Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Italy: 12 Days Itinerary Suggestion Wanted: With 8 and 6 year old daughters

Italy: 12 Days Itinerary Suggestion Wanted: With 8 and 6 year old daughters

Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 09:33 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Italy: 12 Days Itinerary Suggestion Wanted: With 8 and 6 year old daughters

Hi,

We are planning our first ever trip to Italy (and first ever to any European destination together as a family) at the end of june 2014: 25 June through 8 Jul. Want suggestions for a relaxing vacation in Italy. I am currently thinking of doing Rome, Florence and Venice. Nothing set in stone yet only thing is that we have booked our flight: fly in and out of Rome from San Francisco.

Goals:
1.Keep my daughters reasonably engaged,happy and interested through the entire trip.
2. Also want us (me, my wife and kids) to relax/indulge and experience countryside and Tuscany village(s).

* Which cities/places/hotels/villas can be recommended to stay in Rome, Florence (or any surrounding cities) and Venice? Particularly that are family/kids friendly. Can we rent a villa with a pool in one of the town/village in Tuscany area - would that be too expensive for single family?
* Is Venice must? Can we simply do 4-5 days in Rome and rest in Florence/Tuscany area?
* What could be good locations/places/day trips to visit apart from these three big cities in this 12 day visit?
* After doing some initial research - thinking of traveling between cities by train. Is there a need to rent a car if we want to experience Tuscany/Florence area?
* Is end of June/First week of July too hot to roam/walk around?

Thank you!
arunner is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 09:52 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,854
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi arunner,

first of all, nothing at all is a MUST - the only must is what suits you and you family. so if you want to spend all your time in Rome and tuscany, that's absolutely fine, and given your flights into and out of Rome, it might well be the best choice.

one tip - it's a good idea to put your time in your departure city last - so rather than stay in Rome for a few days, then go to Tuscany, and return to Rome at the end, use your arrival day to get to Tuscany, stay there for as long as your plans allow, and then return to Rome to finish the trip. THat way you are in the right place for going home, and you don't waste time splitting up your stay in Rome at all.

if you are going to stick to cities, there is no need for a car. but if you want to spend time in the Tuscan countryside, a car will really be necessary to really enjoy it to the full. it will certainly be hot in June/July, so in a 12 day visit, you might want to rent a villa or stay in an agritourismo [preferably with a pool] for a week, then spend the rest of the time in Rome.

unless you are desperate to go to Florence [which probably doesn't hold much to thrill an 8 and a 6 year old of either gender] I'd look at places in southern Tuscany or Umbria rather than northern Tuscany. you could for example get the train to Orvieto, stay the night, then pick up a car there, and drive to your destination very easily. There's loads to do in the area between there and Siena and if you have somewhere to return to that has a pool, there will always be somewhere where the girls can get cool and burn off some energy too.

of course, you could always do the classic Venice/Florence/Rome combination, but it might not be the holiday you'd dreamed of in june/july with 2 kids in tow.
annhig is online now  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 10:19 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It would have been prudent to book open-jaw tickets, but I guess it's too late for that.

No one can answer questions about what you must do or see. That's what guidebooks are for - to give you detailed information and help you narrow down what fits with your interests. The same goes for what might be "too expensive," as you haven't mentioned any sort of budget.

If you want to "experience" Tuscany, a car is essential. In Florence, a car is a huge liability. In Venice, obviously you can't have one. If you do decide to travel by train (and I'm guessing your daughters would very much enjoy a train ride or two), rest assured the train system in Italy is extensive and very affordable.
StCirq is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 10:42 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you annhig and StCirq. Can I rent a villa (with a pool preferrably) in Tuscany for around $200-$300 per night that will accommodate 4 of us? Can I make Florence as the base for our Tuscany stay and then make day trips to each destination in Tuscany or we will waste too much time in travel? Or is there any other better suited village/place in Tuscany that we can make a base and then spend all 5 to 7 nights in that hotel/villa and then return Rome for remaining visit. Would that make sense? Or do we have to hop to multiple hotels each or every other night in Tuscany?

Thank you.
arunner is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 11:15 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would not make Florence your base. If you really want to see/experience Tuscany, rent a villa in the countryside and drive all over. There are infinite places you can find a villa, so get out the guidebooks and start researching various areas - Tuscany is enormous. I like the area around Pienza, but that's me. There is no need to hop around; settle in for a week. Make a daytrip into Florence if you like, but do it by train so you don't get nabbed in the ZTL and incur a huge fine. There are countless places online to find villas to rent - Venere, VRBO, etc. You can check Trip Advisor for reviews of places others have rented.
StCirq is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 12:06 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,854
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
there are loads of villa companies operating in Italy, at all price points.

down the less expensive end are the owner-operated sites like home-away and owners direct:

http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-ren...y/tuscany/r308

http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/italy.htm

there are others who act more as an agency eg rent villas:

http://www.rentvillas.com/AboutUs.aspx

but there are many others.

