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Recommendations for 10 Days First Italy trip

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We are a Mid 30's couple with a daughter child 9 years old. We are now Planning our yearly vacations for JULY 2016.

We will be flying from MADRID to Italy for 10days and then then to Paris for 4 days.
The destinations which we are considering are ROME, VENICE AND A BEACH (not necessarily a swimming beach, rather a beautiful and scenic beach).

My first question is should i go to AMALFI COAST OR CT OR LAKE COMO (i guess lake como is too far). Please suggest

Our budget is Euro 100-120/- for a hotel stay

I am thinking of flying from MADRID TO ROME. Maybe stay there for 4 days. Then go to the Beach (Whichever is decided) for 3 days and then to Venice for 3 days and then fly to Paris

We are open for all suggestions

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    Actually Lake Como is much closer to Venice than the Amalfi Coast, which is well south of Rome and even much further south than Venice.

    I would suggest Lake Garda, which has more towns to visit, castles, mountains (at the northern end) and a big amusement park (at the southern end). I think it would be much more interesting to a child than Lake Como, which has almost nothing to do except visit villas and shop.

    I assume that by 10 days, you mean 10 nights in Italy, which would be 9 full days. I would suggest 3 or 4 nights in Rome, 2 or 3 nights in Venice, and the rest of the time on whichever lake you choose.

    Venice is extremely crowded in July, and can also be very hot. We were there this past July with my granddaughter (10 years old). She loved Venice, and didn't feel the heat, but we three adults were totally exhausted by the city.

    Rome is also crowded, and can also be very hot, but the city is bigger, so the crowds seem more spread out. In both cities, I would encourage you not to try to visit the more famous museums and archaeological sites. They are truly unbearable in the summer.

    I went to Rome with some American cousins this year in June to show them around. Because they had a short time, I had advised them to skip the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, and to see the Colosseum from the outside instead of going in. However, they said that these two things would be the highlights of their trip, so I didn't insist. We went first to the Colosseum, with tickets bought in advance, and had to wait 45 minutes to get in, under the broiling sun, because there were already too many people inside. Inside was a zoo, as you can imagine. After that, and a very brief stroll through the Roman Forum, they were too exhausted to do anything else, and went back to the hotel. The next day they went to the Vatican Museums to take their tour (I excused myself from that, because wild horses couldn't drag me there in the summer.) When they got inside and saw the crowd, they left without taking the tour, which was almost €100 down the drain.

    If you tell us what you (and your daughter) are interested in, we can suggest great things to see and do in Rome that won't be insanely crowded. In Venice, the best thing to do is to stroll around and get lost. My granddaughter loved the trip to Murano and Burano, although the vaporetto was like a sauna and standing room only most of the way there and back. There are also uncrowded places to see art. There was almost no one at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, for example. I know from a previous trip that the Ca' Rezzonico is not crowded in the summer, and we also appreciated the air conditioning there. (San Rocco was pretty hot and there were lots of stairs.)

    Your hotel budget is a bit low for three people. However, in Venice, we stayed at the Hotel Domus Ciliota, which should be in your range. It's fairly basic, but clean and comfortable. It's conveniently located for walking to various sights, fairly close to two vaporetto stops, decently air conditioned, good free wifi, and on a quiet street. It's in an ex-convent, and has a nice little courtyard for your breakfast. (It was too hot to sit outside when we were there.) The reception isn't staffed after a certain time at night, but we were never out that late, and they give you a key to use after hours.

    Rome is a little easier for finding reasonably priced lodging, and July isn't considered high season there. I use www.booking.com and enter "Rome city center" as my destination. I don't have particular favorites, and rarely stay in the same hotel twice. You can select your price range and then sort the list by guest rating. The Casa Ponte Sisto (not the Hotel Ponte Sisto) is in your price range, looks nice, and has a very good guest rating. It's in a good and convenient neighborhood. It's a B&B rather than a hotel, so the front desk may not be staffed all day.

    When renting through www.booking.com, you should read the guest reviews, keeping in mind that some people want the luxury of the Ritz at the prices of Econolodge.

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    I forgot to mention that Lake Garda is the closest large lake to Venice. It's easy to get to by train, changing in Verona. If all you want to see in Venice is St. Mark's Square and some gondolas, you could stay on Lake Como most of the time after leaving Rome. You could even go to Venice the day before you leave for Paris, getting there early enough to see what you want to see.

    I would fly into Rome and fly from Venice to Paris, or vice versa.

