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Italy in October starting in Milan, recommend which 2 cities to visit?

Italy in October starting in Milan, recommend which 2 cities to visit?

Sep 7th, 2009, 09:56 PM
Original Poster
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Italy in October starting in Milan, recommend which 2 cities to visit?

Will get a chance (finally!) to visit Italy in October. This being our first time to the country would love any recommendations for seasoned travelers. Thinking we will try to stay about 8 days - will have to start and probably end in Milan due to business. Thinking we will keep it low stress and try to visit just 2 cities? Any recommendations for other cityies to visit and places to stay for a family (2 young kids 4 & 6) would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
janefrsin is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 12:20 AM
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If you want to keep it low stress, then I'd head out to Lake Como and base yourself around there. It's less than an hour from Milan, it's stunningly beautiful and there's a lot to see and do. You could even get the train to Zurich from Como(takes 3 hours, right through the Alps) and do an overnight there. This might give you some ideas...

alihutch is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 12:38 AM
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Hi Jane - How about Venice?
Steve_James is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 05:29 AM
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How late in Oct.?
I would see Verona and Venice.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 05:37 AM
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Florence (overnight) and Venice.
Viajero2 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 05:43 AM
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With 2 kids I probably wouldn't do both Florence and Venice since they are in opposite directions from Milan. It's not as if the traveling is onerous, but everything is more difficult with kids.

Venice is a great place, but you have to walk to get anywhere (often up stairs and across bridges). Is that practical with a 4 year-old in tow when you can't use a stroller? It's a beautiful place, but just not that child-friendly.

Italy should be lovely in October, cool but not cold. Rome is a great city for kids and has buses and a subway traveling the popular tourist routes, so it's doable. Plus, it has one of the most beautiful public parks in all of Europe in the Villa Borghese.

Perhaps you could get over your jetlag by staying a couple of days around Lake Como and then go to Rome for a few days before heading back to Milan. It's not a short train ride from Milan to Rome, but it's doable.
doug_stallings is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 12:29 PM
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Thanks so much everyone! I had been thinking about Venice and Verona based on reading commentary on this forum but wanted to see what folks would say. Personally would love to do more (who doesnt want to visit ALL those cities in Italy?) but I need to scale back for sake of kids so decided 2 cities was max we wanted to take on.
Doug_Stallings, you have a point about the lots of walking part. Although I am not quite as daunted if we can pop into caffes along the way since 4 year old is able to go on short hikes and is long past the stroller stage. Also interesting comment about Rome - I had nixed that after reading Rick Steve's being kind of down on Rome for kids. http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/desti...02kidsrome.htm But I am rethinking that option now.
Did not think about Lake Como. Thanks alihutch. Bobthenavigator, we plan to be there week of Oct 19.
janefrsin is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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That is real late for Como---we will leave there 10 Oct.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 01:53 PM
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I think Rick Steves is overly negative on Rome with kids. There are more park areas than he suggests (the Janiculum, for example) and lots of piazzas with interesting things to see (and little toys to buy).
I am not sure why he recommends combining Rome and Pompeii--this would be a very long day trip. Ostia Antica would be a much easier day trip
Vttraveler is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 02:51 PM
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Rome is my opinion & ditto, Vttraveler on Ostia Antica. If I were with kids in Rome, I would definitely plan a day to O.A. The kids would love to run & to climb up, down, & under the ruins. Let the parents sit in the ampitheater, while the kids perform on stage for them! It is only about a 25 minute cheap train ride from Rome. There are bathrooms & a cafeteria right in the middle of everything. For the adults, in advance research via internet or books, buy the guide book at the entrance, & enjoy knowing what very interesting sites you are seeing. Our visits to Rome have been in November & we've never seen more than 20-25 other people on site with us. Since it is much less crowded than Pompeii, so easy to get to from Rome, & we have access to the ruins rather than being restricted by barriers, we much prefer O.A. & go everytime we are in Rome - if for nothing else but a relaxing day away from the hustle & bustle. If a trip to O.A. is not possible, Palatine Hill is an adequate substitute; open & accessible ruins & an awesome view of Rome from the upper terrace garden.

