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Lisabu Nov 5th, 2012 10:18 AM

Italy - Itinerary Review - Family of 6 with Teens
I am looking for some advice on my proposed itinerary for a family of six - myself, my husband and our four teenagers (3) 16 year olds and a 14 year old.

My husband and I have been to Italy once before and hit the major cities plus CT. This trip to Italy has a few main objectives: quality family time, exposing the kids to a new country/key sights and to give ourselves an opportunity to enjoy life in Italy by staying at lodgings and doing activities where we can engage with local people.

In our past travels my kids have enjoyed historic sights more than too much art, they love all food, markets, active adventures and enjoy guided tours when the guide is really good.

My thoughts for our trip - Summer 2013.
6/18 - Arrive Milan - train to Verona for overnight/jet lag recovery
6/19 - Venice
6/20 - Venice
6/21 - Venice
6/22-29 - Villa in Tuscany - within walking distance of a village/side trips to Florence, Siena, cooking class and other small villages
6/29-7/6 - Villa in Sorrento - trips to Pompeii, Naples, Capri, Coastal towns/islands
7/6-7/9 - Rome
7/9 - Fly home

- Is a week in Sorrento going to be too long? The villas I have found all require a one week stay.

- I think the kids might also like the CT area, but I run out of time by staying a week in both Tuscany and Sorrento. Only option would be to stay at a hotel in Sorrento for fewer days and add a few days in CT area.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Mimar Nov 5th, 2012 12:22 PM

I like your itinerary. I'd skip the CT this trip and stay in Sorrento. Other daytrip destinations from Sorrento: the Amalfi Coast ( Sorrento is not on the AC; it's on the Gulf of Naples.), Herculaneum, Mt. Vesuvius, Paestum (very well preserved Greek temples south of the AC near Salerno).

If you dropped time from Sorrento, I'd consider adding days to Rome. Lots to do and see there.

You will probably need to rent a car for the Tuscany week. Are you willing to drive? If you stay in Sorrento, you should be able to get around that area using public transportation -
fortunately. You could drive from Tuscany to Sorrento and drop the car there.

bobthenavigator Nov 5th, 2012 01:15 PM

What a nice trip, but with 6 you will need a large 9 passenger van in Tuscany. I would get it as you leave Venice.

Why arrive in Milan---you can fly to Venice?

Henry Nov 5th, 2012 01:30 PM

this will give you some ideas for tuscany

this may help on Sorrento

LauraLF Nov 5th, 2012 05:53 PM

I agree with the thought to add a couple of days to Rome. Our boys loved Rome, not only history and architecture but also the fun of a big city. We felt pretty comfortable with letting them wander a bit in Piazzas. We also did two tours with Walks of Italy which we really enjoyed. You can click on my name to see my trip report from this summer. In Tuscany we stayed in a villa in Castelmuzio, a fabulous, tiny, hill town outside of Pienza.
Good luck, you'll have a wonderful trip!

FamilyFriendlyItaly Nov 5th, 2012 06:15 PM

You've got a great plan mapped out.

I agree with BobtheNavigator: if you can fly into (or take connecting flight to) Venice, all the better. It will save some time and avoid back tracking. From Milan, consider that you have to get to Milano Centrale from the airport (about 40 minutes), catch the train, and end up in Verona--jet lagged--only to leave again the next day. You won't get to see much of Verona. It may not be worth it just for the one night---unless you have some overriding reason to be there on Night 1.

If you don't fly direct into Venice, you might consider just taking the train directly to Venice, and hit Verona on your way out of Venice. You'll arrive in Tuscany fairly late, but that way you can see Verona.

I also agree that you should skip CT this trip. You've seen it, and personally, I think the Amalfi Coast has so much more to offer teens and tweens. Plus the CT is very out of the way given the current itinerary.

There's so much to do on the Amalfi Coast. If you're based in Sorrento. In addition to your visits to Naples and Pompeii, some kid-friendly things to consider:

- a visit to Pompeii combined with a 4WD tour to the top of Mt Vesuvius - kids really love peering into the crater!

- a (private?) boat trip around Capri with snorkeling and lunch on one of the small islands (the scogli), plus visit to Capri. Otherwise, public ferry to Capri. Because of the size of your group, a private boat can be very economical.

(Tip: Kids love the blue grotto on Capri, but also check out the green grotto (grotto smeraldo)near Positano.)

- you can also do a lot of hiking in the hills above Sorrento and out to Massa Lubrense.

- visit Positano (by ferry) where you can eat at "clam shack" on the beach, then take a boat out to the Galli islands

- In addition to Amalfi and Ravello, also consider a visit to Paestum to see the Greek temples and visit buffalo mozzarella farm and watch mozzarella cheese demonstration

In Tuscany, if your kids like active adventures, check out the adventure park in Rapalano Terme where you climb through the treetops.

- A day in the thermal baths in San Casciano dei Bagni or Bagno Vignoni is always fun.

- Siena is, of course, a must, and kids of that age can really appreciate it.

From Sorrento, it's an easy train up to Rome. This itinerary makes it so that you don't have to have the rental minivan for too long, since minivans are going to be more expensive to rent. You can drop the car off in Sorrento, and spend the rest of the time car-free.

