Italy in August with kids

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May 23rd, 2015, 04:18 AM
  #1
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Italy in August with kids

going to Italy at end of of August for 10 days with my husband and three boys ages 16, 14 and 11. Flying into Rome, staying for three nights, then Florence for 4 and Venice for 3. Have to keep Rome in the beginning because flying into Rome and out of Venice. Concerned about the heat and was wondering if I should switch to Rome for 3, Tuscany (maybe stay at hotel with pool) for 3, and Florence and Venice for 2 each? Not sure I want to move around so much. Also, would love suggestions on fun things to do besides sightseeing. Cooking classes, Vespa tours,?
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May 23rd, 2015, 04:30 AM
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August, going to be hot and crowded in the big three cities. I'd be amased if the kids enjoyed it but hey you know them better than me.

It is now almost June, if you want to stay in Tuscany with pool get it booked asap.

Some other ideas.

You could stay in the countryside near Venice and commute in. Possibly less of a full experience but a heck of a sight nicer for all concerned. Look at the area around say Padua in the Euganian hills for some lovely contryside and just a short train ride into Venice. The whole Po valley is great for cycling (flat, quiet roads, bike paths etc and canal sides, and Padua is a good base for that.

Reading back it looks like I'm throwing a lot of cold water on your plans but (if it were me) for only 10 days, I'd only look at two bases. I suggest you fly into Rome, and straight away get off to Tuscany with a car, allowing you to have day trips to some fine ancient cities (Siena say etc) and then move over to a base near Padua for trips out. If you do decide to stay near Venice then try and gt up in a hill a little bit, if the heat and damp really comes on all the AC is the world will not be as good as a little hill wind
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May 23rd, 2015, 04:45 AM
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When you are going it will be hot (probably very hot), humid and mobbed.

Nothing you can do about it. I don;t see the countryside as being any cooler - and if you just want to sit by a pool why do so on a farm in Italy?

I think I wold be more likely to just make sure hotels have great AC (many modest ones don't) and find someplace relaxing for the middle of the day.

Driving a vespa around cities in Italy is close to madness and certainly not something to do with kids. And not sure they would enjoy cooking classes versus visiting roman ruins (are they gladiator fans?) ad checking out outdoor spaces in the cities - piazzas or parks. Also you could head for Venice's Lido if you want a day at the beach - less than 30 minutes from San Marco by vaporetto.

And I wold get at least the 2 older kids involved in trip planning. Let them look at the the Let's Go Student guide and they may come up with some ideas of things they would like to do (at 11 and 14 our DDs did a lot of planning for a trip to London and Paris).
(We visit Italy in May/early June just for this reason.)
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May 23rd, 2015, 05:01 AM
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Do you live someplace where it is not hot in August? I would dress for hot weather and go have a good time. If your kids are not big on sightseeing art, then I would suggest by-passing Florence in favor of someplace that is more of a lark. Were it me with teens, I'd pick a coastal spot.
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May 23rd, 2015, 06:14 AM
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Live in NY. Unfortunately, only time I can take a trip with the kids for an extended period of time is in august. They go to camp until the 2nd week in aug. Right now booked high end hotels with ac. Hope I am not miserable with the heat. Do have a driver most days so kids can get in the car if they need a break from the heat.
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May 23rd, 2015, 06:40 AM
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Very, very generally speaking, the last 2 weeks of August are not the hottest part of the Italian summer (just as they often are not in NY). However, can't promise you.

I'm guessing you've already read up on the tips for doing your outdoor sightseeing earlier in the morning, retreating to air conditioned space after lunch, and re-emerging for gelato and strolling about later in the day (museums and sights stay open until 7.30) and enjoying the evenings outdoors. Italy is so safe at night that your entire family might find it a treat to enjoy the life of the piazze and nighttime sightseeing. Stay out late, get up early, nap after lunch when it is hottest outside.

Churches have cool interiors, so keep those in mind. (Museums are often not air conditioned). If your family likes Roman ruins, Ostia Antica is shady, and near the beach. Taking a bike ride along the Appian Way in Rome might generate a breeze. I think your 11 year old is too young for Vespa rides in the countryside. (Cooking classes are not likely to be available in August.)

There are often evening rock concerts in August in Italy which your kids might enjoy (or other types of music too). You can check out the local schedules closer to August.

Pack and dress gossamer light. Keep your fingers crossed for pleasant temps.
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May 23rd, 2015, 07:10 AM
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There's a lot going against you, but if you're committed to doing this trip, make the best of it:

bil's advice about commuting into Venice is a pretty good idea. Most people advise against that because you don't get the "full experience," but slogging around a hot, crowded Venice all day can be daunting, especially with three kids. My modification of bil's advice: stay on Lido, as nyt suggests. There's a beach there, it's less crowded, and you can access the city easily.

The advice to bypass Florence isn't a bad idea, either. I like Florence, but its sights are centered on art and architecture -- for kids? -- and it too will be hot and crowded. How about Cinque Terre? Seaside, hiking, maybe a day trip to Pisa (not my fav thing, but the kids might like it). Look for a hotel with a pool.

Rome: Find a hotel with a pool for daytime, and do some touring at night, if possible. There are attractions that can be appreciated only in daytime, but you don't have to spend all day, every day in the heat and crowds.
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May 23rd, 2015, 08:09 AM
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Don't worry so much about the heat. It's the northern Europeans here who have climate shock. If you live in New York city, you won't find Italy that hot in August. The main difference is less air conditioning. And warmer air conditioning.

