Italy this summer with teenagers

Nov 17th, 2008, 03:52 PM
  #1  
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Italy this summer with teenagers

We are thinking of a trip to Italy this summer with our teenage children - 18 yo daughter and 15yo son. They've travelled before but not been to Italy. We'd like to go in July - probably for about 9-10 days - maybe Rome, Florence and Venice? Are we better off just sticking to Florence and Rome? Should we try to do Tuscany? Tour or plan ourselves? Anyone with any thought on Club ABC? Any specific suggestions would be much appreciated - i.e hotels, travel tips, itinerary. Any specific ideas on how much we should budget for this? THANKS
mdmom is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 04:08 PM
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Have your kids said where they want to go, what they want to do, what they want to see? What about you?

If you've traveled before, you don't need a tour group for Italy. It's not hard to plan a ten-day trip.
zeppole is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 04:09 PM
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PS: How is everybody with heat and humidity?
zeppole is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 04:35 PM
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We took our teenagers to Italy 2 summers ago and they l-o-v-e-d it. We started in Venice, which is so magical, for 3 days; rented a car and drove to Florence where we rented a villa on a wine estate 20 min. outside of the city (in Monterspetoli) - with a much needed pool - for a week. Drove into Florence 2-3 times (probably easier by train) to Pisa, and other nearby towns. We booked the villa through welcometotuscany.com. It all went without a hitch. Note: our teens don't crave a lot of excitement so were pretty easy to please. If your kids are looking for some social action, you might want to do it another way. I don't remember costs except to say that renting the villa was much cheaper than hotel, the car wasn't too bad and eating was not expensive after leaving Venice - which was really - really - costly. At the villa we had incredible picnics (overlooking the gorgeous countryside). Just bought food prepared in village delis. You can save a lot that way and it's simple and delicious. I'm envious of your plans! Next triangle for us will probably be villa near Sienna, couple of nights in an apartment Cinque Terre and start or finish with Rome. Good luck!
lydie is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 07:41 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for suggestions - I think we are leaning toward staying in a hotel rather than renting a villa.....my husband is reluctant to drive in Italy and I think we would be wish to be more centrally located. I was in Venice many years ago and even back then it was pricey - should I include it in this trip or skip it?
mdmom is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 09:11 AM
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Teenagers in general love Venice so I would be inclined to keep it as part of your trip. No matter where you go in July it's going to be crowded so be prepared for that. Teenagers also seem to like Pompeii, which I see you didn't plan on visiting. I would be inclined to do an open jaw ticket, flying into Venice, training to Naples/Pompeii and flying out of Rome. Unless you must see Florence or are huge art fans, I would skip it, especially in July when it is unbearably hot and humid and wall to wall tourists. If you do want to see Florence and not Pompeii/Naples/Amalfi Coast, you could take a train between Venice, Florence and Rome so you won't have to drive. No need for a car with any of these itineraries. Since you are planning on visiting cities in the summer, I think a break for the beach on the Amalfi Coast/Sorrento would be nice for your kids. I've taken my girls (oldest is 14) to Italy several times and they always love coming back to the hotel/villa and swimming in the pool after a long day of sightseeing in the summer. Then they are energized for a long, late dinner and gelato!
Grinisa is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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Again, it's really hard to imagine you spending all this money and going on a trip that isn't geared to the interests of the individual members of your family. When I was 17 one of my most prized possesions was a huge Phaidon book of black and white photographs of Michaelangelo's statues. Surely an 18 year old can tell you whether they'd be more enthusiastic about a trip to see Michaelangelos, or to Venice to see mosaics and canals, or hang around a pool in the Amalfi with affluent people sunning themselves.

You asked for "specific suggestions" but you need to be more specific about what you hope your family will get out of this trip. Sounds great to me if it's just to be together, being surprised alot, having lots of pizza and pasta, beautiful scenery and a sense of the old world. It doesn't have to be a heavy agenda.

Were it my trip, of course I'd skip Venice. It's barely Italy anymore, and likewise the Amalfi. But it's your trip, and apparently you want your kids to have a good time on it. What do they like to do?
zeppole is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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I tend to agree with zeppole. It's really hard to provide specifics without knowing what the kids interests are. Milan is not my favorite Italian city, but our daughter went as a teenager and loved it. The Cathedral, La Scala, the Last Supper and the high fashion just blew her away.

In general, IF the 9-10 days excludes travel, I'd concentrate on 2 places - just too much to see and do: maybe Rome and Florence/Tuscany. If you're fast-paced and really want to do 3, then I'd say 3 days Venice, 2 Florence & 4-5 in Rome. [I agree Venice seems less "Italian" the last couple of times than the first time I went, but still think it's a magical place with such an interesting history]

Don't think you need tours. With a few good guidebooks and searches on forums like Fodor's, you can do a really nice job on your own.

