First Time in Italy - help with planning


Jan 18th, 2009, 06:52 PM
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First Time in Italy - help with planning

We are a family of two adults and two teens, visiting Italy for the first time for two weeks in late June/early July. We fly into Rome and out of Milan (but may be able to change that if necessary).
One adult loves antiquities, one adult loves beaches, one teen suffers in heat, one teen loves to shop.
I would SO appreciate:
-ideas about quad rooms in Rome, not too expensive, with pool? How long would you spend in Rome?
-ideas for a beach or lake stop with good swimming and clean water
- would a week in Tuscany with a car and day trips be the best?
- would you skip Venice, or would we regret missing it?
A million thanks!
danfang is offline  
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Jan 18th, 2009, 07:22 PM
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I would definitely not skip Venice (sorry that's all I can help with among your questions).
suze is offline  
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Jan 18th, 2009, 07:42 PM
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It sounds like you need three or four weeks to satisfy everyone.

I'd limit your itinerary to three places/hotels plus the last night near Malpensa Airport. It's up to the four of you what those three stops are.

Most Rome hotels with pools are not in the historical center of the city, but the Westin Excelsior is very close.
Jean is online now  
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Jan 18th, 2009, 07:56 PM
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I'm worried about the teen who suffers in heat. It is hot in Italy that time of year.

For the antiquities lover in your family, I highly recommend a visit to Ostia Antica, which is close to the sea in Rome.

If you get a place with a pool in Tuscany, it might be nice.

Personally -- since I live in Liguria, I would skip Venice in favor of the Italian Riviera. Venice is muggy and crowded and full of tourists just like yourselves. It's an incredible pile of architecture with a theme-park like atmosphere. Everything is quite expensive. It's unique. Suze will insist you go. Up to you.

I hope the teen who likes to shop realizes that shopping is NOT cheap in Italy. Were you to rent a car in Tuscany however, and keep it to drive to Liguria (Lerici, maybe?) You could use the car for a day trip to Lucca, which has a lot of interesting shopping.

Finally, if you are flying out of Milano and want to spend some time there for the shopper, the family might prefer to stay in Stresa or Baveno on Lago Maggiore and let the shopper daytrip into Milano and shop in the wilting heat. Malpensa airport is only an hour from these towns (and there is regular bus service to the airport, even for early morning flights) or you can keep your car.
zeppole is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2009, 12:13 PM
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Few hotels in Rome have pools and they're generally quite upscale. Don;t know of any budget hotels with one.

Realize that many places in Italy (shops, restaurants) do NOT have AC - so if it;s hot, it's just hot. All you can do is make sure your hotel has good AC (many don;t) and take refuge in churches, which are often somewhat cooler.
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Jan 19th, 2009, 07:16 PM
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Hi danfang, we are a similar family of four visiting Italy for the first time as well, going in & out of the same cities in late May/early June. I have done a lot of research on quad rooms & liked the Navona Suites in Rome, but ended up booking an apartment, our first time doing that as well so let's see how it goes!
I really wanted to see Venice, though my DH feels we will be disappointed but I know we would not want to miss it. I have booked an air-cond quad room at the Corte 1321 B&B. Several hotels/B&B's had quads in Venice such as Casa Rezzonico, Pensione Accademia, Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo, Ca' Angeli & Locanda Orseolo. Most of these, especially the last one, come recommended by Fodorites whose advise I rely upon greatly.
I have a shopaholic daughter so will have to get some suggestions from this board as to which are the less expensive places to shop!
Hope this information helps, let me know if there are any other questions I can answer based on my research.
excited_confused is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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Don't skip Venice. Teens generally love it.
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Jan 20th, 2009, 04:09 AM
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My thoughts - skip the idea of a pool in Rome. Assuming you arrive early in the morning spend 2 or 3 nights in Rome itself. Spend the money to have A/C for sure. We stayed at the Hotel Fontana (across from Trevi) - not a budget hotel at all but they did have a quad room so at least we didn't need 2 rooms. Tell your teens that for Rome they will have to get up early - important to let them know this ahead of time! Well worth it to stroll in the early morning to St. Peter's before the crowds. Return to your A/C room after lunch for rest & cool down. Go back out for late afternoon sightseeing and late dinner. Stop for something to drink several times a day - yes, it is expensive to buy a drink outside the Colesseum - but suck it up or figure out how to bring water.

Stay for a week in Tuscany at an agriturismo with a pool. There are LOTS of options there and the best place to have a pool. Do day trips, returning when possible to your place for late afternoon rest, swim, stroll the wonderful little towns in the early evening before your late (8:00 pm) dinner.

My kids loved Venice and my daughter and friends went there post high school and it was their favorite as well.

I don't have a favorite beach spot for North of Rome so can't help you there but laying by the pool as you overlook the Tuscan countryside is WAY better in my opinion!
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Jan 20th, 2009, 05:27 AM
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Do not skip Venice. It is... Venice and is a wonderful experience.

As for Rome, we were there for 5 days and could have stayed longer. It is phenomenal and you will be amazed at the scope (loved the food too!). I would go back in a heartbeat.

Florence is lovely as well and I would not miss a trip there. We didn't have time to do Tuscany, but always hear how lovely it is.

One heads up with growing teens, food does indeed get more expensive as you head north. Not enough to make you change plans of course, but just a little heads-up. Our favorite food was in Rome and one thing you must try is the truly thin wood-fired pizza. There is none like it outside of Roma!

What about a day trip to Pompeii? It is amazing and so much more well preserved than I expected. We usually don't do tours, but did it this time and learned so much from our guide. I HIGHLY recommend this as a day trip.
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Jan 20th, 2009, 05:56 AM
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Hi danfang,
Do you mean antiques or antiquities? Ostia Antica is ruins-or did I miss something there?

You could save time making Venice your last stop and flying out of there. That way you don't have to back track to Milano. We are in DC area and it's an early plane but not a problem.

Many antique shops in Rome, Venice. Where are you looking in Tuscany as a base? There are many van tours out of Florence and talk about a place to shop! You can rent a car as needed from there. Easy train ride to beaches in Viariggio (spelling?) but there is so much else to do.

I'm with Suze, please don't skip Venice if possible. It is magical. For me, the mistiness adds to the mystery. Murano (glass blowing), Burano (colorful and lace making), and Lido (beach) are all day boat trips.

For our first visit, we did the "usual" Rome (4), Florence (3) and Venice (2) and wished fervently we'd spent more time in Venice. With 14 days you can add to what ever city "calls out" the most.

Easy train rides between all places. Have a ball!
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