My husband and I are traveling to Italy with our 1.5-year-old this November. We fly into Florence, arriving at 6:00pm, I know we will be very tired when we arrive and I am looking for the most efficient/quickest way to get to our hotel near the Duomo. We will be renting a car for most of our trip and have decided to bring our baby car seat from home. I was wondering if anyone is familiar with whether or not any taxis will allow us to install the car seat for the trip into Florence. Also, are there likely to be a variety of sizes of taxis as we will also be bringing a relatively large stroller with us. I have considered arranging for a limo service to pick us up so we can make these arrangements ahead of time but the price is more than double that of a taxi. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
Chris, I can't answer your specific question but I would like to make sure that you are aware of and have planned for the dreaded ZTLs which abound in that part of the country (and their sky high fines) and IDPs for all drivers, as well as all the other usual caveats about driving in Italy? If not to any of the above please post and we will fill you in... In the UK taxis are exempt from the car seat law. Can't speak for Tuscany.
Thank you for asking about my knowledge of driving in Italy, it's nice to know people are looking out for us. I've been doing a lot of research on driving in Italy so I feel pretty well prepared. We will be spending most of our time in the countryside and will take public transportation whenever we venture near large towns/cities.
I checked the letter of the law and taxis would be exempted from that requirement. In that case the baby would need to seat in the back seat with another passenger over the age of 16. http://www.testolegge.com/codice-strada/articolo-172-2 However if you have a seat with you, I'm sure they'll let you install it in the taxi. Considering that you'll arrive at 6:00 pm, i.e. in full rush hour (unless it's a Sunday), you'll be lucky if your taxi will be able to go faster than 30 km/h between the airport and the Duomo. So the baby could probably be safe enough in the back seat with one of the parents for the taxi trip. Regarding the ability to fit a stroller, although some taxis in Florence may be small :) http://blog.firenzelodging.it/taxis-in-florence-where/ most from the two main taxi companies in Florence will be able to accommodate your needs, therefore no need for a limo: http://aziende.virgilio.it/0554242-socota-societa-cooperativa-tassisti (click on 'foto') or http://www.conventionbureau.it/servizio/it/meeting---br--planner-guide/trasporti/co.ta.fi---cooperativa-tassisti-fiorentini.shtml
We did the same trip as you this month with a 18 month and three and a half year old. Many of the taxis at the airport would have held an American stroller, you just might have to wait a minute if the front of the line one isn't a hatchback style. They will likely have no issues as long as you know ow to belt it in. I wouldn't plan on using the Latch system. We found the Italians to be very friendly and child tolerant. They have a very low birth rate in Italy and you see far fewer little ones than in the US.
It's been a couple of years since I had to research child car seat laws, but at that time, the EU had different regulations on car seat, and most/all U.S. car seats were not certified to be used in the EU. (As I recall, the biggest difference I noticed had to do with having an anchor tether.) You might want to check on that requirement. Honestly, I can't imagine that you'd be stopped by the police and ticketed because you were using a non-complying car seat, but in the event there was a traffic accident, it might come into question. In any event, it's something you should confirm.
Just an FYI - in easily 1/3 of all European taxis I've been in, I never found a seatbelt... If I found the belt, then the receptacle was nowhere to be found. Just for kicks, I'd spend the entire ride searching for the missing part(s)...so it wasn't a mere 15 second perusal. Many of the ones that did have all of its parts we're either too tight or too slack, and they resisted all efforts to adjust them. YMMV, though. Good luck! And if you're planning to bring a stroller, bring the one with large wheels - much more cobblestone-friendly.