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Italy with kids - lost in the wilderness of planning - please help

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Good day.

We, 4 adults and 3 kids (3, 4, and 9 years) would be in Italy for 13 days, mostly following a “tourist trek”. Italy will be the second destination (country) after France. We are flying in to Rome from Toulouse on EasyJet.

This is going to be long so kindly bear with me since I have so many queries and almost lost in the wilderness of planning.

--Any suggestions on good guide books for Rome,Tuscany and Venice would be very useful.

>>ROME - 7days or should we make it less

-- We will arrive at Rome Fiumicino Airport by 15:50.Hopefully we could reach and locate our apartment in the next couple of hours (18:00).I would need an airport transfer so I guess I would use Romeshuttlelimousine.com as they sound reasonable. Any advices on this!

-- Shortlisted few apartments- need help to finalise. Which area is better in terms of location and convenience? Is trastevere is far (considering 7 days in here) from major attractions

http://www.sleepinitaly.com/rome/trastevere-apartments/apartment-trastevere-lilac?id_op=3&dtS=20130722&dtE=20130729&numPers=6 this looks good and seems there is tram stop close by

http://www.vrbo.com/429119#

http://www.vrbo.com/362568#

http://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalReview-g187791-d2048858-Charming_apartment_near_Navona_place-Rome_Lazio.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalReview-g187791-d3665081-Trevi_III_Trevi_Fountain_area-Rome_Lazio.html#rateDetails

Places to Visit
-- wander through Campo Dei Fiori and Piazza Navona. Spanish steps (No shopping), Borghese park and then to Borghese Gallery.

-- Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Pantheon

-- Tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica and a Papal visit

-- I guess I would need to make a reservation for the gallery and vatican.

-- Restaurant recommendations (non touristy) would be helpful.

--We are planning to rent a 7 seater car/van on leaving Rome. Is this a good idea. If so what is the best place to rent from since I would like to avoid driving in the city


>>TUSCANY – 3 days or should I add one more day

Would like to visit Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa or anything else you would suggest.

-- Straight from Rome, Hoping to Visit Pisa before heading to the base in Tuscancy

-- Suggest me a good base in Tuscany(Is Florence a good choice) en route to Venice

-- What to do in Tuscany for 3 days- places to visit etc.

-- Will visit Padua, en route to Venice

>>VENICE - 3 days

Apartment is confirmed.
Will drop off the rent a car/van in Padua and get a train to Venice

What to do in Venice for 3 days
-- walks in Dorsoduro, San Polo, San Croce and (San Marco- St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace- and Rialto after dusk) etc.. A Gondola ride as well.

Early check out and a long train journey to our final destination (Country), Switzerland

Really appreciate all wonderful fodorites, who have helped me with my numerous queries and for the excellent suggestions and advise .

Thanks

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