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How can a family of 4 do Italy in 8 days and what is the approx. cost?

How can a family of 4 do Italy in 8 days and what is the approx. cost?

Old Jan 16th, 2012, 06:03 AM
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How can a family of 4 do Italy in 8 days and what is the approx. cost?

My family is looking into going to Italy for 8 days in spring. We will be traveling from Atlanta, GA. We would like to do Rome, Florence and Venice. Any information as to where to stay (no more than $150 per night), where to start and end trip, and how to travel from place to place would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 06:20 AM
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In that short time I would pick 2 and not all 3.

You can take the trains between cities---quite easy.

You will not find accommodations for 4 that low--maybe 150E, but I suspect 200E may be closer.

I would start in Venice--3 nites--and end in Rome.
Try to avoid Easter in Rome. All of the art cites are higher prices over Easter.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 06:26 AM
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Start searching here for budget accommodations for your cities. Right now, $150 is about 118 euro, which is a budget price for 4 people. Another good place to look is the website Venere.com.

It is easy to travel between these three cities by train. You can check schedules and price at the official website:
http://www.fsitaliane.it/homepage_en.html

For instruction about how the Italian train system works:
http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/trains/index.htm

Travel north to south or south to north--Venice-Florence-Rome or Rome-Florence-Venice. Use the multi-city function on airline websites to check for flights. For many locations, flights from Venice to the U.S. leave very early making it difficult/expensive to reach the airport. Rome airport usually has a better schedule for departures to the U.S., so you might fly into Venice and fly home from Rome. it depends on the schedule for your airport.

How much time you spend in each place depends on your personal interests. For example, if you are not particularly interested in Renaissance art, you might just visit Florence as a stop on the way between Venice and Rome.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 06:55 AM
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Agree that with 8 days, stick to 2 cities, Venice, then Rome. Your children are less likely to enjoy Florence than the other two. And Venice makes a good, easy introduction to Italy before the intensity of Rome.

Implied here is an open jaw flight, into Venice, out of Rome. Such flights (multi-city on airline websites) should cost about the same as round-trip and save you the cost and time of backtracking to your arrival city.

Re: hotels. You're looking for a quad room or a family room. Such rooms are relatively rare in Europe. Look at sites like www.booking.com or www.venere.com. Consider also an apartment, especially in Rome and especially if your children are under 5. More space for about the same price. But, in general, I think it better for first-timers to stay in a hotel, where there's somebody to answer questions and give directions.

In both cities, it's important to stay in the center. Especially with a group, you might want to split up, one parent and kid back to the hotel. A central location makes this easier. Actually anyplace in Venice proper is good, just not on the mainland or the Lido.

One last thought, if you're arriving after a long, overnight flight, you will be jet-lagged and sleepy for a day or two. Add a day or so to your arrival city to recover.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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Another advantage of skipping Florence: You'll have a better chance of leasing a short-term apartment, which would be my recommendation for a family of four looking to save money.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 07:59 AM
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I would seriously consider a package or a tour for your needs. Though they are often scorned, it's gettting pretty late to book this on your own if you are talking about budget and this spring.

You can, should and probably will go back. You won't "know" Italy in 8 days.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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your budget is quite low for a family of 4 since as noted in other posts there are few quad hotel rooms available.

If you are open to the idea of renting an apartment, this one that our family rented in 2007 is close to your budget and very centrally located in Rome.
http://www.realrome.com/apartments/portico-reginella/
The agency has other reasonable apartments and the owner is very helpful. With an apartment you could save money on meals.

I agree with other posters that you would do better to limit your trip to 2 cities in 8 days than to try to hit all of the "big three."
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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I suggest that you get a guidebook, which will give you copious information about the cities you want to visit.

I agree that 3 cities is too much for 8 days. I think the apartment suggestion is a good one, considering that there will be four of you.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 08:30 AM
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If you have 8 days in Italy (not including flights) then I think those three are doable. Now we do tend to move around more than others here at Fodors though. How about this:

fly to Venice
1) Venice main island
2) Venice main island
3) Venice murano then train to Florence
4) Florence
5) Florence then train to Rome
6) Rome
7) Rome
8) Rome
fly home

I would possibly change the itinerary above to move a day from Venice to Florence...all depends on how tired you are when you arrive as to what you can actually do that first day.

