Italy with Travel Mom Jen
Jen, husband Roger and their two boys (4 ¾ and 6 ¾) spent two weeks in Italy this summer. From Tuscany to Taormina to Rome, we sat down with Jen to hear all about it. Listen in for her itinerary and tips to help plan your adventure!
How long was your trip?
We went for two weeks for a combination of relaxing, city and beach. We flew into Milan, trained to Florence, and rented a car to start our adventure in Tuscany for relaxing, wine and food. Then we took a flight from Florence to Sicily to for 5 days of beach time in Taormina. Then flew to Rome for 4 days of a city adventure.
What made you pick these places?
We wanted a mix of experiences from mountains to beach to city and being like a local.
How did you find the information for your trip?
We used Creative Edge Travel to book two of the tours. Their focus is on making local experiences. Otherwise, we did on our own planning with referrals and talking to friends.
What was the BEST part of the trip for you?
I loved Taormina. Our Airbnb was connected to Paradise Beach Club. We spent 2 days on the beach, 1 day with a private driver to Mount Etna (did offroading to see lava) and a 1-day private boat ride and snorkeling (both booked through Creative Edge). And the adventurous sweaty 500 steps to the restaurant with Al Saraceno amazing views of the sunset, the coast, and the volcano.
What was the BEST part of the trip for the family?
We did a small cooking class at Al Gelso Bianco in Tuscany. It was a beautiful place. We made pasta with three other families. Then the adults had a wine tasting; the kids went to the park, then we all had a nice lunch.
What was the BEST part of the trip for the kids?
They loved Tuscany. We rented an apartment in an agriturismo from Kid & Coe, a site that’s great for family rentals. The owners of the agriturismo had two boys which was fun for my boys. There was a basketball court, ping pong table, pool, wifi room. There were other families with boys. At one point 7 boys were playing, and mine were learning cricket.
The place we stayed also had a babysitter, so we were able to go out to dinner 3 nights including Ristorante Albergaccio, a Michelin star restaurant in Castellina in Chianti and Ristoro di La Mole (note from Shannon: I love this restaurant, great to go for lunch to enjoy the fantastic views).
We also took the kids on the winery tour at Fonterutoli (note from Shannon: this is my favorite winery in Tuscany), and they enjoyed it.
Ristorante Albergaccio, a Michelin star restaurant in Castellina in Chianti. We did the tasting menu. It was local and not snooty. We sat outside on patio and there was even a family right next to us.
Roscioli in Rome was amazing pasta for all of us. It also has a lunch place across the street.
Top Tips and Advice
- Don’t be afraid to travel with your kids. The more you put it off the harder it will be. It makes them so much more adaptable.
- 5 days at a time in one place is key vs last trip we did where we were on the move too much.
- The Rome we did was too hard on kids, did adulty things including a 3 hour tour of the Vatican and a long tour of the Colosseum. A more kid friendly way would be to maybe do a golf cart tour or gladiator class. We just focused on seeing the major landmarks.
- Kid & Coe site for booking places to stay is a great resource.
- Got a car to drive us in Sicily vs renting a car.
Anything you missed, wished you did?
- Wish we stayed in Sicily longer.
- See a futbol/soccer match like we did in Spain.
Where would you go back to?
I definitely want to go back to Forte dei Marmi with the Alps on one side and beach on the other. We really enjoyed the beach day there.
Why do you travel with the kids?
It opens up their minds to the world and brings them into other cultures. Giving them a taste of it at a young age gives them a spirit of adventure, I always want them to have. A chance to see and connect with the world instead of just being in their bubble.
Next trip you’re planning or dreaming about?
Greece in two years. We also like to go where families are that we know so we may go to San Sebastián, Spain.