I agree with st cirq that Florence does not make a good base for touring unless you are planning to go to other cities by train or bus - eg Bologna, Pisa and Lucca are all accessible by train, San Gimignano and Siena by bus. it is a big place so it takes a long time to drive into and out of the city, plus there is the ZTL to contend with. Not a restful way to spend a holiday especially with fractious kids in the back of the car.
annhig is online now  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 12:22 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Do a day by day itinerary first.
MOst Villas rent by the week in Tuscany that time of year.
If you arrive on the 26th and depart Rome on 8 July, that gives 11 nights in Italy. If take 7 of those in Tuscany that leaves you 4 in Rome--is that what you want?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 12:32 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,854
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
probably with kids aged 8 & 6, 4 nights in Rome would be about right.
annhig is online now  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 12:50 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am flexible on days that I will spend between Tuscany+Rome: 6+5 or 7+4 I am thinking I may get better deal on villa if I rent it for 7 days than 6 - or maybe not?

Also would kids enjoy more in Venice than being in Tuscany?

I I choose to spend 6 to 7 days in Tuscany; where should I rent car from? Florence or some other city? I am guessing that city should be connected by train from Rome.

Thanks again.
arunner is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 02:32 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Most people with villas want to rent them for a full 7 days. I've rarely, if ever, heard of a "deal" for 7 days as opposed to 6. If you rent for only 6 days, it's highly unlikely the villa owner will be able to fill that 7th day, so in all likelihood you'll pay for a full week even if you don't stay there the whole time. There may be exceptions to this, of course. You'll just have to do the research.

I can't say if your girls would like Venice more than Tuscany. One is a city, and a magical one at that; the other is an entire region with infinite opportunities for exploring.

I would take the train out of Rome to Orvieto (which is worth a stop) or Chiusi (also worth a stop) and drive through Umbria to Tuscany. You could of course take the train right to Florence and pick the car up there, but I'm guessing you'd have to hazard the ZTL to get out of the city and into the countryside.
StCirq is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:14 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks StCirq. When you suggest stops at Orvieto or Chiusi - do you mean to stay overnight stay?
arunner is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:33 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,741
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
arunner, I would seriously consider an agriturismo with a pool. You then have other guests you can mingle with, someone to cook, and someone who generally speaks English and Italian and can give you good tips on nearby sites, shopping, etc. Otherwise, you may be fairly isolated by renting a villa. Unless you have a strong command of the language, I would consider it a bonus to have someone close who could translate in an emergency, etc.

There are some wonderful trip reports here by people who did just that. To me, that sounds a bit more relaxing. I wouldn't try to do too much in your 11 days. I certainly agree that 2 places with a couple of day trips might work out best.

I think 4 days in Rome would also be about right for the kids' ages. Certainly, you must see St. Peters, the Vatican museums and the Colosseum. But I doubt the kids would have much interest in the incredible churches and other archeological sites. (Make sure you get to the Borghese Gardens in Rome. Beautiful park with lots of green space and trees. Perhaps if you let them spend a little time there, they won't mind if you take them through the Borghese Galleries to see the incredible art/statues. :] )

I also agree that you should immediately head out to Tuscany as soon as you land in Rome. Then do Rome at the end of your trip, so you are there for departure.

If you do a search here for "agriturismo", you may find some of those trip reports. Additionally, as other long-time Italy fans show up here, you may get more suggestions on actual agriturismos to contact. (One final note- get busy- June 2014 is already booking up fast. :{ )
sarge56 is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:41 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,741
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some examples from TripAdvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...a_Tuscany.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...a_Tuscany.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR..._Padua_Ve.html

Buon viaggio!
sarge56 is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:43 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,741
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PS- From another Fodor's page: http://www.fodors.com/news/rome-with-kids-6428.html
sarge56 is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 11:18 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks sarge56. I liked the idea of staying in Agriturismo so we are not isolated. Will check out the links you provided.
arunner is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 11:20 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Looks like Creataiole does not have a swimming pool. Any suggestions on family/kid friendly agriturismo in Tuscany from where I can visit or do a day trips to Siena, Lucca, Pisa, Florence?
arunner is offline  
Old Dec 24th, 2013, 12:47 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,317
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If that is the area that interests you try to find somewhere around Siena.
jamikins is offline  
Old Dec 24th, 2013, 07:40 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
arunner, no I wasn't thinking an overnight in Orvieto or Chiusi, but both would be great for a visit of an hour or two, especially Orvieto with its amazing cathedral. I like Chiusi for its Etruscan museum, among other things, but its small and you could see the whole upper part of town in less than an hour.
StCirq is offline  
Old Dec 24th, 2013, 08:14 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 54,854
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
arunner - here is a very good website where you can search for agriturismi by region, facilties, price, whether they offer a restaurant, etc. :

http://www.agriturismo.it/en/farmhouse/tuscany
annhig is online now  
Old Dec 24th, 2013, 08:15 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 20,233
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Chiusi for its Etruscan museum," one of the best I have ever seen and basically unused by tourists. I would also look at the tour of the tower across the road (I think the price includes a tower and museum visit) then think how old the tower is and how well it has done in an earthquake zone
bilboburgler is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:47 AM.