I agree about minimizing or skipping Florence, with your kids in tow. I don't agree about staying outside Venice. Kids are fascinated by Venice, the lack of streets and traffic, the water buses and water taxis and water delivery boats, etc. You can make daytrips out of Venice during the daytime -- including the Lido -- and be back in Venice for the quiet mornings and evenings. One of my favorite travel memories is wandering around Venice with my son, getting lost. We'd run into a body of water and have to turn right or left. Venice is small, you can't really get lost. Search the forum for a thread on activities for kids in Venice.

Italy will be busy in this period. The cities full of tourists, the seaside resorts full of Italians. And the Cinque Terre will be chock full. Hotels with pool will not be in the center of the city, so require commuting in and out. Whereas, especially in Rome, you see so much just walking around the historic center. To stay at a hotel with a pool in rural Tuscany you will probably have to rent a car.

Do involve the kids in trip planning. If you do go to Pisa, look into stopping at Lucca en route. It's a nice small town with the historic center surrounded by a wall, actually 2 walls filled in between. There's a path around the top. You can rent bikes and ride around it, looking down into the town.
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May 23rd, 2015, 09:55 AM
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Not sure how having a driver is going to help in Florence or Venice , still I quiet fancy having my own launch in Venice
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May 23rd, 2015, 10:03 AM
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Still I like the idea of the Lido as a base
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May 23rd, 2015, 10:30 AM
  #11
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I stayed on Lido twice with small kids years ago and wouldn't do it again. It was a total PIA relying on vaporetto schedules for back and forth trips to Venice in the August heat. The beach on Lido was only OK, nothing remarkable. Anyway, if you want to see Venice, STAY in Venice!

About Florence: I agree with what others have said above. August is broiling hot in Florence with little relief. You might consider finding a base in Tuscany with a swimming pool, then day tripping to Florence, Siena, etc from there.

When our kids were small, we stayed in Radda at RELAIS FATTORIA VIGNALE, and really enjoyed it. The property is in the middle of lush countryside with a gorgeous pool, and within easy walking distance to a few very good restaurants in town.
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May 23rd, 2015, 10:32 AM
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Forgot to mention that for day trips in and around Radda, we hired Luca Garapa from HILLSANDROADS.com. I'd highly recommend his services. He will customize itineraries to fit your family's interests. We really enjoyed his knowledge and company!
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May 23rd, 2015, 10:43 AM
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I second the rec for Luca.
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May 23rd, 2015, 10:51 AM
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I would NOT stay on the Lido - too much toing and froing. But it's good for a day on the beach - although not nearly as nice as beaches you're used to if from NY.

As for car - uesless in Florence - since the historic center is mostly pedestrian only and small - only about 20 minute walk across. And in Rome there are also pedestrian places you can't get with a car.

I would think taxis much more convenient - and economical - than having a driver waiting around all day.

And agre that Italy is not much hotter than NY. BUT, some places do not have AC at all and many that do don't really cool down as one would expect. IMHO 95 down to 85 is useless - we expect 72.
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May 23rd, 2015, 12:50 PM
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In the summer, Florence is, on average, hotter than either Rome or Venice. Both of those cities are near the coast, and get some cooler breezes from time to time. Florence is well inland, in a natural bowl. Florence is also the city where I feel the crowding the most. In Venice, the crowds don't seem to wander very far off the tourist path, and if you break out of the pack, you can find peace and quiet, even in August. Rome is just a much larger city, with a wealth of hidden gems, and it's easy to plan an itinerary that will keep you away from the hordes. I would just limit the visits to well-known sites, and absolutely avoid the Vatican Museums, which no sane person should visit in August.

I have spent long periods in Rome in July with my granddaughter, because her mother has been there for symposiums and academic conferences. As Sandralist says, July is often hotter than late August. Anyway, not every summer is very hot. Last summer, it was pleasantly warm, but not hot, in Rome. One evening, when we were dining at a rooftop restaurant, we actually had to leave before dessert, because it was downright chilly. Another summer, a few years ago, my daughter actually had to borrow some clothing from me, because it was too cool for the summer clothing she had brought.

Two years ago, though, it was really hot in July. We still had fun. I took my granddaughter to the beach one day (at Ladispoli), we spent a day at the Villa Borghese Park, and we went to a number of nice air-conditioned museums. She enjoyed the Barberini Gallery, the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, and Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, all of which were nice and cool, and none of which is ever crowded. Really, the only museum in Rome I can think of that is very deficient in the air conditioning is the Vatican Museums, and I doubt any air conditioning could cope with the hordes of tourists who shuffle through there shoulder to shoulder on a summer day.

My granddaughter is very interested in ancient myths, because of a series of kid fiction with a hero named Percy, who's really the Greek hero Perseus in disguise. I can't remember the name of the series, but if you have kids, you've probably heard of it. If your kids are fans, the museums of Rome will provide plenty of illustration of stories they're probably familiar with. If not, you can recount the stories behind the statues and paintings they see. (Brush up on your Greek, Roman, and Biblical tales!)
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May 23rd, 2015, 01:01 PM
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Regarding air conditioning in museums, if Rome is the only place you will going to museums, then it might not be a problem. But before planning on visiting museums in other places in Italy in the afternoon, try reading tourist reviews for July and August (which you can readily find on TripAdvisor). I mention this because I sometimes see advice to summer travelers to do outdoor sightseeing in the mornings, and then go to museums during the hot part of the afternoon. I don't think it is a guarantee you'll find air conditioning in all of them.
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Feb 7th, 2016, 10:55 AM
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Going on a cruise this coming August with our 3 boys (ages 9, 12 & 15) and spending 3 days in Venice to get acclimated. What were your favorite cities to day trip around there? Debating between Padua or Florence or maybe the Tuscany area?
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Feb 7th, 2016, 11:24 AM
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Why day trip if you only have three days?
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