Italy has it all – a rich history with fashion, art, architecture and let’s not forget about the food! The European country is perfect for romantic getaways and solo parent family travel. In this article you will discover a long weekend itinerary for the Tuscan cities of Pisa & Florence.
Before reading my itinerary, find out some useful information about travelling in Europe…
DRIVING IN EUROPE
EU car seat regulations state that a child under the age of 12 years old cannot travel as a front seat passenger. Children under 1.35m must use appropriate equipment when travelling in cars or lorries, including taxis. (Source) You can book taxis with car seats in advance for airport transfers but I prefer to bring our own travel car seats that are compliant with EU regulations. The mi-fold travel seat is lightweight and compact, the children can carry these themselves in their backpacks when we travel.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotels or serviced apartments. I recently learned about the negative impact of AirBnBs on local communities and will no longer be recommending them as an accommodation option. You can read more about it here.
DISCRIMINATION IN EUROPE
As a multi-ethnic family we have experienced our fair share of racism and discrimination when travelling. I believe that transparency is important for families to make safe, informed travelling decisions. Before choosing a travel destination, I would highly recommend researching other people’s experiences so that you are at the very least prepared for potentially negative encounters. That being said, you will find that 95% of the time people are friendly, helpful and excited to share their country and culture with you.
A Long Weekend in Italy: Florence & Pisa Itinerary
Day 1: Pisa – Florence
We flew into Pisa and immediately took a train to Florence to check into our accommodation. It was late, so we picked up a few supplies for dinner and breakfast from a local supermarket that was still open.
**Travel Tip: Make sure you validate your train ticket. There are little machines located on the train platforms, obvious to locals but less obvious to tourists!**
Day 2: Ponte Vecchio & Palazzo Vecchio
Our accommodation overlooked Ponte Vecchio, a medival stone bridge over the Arno river, known for the shops built along it. The children loved walking over the bridge every morning. Walk over Ponte Vecchio to Palazzo Vecchio, an impressive building that words and images cannot do justice. You must visit in person to truly appreciate how amazing it is. Steeped in history, it truly is a reflection (I believe) of the city of Florence. Spend the afternoon exploring the city and soaking up the atmosphere, also the perfect opportunity to do a spot of shopping and bribe the children with gelato.
Day 3: Leonardo Da Vinci Interactive Museum & Gucci Garden
Spend the morning at the Leonardo Da Vinci Interactive Museum, there are multiple displays that allow children to touch and manipulate some of Da Vinci’s inventions as well as have a go at making their own! There is even a virtual reality section for a truly immersive/interactive experience. In the afternoon we visited Gucci Garden, a museum dedicated to the iconic Italian fashion house with dazzling exhibits – a must see for museum lovers and fashionistas alike.
**Travel Tip: Look for kid-friendly/interactive museums when travelling. It keeps them occupied while still learning a little about the local history/culture/notable people.**
Day 4: Florence – Pisa
Our last day was an afternoon flight from Pisa, so we took an early train in order to squeeze in a visit (and photo op) to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World (Source). We had lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the square before taking our flight home.
**Travel Tip: Bring colouring/activity sheets of local sights & crayons to keep kids occupied at restaurants.**