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Italy first time 2 weeks help

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Jan 11th, 2014, 02:35 PM
  #1
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Italy first time 2 weeks help

Going to Italy for the first time and will be there for 2 weeks. We'd like to visit Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. We will fly into one city (Milan?) and leave by another (Rome?), traveling by rail with our two children, 20 and 15 yrs. old. Any help with suggested itineraries, hotels etc. would be much appreciated. Open to day trips by bus.

Thanks,

Mike
MrMikeRocks is offline  
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Jan 11th, 2014, 02:55 PM
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If you like to hike/walk, consider taking a 2 day side trip to Cinque Terre. You will not regret it.
virginiafish is offline  
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Jan 11th, 2014, 04:36 PM
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Your plan sounds good to me; actually one of the most sensible "first time" Italy plans I've seen here in awhile.

I see it like this: you will fly in to Milan, travel by train to Venice, by train to Florence, then by train to Rome, and fly home from there. It really does sound quite good.

I have questions before making any other suggestions: are there things you want to see/do in Milan? Do you plan on spending time there?

Also, what are your family's interests?
What time of year are you traveling? Makes a big difference for day trip suggestions.

Hotels? Apartments? We would need a budget per night before making suggestions.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
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Jan 11th, 2014, 05:36 PM
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It all depends on what you want to see/do everywhere... But if this were my trip, I'd fly into Venice and skip Milan. If you're not comfortable driving, consider staying in Florence several nights (5 or 6) and making a few day trips using public trans. Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, Lucca, Bologna, Arezzo, Certaldo are all pretty straight-forward options. Or you could hire a driver/guide one day and explore Chianti/Tuscany.
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Jan 16th, 2014, 07:01 AM
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I agree with Jean, both about skipping Milan and public transport - it's actually quicker and cheaper than driving most of the time! Not to mention, Italians on the road are CRAZY!

Maybe check out www.artviva.com for day trips with a guide, and www.florencevillas.com for accommodations.
giadaaustraliana is offline  
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Jan 16th, 2014, 08:34 AM
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2 weeks. We'd like to visit Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome.>

Can you land in Milan and depart from Rome - so-called open-jaw trip? Prevents back tracking.

If you want a smaller town for the first night go from the Milan airport to Como or Stresa, both on lovely lakes and both just as close to the airport as Milan.

Spend a few days on the lakes - head to Venice

Venice 3 days

Florence 4 days - do a day trip to Siena, or some other hill towns or Pisa - perhaps add in another day to do day trips

Rome 4 days

For lots of great info on Italian trains check out www.trenitalia.com - the official site of the Italian Railways as well as these superb IMO sites - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. You can score discounted tickets from trenitalia.com but those must be booked far in advance to secure as they are sold in limited numbers and then can't be changed nor refunded - you can also investigate the Italy Railpass that lets you chose which trains to take once there - valid on every train anytime though you do need to make a mandatory seat reservation but at least you keep flexibility to chose which trains to take once there not book in stone weeks in advance. However if your itinerary is in stone then that is fine - just allow time to get to the station.
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Jan 16th, 2014, 09:14 AM
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MrMike, you are getting some very sound advice above. I could not have planned my first trip to Italy without this forum. I am about to embark on trip #5!

I agree that 3 cities would be best for your family's enjoyment. Otherwise, your trip memories might mostly be of packing/unpacking/traveling/etc.

Open jaw, as suggested above is good. Fly into Venice and home from Rome.

Train travel in Italy, between the large cities, is quite fast, efficient and cost-effective! However, you should know that the sooner you buy your tickets, the less expensive it will be. Note there are non-refundable tickets for the least expensive. But if you plan well and make your trains, there is no reason not to book far in advance.

Also, here are the main train stations in each of the cities you mention. Venice: Venezia S.Lucia, Milan: Milano Centrale, Florence: Firenze S.M.Novella, Rome: Roma Termini.

I also think renting an apartment can be a fabulous idea, especially when you are traveling as a family. You have the added benefit of being able to cook some meals for yourself (taking advantage of local fresh produce/seafood)(less costly than eating out), more room to spread out, and getting to feel like a local. It is also almost always cheaper than a hotel. (Oh, how my nephew loved having a box of Cheerios and milk in the frig for those late-night munchies! haha)

I have successfully used VRBO, RentalInRome and SleepInItaly for renting apartments. Other posters will surely have other suggestions, too. This apartment would be perfect. I stayed here last year. 2 bed/2 bath, washing machine, terrace and tram/regional train/buses right outside the front door! http://www.rentalinrome.com/trasteve...tment?bts=true Loved this apartment!

Buon viaggio!
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Jan 16th, 2014, 09:21 AM
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PS I realize that the apartment shows the twin beds in the "master" bedroom. The truth is that in most apartments, the management will set the beds up as you desire. When I stayed here, they connected the twins in the master for me and the second bedroom twins were fine for my nephew. (Though the agency said they could connect those, too, if I wished.) I suspect you would want the master beds connected and have twins set up in the 2nd bedroom.
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Jan 16th, 2014, 01:51 PM
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Folks under 26 can use the Italy Youth Railpass - in case your older kids want a little freedom to take trains elsewhere (in case you found a Saverpass was the best deal - the youth passes are even cheaper and are solo passes where everyone does not have to travel together. Late sleepers for example...
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