Toscana (Tuscany) and Roma (Rome)

Country: 
Kids: 
13 years
4 years
3 years
Author: 
Parent
Date: 
2013-03-25 to 2013-03-29
Description: 

Our first destination for the spring school break was Česky Krumlov in Czech Republic, but the terrible weather condition forced us to change destination in the last minute. Looking around where we can easily arrive with car within 5-6 hours drive, and that the weather is acceptable, it turned out that the nice places on the Tirrenian sea (North-West Italy) is the best solution. In the end, its better to avoid snow and icy weather with little kids (unless you are going for skiing) and to go where the weather is much prettier. We decided to go to the Tuscany mainly to visit Cinqueterre and Florence. But the weather has mind of its own, so we had to adapt ...

DAY 1 (Marina di Pietrasanta)

Start of our journey wasn't nice. We saw on the official auto club web pages that a part of highway in our county is closed as a result of strong wind, and generally very bad weather, so we decided to go around using another route through Slovenia that passes close to Ljubljana. The weather still hasn't spared us. The rich snow was falling with strong wind and the road was partly icy. My husband and I was looking each other and thinking how smart is to continue the trip with children in such a poor weather conditions. We couldn't say that we didn't knew weather forecast. :(

The voyage through Slovenia was really difficult and slow due to bad weather conditions, so we really hoped that it will start to get better while we drive more southern through Italy. But, in Italy there were new problems waiting for us. Several traffic accidents delayed us for several hours. It was raining heavily and the wind was quite strong, and we were doing the only possible thing - sitting in the car and waiting when our kids will go wild of boredom. Should we also mention that we had an issue with the circuit breaker that prevented to power up traveling TV sets, so that kids couldn't watch their cartoons?

When we finally saw Florence, after nine hours of driving, the sun was shining and we were so happy that we need to put our sunglasses. Is it possible that we have gone through all weather conditions in one single day?

I should emphasize few things:

  • it's always good to have several sandwiches, extra water bottles and dry cookies ready since you never know when you will spend some time stucked in the traffic, and your kids are thirsty and hungry exactly when you don't have possibility to buy anything,
  • kids songs and audio fairytales can always be very handy if you sing in the car and ease your waiting time,
  • games of guessing thing that other players have imagined are superb for all passengers and relaxation of eventual tensions and nervousness.

Riviera Residence, Marina di Pietrasanta

It's not that I am glorifying my kids :) ,but they were really extraordinary good for all ten hours of traveling without weeping and nervousness. I was very proud of them.

The place where we've rented our apartment is called Marina di Pietrasanta. The place is dominated by the kilometers wide beach with lot of apartments and hotels stretched along it. Our apartment was quite large (57 sqm) and very comfortable for five of us.

Beach, Marina di PietrasantaI prefer to stay in apartment then into the classic rooms, because it's quite easier to prepare something in the kitchen that my kids like (like soup) without need to go to the nearby restaurants. We were very happy to find out that there is really large and well stuffed Super Store just few hundred meters from our apartment.

Our first night didn't really went well, since first our younger daughter threw up during the night, and only couple of hours after that our son did too. I spent some time laying in bad and thinking what they eat during the day, and it turned out that it was probably Muffins that we bought in the Super Store because it was only food that only two of them actually have eaten.

DAY 2 (Livorno)

Small Venice, LivornoNew Forth, LivornoTerazza Mascagni, LivornoWhile we were still exhausted from yesterdays driving, and all happening through the night, we've started new day in good mood. The kids were feeling much better and that was the most important thing. The rain was slowly falling but enough to prevent our visit to beach in front of our apartment. We've decided to visit nearby Livorno, just few tens of kilometers south of us, where we saw that there are some curious buildings, channels and forts. We spent some time here, but the rain started to fall more abundantly. Our impression was that this harbor town (from where car ferries sail to Corsica and Sardinia) has much touristic possibilities, but it looked so uncared that it was really pity. The old fort in the center with water-filled channels resembled somewhat to Venice (hence the quarter name is Venice) and could be really touristicly used, but only if they were more maintained. The only nicer place that we saw, and that looked properly maintained was the promenade by the sea (Terazza Mascagni) by the Aquarium.

The rest of the day we spent playing and running with the kids, collecting sea shells, looking at jelly fishes that sea has thrown on the beach. We could imagine thousands of sunshades that were probably installed here during the summer and used by thousand swimmers. The time has flown away, and the night fall down in no time. Second day was gone.

DAY 3 (Rome - Roma, Vatican )

Spanish Steps, RomeOur first plan for this day was to visit nearby National Park of Cinqueterre that consist of five coastal villagers, but the weather forecast discouraged us. We often use Norwegian site called yr.no that really proved to have best forecast as far as we know. So we decided to change our destination for today and to go to the Rome instead, what wasn't really planned for this trip. It proved that the forecast was very precise, and we were welcomed to the Rome by the sun and 20 degree Celsius, so we actually didn't mind that we had to travel 360 km to come here.

