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Family of 6 Traveling to Italy-where to begin?

Family of 6 Traveling to Italy-where to begin?

Jun 21st, 2013, 07:59 AM
  #1  
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Family of 6 Traveling to Italy-where to begin?

We are a family six, 3 adults, 3 kids ages 10,12,15. We would like to visit Italy for about 10-12 days in early August. We would like to see Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany and the Almafi coast. Where do we begin? I've checked into tours from italyvacations.com, and places to stay at vrbo.com, but other than I have no other information. Where should I go to set up tours? Is it better to plan things ourselves or go through a travel agent/advisor? What part of Rome should we stay in? What part of Almalfi? Is Almalfi good for kids and swimming?

Thank you in advance!!
ymoubarake is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 08:01 AM
  #2  
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Also, we'd definitely like to visit Pompeii. Should we go there from Rome, or from Almalfi? Any suggestions as to websites we can book tours?
ymoubarake is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 08:07 AM
  #3  
 
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You definitely need to get an Italy travel guide or two. It will give you lots of information about what to see, where to stay, how to get around, etc.

I've been traveling for a million years, and I never travel without consulting a guidebook or two.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 08:19 AM
  #4  
 
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Guidebooks, maps, and the internet are where to start. You're awfully late to plan for this August, so you need to get going. You're headed to Italy at the exactly the time thousands and thousands of Italians and tourists from elsewhere are headed there. Also, in planning, keep in mind it will likely be mercilessly hot.

I wouldn't even think about tours until you've got accommodations and an itinerary nailed down. You can figure out tours afterwards (that's assuming you're planning this on your own and just wanting local tours once you get there. If you want to go to Italy on a package tour, well, it's awfully late for that too, and most people here don't do that, so won't have too much to say about it).
StCirq is online now  
Jun 21st, 2013, 08:32 AM
  #5  
 
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You are trying to squash 25 pounds of stuff into a 10 pound bag. Especially with 6 people travel will not be quick - and doing 5 place in 10 days means you will spend almost half yuor vacation just getting from one place to another.

Do you really have 10 full days on the ground - or are you counting the days you arrive and lev e- and therefore have actually 8 days on the ground.

IMHO in 10 days 3 hotel is the most you can do - and 2 is better. Esp in August - when all of Italy is very hot and humid - and many places (including a lot of apts) do NOT have AC - trying to keep up the pace you have outlined will be like the Bataan death march.

You need a couple of good guidebooks and a map. You need to decide what your must sees are. Pick 5 items - not cities items - like the Vatican or the Coliseum or Pompeii - and then fit a trip around them.

And typically for an apt (which often rent out months in advance) you need to stay at lest 3 or 4 nights - when your "itinerary" will give you 1 or 2 in most places.

You really need to do some homework and then come back with a more refined list of must sees.

Otherwise you have

Day 1 - arrive Venice
Day 2 - Venice
Day 3 - train to Florence - 1/2 day there
Day 4 - see 2 tuscan towns from Florence on bus tour
Day 4 - train Rome - 1/2 day there
Day 5 - Rome
Day 6 - Rome
Day 7 - Rome to Sorrento (see Pompeii on way)
Day 8 - Sorrento to Naples and fly home

If you actually have 10 full days in the ground add 1 to Florence and 1 to Sorrento - to see Capri OR the Amalfi cost.

Beaches in this area are small and poor (rocks or pebbles versus sand) and usually in the middle of town with fishing boats etc on them. there is water - but nothing to write home about. this area is more an adult resort - and most EU beaches do NOT compare to the US or Carib.

Frankly you could not pay me to take this trip - I wold do just 2 places - Rome and Venice or Rome and Amalfi - and actually see/do something - instead of constantly rushing around,
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 08:47 AM
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Pompeii is easily and best seen from Sorrento, where you can just take a short commuter train ride. Unfortunately, Sorrento is probably the least interesting of the Amalfi Coast towns. But I think it's a cheaper place to say and nice enough.

You can also see Pompeii from Amalfi or Positano. Just take the ferry to Salerno and then the Trenitalia train to the new town of Pompeii. You will be more than a mile from the ruins of Pompeii, so you will likely need to take a cab.

You can start on either end with this; fly into Naples and out of Venice or the other way around.

At the risk of causing all kinds of squawking on this board, I suggest you schedule two nights for Rome, arriving early on the first day and leaving mid-afternoon on the third. In a full day of sightseeing you can easily see the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps and Forum. You will only be scratching the surface of Rome, but the idea is if you like Rome you can come back and if you don't, well at least you've seen the top sights.

VRBO is really only useful if you plan to spend at least four days in one city, and often the rentals have a one-week minimum. But maybe you can find something.

If you fly into Naples and spend three nights in Sorrento, followed by two nights in Rome (arrive early, leave late), four nights in Florence, and three nights in Venice then in my opinion you will have a nice trip. Reverse it if you wish. You can do day trips of you wish to Amalfi, Positano, Capri, Sienna, Pisa, and Padua, or elsewhere as you wish.