Hope that gives you some additional ideas. Feel free to message me for more...

Mimar Nov 6th, 2012 05:48 AM

Sorrento doesn't have a Trenitalia train station. It does have a station of the Circumvesuviana, the commuter train to Naples. So you'd take that train to the Naples train station, walk upstairs and catch the train to Rome.

downtownbrown Nov 6th, 2012 11:02 AM

A few comments:

I think a week on the Amalfi Coast is not too long. I'd skip CT. BTW, I can recommend a villa in Positano -- villa punta del sole. You can find it on Warning, however: There are 92 steps from the villa to the road.

Good advice to hire a private boat for Capri.

If you go the Pompeii, consider hiring a guide.

Mimar's info on the train is absolutely correct.

Lisabu Nov 6th, 2012 12:00 PM

Thank you so much for the great advice. I've checked and it is not much more to fly into Venice so I will make that the plan. No real reason to go to Verona other than I thought the kids might like it and I think a smaller town would nice to relax a bit before hitting Venice, however it maybe it is best just to go to our apartment in Venice and not have to deal with the extra overnight?

We have no problems driving in Italy - we have before and we typically drive in every country where we travel - the van rental/cost is just life when you have four kids!

The ideas for Amalfi Coast are great - some I had not read about that sound like fun - espcially the 4WD. I will take everyone's advice and plan CT area for another trip. It might be best to remember it as I do from 10 years ago as I have read that it has become a bit more crowded over the years.

LaurelLF - I have already read and reread your trip report over the past few weeks - I've taken tons of info from it - thank you. I have temporarily reserved Casa Moricianni (as I finalize plans). It seems to be a bit more expensive than some of the other villas I have looked into, but the reviews are glowing. Your trip report made me immediately look into the villa. Hopefully we have a similar experience. Did your boys miss not having a full pool available? My kids are not big into pools (prefer the ocean/lake), but might like it in the heat.

Also - if anyone has specific recommendations on apartment rentals in Venice and Rome that would be great. I have leads on a couple, but nothing I am super excited about. I was hoping for something with a terrace in both locations.

Thanks again -

Lexma90 Nov 6th, 2012 12:08 PM

I agree that if you're spending time in Sorrento, then it's best to skip the Cinque Terre (for this trip).

We've not taken our kids (now 17 and 13yo) to stay in rural Tuscany, because we just didn't think there's enough to do for their interests. Unlike us adults, wandering around small villages enjoying the beauty is not high on their to-do lists. (We have visited rural locations with them, but places where there were more things like castles, which Tuscany does not have many/any of, pre-historic sites and the like.) I would definitely vote for more time in all of the other places, especially Rome. Tons of ancient ruins, of course, not only the Coloseum and the Forum. And many churches with beautiful art that you can experience and enjoy but not have to devote an entire afternoon too.

annhig Nov 6th, 2012 12:42 PM

No real reason to go to Verona other than I thought the kids might like it and I think a smaller town would nice to relax a bit before hitting Venice, however it maybe it is best just to go to our apartment in Venice and not have to deal with the extra overnight?>>


definitely go for the extra night in venice. you have no idea whether any or all of you will be suffering from jetlag, and in any event venice will be a great place to start your italian adventure.

when we have travelled in italy with our kids, we have tended to graviate towards cities - there is just so much more for them to do, and they will enjoy the opportunity to go out in the morning and buy the breakfast from the local bakery, browse around the shops, explore the tiny "calle" etc. our now 21 year old DS still talks about how he used to go out all by himself in the mornings and buy the cornetti for us - and he speaks no italian it speak of.

for an idea of what to do with kids in Venice, click on my screen name to find my trip report.

Peter_in_ Aus also has a good thread on venice for kids.

i also agree that you probably haven't allowed long enough for Rome.

downtownbrown Nov 7th, 2012 04:36 AM

Apartments: We used It's run by a husband/wife team; she's American, and he's Italian. They have a wide range of accommodations, but work a little differently than other such services.

Basically, rather than seeing a list of their apartments, you tell them what you're looking for -- price, size, location, etc. -- and they respond with a list that meets your needs. We dealt with them, and were quite satisfied.

LauraLF Nov 7th, 2012 09:06 AM

Lisabu- I'm excited to hear you are considering Casa Moricianni. While it is quite expensive, we felt it was well worth the cost. The villa itself is spectacular, your jaw will drop when you step out onto the terrace. All the furnishings are very well thought out by Isabella. She is the most"customer" focused person I have ever met and will help you plan your time in Tuscany to fit your family's desires. The activites at Cretaoile(their other property) are especially enjoyable. The boys had a chance to get to know other kids from arond the world which was really fun. Castelmuzio is tiny, but we really loved that. The restaurant in town is charming and quite good. Since you will have a car you can be in Pienza or Montepulciano in a very short period of time.
Since you will be in some big cities, I would encourage you to "slow down" a bit in Tuscany. We planned alot and while fun, I think the boys would have been just as happy with a more laid back schedule.
As for the pool, there is a small wading pool on the terrace which would be fine to cool off in. We didn't miss having a pool, but we lucked up and didn't have extrememly hot weather. My boys are past that age(unless there are lots of other teenagers to "hang out" with!)

Best of luck, you can probably tell how jealous I am:-)

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