Even though it is sometimes crowded, I'd also take them to the Colosseum, being sure to wander both levels (main & upper). Made for kids, I think.

And then there is the Castle - what's not to like for kids! It's not that expensive & a stay can be as long or as short as desired. However, the kids will not want to follow the audio guide, so I'd save my money & instead do some advance research so they can be advised of some details. And the best part with kids - bathrooms & food onsite!

However, I would not subject the kids & the long suffering parents to the Vatican Museums & the line for such; not at 4 & 6 yo.

With kids I would stay in the P.Navona area & let them go to Campo di Fiori each morning for a fruit treat, & also let them run around P.Navona when they need to let off steam. Or, if I had the bucks, I'd stay on Via Veneto, which is conveniently close to the metro & the park.

Rome & Venice are our favorite Italian cities. However, I don't think Venice is really an interesting city for kids. Others may feel otherwise. However, if the parents really want to see it, it is doable. We stay in an apartment just steps from San Marco, but not in the crowded part. Such a location would allow trips back for rest, which would be very much needed. But other than walking around & looking, I wouldn't want to take kids into the interesting shops & be worried about damage they may do to expensive wares! When my kids were 4 & 6 yo they would not have been interested in the museums & churches. 1 or 2 vaporetto rides & lots of gelato would have probably been the extent of their interest; definitely not all of the walking around just to see things.

Whatever you decide, enjoy. Julie
JulieAgain is offline  
Sep 8th, 2009, 07:09 PM
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Its unrealistic to expect your kids to behave in ways abroad that they dont do with you at home. We always walked - long walks in the city -and went to museums with our kids so they were prepared for this when we travelled. We took them to dim sum and ate other varied stuff so they were used to food variety. That doesnt mean they were perfect - a long meal was beyond them at young ages, or a long museum or church visit - but it helped in being able to travel internationally with them aboard.

Re you destinations, I personally think Venice is like a treasure hunt with a neat humpbacked bridge, lion sculpture, canal or other sight arount every corner, not to mention the boats and the way they are used to do all the daily activities, from the funeral or ambulance boats to those moving goods, doing construction, etc, not to mention the different uniforms that various workers wear - all the sorts of differences from home kids can be drawn to look at. You didnt say whether you have boys or girls, that COULD be a factor in interests. Because Venice is all pedestrian and water transport, it can be less worrisome and quiet too than mainland towns. Taking the vaporetto to one of the lagoon islands, or just a couple of stops can be of great interest.

Rome has a bit more green space but its bigger, noiser - modes of transport are interesting there too, with trams, as well as buses and subways. My kids loved taking the trams when young. Ostia Antica is good for a day of running around and the many fountains (including drinking fountains) are fun for kids.

IHomestly, it can be nice to find a baby sitter for some of your time so that you are not limited to kid interests and attentionspan. We did this both in Tuscany and Rome, many years ago and it worked to create an acceptable balance for us. Many hotels will arrange this and it enables you to go out for dinner say, or go our for an afternoon to see a sight beyond the kid's span.

Best luck however it goes.
jjkbrook is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 03:51 AM
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Another place to take kids away from congested traffic in Rome is the archeological park on the Appian Way. The Palatine sugguested by JulieAgain is much more park-like than the Forum and has the Farnese gardens with great views of the Forum at one end.

If you take a bus or taxi to the Piazza Garibaldi at the top of the Janiculum (Gianicolo), there is a stunning view of the city and you can walk through the Botanical Gardens

Your older child would probably enjoy David Macaulay's book City (about ancient Roman construction) and the PBS video based on it.

The cat sanctuary at Largo Argentina is another good place to take kids. If you stay nearby you can stop by regularly to see how many cats are climbing around the ruins.

When our kids were younger my husband and I used to take turns going into museums that would not interest them
Vttraveler is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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You can easily do Venice or Florence as a daytrip from Milan; I would overnight it, but no reason to discard the possibility, just to be SMART about it!!
Viajero2 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 05:01 AM
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I'm sorry Viajero2, but that's just insane. Either Venice or Florence is 3 hours by train from Milan (possibly longer, but I can't recall exactly how long the trip was for me). To do that trip with 2 young kids is just nuts.
doug_stallings is offline  

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