Italy, Lifestyle, Little Kids, travel, Traveling With Kids, Venice

Travel To Venice With Your Little Kids

Traveling to Venice With Little KidsVenice is the ideal vacation spot for lovers and honeymooners. It is probably on every couple’s travel bucket list. Who wouldn’t want to be serenaded in a gondola under the night sky?

So now you have the money and the time to go to Italy. But you’re already past your 20s. You’re a mom or dad in your 30s or 40s and you have little kids. Do you fulfill your travel dreams or do you wait until the kids are older?

I am telling you right now that traveling with small children can be difficult, but not impossible. Here’s the good news: you can enjoy the beauty of this enchanting sinking city with your little ones! It is not going to be romantic but it can still be very exciting!  Allow me to share some tips on how to make the most out of your Venice trip with your little kids.

Go during the low season for Venice travel.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that we are an expat family living in Siena, Italy. Venice in the winter can be amazing! February is Carnevale month, and many tourists flock to Venice to enjoy the fun and festivities. Since we did not want to contend with the peak season crowd, we decided to visit Venice a couple of days after the major celebrations. Sure, we missed all the parades and floats, but we did not mind since we were still able to see the Venetian masks on display.  I encourage you to go during the low season to save money and to avoid the crowd.

Venetian Masks on DisplayVenetian Dottore MasksLeon Chasing Pigeons

 Pack like a pro…and nurse on the go.

It is a good idea to put everything you need in one bag.  A versatile and ergonomic backpack is a travel must-have.We used my husband’s Kelty Redwing backpack for all our personal belongings and documents, including the baby stuff (diapers, wipes, clothes, snacks, water, etc.). I know that is close to impossible when you have a baby and a toddler but we had to do our best to bring only the essentials. If you are a nursing mom like me, just bring your nursing cover (if you use one) and skip the bottles and accessories. Just nurse on the go.

We also brought our Ergobaby carrier to carry Lucas around and our Brevi stroller for Leon. Also, bring a stroller organizer with a detachable wristlet like the Merry Milestones stroller organizer. We used the stroller on the day of our check-in and on the first day of our tour. The next day, however, we decided to leave the stroller at the hotel because Venice has plenty of bridges and stairways. Personally, it is good to have a lightweight stroller like the Brevi stroller, but once you are at your hotel, I would advise you to just leave your stroller there.

Travel with a friend who is good with kids.

I am so grateful that my husband’s buddy joined us on our trip. An extra set of hands is a huge blessing!  He was the official “juice carrier” and “snack bae” at one point. He was also the “official family photographer”! I returned the favor by taking his pictures as well.

Bellissimamma, Lucas, Babbo, and Leon

Take the train.

If you are already coming from Italy, it is best to take the train! We took the train from Florence to Venice. Check the Italotren’s website for information on how to get to Venice from your current location. You will love the Florence train station because there are coffee shops, snack bars, restaurants, and stores everywhere. It is common to pay to use public restrooms in Italy. It costs 1 euro to use the train station’s restroom. You can also use the restrooms inside restaurants if you are a customer.

Italotren has comfortable seats, vending machines, restrooms and free Wifi. It is not uncommon for trains to be late in Italy, so just go with the flow and maybe have some coffee at the standing bar while waiting.

Day 16: Play #familyfunfeb #travelingwithkids #granadventure @drpuneetsekhon @okokami

A post shared by Bellissimamma (@thebellissimamma) on

 

Book accommodations near the Grand Canal.

Venice

I recommend Romantic House at Calle dela Lona Onesta, Cannaregio. On the outside, it looks like a typical ancient-looking Italian building. But you will be pleasantly surprised to see that the interior is new and very modern.  It is fully-furnished (flat-screen TV, refrigerator, dishwasher, bathroom and kitchen supplies). It has free Wi-Fi too! It is close to the Grand Canal, Piazza S. Marco, and Ponte Rialto. Remember to bring your TRAVEL DOCUMENTS (e.g. passports, residence cards) because you need to present them upon checking in.

Cannaregio is a busy street with lots of souvenir shops and restaurants. It is also within walking distance from the deck where you rent a Gondola. St. Mark’s Basilica is a half kilometer away. The Ca’ d’ Oro station is only 0.2 kilometers away, while the Venice Santa Lucia Train Station is only 1.1 kilometers away. The COOP supermarket is also within the vicinity.

You can really have a comfortable stay at The Romantic House. I think the best part of my vacation was taking a nice, warm shower while my husband and our friend looked after the kids! By the way, there are decorative pieces such as vases and figurines inside the vacation home, so it is best to put those things in a safe place away from active babies and toddlers.