Juat adding one extra day would really help you do all three with a bit less rushing around:

fly to Venice
1) Venice main island
2) Venice main island
3) Venice murano then train to Florence
4) Florence
5) Florence
6) Florence then train to Rome
7) Rome
8) Rome
9) Rome
fly home

We just did London, Paris, Murren, Venice and Rome with two families of 4. We used large apartments for 8 in Paris and Rome and found hotels for 4 in the other cities. In Venice we really loved Ca' San Giorgio. The hotel was a bit away from St. Marks which helped keep prices down.

It all depends on if you'll bring the family to Europe again. If you'll travel back once in a while then I'd be less likely to try to see a lot. For us I'm not sure I'll bring the kids to Europe again so we saw more on our trip. We did those 5 stops listed above in 13 days...and the entire group loved it. Kids were 8 and 10.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 08:48 AM
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I suspect this is a one-week spring break type of trip. This is how I handled a similar trip with my college-aged niece on her first trip to Europe.

FRI Day 1: depart U.S.
SAT Day 2: arrive Venice
SUN Day 3: Venice
MON Day 4: Venice
TUE Day 5: early train to Florence; spend day in Florence; late train to Rome
WED Day 6: Rome (Vatican)
THU Day 7: Rome (Colosseum, Forum)
FRI Day 8: Rome (day trip to Orvieto)
SAT Day 9: Rome
SUN Day 10: fly home
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 09:01 AM
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How old are your kids? I would not bother with Murano on a first trip to Venice. Also, I sure would not be cooking with that limited time. Apartment would be nice though, just for space, but with such a limited time in each place, I would do whatever was best location for money that I could find. Really like ellenem's plan, unless you are very much into Art. Then I would try to stay in Florence a night.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 09:05 AM
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When I said an apartment helps to save money on meals I was thinking more of breakfast, snack and lunch food, not preparing anything elaborate.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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Good thinking Vttraveler, but most hotels give some kind of breakfast, and we seem to always be out at lunch time, grabbing pizza or salad. With kids along though, it is nice to have extra stuff for them, and late at night. If they can find an apartment for their time frame, that would be great.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 09:51 AM
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One option: Fly into Venice, spend three nights, then head to Rome. Assuming this is a spring break or similar trip, it would look like:

Saturday: Leave Atlanta
Sunday: Arrive Venice
Monday/Tuesday: Venice
Wednesday: Train to Rome
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: Rome
Sunday: Fly home

If you feel like you've seen a lot of Rome by Saturday, Florence is doable as a day trip (I think the fast train takes 1.5 hours or so). Doing four nights in Rome gives you a better shot at getting an apartment. We found a two-bedroom apartment in Rome through sleepinitaly.com for €120/night plus a small cleaning fee, which basically fits your budget.

As far as how to travel between cities, the train is definitely the way to go. Start looking several weeks ahead (three months? I forget how far out Trenitalia books, but I'm sure someone here knows) and you might be able to find "Mini" fares, which will save you some money. It's like Southwest plane tickets, though - once the cheap tickets sell, they're gone.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Buy your plane tickets to fly into Venice and out of Rome. That saves backtracking time/money on the ground at the end.

Take the train between cities. It's a fast pace but you can do what you proposed. I'd suggest Venice (3 nights), Florence (2 nights), Rome (3 nights) in your alloted time.

Honestly I think the biggest challenge is going to be finding places to stay for 4 people at only ~$120 euro per night.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Oh as far as overall budget, the biggest cost will be your plane tickets. Just do some research online to find out the approximate price of 4 tickets for your dates in the spring.

I'd then allow $200/day for your family for local transportation, meals, walking around money. Plus your hotel/rooms/aparatment (if you could stretch it to $200/night for this will be much easier than the $120 you proposed).

So as a wild guess-timate somewhere around $3200 + the 4 plane tickets?
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 11:31 AM
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I think suze's estimate is a good one.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 05:03 PM
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One other website you might try for hotel rooms is 4ineurope.com I found several quad rooms in all 3 cities you mentioned. It also divides the rooms by area so you have a good idea of where each is located.

Also agree with the suggestion to rent an apartment. We did this on our first trip to Europe with our two children two yrs. ago and it worked great. It was wonderful to come back and have room to spread out a bit, watch TV or read , the boys could have some space( and us too!)
I've just booked our apartment in Rome for June. It looks like many will rent for a 3 or 4 night stay. You can research apts. here on these forums or google short stay rentals.
Good Luck!
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 06:20 AM
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Hotels will be much easier than apartments to find, when you are only going to be 2-3 days in each city.
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