Disclosure: Rome simply isn't my favorite city out of all the places I've visited in Italy over several trips. Other people like it more, but my attitude is you can always go back.
FHurdle is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 09:21 AM
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But this itinerary has 11 nights - and we don;t know if the OP has 10 - really only 8. A big difference.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 09:39 AM
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Early August? Was this a spur of the moment trip? You're looking at peak tourist season in the blazing sun with kids. Because you've left very little time for any kind of logistical planning a guided tour will probably be your best bet. Most "Taste of Italy" tours should fit the bill but might not include all the places you mentioned. Less places might be a good thing though with the time you're working with. Good luck w/ your trip
tailsock is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Nytraveler, I suggest a possible 11-night trip because the OP said they had 10-12 days. You are right, it's uncertain how much time they have.

They can shave a day off Sorrento. All they will really do is see Pompeii and Sorrento; adding Amalfi and Positano will be tough, but perhaps doable.

Likewise, they could shave a day off Florence or Venice if needed. Venice is one of my favorite cities, but it wears thin on me after a while. If the OP cut Venice to two nights it wouldn't be the end of the world. Three is better, though.
FHurdle is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 12:12 PM
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Where would you suggest I find a guide? Is there a website you can suggest?
ymoubarake is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 12:13 PM
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A guide or a guidebook?
StCirq is online now  
Jun 21st, 2013, 12:21 PM
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Since you are starting late in making a travel plan for this summer, I would first check to see what your airline options are. If you can secure tickets, and if you have 10 days, I would pick 3 destinations, and fly into one and out of another. You may have a challenge finding accomodations for 6 people. Guide means guidebooks, either hard copy or online. This site had some, visit a bookstore or a library. Look at a map.
socaltraveler is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 12:54 PM
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Fodors, Frommers, Let's Go, Time Out, Blue Guides, Rick Steves, Cadogan, Eyewitness....there are thousands. Google.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 21st, 2013, 02:24 PM
  #14  
 
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I would plan some other trip for 2013 and do your homework and plan earlier for Italy in 2014.

With so little research and knowledge, I think you will miss what you to see and pay extra for booking so late.

-Set a budget.
-Share the guidebook with the kids so they can participate and understand Italy a little better.
-Look for places that are right for your budget and good for kids.
-Take time to lay out an itinerary and remember you are always moving six people and you will lose all sorts of time by moving from place to place
-Look how much it is to rent a car and learn how to drive a stick if possible.
BigAleinstein is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 04:31 PM
  #15  
Hez
 
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I've just booked Rome, Florence, Tuscany & Lauterbrunnen(Switzerland) for latish July without issue so I wouldn't pay much head to people saying you don't have time to plan.

I would try to limit your locations though to 3 max though.
Hez is offline  
Jun 21st, 2013, 05:35 PM
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Latish July is NOT August. Do you understand what happens in Italy (and southern France and other places) on August 1? And I men happens like clockwork.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 21st, 2013, 05:52 PM
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Agree - you are fighting all the eruopeans on vacation - and they have reserved everything 3 or 4 months ago. Weather will likely be 90s/high 90s and humid with many places having no AC.

Rooms do no accommodate 6 people. So you will need to get 2 triples or a family room (but make sure it can hold 5 adult size people) and a single. The former are fairly rare and may not be easily findable.

Have you considered your budget at this time of year? Not the best time to save money with picnics on a park bench versus a sit down meal in a nicer places with AC.

I don;t mean to be discouraging - and this can be done - but it will be a lot of work starting now - and you will need quite a generous budget - since a lot of chances for savings are gone.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2013, 03:37 PM
  #18  
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Hez, how did you book your trip? Through an agent or by yourself?
ymoubarake is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2013, 03:46 PM
  #19  
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I have checked into flights, and because our family is large, we like to stay in homes by VRBO rather than hotels, so availability has not been an issue thus far. The research I've done, I see there's quite a few day excursions from Rome to Tuscany, Florence, Venice. I'm thinking it may be better to do that, rather than actually staying in those places. Has anybody done day excursions/tours? What agencies have you used?
ymoubarake is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2013, 04:51 PM
  #20  
Hez
 
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I usually use kayak to find accommodation as it aggregates most of the major booking engines.

A day trip to Venice would be really long. I would drop that from your itinerary. If you did two locations - Rome & Amalfi - you could do a day trip to Florence/Tuscany from Rome and Pompeii from Amalfi.

I would do a weeks rental in Rome, and then the rest of your time in Amalfi. It might be hard to find an apartment for less than a week - but we've just stayed 5 nights in a weekly rental before (with 7) because it was still cheaper than booking hotels - especially if you factor in being able to cook meals 'at home'

H
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