One of the best ways to experience a touch of Italian life is to base yourself in Tuscany. From here you can explore the region and live the idyllic Tuscan dreamÖ and keep the kids happy. Tuscany offers lots of culture, history, fine food, great wines and shopping, so adults are well catered for. Children, however, will want more. But thatís no problem because the region includes beaches, theme parks, towers to climb and gelato to devour. Families who have been will often recommend spending the morning exploring, then returning to your base for an afternoon of play for the children and rest for you.
In the evening you can venture out again to local restaurants, and one of the best aspects of Italy is your children will be welcomed everywhere you go. Even small children. In country restaurants youíll even find gardens or piazzas where the kids can play while you keep an eye on them. In cities keep an eye out for cafes next to piazzas so you can enjoy your coffee while the kids amuse themselves chasing pigeons.
For your home-base look for accommodation that gives you the flavour of Italy, and also provides amenities such as a swimming pool, play equipment and countryside thatís begging to be explored. Itís also handy to have a village nearby for shops, restaurants and gelato!
Set in a typically Tuscan hillside landscape, just a quick drive from San Gimignano, is Castellare di Tonda. A noble family originally owned this farming estate but today it offers 12 restored farmhouses that have been converted to self-contained one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Each apartment is fully self-contained and tastefully furnished. Each apartment has modern kitchen and laundry facilities, spacious bedrooms and access to a barbeque area and a swimming pool. Italians donít fence pools so keep an eye on young ones but there are toddler pools with some apartments.
At Castellare De Tonda there's a FREE kids' club with English-speaking staff that provides indoor and outdoor play areas and daily activities for guests.
For brochures and reservations on Castellare di Tonda, contact your travel agent or Outdoor Travel.
Prices start from AU$785 per week for a family of four.