If you're not entirely clear what you think the kids might be interested in, give them some guidebooks and let them pick some things in each city that they'd be interested in and then decide where you want to visit.
dfr4848 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 11:22 AM
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We've taken our two teens to europe several times - and italy twice. The first trip was munich for a few days followed by a drive through italy to rome where we spent another five days. The next time was florence/tuscany(montalcino)/venice. Each was two weeks in length and wonderful for different reasons. the boys were about your ages when we did the second trip. We stayed at hotel accademia in Florence - nice, reasonable price, close to everything and about a 5 minute walk to the train station and the hertz office. Florence was the most hectic part of the trip as we were touring every day with minimal downtime. One afternoon, the boys did go back to the hotel by themselves and veg out while we went to the Pitti palace. We picked up our rental car (get a neverlost if you rent) and drove to Montalcino with a stop for lunch in one tiny town and another stop in Siena for a couple of hours. The horse race had taken place a few days earlier but all the banners were still up and it was great fun. In Montalcino, we stayed at an agritourismo in a 2 bedroom apartment. It had wonderful views, a gracious hostess, good onsite restaurant and a pool. There is plenty to do - wineries, san antimo, the little town itself, etc. Again, one afternoon, the boys didn't want to see any more vineyards so they stayed back at the pool and lounged around. The agritourismo is LaCrociona and the hostess is Barbara. You can contact her via email easily. We drove back to Florence, dropped the car and took the train to Venice for the last 5 days of the trip. Here we stayed on the Lido. Many people found that odd but we got a great hotel with a water shuttle to San Marco every day, the kids could go back easily if they chose to and it was away from the hustle and bustle. I will admit that we saw little of the hotel as we were usually up and on one of the first boats each day and on one of the last ones each night. when you need two rooms, the cost per room became important to us. I'll dig through my old notes to find restaurant names - everything was great...that I do remember! we flew home from Venice. another option since you'll have at most 8 days on the ground would be to fly into Florence, take the train to Verona for a day/night and then take the train from there to Venice for a few days and fly home. It will be warm and humid so make sure you have A/C in the hotel!
cmeyer54 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 11:31 AM
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If you do the florence/verona/venice route, I'd look at 3 or 4 nights Florence, 1 night Verona, 3 or 4 nights Venice. In Florence, we saw our share of museums and churches..but also did a good amount of people watching. The boys chose Florence and Venice for the trip - the younger one HAD to see David (his name is also David); the older one wanted to see the duomo. Both were determined to see Venice because its Venice. We wandered, climbed the loggia in San Marco, toured Doges palace, and saw Pink Floyd (in the new incarnation) in a free concert in Piazza San Marco. Rome is a great place too but I think you need to focus on 2 places at most and gear them to your pace and interests.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Nov 20th, 2008, 05:59 AM
  #11  
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Do I really need that much time in Venice - I remember it as the main attraction being the city itself, and the Piazza San Marco - I was thinking more along the lines of 1-2 nights in Venice, with 3-4 nights in Rome and Florence (each). Any thought? Some friends have recommended using a private guide in Rome and in Florence. My husband is adamant about not driving. I have no idea of where to stay,or if it would be practical/conceivable to stay in a villa (when we do Florence) if we don't have a car?? I plan to pin my kids down more about what they specifically want to do, but right now it's too far away and they're way too busy with school stuff. I just need to get the logistics down I think
mdmom is offline  
Nov 20th, 2008, 06:25 AM
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You shouldn't rent a villa without a car -- and you shouldn't be driving into Firenze. Your husband is spared!

How much time one spends in Venezia, and whether you hire guides, really goes to the core of your conception of this trip. If you are trying to build in an education and history component, or an art appreciation component, you might find it rewarding. It's hard to know about some kids attitudes toward listening to lectures while touring. You need to discuss that with your kids.

Part of the joy of Venezia for many people under 20 traveling with their parents is that it is an exceptionally safe, car-free city that allows for independent movement. If your nearly-grown kids are happy to hang out with you and Dad as a group all the time, that's great, and they might be eager to get on with it and see the big and bustling rest of modern Italy after a night or two in antique Venice.

However, if your kids like to poke about a bit on their own, shop, wander around and take pictures, they might really like hanging out in Venezia.

Firenze is more easily connected to other places via train, and that does argue for putting in there a bit longer, because if people tire of the art march, a day in Lucca might make a nice change of pace (does anybody in your family enjoy cycling?) or a trip to Siena to see a very medieval walled city, as a contrast to Byzantine Venice and Renaissance Firenze.

You've still got lots of time to plan. Maybe the holidays will free up your kids to give you more input.
zeppole is offline  
Nov 20th, 2008, 07:34 AM
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Well, 1 night in Venice is at most an afternoon and a morning. Two nights means one additional full day. To my mind that's not enough. Though I gather you're not a Venice fan. However, it's a good place for teenagers.

Unless you and your children are great fans of Renaissance art and architecture, I'd be more inclined to skimp on Florence.

I assume you're coming from the US (Maryland?). After an across-the-Atlantic flight, especially an overnight one, Venice is a good place to get over jet lag.

