April 5, 2016, 04:55 AM
Travelling Tuscany with a baby – Seeking advice on itinerary
My husband and I will be travelling in Italy for 17 days in May with our 9 months old son. We have a tentative itinerary. Our plan is to visit Rome for three days and then spend the rest of the time in Tuscany. We will be renting a car (will bring our car seat) so we can do day trips at our own pace and enjoy the countryside. Since we are travelling with our son, we intend to take things at a slower pace and stay at each location a few nights rather than being on the move constantly. We plan to book apartment style accommodations at each location. Other than on the days we are changing locations and will drive longer hours, we would like to limit our driving to approximatively two hours a day (there and back). With this said, I would appreciate advice on our tentative itinerary and any recommendations you may have. Especially if our two bases (Montepulciano and Montecatini Terme) are good choices for visiting Tuscany.
I did read a lot of existing posts but did not find all the info I am looking for.
I have a few specific questions below the itinerary. I know some passionate people about Italy will be happy to respond in details, but don’t hesitate to only provide a quick advice if you don’t have time for more. Any info you may provide is welcomed.
Rome (4 nights)
Day 1: Arrive Rome at 12h10, check-in, get baby supplies
Day 2-4: Visit Rome
Montepulciano (3 nights)
Day 5: Drive to Montepulciano through Assisi
Day 6: Visit around Montepulciano (locations TBC)
Day 7: Visit Sienna / Chianti area
Levanto (3 nights)
Day 8: Drive to Levanto
Day 9-10: Visit Cinque-Terre
Montecatini Terme (5 nights)
Day 11: Drive to Montecatini
Day 12-13: Visit Florence (taking the train each day)
Day 14-15: day-trips to Lucca / Pisa / and other locations TBC
Rome, hotel near Airport (1 night)
Day 16: Drive to Rome
Day 17: Flight back to Montreal at 14h10
Here are my questions:
1) Is Montecatini Terme a good base choice to visit the countryside, but also Florence? Looks like it is a 1h train ride to Florence, which is longer than I would have liked, but close to Lucca and Pisa which makes for shorter day trips. Is there a better location we should stay at, with maybe a 25 mins train ride to Florence, while keeping the driving time to Lucca/Pisa and other must see areas minimal?
2) If we stay at Montecatini Terme, can we drive to the outskirt of Florence, park and take the train, in order to reduce commute time and have greater flexibility with our schedule, or is that too much hassle? Based on my initial research it seems that there is only one train every hour between Montecatini and Florence.
3) Realizing that it would make for a longer drive, is it worth going through Assisi on our way to Montepulciano from Rome? Other places we should see instead on our way up?
4) Thinking of driving back to Rome Airport along the coast. Is it worth the extra driving (based on google map)?
5) Finally, which area of Rome would you recommend we stay at? We are looking for somewhere easy to drive to, park, and from where we can quickly commute to the tourist attractions by public transport (preferably by metro as I believe it is easier). We would like to avoid driving into Rome as much as possible. We will need to go to the supermarket however to buy baby supplies upon arrival, so hopefully it is on the outskirt and not too hard to get to.
Many thanks to all who contribute and hope this post may be useful to other as well.
April 9, 2016, 01:05 PM
Closer to Florence or Pisa
Where ever you stay there will always be a bit of a drive to one or the other, I think you need to decide where you think you'll be spending the most of your time. And then use that to calculate where you want to be. If you think you will be visiting Florence for more than one day - then I suggest look for something a little closer to there otherwise, Montecatini is a great place to call your base.
Certainly having your car when you go to Florence will make it easier for travelling with a child (you can get up and go when ever you need to and lug around all that great baby stuff ) but if you are going to be parking on the outskirts then it kind of defeats the purpose. So I suggest that you either drive in and park close to the city center - or just train it and skip all the driving hassel.
Parking in the city center is not that difficult - and probably once you calculate the cost of the train ticket and time contrictions you will find that it evens out with the parking costs.
Another consideration, Levanto is a great base for visiting CT - but I normally suggest it for those coming from the north or who are relying on the train. It seems like you are adding hours to your driving. Perhaps you might want to look more towards La Spezia for accommodations in and out of CT.
And as much as I love Assisi -- you are adding a lot of driving time to your schedule...
Thanks a lot for your advice. We greatly appreciated that you took the time to respond.
We modified our itinerary based on some of your recommendations.
Leaving soon, very excited!!