My husband and I are heading to Italy for 2 weeks this summer with our baby who will by 4-5 months old at the time. We are very active and outdoorsy people (we like the city and the countryside) but we are first time parents and want to try to have a safe trip with our little girl, e.g., if she's in a car or bus we need to have functioning seat belts for her car seat. We live in Europe so jet lag is not a factor. Any ideas or suggestions are most welcome!
My husband and I are also traveling with our baby to Italy this summer (she'll be 6 months when we travel), and I too would love to hear ideas and suggestions for traveling with a baby in Italy! A few specific questions that I have....Does anyone know if babies are required to be secured in a car seat in trains and taxis in Italy? Also, do you need a separate train ticket for an infant if she sits in a parent's lap? Do any of the major museums/sites (Uffizi, etc.) in Florence require a ticket for an infant? Is it taboo to bring an infant to a restaurant at dinner time? Thank you!
My suggestion would be to leave the little darling with grandma and grandpa. Seriously, at that age, touring museums is just not that enjoyable for anyone - the parents, the babies and the other visitors to the museum! Italy in July is hot and very crowded in the larger cities (Rome, Florence and Venice) and is not conducive to strollers. As an "active" person, you may feel very constrained by the slower pace you will have to adopt with a baby so I would give that strong consideration. At that age, your baby will not be sleeping quite as much and will not be content to be in a stroller To assume that your baby will happily nap while you are sightseeing is perhaps wishful thinking (I have two grown kids and just returned from visiting my 5 1/2 month old niece). Your child might... and then again might very well not. If you are determined to bring your baby with you, I would recommend centering your vacation outside of the major cities - for example rent a car and then a house/villa in Tuscany. Spend your days exploring and taking walks, visit the weekly open air market and relax in the afternoon while the baby is napping. In other words, try and keep to relatively the same schedule you'd have at home.
Love my kids & my grandchildren, but I support Nancy's suggestion.
Hi Alison and Megan, We went for a month in 2010 with our daughter who was 5 months old. You do not need a car seat for taxis or trains, nor will your baby require a ticket. Italians are wonderful with babies and probably no matter where you go, you will be treated like royalty. Many times we were ushered in special entrances so we didn't have to wait in line (at the Vatican, the coliseum, etc.). We had waiters who even picked up our daughter and held her while we ate! I can't count how many times we heard someone say 'piccola bambina'! I would suggest making sure you have a lightweight stroller that reclines fully. We would often get our daughter ready for bed, put her in the stroller and then go out for dinner with her while she slept in the stroller (Italians eat late). You will most likely need to carry your stroller up the stairs on the metro. We also took a baby carrier which also came in handy. Trains don't have change tables, as I discovered (they do here). We rented apartments half of the time during our trip and that was ideal. Plus then we could do laundry. I used Home Away to find rentals. I found the hotel rooms with a baby to be very confining and you will spend more time in your room than you would have pre-baby. Much better to have the apartment. Then you have the option to do dinner in if need be. Bring any medication you might need for fever or teething as your baby might need it while on the trip and you don't want to have to figure that out in a rush. I think you can only buy that stuff at the pharmacia which aren't open late. We had a wonderful trip and I'd recommend it. We are attempting it again this September with our daughter who is now three. That will be another adventure!
At the age of five-months, traveling with a baby is doable. The suggestion of trying and keeping your same schedule is a good one. Do your routine, and then pepper in the sight-seeing during the "play" times. Give your baby opportunities to move around, so go to the museum for an hour, and then play in the park, etc. for an hour. The stroller is a must, but please have the ability to fully protect your child from the sun. Saw so many babies when in Italy last week just baking in the sun while napping/sitting in their stroller. The baby carrier is a good idea, but be very careful with it if hot as it is very easy for a baby to overheat in those things. I suppose use it mostly for air conditioned places. We found that even indoors, sights were not at all air conditioned, and at times, just as warm as the outside weather.
I say do it, especially since you are there already. Seeing a child strapped into a car seat, bus, etc. was rare. The taxis had seat belts, but did not notice them on buses and trains. Have fun!
Have a great trip with your baby! Italians expect to see babies and young children in restaurants and museums, you'll be fine and will probably get tons of special attention. You will not have to buy tickets for her on trains or in museums, etc. Some restaurants have changing tables in the ladies' rest rooms, have never seen one on a train.
There was a similar thread about this same subject recently: https://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm/rurl/topic/106384/paris-and-florence-with-a-1-year-old.html
I'm convinced our daughter is great traveler because she's traveled all her young life, including Italy when she was five months old. She was treated like a rock star!
So, is the question whether or not there will be seat belts for her car seat? Are you renting a car? There were always plenty of seatbelts in all my European rental cars, but I was not hooking in a car seat. Be sure to check with rental company on specifics, and I know some do rent car seats as well. Just take the same carriers, stroller, etc. that make your baby happy at home and I am sure you will have a great trip:) and never fear, if you want a ton of unsolicited parenting advice you can get that here:))
" Any ideas or suggestions are most welcome!" This was the original request & I made a suggestion.
Alison is looking for tips and suggestions for a 'safe trip'. They live in Europe so they already know about traveling there. Their situation is no different than an American family taking their baby on a road trip (or flying) to a vacation destination in the States. Thousands of families do that routinely every summer in both the U.S. and Europe. Have a great trip, Alison!
With a baby, I would spend time in nature rather than in the city. I would give priority to countryside (Tuscany?) or alto ADIGE (Dolomites). When I was that age my parents took me for a two week trip in selva Val Gardena. Nice fresh and clean air + so much fresher. I would really be scared taking a baby in Rome in August. It's a killer for an adult, can you imagine what I'd be like for a baby?!