If you decide to read this article, keep in mind that you won’t find magic solutions for surviving your vacations with children. Some say vacations don’t exist, words are important, and it’s better to talk of travelling, but let’s make one thing clear: we highly recommend you to reformulate your expectations and to delete your memories of pre-children times, when vacation meant endless happy hours, mojitos and photos on the beach with your legs covered in dried salt and the blue sea on the horizon.
We’re writing to you, you who envy the people that sell everything and take off on a used Westfalia for a 365-day trip around the world, the full-time travellers with children who manage to live thanks to followers and sponsors and who are always beautiful. We’re writing to you, you who don’t come out well in photos, whose children never sit still, so even on vacation, you can never get a picture that’s not blurry.
Not even with an iPhone or a selfie stick.
We’re thinking of you, who play tetris in your car boot; you with family cars that are definitely not cool, but never have enough space. You who listen to CDs of your children’s kindergarten songs. You need a break, peace and quiet, a place that will embrace you and let you have the best time possible as you face the work of holidays with children.
BE FLEXIBLE AND REDISCOVER YOUR CHILDREN
Relax, live in the moment, don’t worry about the gelato stains, the crumbs in the backseat, the popsicle for breakfast: concentrate on putting them to bed early and saving a couple of hours for adult time. The point is: reformulate the rules, and don’t waste time pretending that everything is as if you were at home!
You might say that these are generic terms, like “to taste” in cake recipes, where there is a fine line between pastry wizardry and failure. Indeed, we started with a disclaimer: you won’t find any magic solutions, but you will get suggestions. We have collected them from experienced mothers and friends who wanted to share some advice.
IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO ENTERTAIN THEM
You aren’t jugglers or fire breathers, don’t think you have to be able to entertain them 24/7! Simply be realistic and focus on compromising: give your children a good dose of things that are interesting for them – including merry-go-rounds – that alternate with what you like to do. Museums are hard for those with concentration spans equal to the length of an episode of Masha and the Bear. Use them sparingly. Shopping, unfortunately, is just as complex: don’t force them into marathon searches for local products and handicrafts…they will be bored. And a bored child is a time bomb. At that point, know that not even taking a master class in Family Vacation Crisis Management will save you.
CODE WORD: ORGANISATION
In other words, pick the right place, which means choosing a solution that will allow the whole family, you included, to enjoy your time on vacation. For the past few years in Italy, at the beginning of the tourist season, the controversy has heated up surrounding no-kid zones and children-free facilities. Let’s be honest, in our pre-children past, the thought that children, especially other people’s children, were all ill-mannered, did cross our minds. Let’s move on: now we need to beat the stress and find facilities and services
WHY CHOOSE A HOLIDAY IN AN AGRITOURISM
Here’s why so many people choose to spend their holidays in an agritourism:
- To recapture the comfort of home rhythms with the double bonus of pool + nature. You may lose the luxury of having your bed made every day, you won’t be waited on hand and foot, but self-management will be simpler for you, because you know your family’s timing. With a baby monitor at hand, once you put the kids to bed you can enjoy a dinner on the patio, a private swim in the pool, adult chat and enough space to not have to whisper so you don’t wake them up.
- To not feel constantly dragged around. Having a home to come back to, especially after a hot day fought off with popsicles in a crowded city of art, is heartening.
- To discover the soothing power of the country, slow down, tune in to the rhythms of nature. It will be good for you and, as a result, for your children. Give them the chance to explore, even alone: agritourisms are safe areas, with no speeding cars. Let them get bored, and you will see that even picking tomatoes in the garden, feeding the goats, walking in the woods, riding a horse for the first time, helping prepare a barbecue or make a pizza in the wood oven will become memorable adventures.
- To treat yourself with excellent local products and ingredients. Your comfort food will never be healthier! Try placing your trust in the town markets and buying directly from farmers. It will surely be more fun than going to the supermarket. That is, as long as you’re not nostalgic for air conditioning and shivering in front of the yogurt aisle!
IN TUSCANY, THE QUEEN OF AGRITOURISMS
Italy is full of inland areas and rural edges where agritourisms are the agents of change and take care of the territory. Try to change your gaze and you’ll discover that there’s at least one agritourism near you to discover, a place where you can escape and spend some true quality time. And in Italy, Tuscany is the chosen land for those searching for a holiday in nature: it’s the queen of agritourisms! Making your home base in the country is worthwhile: you’ll discover less-known areas, splendid villages and small towns where people still live at a different pace; you’ll enjoy peace and quiet without forsaking the most popular destinations.
Certaldo, with Vinci nearby! It’s a strategic central area, near the Florence and Pisa airports and cities of art, and the seaside is just over an hour away. It’s easy to get to and has so much to offer, with different landscapes, activities and beauty, that you’ll have to come back to discover it all!