Written by Arlene Harris for The Daily Mail
Ticking all the boxes on a family holiday is a hard thing to do so imagine Arlene Harris surprise as staying with Tuscany Now & More provides again and again.
A family holiday that will keep parents, teens and younger siblings happy is not the easiest thing to organise, but from gelato-making to fun campsites, our writer found that Italy ticks all the boxes.
Finding a holiday destination which appeals to all the family can be tough – particularly when children have become teenagers and are no longer content to simply splash about in a pool all day long, happy in the knowledge that ice-cream will be on the agenda at some point throughout the day.
My two eldest boys are in their mid to late teens while, at 12, my youngest is just at the cusp. So when planning our annual family vacation, I have to look beyond the lure of kids’ clubs and unlimited soft drinks. Last year we took our trio of boys backpacking around Europe and despite the fact that there was a lot of time spent on trains and plenty of last-minute repacking stress, the month- long trip was an outstanding success.
This, I believe, was down to the fact that there was never any time for anyone to get bored, the scenery was changing by the day and there were so many experiences packed into each stop that looking back, the trip seems to have lasted for months rather than weeks. This year, we were slightly more pressed for time, so decided not to haul our belongings all the way around Europe, but instead to limit ourselves to one area. We decided on Italy.
As my eldest is 18, I was delighted that he wanted to come with us again so tried to ensure that he had opportunity to do his own thing if he so desired or join us on whatever excursion or relaxation we had planned. We started in Bologna, a gorgeous city with beautifully preserved medieval architecture and a very accessible city centre. Our first couple of nights were spent in an apartment on the suburbs which was a ten-minute bus ride from all the major sights while boasting its own fantastic local restaurants, parks and riverside walks.
Fresh from school and university, the boys were content to just wander around while we soaked up the atmosphere, people-watched and debated over the best places to go for drinks and evening meals. After a leisurely two days, we boarded a train and headed to Siena – another stunning city which, despite the hordes of tourists, was easy to navigate and explore via the narrow streets and impressive squares.
Here we had chosen to stay on a campsite, a five-minute bus ride from the centre. This proved a great success with everyone because after an afternoon walking around the majestic cathedral, the civic museum and the wonderfully tranquil botanical gardens, it was sheer bliss to dive into our pool and retire to the small terrace of our wooden cabin. The older boys were particularly pleased as they had a cabin to themselves so could chill out without being told o for leaving their socks on the floor. We spent a further day enjoying the cultural and gastronomic sights of Siena before jumping on board another train and heading south to Florence. Here we were going to be living in the lap of luxury in a four-bedroom villa with its own private garden and pool, a mere 15-minute tram ride away from the delights of downtown ‘Firenze’.
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