In need of some downtime? Whether you’re pregnant and want one final holiday before you give birth, or if you’ve got the toddlers in tow, take a trip to Tuscany!
Jo Bounds stayed with her partner and daughter, Fawn (5), at the Hotel Monna Lisa in Florence.
Who would take their little one on an Italian city break? A previous trip to Rome, child-free, immediately made me think ‘no’. Historic buildings, yes, but also aggressive bus drivers (who knew you couldn’t buy a ticket on board!), sweaty hikes around the city and honking traffic.
So the idea of a weekend in Florence was met with trepidation. But it was my partner’s 40th birthday trip, so it was set to be a goer. Gulp. Luckily, staying in Florence, the birthplace of Italian art, and in particular the Hotel Monna Lisa, turned out to be the ideal break for both adults and offspring.
“My daughter loved the double-decker train and the fact that she could walk around and gaze out of the windows”
The hour-long train ride from Pisa airport to Florence went without drama. I even remembered to stamp our tickets at the vending machines before boarding, having being caught out on a previous trip. My daughter loved the double-decker train and the fact that she could walk around and gaze out of the windows.
Another bonus was the fact there was no need to hire a car in our small, pedestrianised destination. The taxi from the station to the Monna Lisa hotel cost just a few euros. The hotel is situated in an atmospheric side street. Our bedroom was palatial, while the restaurant overlooking a walled garden elicited ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from everyone.
“Florence proved to be perfect for a little one”
Florence proved to be perfect for a little one. Fawn could run free on monument-strewn squares and gorge on pizza and gelato, while either myself or my partner spent half an hour in a gallery or museum. The overall highlight for my daughter was the outdoor swimming pool in the grounds of an ancient villa – and the hotel breakfast. A new-found love for gourmet Italian food saw her wolfing down her body weight in slice after slice of Parma ham.
So, city breaks are back on the menu – great news for Mum and Dad.