Eat at family-friendly restaurants.

You can enjoy a decent lunch at Tappa Obbligatoria, which was located on Sestiere Cannaregioa street near our hotel. The server was very accommodating. You can choose to get a table inside the restaurant so the kids will be more comfortable. My toddler enjoyed his Pasta Carbonara, and he finished his plate! I also recommend their Pizza Margherita. My husband and his friend both had beers. They also have a menu option that already includes coffee.

Espresso

The next morning we had an early lunch at Burger King. Please do not judge me for eating fast food. Leon loves chicken nuggets and it has been ages since I had a Whopper Burger and Onion Rings. They had high chairs and a restroom, which you can use only if you are a customer. The restroom can be improved if it were cleaner.

Go With The Flow.

Did we get to ride a gondola? No, we didn’t, it was raining on the day we were supposed to go. But, it is okay. We just took a stroll in the piazza and enjoyed the picturesque views. Did we go out for late night drinks at the Venice Jazz Club? No, we just bought our own prosecco and cheese from Coop and “wined and dined” at the vacation home.  The key to a successful vacation with your little kids is to not “sweat the small stuff” and to keep the bucket list short. For us, it is enough to visit The Grand Canal, The Rialto, and San Marco for our weekend trip. Leon chased some pigeons, and that already made his day. We are definitely going back to experience more things in the city, and maybe finally get to ride the gondola!

Venice in the RainLeon and Babbo (Venice, Italy)

 

It is not easy being a parent, and you are doing a great job even if things don’t go out the way you planned. Someday your babies will get older and you will get to more fun things and activities that you can manage. Just enjoy the moments that you have with your children while they are still young.

Tired but fulfilled!

 

Have you ever been to Venice? Any tips on traveling with small children? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!


Read Next: 14 Tips for Disneyland First-timers

Lucy At Home

Lifestyle, Little Kids, Traveling With Kids

San Gimignano: What To Do In One Day

Make The Most Out Of Your Vacation in Tuscany

*This post has affiliate links.

Are you looking for day trips from Siena or Florence? You must visit San Gimignano, an Italian hilltown in Tuscany, Southwest of Florence.

San Gimignano, Italy
San Gimignano

How To Get There

My husband, my toddler, and I took a direct bus from Piazza Gramsci in Siena. It takes around one a half hours to get there. On the return trip, we took the afternoon bus from San Gimignano to Poggibonsi, then transferred to a Siena-bound bus from there. The reason why we did this was the direct bus (San Gimignano-Siena) will leave at 7:00 P.M., which was far too late for us considering that we were traveling with small kids. Check the bus schedule in advance so you can plan your trip accordingly.

San Gimignano, Italy

Traveling With Small Children

Traveling with kids requires patience and preparation, and my husband and I like to keep things as simple as possible. We made sure to bring our Brevi stroller and our Ergobaby carrier. We also brought bottled water, light snacks, and a backpack-type diaper bag. A portable stroller organizer such as the Merry Milestones Stroller Organizer helps a lot! Also, keep your itinerary short and simple. You do not have to visit all the places in one day. Just choose three or four places to visit and enjoy the day.

Places To See in San Gimignano

The moment we stepped off the bus, we saw a street musician cranking an old school music machine, which my toddler really loved! We spent the day walking on the cobblestone streets while checking out the local shops. For lunch, we had a slice of pizza from one of the local pizzerias.

The highlights of our trip were the Piazza della Cisterna (a medieval square), the Torre del Diavolo (“the devil’s tower”), and the Sant’Agostino Church. My two-year-old was fascinated with the human skeleton outside the Museo della Tortura (Museum of Torture) because he was still on Halloween-mode in spite of the Christmas festivities at that time.

 

Have you been to San Gimignano, Italy? Tell me some of the highlights of your trip! Or, if you are planning on going there and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments section and I will try my best to help you out.

 

Finally, are you planning a Trip to Italy with the kids? Check out my travel tips:

Pisa With Small Children

Venice With Small Children

Florence With Small Children

Siena With Small Children

 

 

 

 


Lifestyle, Little Kids, travel, Traveling With Kids

Best Tips For Your Family’s 1-Day Trip to Florence

Traveling to Florence with Kids

Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

Are you thinking of traveling to Florence with your family? Are you excited to explore one of the most beautiful cities in Italy with your little ones?

I am Mamma Carmela, a mom of two boys living in a Tuscan town called Siena. Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture (Florence Travel Guide). Read on to find out what you can do in Florence for one day if you are traveling with small children.