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    Something you should know about Lago di Garda is that almost everyone agrees that the most scenic part of the lake is at the northern end, which is not reachable by train, and getting there by boat takes a very long time. Just about any scenic water-view destination is time consuming to get to. All of them are crowded in July, and all of them have their upsides and downsides for a family. For instance, the Amalfi coast might be too expensive given your budget, because the only budget transport in that area is buses, and on the winding cliff roads, some people get nauseous, especially children.

    Le Cinque Terre is easy to get to by train, but once you are there, the sun can be broiling hot in July and there is very little to do other than swim or hike.

    Finding the right spot for your family on the lakes if you are on a budget can be a challgence, and if you are looking for fun things to do other than swim, they are often easiler to find is less scenic places and easier to get to using public transportation. (For instance, Sorrento or Sperlonga or the southern end of Lago di Garda are more fun for a family than some of the super-scenic waterside places, although le Cinque Terre is pretty cheap.

    So you should read up on all of them and choose what gives you the most of what you want for making the effort to get there. And you also might reconsider your idea of puttting the beach in the middle. For instance, if you fly from Madrid to Venice, then to go Rome, and then go to le Cinque Terre, you can take a cheap flight from Pisa to Paris on Easyjet or Transavia.

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    For Rome I would look at Hotel Floris. We have stayed there the past two July's for 100€ a night for a double. I'm not sure if they have triple rooms though. But it's a great hotel. Their price in March is €170, confirming what bvlenci said about it not being high season in Rome in July. I also agree with what she said about seeing the Colosseum from the outside. I'd been inside a few years ago but the people I was traveling with last summer wanted to go inside so we did and the lines (with tickets we purchased at the Forum) were crazy. The Forum though, especially early in the day, was not horribly crowded and quite pleasant. However, you can see it pretty well from several places without going in if you don't want to.

    I've also been to Lake Garda in July a few times. Agree with Sandra that the best part is the northern end. But I felt the boat ride up and back was very enjoyable so that wasn't a deterrent to staying there. Of course if you wanted to stay at the northern end (Malcesine, Limone, or Riva del Garda) and do a day trip to the amusement part at the southern end that might be a bit much. But if you can forgo the amusement park I'd suggest staying in Malcesine. In addition to a cute little castle and boat rides on the lake, you can take a cable car to the top of Mt Baldo and hike around, I would think a 9 year old would enjoy that. The castle in Sirmione is also worth visiting. In Malcesine I stayed at Hotel Erika for €85 a night, so in your price range.

    If you did decide to go to the Amalfi Coast region instead of Lake Garda I can recommend Ulysse Delux Hostel (not a Hostel, it's a hotel) in Sorrento which I've stayed at a few times and is in your price range and they definitely have triple rooms. Taking the ferry to visit Amalfi, Positano and Capri as day trips is fun for 9 years olds and adults.

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    Thank you all for such a nice detailed feedback, though i am still confused on what to select

    POSITANO cannot be my base as it has too many steps to climb.

    Isnt there a PICTURESQUE beach in ITALY on which most people can agree.

    Our interest are not really swimming, but natural & scenic beauty and we would like to take group boat ride (not private as it would be too expensive)to nearby areas

    Note : Not interested in amusement park and history

    We would like to relax and take natural beauty tours

    Please help and suggest

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    If you want something scenic, and respecting your hotel room budget, I would suggest Portovenere. It is a small, quite pictoresque and rather quiet little village just south of La Spezia. You can visit Cinque Terre from there by boat and there is also the pedestrian track going to CT. It is not overcrowded. Google for pictures.

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    wow... both rome and venice will likely be super crowded and hot in july. also, i've seen a LOT of cranky kids in both of those towns cities... but i'm sure you are very aware.

    in rome, villa borghese gardens is a big park that will have shade and pleasant walks... and one of our favorite museums, the borghese gallery. we have often stayed at the Parlamento in rome-- it's reasonable and if you can score a rooftop room, there is a door from the rooms, directly out to the roof, where your child could move a bit. If you really want nature, the Abruzzo National Park is about 3 hours drive from Rome.

    If you are going to Venice, and time is a concern, just go to the Lido Beaches... they will be crowded, but they are expansive and pretty. There are beaches (resort towns) near Ravenna... but we found them to be a bit of a turn-off with their rows and rows of umbreallas & chairs. But Ravenna is such a wonderful town-- this could be a possibility. i think it's about 2 hours drive south of venice.

    i agree with above that lake garda would be better than lake como... and probably more affordable. garda also has some thermal areas in the lake-- really fun to explore.

    have fun planning

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