Travelling to Italy with Children in Winter – Our family adventures.
This is part of a trip to Italy when I took my two teenage children aged 14 and 15 years for six weeks to Italy in December and January. I decided to drive for the first time and being Australian, having to drive on the other side of the road was such a challenge for the first day but as we needed to travel into the heart of Chianti country I had no choice.
From Rome, we caught the train out to the Roma airport to pick up the hire car as from there it is easy to get on the ring road and up the main autostrada direction Firenze. Unfortunately as we pulled out it started to rain heavy and I was a little terrified but luckily the angels were with us. I stayed in the slow lane behind the lights of a big truck so that the formula one drivers would not hassle me.
A friend had given us free use of their beautiful Villa in Chianti . A magnificent large three story Tuscan homestead, with frescos on the ceiling which was once part of a large Chianti wine estate but now is built out in the village of Cavriglia, with the estate land slowly being taken over by the town over two centuries ago. It was actually their summer holiday villa and it was really now very cold in Tuscany so I had no idea what to expect having only previously stayed there in spring or summer.
The children were star struck when we arrived at the villa. It is so beautiful and so large with five bedrooms and a typical Tuscan villa with an attic up the top, with a viewing tower out over the village and the Chianti hills. It was magical. However as night fell we turned on the central heating and it was still cold. We still had to wear our overcoats!
Luckily the village in that same week was holding an olive oil festival and they had a massive 24 hr fire going in the middle of the piazza so at night we would head down there to sample the wonderful Tuscan cheeses and salamis and a fantastic sangria – hot red wine wine. There is no doubt that the Italian food has so much more taste than my country. I am sure it is because they do not allow genetic hybrids to be used for their fruit and vegetable. They were smart enough to know that if you interfere with nature… there is always a consequence.
After a few days the children were keen to meet some other young teenagers and the village seemed devoid of young people. Where are they? we asked!! We decided to go to the village café and I swung open the door and saw it was filled with teenagers playing cards. “Here they all are!”, I shouted without thinking and suddenly the whole café looked up and my children were mortified at the attention as only teenagers can be. “Mum we are going to kill you!” they mumbled through their teeth and I could not stop laughing at my gaff!! We had a quick hot drink as they could not wait to get out of there as they were subjected to stares, that only Italian teenage boys can do.
We spent the week hunting for decent firewood to no avail, visiting the lovely village shops and buying wonderful food to cook. Alas I could only find pine wood that smoked and burnt up quickly in one night. We were freezing to death. We had our coats and beanies on inside the villa and I thought we might have to head to the sun. The thick stone walls of the villa proved too solid for internet waves to get through. Working outside in 5 degrees on my laptop was becoming ridiculous. Where can we find some decent hardwood like in Aussie land? Everything seemed to be closed as it was nearing Christmas. What were we to do??!!
Stayed tuned for next week to find out what happened and listen to our podcast or read our blog!
Meanwhile have a look at our beautiful Villas in Chianti Tuscany here