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Family of five now needs help splitting time between Rome and Venice


Jul 19th, 2012, 01:42 PM
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Family of five now needs help splitting time between Rome and Venice

Hello, I posted a couple of weeks ago as to how to split our Christmas vacation in Italy. At the time, I was thinking of splitting time between Rome and Verona. However, I was convinced by the respnses to my post to fly into Rome and out of Venice instead. Well, the tickets are bought and we will fly into Rome on the 23d of December and leave Venice on the 5th of January. That will give us 12 days in Italy (excluding arrival day). However, two of those days will be holidays. We will be two parents and three daughters (13, 16, and 20 at the time of the trip).

Here is my question: Except for a brief cruise stop years ago, none of us have been to Rome, but my husband and the girls have been to Venice. My iniital instinct was to stay in Rome until the 31st or the 1st and tthen travel to Venice for the last 4 or 5 days. That would allow us to get apartments in those two cities, instead of two hotel rooms in each place, both saving money and the aggravation of moving around. Another option would be to stay longer in Rome, making day trips to some of the surrounding areas, and then get a hotel in Venice for the last couple of days. I'm certain that we could fill up more time in Rome, but a third option would be to visit Florence for a couple of days before heading to Venice for a day or two.

Here are my questions: If we decided to stay for the longer period in Venice, is it easy to take day trips to surrounding areas (thus placating the "already been to Venice" crowd), or will the logistics of Venice make getting to/from the trains a problem? Considering that we are traveling with kids, would you opt for hotels in Venice and perhaps Florence instead of an apartment in Venice? I've purchased some books, and I am reading them to see what looks interesting. However, I'm feeling a bit panicky because it seems as if the best apartments in Rome are already filling for the holidays. There seems to be more availability in Venice (however not my first couple of choices), but again, they are filling up. I just think that if I get lodging issues settled, I can "dig in" and determine what we need to do!

So, recognizing the compromises necessary when traveling in a group of five , what would you experienced Italy travelers recommend? Thanks in advance!
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Jul 19th, 2012, 01:50 PM
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There are several easy day trips from Venice -- Padua is a great one. And I love going to Chioggia for the day, as well as the islands like Burano. Although I've never done that in winter. Not sure it would be nearly so nice as in warmer weather. Treviso is also a nice day trip.

And of course it's easy to do something like take the train from Rome to Florence for a night or two and then go on to Venice. Are you traveling by train or car?
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Jul 19th, 2012, 02:16 PM
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Sigh, nothing is as nice in winter, but alas, that is the only time to get more than 48 hours off of work!

We would be traveling by train although I am not opposed to renting a car for day trips. I have heard that daily rentals can be expensive, but of course, a weekly car rental wouldn't work in Venice.

On that note, what is the driving like in that portion of Italy? Especially in the winter (we are flat-landers from Florida).
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Jul 19th, 2012, 02:37 PM
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Here is a terrific article about Venice at Xmas - Enjoy:

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Jul 19th, 2012, 02:45 PM
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With 5 people, I suggest apartments in Rome and Venice. Apartments allow more space for relaxing and also for eating in when you don't feel like going out. I also like the 4-5 days in Venice. Skip Florence.

There are lots of day trips from Venice via train. How about a day trip to Verona? It's only 1.5 hours by train. Getting to the train station in Venice is easy- walk or take the vapporeto.

Apartments in Venice that I recommend-

Check out the Ai Pugni and Ca' Zucchero apartments listed on this site (see top right of page to take you to each apartment). The owner is great to work with and the apartments are well located-

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Jul 19th, 2012, 03:03 PM
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f we decided to stay for the longer period in Venice, is it easy to take day trips to surrounding areas (thus placating the "already been to Venice" crowd), or will the logistics of Venice make getting to/from the trains a problem? >>

laura, the main station in Venice - Santa Lucia - is to the north of the centre of venice, easily accessible by vaporetto or on foot if you're not staying too far away. many buildings have signs like "Ferrovia" [railway] or "San Marco" painted on the side, so it's easy to find, even without a map. so if you want to do a day trip [or two] getting to the station is no problem at all.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 05:43 PM
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Thanks for the replies. So I'm thinking 4-5 days in Venice would not be too much -- we can go on some day trips if we want. I'll check out the recommended apartments.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 09:42 PM
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We (my wife and I) have visited Venice three times, all of them in December / January. We find it just magic. We went to Torcello on a day when the mercury barely rose above Freezing, and it was great.

An extract from a long trip report about Venice – click on my name and you’d find it.

New Year’s Eve, the 31st December, we almost spent a day in the country, via Burano. The vaporetto trip to Burano is pretty ho-hum, except that just before you reach Mazzorbo you pass an island to starboard. It contained a ruined warehouse, that was a powder magazine before unfortunately blowing up.

Mazzorbo was a big town (Mazzorbo = Major Urbis in Latin = Big Town) but it is pretty quiet now, and the trattoria by the Mazzorbo vaporetto stop was closed when we alighted. From Mazzorbo, it’s a ten minute stroll across the bridge to the lace vendors and hard sell of Burano.

Legend has it (but it’s a bit of a Paolo Sarpi “truth not to everyone” kind of legend”) that the Burano houses were painted bright colours to enable easy homecoming for fisher-folk on the lagoon. Even land locked houses in the middle of a campo, were brightly painted, and I don’t believe that those fisher-folk on foot would have been so navigationally challenged as to need those colours. “Yep, my place is easy to find, it’s the blue one in the campo.”

An alternative explanation. During the Middle Ages, houses infected with plague were disinfected with white quicklime, whilst houses that escaped the plague were painted in bright colours. It makes sense, a kind of ego trip. “We’ve been spared, here’s the paint to prove it. We must be really pious, way more pious than those wicked people at number sixty seven, whose house is now painted a drab off-white.”

The house that belonged to Guiseppe Toselli, better known as Bepi Sua (Sweaty Bepi) is worth a look, in Via Al Gottolo, number 339, Burano. Bepi was born on Burano in 1920, painted his house in all the colours of the rainbow, sold sweets, a film lover, and worked as a projectionist at the Cinema Falvin in the ‘40’s. When the cinema closed down, he inherited the projector, and would show films in front of his house, which would have been a most intimate venue – it’s tiny. His other passion was painting, and his house shows it. When he died in 2002, the new owner restored the house, maintaining Bepi’s colour scheme. http://www.casabepi.it/ for some photos and explanation, which are fun. We liked discovering it.

Also on Burano, away from the Lace vendors (Burano/Beijing guaranteed) is the Casa del Professore, the house of Remigio Barbaro, known to locals as Il Professore. He was an insatiable collector, and the house shows it. Via Terranova 79, in the backblocks of Burano, to see a most unusual house (and not painted at all). The statue by the vaporetto stop, of a young woman, is by Barbaro, the statue entitled “Waiting for Peace”.

Traghetto (diesel powered) over to Torcello, and the vap steams along the canal like the African Queen, sans Bogart and Hepburn, charming however. Torcello really is country, despite Cipriani’s manicured lawns and well-ordered rose and herb gardens. We walked out past the church, crossed the canal, and were in the country, on the edge of the lagoon. Cold, cold enough for ice to be forming on the edges of the canal, and for frost to be on the roof of the church all day. Wooden piles being sunk to support the banks of the canal, work that continues all over the lagoon, but maybe a bit late for Torcello.

Torcello, once home to many thousands of people, now home to about thirty souls. It can make you think a little.

Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
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