Both cities will be full of tourists. If you could move your trip back to June, it will be a liitle less crowded and a little cooler. Rome can absorb more tourists.

You don't have a lot of time, so an open jaws ticket into Venice, out of Rome would save you time and money backtracking.

Here on Fodor's most of us prefer traveling on our own vs. escorted tours. Train travel between the big cities in Italy is easy. Without a budget, it's hard to recommend hotels. www.tripadvisor.com is a good site with many hotel reviews, also www.venere.com.
Mimar is offline  
Nov 20th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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I agree with the flying into Venice for a couple days and then heading to Rome which should be used as your base for the rest of the trip.
As former high school teacher;mom of two and a flight attendant who travels to Italy every month-Rome is hands down the place that kids of all ages enjoy especially with the heat and crowds of the summer months.Its easy to get around and has so much to offer to all ages-history,shopping,eating,drinking,traveling,
around to other cities like Pompeii,Ostia Antica,Tivoli,etc.

Florence-you either love it or hate it. I studied French and Italian Art there in college and have gone back many times with family and friends on layovers- I still do NOT enjoy the city in comparison with the others of Italy.
Could you go to Italy in June when the weather and crowds are better?
Give us an idea about the things that you as a family like to do and everyone will be happy to help!
dutyfree is offline  
Nov 20th, 2008, 08:36 AM
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hi mdmom,

sorry if I've missed this - are we talking boys or girls?

if the latter, Id definitely plump for Florence - my DD loved the markets and wouldn't have forgiven me if we hadn't seen those shops!

but otherwise, if you've only got 9-10 days,I'd go for Venic and Rome. certaily my kids of roughly the same age as yours [one of each!] loved Rome and Venice, not so ken on Florence. and they much prefer not moving around too much. ##


<<think we are leaning toward staying in a hotel rather than renting a villa.....my husband is reluctant to drive in Italy>>

you don't have to be in the countryside to rent an apartment - we've rented in all three cities and it was a much cheaper way to go. most places require a three night min stay, but would you want to stay for a shorter time?

we had 1 week in each, and only in Florence was it long enough.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2008, 11:14 AM
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You absolutely don't have to stay in a villa in the country!! There are a zillion apartments for rent in the cities. And for example we stayed in an apartment on the hill above Florence where the observatory is, and we could take the bus into town. It took about 10 minutes.

Be sure you get an air-conditoned place, though. Especially in Florence. It sits in a kind of bowl in the valley next to the river and gets beastly hot in the summer, with almost no breeze. June is far better than July or August.

You don't have much time, so you might want to only do Venice and Rome. (I say this as one of the lovers of Florence, but you can hardly even make a dent in seeing Rome in 4 days. And it can absorb many more tourists than florence. Don't try to squeeze in rural Tuscany. Save it for your next trip.
charnees is offline  
Nov 26th, 2008, 08:41 PM
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I don't see any teenager boys stating their preferences in answer to your question.

Our own son changed his preferences considerably during his high school years. Previously he'd do anything with us, and we mainly stayed away from the big cities -- heavy traffic, no parking. Instead we'd go for the small historic towns.

One of the games we'd play: for every newly learned Italian word he'd get one of their fabulous ice creams. To this day he remembers "per favore, vorrei un gelato limone".

Now he loves the action in the big cities. But not the museum and architectural tours. You could consider:

- trying out all kinds of good food; especially at a public market
- going to beaches, like Amalfi, Riviera Ligure
- taking a boat trip, or sailing
- going where other kids are playing
- climb the stairs of their castle towers
- ever heard of Tarot Garden in Garavicchio, Tuscany http://www.nikidesaintphalle.com/
- shopping for some cool T-shirts


tableronde is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 07:47 PM
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We'd do Rome and Naples with the teenagers first trip to Italy.

Our experience is young people are inspired by Naples, its energy, Vesuvius, history, pizza, modern city, espresso, lifestyle, and natural beauty.

Not to mention Naples is the cradle of western civilization so they may be interested to learn about the Greek influence on the ancient Roman's lifestyle and world view.

All young people love Rome and there is no shortage of things to do there.

In our experience, Tuscany towns are boring for the teenagers.

I think you may expect to pay 300 euro/night for 2 decent rooms and 200 euros per day for food.

While in Naples plan day trips to Amalfi coast, Paestum, and Capri.

You'll will have a ball - a true lifetime memory.
Motorino is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 08:08 PM
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I asked my teens (who have been with us to Italy twice) and they vote for Venice and Rome. They loved just wandering around Venice, taking a gondola ride, feeding the pigeons, etc. Rome is "cool" with the Colosseum, Vatican, etc. They liked but did not love Florence. I wouldn't try to do Tuscan hill towns or stay in a villa without a car.
KTtravel is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 02:31 PM
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hi again, mdmom

what KT said - jsut what my teens think too.

Rome is definitely TOPS.

regards,

Ann
annhig is offline  

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