Travel with kids: 10 Reasons to visit Tuscany
- Mums Tips
- Travel with kids
- Published on Friday, 26 March 2021 10:57
- Last Updated on 26 March 2021
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
In this blog London Mums’ contributor Rita Kobrak, now living at Villa Radicata in Tuscany, has shared with us the reasons why Italy should be the number one destination for our holidays once travel abroad is lifted.
If lockdown has given you and your family cabin fever and you long to be out and about with your children, book your dream family-friendly Villa and head out to the Tuscan sunshine. Here are 10 reasons to visit Tuscany.
In Tuscany, the real VIPs are the children! Italians adore children and will give your little ones the warmest of welcomes. They will always be accepted, cherished and fussed over, whether snotty-nosed, having a tantrum, crying, shouting or running around.
I remember being in a restaurant when my son was crying and the next minute the owner had taken him out of my arms and whisked him off to the kitchen to count potatoes so that we could enjoy our meal. Children are given extra bread in the bakeries and sweets in the supermarket.
How we’ve missed eating out! A trip to Tuscany allows you to immerse yourself in its full flavours.
If being cooped up in lockdown has made you adamant to try out new things, how about Truffle-filled pasta, Chestnut cake (Castagnaccio), Savoury chickpea flour cake, Panzanella Tuscan bread salad, Cantucci almond biscuits dipped in Vin Santo sweet wine, Pecorino cheese and a variety of hams and salamis to name but a few. Most of the famous Italian wines hail from Tuscany – the reds such as Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, Chianti and the whites such as Vernaccia and Vermentino.
Tuscany offers exciting activities for all ages. The latest craze is Sup Yoga (Yoga on a Paddle Board) which was colourfully demonstrated recently with a few splashes and nosedives by Bradley Walsh in Italy on ITV’s ‘Bradley and Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad’, and which can be done in beautiful Canyon Park.
This is a magical park built inside a canyon with a kids’ forest, yoga and ziplines. The choice is yours.. you could simply hike in the Tuscan hills or cycle on the many trails, paraglide in Garfagnana, windsurf on the Versilia waves, kayak on the Arno river, horse ride across the spectacular Tuscan countryside. You’ll find so many adventures waiting for you at a fraction of UK prices and without the crowds. There are 2 famous zipline parks – ‘Il Gigante’ close to Florence and also in Canyon Park, above Lucca.
Tuscany offers an array of museums for the curious minds of little ones. The interactive Leonardo da Vinci Museum is a fascinating and fun introduction to one of the greatest minds ever to have existed.
With 50 interactive inventions, you’ll be able to explain to your little ones, or in my case which my children explained to me!
Step back through time with the Multimedia Time machine experience or visit the Galileo Science Museum. Other things to do in Florence with kids include riding the Carrousel at Piazza della Repubblica, the Family Museum at Palazzo Vecchio and the best ice cream in Florence in Cafe Vivoli. From Florence it’s a short trip to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Grottoes and Caves
Everyone’s heard of the gorgeous Tuscan Hills .. but do you know what is hidden within the mountains? Stunning and surprising cave systems, complete with stalactites and stalagmites. To visit them in all their jaw-dropping beauty, seek out the grottoes in the Garfagnana area. You can also visit the Carrara marble quarries in northern Tuscany, said to be the most prolific area for marble on earth, and with one very famous customer… Michelangelo! He got the marble here for his famous Statue of David in Florence.
KNIGHTS AND CASTLES
Visit magical Anghiari, the mediaeval town famous for Leonardo’s paining of the Battle of Anghiari. The whole town looks like a castle, and if you come here in October for the Mediaeval Festival, it is like stepping back hundreds of years into history, with locals dressing up in mediaeval costumes! Close by is San Sepolcro, which holds the Palio Horse race, also transporting you centuries back in time. If it’s ghosts you’re after, try Poppi castle, close to Arezzo, where you might find the ghost of Countess Matilda, who is said to haunt the castle after she was buried alive in the tower.
Tuscany offers many choices of fabulous beaches. Popular with the jet set is Forte di Marmi, home to local Tuscan boy Andrea Bocelli. Lido di Camaiore is another lovely option, with its long beach of powdery gold sand and gorgeous views of the Apuan Alps. My favourite beach is Castiglione della Pescaia, dotted with many campsites with child-friendly facilities. However, be warned, Italians all flock to the beaches in July and August, which become crowded, and they book their deckchairs and umbrellas well in advance.
Think of style and think of Italy! Tuscany has some of the best shopping in the country. Try out ‘The Mall’ near Florence for luxury brands like Armani, Prada and Gucci at discounted prices. For affordable brands, Montevarchi near Arezzo has a playground and even a Mcdonald to occupy the little ones while you shop. Arezzo also has a famous antique market. Don’t forget to leave room in your suitcase for Tuscan specialities like leather, ceramics, marbled paper and wooden toys.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Whether it be food, shopping or entertainment, you can do all these at a fraction of UK prices. For example, families can experience the enchantment of the outdoor Pinocchio Park near Collodi, birthplace of the story of the wooden puppet, for 13 euros per adult, 8 euros per child. Or the Cavallino Matto Amusement Park, which my kids love for its many rides and rollercoasters, for 25 euros per adult and 18 euros per child, all day and for all rides. The Poppi Wildlife Park near Arezzo is only 8 euros per adult, 6.50 euros per child.
FAMILY FRIENDLY VILLAS
Family-friendly villas such as Villa Radicata in Caprese Michelangelo near Arezzo could be your perfect home-from-home experience. Great for families as you can do day trips to various attractions and then relish coming back to your private villa, to sip an aperitif whilst watching the fire flies flitting across the garden and have a mouth-watering Tuscan dinner cooked for you by our local chef.
Villa Radicata is a restored farmhouse with stunning views in the tranquillity of the Tuscan hills, within easy reach of sightseeing attractions. 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 outside dining areas, private fenced pool, garden with jungle gym and table football, plenty of games to keep kids entertained and your very own pizza oven.
Catered meals, wine tasting, pizza/pasta making lessons, yoga, massages, Italian lessons and babysitting can be arranged.
Booking details: www.holiday-villa-in-tuscany.com
0044 7983821282 (WhatsApp) or 0039 3495018679
FaceBook: Holiday in Tuscany – Villa Radicata
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums