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First trip to Italy! Help with Itinerary, please! :)


Jul 10th, 2013, 08:19 PM
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First trip to Italy! Help with Itinerary, please! :)

My husband and I are taking our three teen/young adult boys to Italy next Summer. It's a first for all of us. I'm trying to piece together an itinerary before contacting a travel agent (do I need one???). This is what I have so far:

*Rome 4 nights
*Tuscany - villa 7 nights (day trips to include Siena, Florence, Piza...?)
The remaining 3-4 nights up in the air. Would love to experience the coast, beaches, so thinking Cinque Terre? Santa Margherita? Would Venice be interesting to the boys??

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. The only transporation we are certain of is a rental car in Tuscany. Otherwise....train?

KarenBolinger is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:26 PM
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Our family loves Venice. Our kids have loved it when younger, as teenagers and as young adults. It is so unique.

Florence to Venice is super easy by train.

Palazzo Guardi is a great hotel - comfortable, great location and good prices.

Enjoy planning.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:42 PM
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With 5 people, you may want to consider renting apartments. You would have a lot more space and a kitchen is invaluable for breakfast and snacks, if nothing else. I have had good results with www.homelidays.com, www.homeaway.com, www.vrbo.com, and trip advisor.

I second Susannah's recommendation of Venice. You can take a boat ride to the Lido, the island just past Venice that has beaches.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:46 PM
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You don't need a travel agent but you do need some good guide books and maps.

If I were a young adult, I would much rather be in Santa Margherita Ligure than in the Cinque Terre. SML has nightlife, even if it's strolling the front there are lots of girls and some clubs, etc.

However, if they are huge hikers you might want to consider the CT for its trails. Me, I wouldn't.

Venice would be interesting if they are interested in art, architecture, history, and a totally unique water/landscape. Only you know what these boys will like.

If I was going from a Tuscan country villa to SML, I would keep the car.

Another possibility is to head from Tuscany to the east coast of Italy where there are major resorts and real beaches. Do that for a couple of days, then visit Venice.

Or hit a lake with beaches on your way from Tuscany to Venice. Do these boys windsurf or anything like that? Lake Garda could be a good stop if so.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:47 PM
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Alo agree with Venice. Your boys would probably enjoyv
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:47 PM
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One more thought? Will the boys really enjoy a full week of nights in a villa with basically nothing to do? It's sort of nice enough for couples or groups where people might stay in and cook and enjoy wine, but I'm thinking young adult males might go out of their minds after a few nights in a villa.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:52 PM
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I hate autocorrect!

I was going to say that your boys might enjoy visiting a gondola maker in Venice. I don't know of any personally but maybe someone else will chime in.

They would also probably enjoy climbing all those towers everywhere.

Fly open jaw into Rome and out of Venice to avoid backtracking. Or vice versa if flight times are better.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 09:06 PM
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Wow---thanks, everyone! I appreciate your advice! I tend to agree with the one-week in a villa being too boring for the boys. Santa Margherita sounds fun for them. So, where are the good beaches in the east coast? And, would we travel by train up the coast to Venice? As you can tell, I need to do a ton of research. These helpful comments are very valuable....thanks again.
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Jul 11th, 2013, 11:56 AM
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Santa Margherita is on the west coast of Italy. I don't personally know of good beaches on the east coast other than noted below. Besides, why go to Italy just to spend all your time at a tiny, usually rocky beach when you can find much nicer beaches in the US (if that's where you're from). Personally, I would spend the majority of my time seeing and doing things that you can't see and do at home.

I would heartily recommend Venice. There are lots of different things to do that I think your boys would enjoy. If they are set on a beach, there is a beach on the Lido (island) in Venice.
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Jul 11th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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Rimini is a major coastal resort on Italy's east coast. It is accessible by train. Here is a link showing multiple pictures of large sandy beaches:


I'm not saying I would go there. I'm just saying it is a place that boys might like. My brother got involved with a young woman while visiting there.

SML has small rocky beaches, mostly accessed by private beach club but there is also a public beach on the road to Portofino. I think SML is a very fun town, with a great yacht harbor, good easy daytrips by boat, and when I was there once with my young cousins, they went clubbing. They were under 21 at the time, but I can't remember their ages.

There is also some good walking in Portofino, up up up and out to the lighthouse. Another great excursion is to the Abbey of San Frutuoso, where there is also some swimming at a rocky cove.

Personally, I like those places much better than the Cinque Terre, where there is much less water access and less to do.
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Jul 11th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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I would stick with your original plan but make sure the villa you rent has access to a large town or city (e.g. Florence or Siena) so your sons have something to do in the evening if they want. A swimming pool is nice, too, after a long day of sightseeing.

I would definitely choose Venice over a beach location. Venice is unique in all the world while beaches are everywhere. There is so much of interest in Venice, including Lido, Venice's beach (although I wouldn't miss the experience of Venice proper for this beach).