 

Fontana di Trevi, Rome

Since we had to drive almost four hours in each direction, I was not sure how our kids will be able to handle all the trouble of visiting all the attractions of this glorious city. So we've decided to prepare very well and to choose only top four attractions that we will be able to visit in such short time. We knew very well where to park our car, and it was so close to the Spagna metro station from where we could go around with the underground. That really eased our moving around the Rome. We've visited the Colosseum, Fori Romani, Fontana di Trevi, Spanish Steps (near Piazza di Spagna) and Vatican. The city was crowded with tourists event in this early spring time. Ofcourse, it was just few days before Easter, so probably some of the tourists arrived here to spend Easter in Rome.

Foro Romano, RomeColosseum, RomeThe Spanish Steps were just few minutes walk from our car park, so we've decided to walk there. They were full of young people just sitting around, talking and taking pictures in beautiful sunny weather. From there we walked down towards the Fontana di Trevi, another few minutes walk. This enormous fountain keeps you astonished for several minutes. The place was so crowded that we couldn't find space to take picture easily. Then we walked down toward the Colosseum along the Fori Romani (remainings of the old Rome), where we had to wait for some twenty minutes for the tickets, but it was nothing compared with the delight of our kids with this large arena. If you include few modified ancient stories about gladiators and lions, your kid will be occupied with them for several hours.

St. Peters Basilica, Vatican

From there we took the underground (Metro station is just near the Colosseum) towards the Vatican city. We had to change line on the central station (Termini) but it all went without surprises. We were worried a little how we will travel in crowded underground with kids, but it turned all very well since this was the first time that they were in one. We highly recommend to purchase daily combined BUS / METRO ticket (it's called BIG in Rome) that is valid not for 24 hours but until midnight for all buses and metro lines for unlimited rides. Kids under 10 years don't need a ticket.

First ride in undergorund, Rome

In Vatican I've expected to see more people that actually were there, but that our life easier since our kids could happily run around the St. Peters square. We also have visited the St. Peters basilica that was so impressive. Since it was just few days until Easter, there were preparations going on to celebrate the most important Catholic holiday.

Against all my doubts, the kids were superb, happily visiting all the new things, delighted to ride the underground. We came back during the night hours to our apartment but we were so content and tired.

DAY 4 (Florence - Firenze)

Cathedral (Il Duomo), FlorenceOld Bridge (Ponte Vechio), FlorenceThe weather forecast has defined our further routes through Italy. For today we had the best weather in Florence, so we went there. This town has left me textless, I was so amazed by the architecture and the feeling of ancient times all over the place. Our older daughter was more impressed with Rome, but for me and my husband Florence was the first choice, so we decided to come back some time and spend more days here, visiting all museums and galleries. Lot of well known Italian artist and scientists like Michellangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei have left distinctive trace in this town. The old part of the town is protected as a Word Heritage by UNESCO. We've visited the Cathedral (Duomo) that was abundantly decorated from outside, and surprisingly humble inside, the ancient bridge (Ponte Vecchio) and lot of beautiful squares. Kids were not ready to wait in lines to enter museums, so as I said - we shall come back some other time. The river Arno is dividing the town in two halves, so there are so many bridges over it. Unfortunately we were somewhat tired so the visit to the castle on the hill was out of question :) . I would like to highly recommend visit to this town!

DAY 5 (Padua - Padova)

PaduaInside St. Anthony Basilica Closter, PaduaThis was the last day of our vacations and our visit here. We stopped at the town of Padova that was like on half our ride back home. We have visited three attractions in Padova during our really short visit: The Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, prominent central square (Piazza Prato della Valle) and the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua.

The entrance to the Cathedral was unfortunately closed, so we just had opportunity to walk around. The exterior view was quite different from the Cathedral in Florence, since this one had very simple brick walls.

The beautiful park with the fountain in the middle (Piazza Prato della Valle) of the old part was very nice to see, and our kids freely walked and ran around it.

The most impressive thing here was the Basilica of St. Anthony, a well known Catholic saint which hold his remainings. We saw the relics of the saint and enjoyed the peacefulness of this place. Recommended for visit.

The voyage home went without any problems, with fair weather conditions. We've traveled more than 2500 km in total during the entire voyage. It was a really nice spring break even if we didn't had possibility to visit Cinqueterre, one of the place that we've planned to visit from the beginning. We will do it next time.

Gallery: 
Riviera Residence, Marina di Pietrasanta
Beach, Marina di Pietrasanta
Small Venice, Livorno
New Forth, Livorno
Terazza Mascagni, Livorno
Spanish Steps, Rome
Fontana di Trevi, Rome
Foro Romano, Rome
Colosseum, Rome
St. Peters Basilica, Vatican
First ride in undergorund, Rome
Cathedral (Il Duomo), Florence
Old Bridge (Ponte Vechio), Florence
Padua
Inside St. Anthony Basilica Closter, Padua
Places: 
Article Type: 
In-Person Impressions

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