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Venice and Florence with a 14mo - any tips?

(20 Posts)
schroedingersdodo Sun 12-Jun-11 12:37:17

Hi all,

I'm travelling to Venice and Florence in July with my 14mo DS, my DH and a childless couple. We're spending about 3 days in which city, we'll hire a car and won't take the buggy - we'll use the baby carrier all the time.

DS walks a lot and eats some adult food, but mostly eats baby food. I thought of taking all the baby food jars, nappies and wipes necessary so I don't need to buy this stuff there. Is this a sensible plan?

Is it dangerous to take a very active toddler on a gondola? Going to a glass museum or shop in Murano is a stupid idea?

Suggestions and tips will be very welcome.


Bunbaker Tue 14-Jun-11 22:44:03

Florence is a beautiful city and, unless you plan of leaving the city at some point, you won't need a car. It isn't a place that I would enjoy driving around as it is very busy and full of noisy mopeds. It will also be extremely hot. Personally I would take the buggy as both you and the baby will get too hot.

I wouldn't want to take an active child on a gondola unless you can make him sit still. There is a lot of motorboat traffic and the canals can get quite choppy. We used the water buses to get around Venice. It is much cheaper and you can see more of Venice that way. There is a Circulaire that takes you the whole way round.

Just one more thing - Beware of pickpockets. It is rife in Venice, and in Florence to a lesser extent.

BitOfFun Tue 14-Jun-11 22:45:57

Don't let him fall in a canal, and don't give him magic markers in any of the art galleries.

minikin Wed 15-Jun-11 09:52:26

Definitely take a lightweight buggy, preferably with a decent hood or canopy. It will be very hot and humid in July. Your baby will be fractious with the extra body heat in a baby carrier, your clothes will stick to your back and you will end up in a foul mood, too tired and uncomfortable to enjoy the sights or your friends' company.

Buggies are also very useful for naps while you have a leisurely meal/enjoy a museum, and he is likely to nap more and walk less because of the heat.

Nappies and wipes are more expensive in Italy so take them if you have the room. I would not bother taking much food though as long as he eats the basics (pasta, fruit, breadsticks etc.). Restaurants will also prepare plain food for children if you ask them, even if not on the menu (e.g. plain pasta with olive oil/without salt).

If you are staying in the cities why would you need a car?

frantic51 Wed 15-Jun-11 09:58:28

Agree with lightweight buggy because of climate/extra body heat etc as already mentioned. Baby wipes, nappies etc are all more expensive so take/buy there according to your budget/inconvenience of extra luggage. Don't worry about food, Italians are very welcoming of children generally and it has been my experience that restaurants are usually more than willing to concoct whatever you request for a lo. Have fun! envy grin

SofiaAmes Wed 15-Jun-11 10:09:47

Do NOT go without a buggy. Take a lightweight umbrella buggy (mclaren). Don't bother to take food with you. People in restaurants will be helpful and you will find supermarkets and baby food everywhere. You will not find a car helpful or in any way practical in either Venice or Florence. I highly recommend against it.

Rosa Wed 15-Jun-11 12:28:33

Both Florence and Venice in July will be warm and humid . A buggy is essential for reasons already stated. Line the buggy with a cotton sheet and take another one and clothes pegs to make a shade ..A buggy brolly/sunshade y is useless as everytime you turn a corner you need to move it. Make sure your ds drinks lots and lots more than you think.
Venice the main supermarkets Billa /c oop sell baby food and pureed fruit which are great . Plus you can get nappies and wipes easily.
If on arrival you go to a chemist and purchase anti mozzie repellent esep for Venice . Chicco have a child friendly brand that you can apply to teh skin. However I would also spray a muslin or again another cotton sheet with an adult - stronger brand and drape it over the buggy or ties it on the side. YOu can also get a afterbite pen suitable for little ones which is great should he get bitten. In Venice they can be beasties.
As for a gondola maybe give it a miss but he can go on the vaporetto. IN a glass shop / museum keep him strapped in the buggy !!!!
Train between the cities its far easier than driving and probably cheaper.
PM me if you want any specific info on Venice ..My Florecnce info is a bit rusty however.
Both places are very child friendly and if your ds eats pasta you are saved!

HarlotOTara Wed 15-Jun-11 12:31:16

I had a wonderful holiday in Florence when DD1 was 10months. It was wonderful because all the Italians I came across made such a fuss of my dd. She was (and is) gorgeous!!!