Get your sons involved in the planning. But remember, it is your trip, too. Enjoy!
mamcalice is offline  
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Jul 11th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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I think boys would like Venice--canals, bridges and boats and the Lido.
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Jul 11th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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For your week in Tuscany you might want to explore some agriturismos instead of a stand alone villa.

Some feature larger apartments with three bedrooms.

Some have farm oriented activities, and other things to do for the children (and you), plus they might get to meet other children to hang with.

Terra di Nano and Cretaoile come to mind.



For hotels in Rome, I can recommend the Albergo Cesari. It is a nice, solid three star in a very good location.

Have fun planning. Try it on your own without an agent, if you have questions, come back here!
wekewoody is offline  
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Jul 12th, 2013, 02:01 AM
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I am in Italy traveling with three teens (2 girls, 1 boy). Here's what they liked most so far-

1. Hiking cinque terre. They all said they would've liked 2 nights in monterroso.
2. Biking the walls of lucca
3. Climbing Pisa tower
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Jul 15th, 2013, 01:06 AM
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I just found a website "in Italy online" and they seem to make your travel arrangements from start to finish. What I like most about this company is the setting up of tours/guides and transportation needs.

Has anyone used this service? I can't seem to find a review.
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Jul 15th, 2013, 04:16 AM
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Make your own travel arrangements, with refundble bookings. Services like that don't let you make changes in your itinerary without paying steep costs. You can book your own guides after reading reviews of guides on TripAdvisor. If you just accept the package deal, your kids could persistently end up being the only kids in the entire group of retirees and the tour could be pitched to adult-level understanding rather than engaging your kids interests. There are half-day tours in all the major art and history cities with guides who specialize in getting young people interested in what they are seeing by relating their world.


Your report really jives with the majority of reports I have heard from parents traveling with teens. Biking, hiking and climbing are big hits. Sightseeing, no, Villas, no, not even villas with swimming pools unless there is some activity going on, like biking or horseback riding.

It is almost impossible to find a villa with access to a city like Florence or Siena that doesn't require driving. Buses stop at 8pm and rural roads don't have sidewalks and are not safe for walkers at night.
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Jul 15th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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Thanks for your input. After contacting someone at "In Italy online," I was given a sample itinerary. I gave her the places I would like to visit, and she went from there. Not sure I will use them for some or part of my planning. But, please take a look at this plan and tell me what you think!

May 31, depart USA
June 1, fly into Rome
June 1-4 (three nights, two full days) in Rome
June 4, pick up rental car and drive to Tuscany
June 4-9 (five nights, four full days) in Tuscany
June 9, drive to Cinque Terre June 9-12 (three nights, two full days) in Cinque Terre
June 12, drive to Venice and drop off the car June 12-15 (three nights, two full days) in Venice and drop car off.
June 15 fly out of Venice, or take train to Rome for flight home.

I hadn't planned on having a car for that much of the trip, thinking the train would be better transportation in foreign country. She explained how much trouble the train can be with luggage and lots of stops, etc.

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Jul 15th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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I don't like the agent's itinerary because I think you are not giving your self and kids enough time in Rome. I do happen to like working with agents who know Italy. Specialists are full of good advice.

There is plenty to do for people of all ages in Rome. What I do not understand is why you are planning 4 days in Tuscany and then 3 more around Cinque Terre? Do your boys want to visit the Etruscan museum in Volterra? Are they interested in wine making? Biking and walking the walls in Lucca or climbing the towers is good for a few hours... The Cinque Terre and Tuscany coast are next to one another. Maybe you should find one town close to the sea that allows for biking, hiking, and visiting the Cinque Terre. This is recent story for some ideas along Tuscan coast

The east coast is full of great beach destinations from Otranto right up to Rimini but seems out of the way for this trip.

Some more information about the kids may be helpful.

Happy planning!
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Jul 15th, 2013, 03:08 PM
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I am no expert but have been planning my upcoming trip. Before you book any # of nights, figure out what you would like to see in each place AND in surrounding nearby locations. If it were me, I would do more than 2 full days in Rome. Pompeii would be a long day but Ostia Antica may be of interest to them and that is an easy day trip from Rome. Instead of 7 in Tuscany, if you add an extra night to Rome and take a day trip into Orvieto. Again from Rome. Perhaps you would also enjoy a day trip to Tivoli to see the 2 villas? An easy day trip from Rome.

I would definitely see Venice. If you are headed to Venice, I think you will pass Bologna region. If they are into cars, there is the lamborghini factory tour where you can see full tour (see trip advisor reviews). My husband and kids are taking a day trip from Florence but if you have a car already, you may want to consider that if thst is an interest. Ferrari museum is not that far away either.

Good luck!
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Jul 15th, 2013, 04:24 PM
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A guided tour in Venice would make it come alive. I am using Luisella Romeo next year. She comes highly recommended.


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