I hold a special place in my heart for Italy, the culture, food and sights are breathtaking. The country is huge and so diverse, you can return on countless trips and see something new every time. Our first time visiting we spent the majority of our time exploring Tuscany, enjoyed the beaches on east coast of the Gulf of La Spezia in Liguria, northern Italy and escaped to the beautiful quaint island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples. We went for 2 weeks in July while my daughter was 7 months old.
We flew into Bologona, and had a layover in London Heathrow, due to poor weather leaving JFK, we were delayed and missed our connecting flight. Re-booking was a nightmare, so we decided to stay the day and night in London, and explore the city.
Airport Security with a toddler: I was surprised how accommodating the security was at JFK. They sped us right through because I was solo travelling with a baby. We made it through security with no problems, they didn’t even make me take my daughter out of my baby carrier, I carried her right through in my Baby Bjorn Carrier. I have always found that by being super nice, you will be treated nicely in return. I had liquids and food, which were above the minimum, but always keep those in an easy to access Ziploc, always tell the agent you have food for the baby so they don’t flag you.
Waiting in the airport with toddler: We didn’t have to wait in the airport for very long, we arrived around 2:30 for our 6:15 flight, but it was delayed till 7:30pm. I strolled the baby around, and got her out to play before we flew. Knowing that it was an overnight flight, I put her into her sleep diaper and into pajamas before boarding.
Flying with a toddler: I have never bought a seat for my daughter, she can fly free (just pay taxes) till 2, so we are taking full advantage. We booked premium economy and I did a lot of research regarding seat placement. We had bulk head seats, and were able to have the bassinet, which made a lap infant a breeze. I nursed my daughter on the way up and down so her ears would be able to regulate, and she slept the whole flight there. On the way back we had a day flight, so she wanted to play more, with bulk head seats I was able to put a blanket down and play with her on the floor, and then she would nap. We don’t do TV or screen time for babies, so quiet toys and a well behaved child were my saving graces. Premium economy had great dinner options and drink service.
Jet lag with a toddler: My rule of thumb is to power through day one. I find babies very easy to travel with, my daughter naps anywhere and so we didn’t have to worry about a routine, or bedtime. I don’t adjust bedtime back to her American bedtime, how would you in Europe, everyone eats late. We enjoy the culture and roll with it, she usually would fall asleep in the stroller around 8pm, then I’d do dinner and transfer into the crib by 11pm. This actually makes coming back home way easier.
Naps on the go: I’m lucky that my daughter literally naps anywhere, whenever she is tired. We never have had a nap schedule, even at home, call me crazy by it just didn’t work and was never worth the fight. She naps when she is tired and literally naps anywhere!
Agenda to explore some of Italy in 2 weeks: Italy is such a large country, with so many different areas to explore, this is a country you could keep coming back to over and over again. We choose a week in Tuscany and then headed south to Ischia. I’ll dive into each area in depth, click the corresponding links to read up on each city!
- Flights to Italy- JFK – London – Bologna
- Home base in Tuscany – Uzzano
- Day trip to Montecarlo
- Day trip to Lucca & Pisa
- Day trip to Tellaro & Fiascherino
- Day trip to Azienda Agicola Casamonti
- Day trip to Buggiano & Montecatini Alto
- Ischia (4 nights)
- Rome (1 night)
Tips for travelling Italy with kids: I was impressed with how child friendly the whole country was. From the moment we landed in the country to the moment we left, I was made to feel that travelling with my daughter (7 months old) was not an inconvenience to anyone, she was welcomed everywhere with open arms. Every restaurant provided a high chair, all of our accommodations provided a cot with baby bedding and a high chair, Taxi & Uber drivers, helped get the stroller in and out of the cars, the airport staff (without us asking) let us cut the whole customs line, strollers were available free of charge in the airport from the gates to the baggage claim, everywhere I turned someone was offering a hand to make things just a little bit easier for us.
Getting around Italy: Public transportation in Europe is reliable and affordable, train systems are a great alternative to rental cars.
- Tuscany: I highly recommend a rental car, public transportation isn’t easily accessible in this region.
- Ischia: There is a great bus system, taxis are available or rent a moped. Do not use a rental car.
- Rome & Naples: Taxis or public transportation. Do not use a rental car.