A few weeks ago a reader emailed with questions about visiting Florence Italy with a baby. I realized that my answers to her would probably benefit a lot of parents that find our blog while planning their trip here.
Here are some answers to popular questions and concerns about visiting Florence, Italy with a baby:
Do taxis here have carseats? Short answer: a big, fat NO. I've never seen a taxi with one set up or even one in the trunk. I imagine if you tried to call for one that had a carseat you'd be waiting a very long time. I know what a pain in the neck that is because when you are visiting a new city you typically only need a carseat for the taxi rides to and from your hotel/apartment. Lugging a carseat around the world for half an hour of use is annoying. There are two ways to solve this problem: (1) hire a private car service for your airport transportation. It is much more likely you'll be able to find a car service with a car seat. (2) Take the airport shuttle bus*.
*My concern with this is who really wants to hop on public transportation with a baby after a long flight? Not me!
Should I bring my stroller? Will I be able to use it on the narrow cobblestone streets? Navigating 500 year old cobblestones with a stroller is definitely a learned skill, but it's totally doable. If you have a lightweight/umbrella stroller and it's not a total pain in the rear to bring it, I highly suggest it. Also, bring a Baby Bjorn or other carrier. They are VERY convenient.
Are there any baby gear rental services in Florence? Not as far as I know, which is unfortunate because the one we used in Paris was fantastic!
How are changing room facilities in Florence? Total hit or miss. Most smaller (i.e. good) cafes and restaurants won't have them or they will be super nasty and you won't want to get very close. My best advice is to map out where the department stores are (Coin and Rinescente come to mind), as well as the Babys R Us equivalent (Prenatal). They are the cleanest options for you. Also, museums will be well-equipped. Finally, in the summer it's not uncommon to see parents put a blanket or travel changing pad down on a park bench and get the job done. Don't over think it -- people aren't as judgmental here about that stuff. Any side-eyes will be coming from your fellow American tourists.
What else do I need to know about visiting Florence Italy with a baby? Italians love babies. I mean, really love them. If you have a baby under a year old prepare to be swarmed by Italian grandmothers asking all kinds of questions about your little babe. When a cafe owner sees you walk in with a baby they won't roll their eyes and banish you to a baby ghetto like in the U.S. They will offer you a high-chair, help you stow your stroller and offer any help you need all while making silly faces at your baby. Your baby won't be paying attention to you because she'll be laughing at the old guy at the next table smiling at her. Seriously, they love kids. You can let your guard down a bit and it's a big relief.