First time to Italy - family of 6

Nov 18th, 2006, 06:55 AM
  #1  
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First time to Italy - family of 6

This is a fantastic website! I am gathering so much information from all you Italian travelers - but it is making my head spin! We are going to Italy for the first time in June of '07 - me and hubby (age 50),our daughter and son-in-law, and our two boys (ages 21 &14).
We are flying into Rome and staying there for 5 days. Taking the train to Florence and staying 3 days. Then on to Cinque Terre for 3 days and ending up in Venice for 4 days.
Here is where I need some advice. We need clean, centrally located hotels in each place that will accomodate 6 (without breaking the bank - 2-3 stars).
Are there things in each location that we would not normally try to see/do but should not miss?
Are there things that are just not worth the time/money in these places?
I have really appreciated the recommendations for walking tour guides (something I probably would not have thought of), good places to eat, etc. that have already been posted.
Any other advice would really be appreciated.
nona50 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 07:12 AM
  #2  
 
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Spend 2 hours at www.slowtrav.com and then come back with more questions. Look at hotel reviews by real people.
I would get apts. in Rome and Venice with 4 people.
bobthenavigator is online now  
Nov 18th, 2006, 07:13 AM
  #3  
 
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Ooops !
Six people--all the more reason.
bobthenavigator is online now  
Nov 18th, 2006, 07:27 AM
  #4  
 
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www.venere.com is a good website for Europe. You can search cities by area, stars, hotels, b & b, apartments.

Most hotels in Europe will not sleep 6 and not many will sleep 4.
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 18th, 2006, 07:29 AM
  #5  
 
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Picking up on Bob's suggestion re: apartments...

Can you adjust your itinerary so that you have one-week components? Say Rome for one week (with a day-trip or two) and Venice for a week. That way you'd be able to find centrally located, affordable apartments, which are usually let out on a weekly basis.
TuckH is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 09:29 AM
  #6  
 
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The only way to sleep 6 people together in europe is to get an apartment - or to get a suite with 2/3 bedrooms.

Most hotel rooms in europe are much smaller than in the US - typically with 1 double or 2 twin beds. There are some rooms than can sleep 3 and a small number of "family" rooms that sleep 4 - but this often assumes that the 3rd/4th people are children sleeping on roll-aways - not 6 adults.

Besides - I can;t imagine how 6 people would manage with 1 bath.

I would concentrate on finding a hotel with a family room for 4 for you and the younger kids - but be sure it will fit 4 ADULTS and exactly what the beds are - and a separate room for your D and SIL.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 09:36 AM
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I have used Venere.com to book most of my travel through Europe. It is a really good site with lots of personal review. It is best for the smaller hotels and B&B's as opposed to the big fancy hotels.

Using coupon code 9URKUTZ you can save a little money when booking using Venere. Its not much, but every little helps.

nikorami is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 09:43 AM
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I would not recommend an apartment for a group of two couples and two teenage boys. You are going to very romantic destinations, and surely the boys will appreciate a bit of alone time.

Instead, I would look for b&bs where you can share a bath or two. That would really keep the budget down and provide escape holes for people when they need it.

For Roma, be sure to resist the temptation to stay near the train station.

For Cinque Terre, poll your party to make sure everybody is happy with a steeply hilly location and lots and lots of other tourists. If not, check out staying in Levanto, and doing day trips to Cinque Terre.

It's unlikely that 6 people are all going to agree on what to see. In Venezia and Cinque Terre, the 14-year old will be in a safe enough small enough place to be trusted to move about a bit independently.

You should carry two cell phones so you can occasionally split up.

In general, just try not to overdo. All of the places (with the exception of Cinque Terre) are jammed with sights to see. They are also places with great piazzas and gardens and interesting places to stroll and hang out, so be sure to do that.

I understand some walking tours are more hip and youth-oriented than others, without being condescending. I don't know your family, but using the trip to engage a 14-year-old and pique his interest in history and art would be a priority for me.
nessundorma is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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In case my above post wasn't clear, I'm suggesting you look for b&bs where each couple has an individual room, and the boys share a room with only each other, but one or two baths are shared by the entire group. Optimally, I would look for: one double room with an ensuite private bath; two double rooms that share a single bath.

You can fight over who gets the private bath, or better yet, rotate the privilege.
nessundorma is offline  
Nov 19th, 2006, 08:15 AM
  #10  
 
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Hi Nona,

I think your planned itinerary is just right, so don't change your stays to 1 week each just to get an apartment. There are some apartments that will accept shorter stays, although not many. I like Nesse's B&B idea and if you look hard now, you should be able to find hotels/inns that will suit.

As to what is "worth it /not worth it" only you can decide. Depends on your interests. With 6 people you will definitely not all agree. Split up when you want to!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Nov 19th, 2006, 09:19 AM
  #11  
MaureenB
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I think your itinerary sounds perfect. Everyone has different opinions about where to go and what to see, but stick to your instincts and see these cities you are first and foremost interested in. Can't easily go wrong with the plan you've made.

Have you searched this website for hotel ideas? The Daphne properties in Rome are highly recommended by Fodorites (they even provide a cell phone for your use). We stayed at the Domus Julia, which is like an apartment set-up, with individual shower/baths in each room and a common kitchen/dining area to share, plus a good breakfast buffet included. Many, many properties in Rome to choose from.

In Florence, we liked the Relais Cavalcanti, a very nice small hotel, well-located by the Uffizi and Ponte Vecchio. No breakfast offered, but you have 24/7 access to a nice dining room/kitchen/sitting area to make your own snacks and even meals. Complimentary offee and packaged pastries are always set out in the room, too.

Other have posted many nice little hotels in Florence, if you search this forum.

In Venice, La Calcina is a favorite of Fodorites. We couldn't stay there because they were full. They book up really early. We did visit it, and ate at their pretty waterside cafe. It looks lovely, and is a really good price.

In Venice, we stayed at the two-star Hotel Riva, which was quaint, clean, simple, and most importantly, located at the confluence of two canals where singing gondoliers glide by. Ask for a corner room, or a canal view. (No elevator, though.)

Another budget favorite in Venice is Casa Rezzonico. My daughter stayed there, and I saw the lobby which seemed very nice. It wraps around a garden area, where they serve breakfast. Seemed like a great place for a family.

We didn't stay at the Cinque Terre itself, but at a small harbor town we liked a lot, Santa Margherita Ligure. Our little hotel, the Nuova Riviera was charming. (No elevator there, either.) You can easily day-trip to the Cinque Terre via train, or to Portofino via bus. We were glad we were staying away from the crowds, even in early May.

You can find more details about these locations on my own trip reports, if you click on my screen name above. I also posted a factual account of the Cinque Terre trails, so you will know what to expect and which ones might appeal more to you.

Have fun planning your wonderful trip!
>-
 
Nov 19th, 2006, 09:33 AM
  #12  
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Thank you, everyone, for your help so far. I am starting to narrow it down -so the specific hotel recommendations are very helpful. Oh, and Bob? Thanks for the direction to slowtrav.com -but 2 hours??? I spent more like a day and a half .
nona50 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 12:16 PM
  #13  
 
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I have four children and I always ask if they have a quad. Some hotels have apartments as well. WHen you go to book reservations, tell them what you need and see what they say. ALways ask!
mcmomx4 is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 12:58 PM
  #14  
 
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Hello. We (a group of 6) just came back from Rome and would highly recommend either this apartment or this agency. Very easy to deal with as well as very reasonable prices. I cannot stop raving about this place - better than the pictures with a host that speaks English.

http://www.b-b.rm.it/accommodations/desc.php?id=387
gamidtown is offline  

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