Have fun

frantic51 Wed 15-Jun-11 13:41:55

Oh yes, Rosa, mozzies! First class advice! smile

schroedingersdodo Wed 15-Jun-11 15:45:12

Hi all, many thanks for the advice.

The other couple is hiring the car, because they are travelling around Italy, starting in Rome. We'll be meeting them in Venice and going to Florence, and then they will continue travelling. I agree it wouldn't make sense to hire a car only for these two cities.

The thing about the buggy is that we don't have any lightweight one, only a very bulky and completely inadequate Stokke thing. But I'll think about it. Re naps, DS naps better in the carrier, and definitely behaves better in the carrier as well (gets restless in the buggy). But the sun and the heat are big concerns, let's see.

Thanks for the mozzie advice, I hadn't thought of that! (loved the technique of using one lotion in the skin and other in the muslim)

And yes, DS likes pasta, so I think we won't have too much problem with the food.

By the way, I was wondering if it's easy to buy natural yogurt in these cities and if it's safe to buy cow's milk (DS is breastfed but drinks cow's milk once in a while).

Thanks to all for the great advice!

Rosa Wed 15-Jun-11 15:57:30

natural yoghurt and milk easy ..You need latte intero which is full fat.
Pls re consider the buggy .. we have a super light mountain back pack and I use it when it is aqua alta ...and when on holidays . DD is very comfortable in it but honestly in the heat and humidity I can almost guarantee that you ds ( and the adult) will be far more comfortable with the buggy. Look on Ebay or car boot sales. I would lend you mine when you are in Venice but we are away all of July!

schroedingersdodo Wed 15-Jun-11 16:13:42

Hi Rosa, thanks for offering the buggy, that's very kind smile I'll discuss buying one with my husband. How hot you reckon it will be in July, around the 7th?

"Latte intero" - easy smile

Bunbaker Wed 15-Jun-11 19:53:39

Temperatures in Florence hover around 30 degrees in July and August. I would suggest you buy a cheap lightweight buggy. I would find carrying a rucksack uncomfortable in those temperatures let alone a baby in a carrier.

It was October when we visited and it was 23 - 25 degrees when we were there.

minikin Wed 15-Jun-11 21:52:24

Not only will temp. be in the thirties, but Florence in particular is notoriously stuffy and humid in summer. It's enclosed by hills and has no prevailing wind to provide ventilation, so can feel much more uncomfortable than coastal towns with the same temp.

Rosa's suggestions re: cotton cloths are v.good. You could use muslins, though smooth cotton pram sheets are fresher.

SofiaAmes Wed 15-Jun-11 22:22:40

Traveling in Italy with children is wonderful, but please do not even consider it without a buggy. I spent a lot of time in Italy with my kids from when they were newborns. Everyone is wonderful, but a buggy is a must. Buy a used one from the gumtree. You may even luck out and get a free one. I got a perfectly good double buggy the other day for free because someone had left it in the garden and was too lazy to clean it. It took me 20 min and my dd had a fantastic real life buggy to use for her dollies.
Has the other couple traveled in Italy with a car before. There is no place to drive in Venice and much of the center of Florence is pedestrian only too. Also driving in Italy can be very traumatic for someone not used to the style of driving (note: red lights are only considered to be suggestions by many drivers).

SofiaAmes Wed 15-Jun-11 22:23:50

Ditto on the mosquito net/spray suggestion. Also light long sleeved, legged clothing for kids and adults at night are helpful.

Rosa Thu 16-Jun-11 12:09:30

Today the temp in Venice is round 28 BUT the humiditity levels are in creasing so it actually feels much higher,Normally July is warm - I escape the city to be honest with my dds. If you are staying in the city I would sightsee early morning and late afternoons and avoid San Marco between 11-4 as teh day trippers all seem to go there and its like a public sauna !!!!

schroedingersdodo Thu 16-Jun-11 17:54:52

Blimey, I thought maybe in July it wouldn't be so hot, but if it is 28 degrees today I can only get ready...

The other couple come from Rio, in Brazil, and the traffic there is nearly as insane as the Italian, so I think it won't be as much of a shock... smile I guess they'll only use the car to go from city to city.

grumpypants Thu 16-Jun-11 17:59:01

take him to the boboli gardens in florence for a run around!

Rosa Thu 16-Jun-11 18:00:03

A wonderful breeze got up this evening so actually is lovely now!!!! We tend to get huge blocks of intense heat like a week / 10 days and then it breaks and the days after are lovely. However the weather pattern is changing so much now you never know !!!

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