Florence, Italy

Florence Weather in November

We went to Florence in November of 2017. The weather is moderately cold, or “sweater weather”. Wear a light jacket if you are used to the cold weather. If you are coming from a country where the weather is generally warm, bring a heavier jacket.

What We Brought With Us

To carry my baby, I used the Ergobaby carrier. We used the Britax stroller for my toddler. However, I do not recommend bringing this heavy and bulky stroller to Florence, as there are narrow streets and ramps are not always available. Bring a light umbrella stroller such as the Brevi stroller instead. You should bring a stroller organizer such as the Merry Milestones stroller organizer. I recommend that you bring a backpack-type of diaper bag such as the Color diaper bag because it is easier to carry around.

 

Taking the Bus from Siena to Florence

If you are traveling with small children, always prioritize comfort. I have a two-year-old and a baby, and taking the bus is the best option because we can sit comfortably and I can nurse on the go. We took the Firenze Rapida (fast bus to Florence) from Piazza Gramsci to the Florence Bus Station. The cost is 7.80 euros one-way. You can buy tickets from the Tabacco Shop (with the letter T) or at the main ticket station located underground. The bus ride took around 1 and a half hours. Another option you can do if you missed the fast bus is to go on a regular bus. You need to know that the regular bus to Florence has more stops and takes longer to get there. (Another option: take the train.)

Arrival in Florence

When we arrived in Florence, I noticed that there were a lot of tourists. Keep an eye on your belongings and your children. We went to the public restroom right away. There is a diaper changing area in the public restroom. Also, bring coins because you will need to pay 0.60 euros to use the restroom. Since we got hungry after the bus trip, we also had coffee and pastries at the bar located at the bus station. It is a good idea to get snacks and drinks before your tour because you will be walking a lot in the city.

Exploring Florence

Florence is an exciting city for kids and parents alike! For this particular day trip, we decided to keep our itinerary simple. Traveling with small children can be very exhausting, so it is best to keep things short but sweet.

Santa Maria dela Novella
Santa Maria dela Novella

These are the places we visited (in order):

  1. Santa Maria dela Novella: This is the closest cathedral to the main railway station. Take a family photo in front of the church.
  2. Piazza Santa Croce: This is a plaza located in the central neighborhood. Here you can see the “city in action”.
  3. Florence Cathedral: The main church of Florence, located at Piazza del Duomo. You will be amazed at its magnificent structure and art.
  4. Piazza della Republica: Leon had a fantastic time riding on the carousel at the square!
  5. Piazza della Signoria: This is a square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Leon enjoyed chasing the pigeons. Here you can find “living statues”. My toddler enjoyed interacting with the “pope”!
  6. Mercato del Porcellino: This is a marketplace where you can find the statue of the bronze pig. My toddler enjoyed touching the pig’s snout!
  7. The Disney Store: This store is located at Via del Calzaiuoli. It is always a good idea to stop by a Disney store. Leon enjoyed seeing his favorite Disney characters.
  8. Piazzale Michelangelo: A square with a panoramic view of Florence. This is a great place to take a picture of the entire city of Florence. Leon and Lucas enjoyed hanging out at the fountain area. This is a good place to stop for coffee or hot chocolate!

We did a walking tour of the places I mentioned above. The only time we took the city bus was when we visited the Piazzale Michelangelo. We visited other places such as the Ponte Vecchio (“Bridge of Gold”) at a different date. After taking photos at the viewpoint, we took the city bus back to the bus station and took the 5:20 P.M. back to Siena.

Photos of Florence:

Dante Alighieri

As my family was exploring the streets of Florence, we saw this marble statue of the famous Renaissance poet Dante Alighieri. I named my second son after him (Lucas’s first name is Dante). Seeing Dante’s sculpture reminded me of his quote: “My course is set for an uncharted sea.” Leaving the Philippines and living in Italy is probably beginning of my family’s grand adventure. Michelangelo once said: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Our family moved to Italy to carve out a new life for ourselves. It is not easy to move out of our comfort zone to a place where the culture and language are unfamiliar. We have yet to learn the Italian way, as life here is very different from the Philippines and the U.S.A. But then again, we are lifelong learners!

 

 

Ponte Vecchio

I bought this Michelangelo-inspired umbrella from a souvenir stand. I liked this picture overlooking Ponte Vecchio. The two angels remind me of Leon and Lucas, my two precious little boys.

 

Topolino (Mickey Mouse) at The Disney Store

Have you ever been to Florence? Share your travel tips in the comments section!

*This post was originally part of Cee’s Photo Challenge and was originally called “Carve and Set Free”

Read Next: Traveling To Venice With A Baby and A Toddler

Lucy At Home