July 13, 2013, 12:43 AM
12 Days with Kids in Tuscany Need Help with Itineary
Hi, my wife and I visited the region 10yr ago but this time we are bringing two new visitors, our 5 and 7 yrs old. We will fly into Florence on Aug 2nd and fly out on 13th. With 12 days, how would you suggest itinerary and dividing up the bases of lodging?
Since we fly into Florence, we are thinking about dividing our stay in Florence (4 days) and Siena (the rest). We loved our stay in Siena so much last time and want to use it as a base for driving tour of Tuscany hill towns. But kids loves the sea and beach (me being the 3rd one). Being so closed to the majestic Mediterranean in hot summer and not going there seems a pity. I want to find a beach town to spend a few days but wife worries about packing and moving so often with two young kids.
What do you think? We loved our stay in Cinque Terre last time but with 2 kids and 100 lbs of luggage it is really not the ideal place to stay. There are Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, Lerici, Camogli, .... Any upscale low key beach town we can manage while making the journey bearable? What would you do? Thanks a lot for your advice in advance.
July 15, 2013, 07:25 PM
Congrats on making the return to Tuscany with your family
12 days sounds a very good amount of time to take to relax and enjoy the region and do a little bit of everything, I think you can fit a day or a few in without moving around too much...
How about staying in a farmhouse or villa apartment in the Tuscan countryside for a week, one with a pool, that you can use that as a base? The pool gives your family a a chance to have a garden and place to unwind at the end of the day or on mornings if you don't feel like dashing off somewhere every single day.
August is high season however and most farmhouse rentals are by the week in that period - so you need to start contacting owners right away and seeing if they still have the week of Aug 3 - 10.
As far as keeping moving around to a minimum, I'd then spend the first night in Florence for sure... and then you have 2 options:
- return to Florence during your week as a day trip or two...
- or leave it to the end, from the 10th on.
First option let's you do Florence during the week and maybe spend the last few days on the beach.... if you base yourself in a central area near Siena, you can head due west to the coast and that takes about an hour drive. So you can also fit in the beach as day trips and leave Florence to the end.
I'd definitely not consider Cinque Terre on this trip... I think 5 and 7 years old are too young to do any great amount of walking/climbing that the Cinque Terre entails, not counting luggage.
So supposing you stay around Siena, as far as the coast goes, you can head southwest to Maremma for the beach: the ones around Follonica, Castiglione della Pescaia, Marina di Grosseto, Principina di Grosseto are particularly well suited for smaller kids. Or you can cut across through Volterra (beautiful countryside drives, so take a little longer) but get to the Livorno/Costa degli Etruschi area - here, you can head to Castiglioncello, Vada di Rosignano Marittimo, Cecina, Marina di Bibbona, Castagneto Carducci, San Vincenzo - lots of beaches!
This map here describes in general terms how the beaches change along the coast - Monte Argentario is more "upscale" like the Versilia is.
As far as accommodation for your week.... here are some suggestions around Siena:
Romitorio di Serelle
Rocca di Cispiano
San Giovanni in Poggio
These are just to get you started, if you browse around the website you can find many more ideas!
July 15, 2013, 08:08 PM
Re: 12 Days with Kids in Tuscany Need Help with Itineary
Lourdes, thanks so much. That is great advice. Yes, we are now going to just say in Florence for a few days and Siena for a wk. Unfortunately when I booked the airfare I didn't know that the Villa weekly rentals go from Aug 3~10. Some villas did suggest we stay in Florence on the 2nd and 3~10 with them and back to Florence for 10~13. But then we have to move hotels twice. And it is hard after relaxing for a wk in the countryside then go right back into the hustle of Florence.
Currently we booked the Palazzo Vecchietti in Florence from Aug 2~6 and are looking for something around Siena from 6~13 for a wk. It falls into 2 calendar wks so could be very challenging. I will check out the villas you recommended and keep exploring the site. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
And yes, we scratch the idea of Cinque Terre for all. Tuscany itself is so beautiful that 12 days won't be enough. We can just day trip to a beach town then.
Last edited by SienaDad; July 15, 2013 at 08:22 PM.
July 16, 2013, 05:49 PM
Got it, less moving around is your determining element.... so around Siena or in Siena, correct?
Many of the places with apartments will ask for week stays but the ones run as "hotels" or B&Bs will not, so there are still many options available
Several of these also often have suites or mini apartments suitable for families with sofabed for the kids.
Many offer parking as well, so you don't have to worry about having the car in Siena - while there is a ZTL area in Siena, it is within the walls. We saw the hotel Athena, for example, last time we were there and it is right along the border where the ZTL starts so you don't go into the ZTL at all. Look for those that offer parking, external areas for the kids, and that they are outside of the ZTL just so you don't have to worry about it - and you can enjoy Siena as your base for your day trips and enjoy Siena as well!
Also look further out of Siena itself as rates will fall - for example, Staggia would also be a great base and this one has availability for those dates.