Bologna.
posted by ellieBOA at 3:11 AM on April 17, 2010

I was just coming here to post what askmehow said: pretty much anywhere between Florence and Siena is good both as a relaxing, rural place and a base for daytrips to cities, etc without the hassle of actually being in a city. Only drawback: you'll be probably better off renting a car than relying on buses/trains (there are none in that area anyway) for transportation.
posted by _dario at 4:38 AM on April 17, 2010

We had a week in Tuscany, several days in Rome plus day trip to Pompeii with a 15 month old and 4 year old and it was great. The Italians loved the kids and we even skipped several thousand people in line to get into the Vatican Museum. Having a base of operation in Tuscany as askmehow said to make day trips worked perfectly for us.
posted by turbodog at 9:08 PM on April 17, 2010

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