Italy Trip Assistance

Old Feb 5th, 2005, 05:36 PM
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Italy Trip Assistance

Message: Hi,I'm hoping someone can assist me with suggestions regarding my family's first trip to Italy. We are on a modest budget, and traveling as a group of 7, consisting of three generations of ladies: 80 and 82 year-old sisters, a late 40's daughter, and three lovely granddaughters ages 16 to 21 year olds, and me the lone balding 40+ male/son-in-law. The seniors are returning home to visit (for possibly the last time) the Island of Ischia where they were born and haven’t set foot on in over 30 years. My family has offered to join them on this quest. We're planning on a total of 14 to 16 days, with at least a week on the island of Ischia. I will also be doing some family genealogy research in Ischia. The rest of the time we plan on visiting some of the finer points of Italy: Rome, Vatican, Florence, and Tuscany. The difficulty arises in traveling with a mixed age group…seniors in getting around, inquisitive middle-agers, and active boy-watching adolescents. Would anyone venture to make suggestions on modest nice accommodations in a B&B, Farm/Vineyard. Should we stay outside of the major cities and traveling into the city for sightseeing only? Any particular sights that are a must see/visit? Should we make tour arrangements before we go or as we go? Which airline would be best from the US West Coast? We are plan to travel mid-June and need to finalize the accommodations and flights quickly. Thank you in advance for your kind recommendations and time.
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 06:04 PM
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Hello SensoryWordsmith, I have not been to Ischia (although I have had Italian friends that go there and understand it is beautiful). Others here on Fodors can help you with accomodations on Ischia, or type Ischia into the Search Box to get previous information.

Now about your comment regarding the rest of your trip.

I have had family that went to Italy as you are doing. People in their 80's, middle age and young ones.

Here is what they encountered. They too were on a budget.

They stayed in hotels that were not in the middle of sightseeing places. This did save them money but it presented a problem for the elders. Just too much traveling to see the major sights (or sites) that everyone wanted to see.

With relatives in their 80's I would look for accomodations in the center of cities (Rome and Florence). You will no doubt need three rooms, ones for the seniors in their 80's, one for your wife and you and the third for the younger generation.

With 14 to 16 days total and one week of this trip on Ischia I would make the other week in either Rome or Florence.

I say that as my family tried moving everyone every three to four days and it almost did the seniors in.

However I am sure some posters here will suggest that you do three days in Rome and four in Florence etc.

But knowing how things turned out for my family I would not.

BTW, being in the "middle of Rome and/or Florence" will not only be easier IMHO on the seniors in the group but will also be a joy to the younger ones that can take off on their own and enjoy themselves instead of being stuck out somewhere far from the action.

Just my thinking for what it is worth.

Am sure that you will receive many thoughts from other posters.

One thought I do have, how wonderful that you and your family will have this trip. A blessing to the seniors, something they will never forget. And a trip the younger generation will always remember also. Wishes for a beautiful time.

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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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I would definitely recommend buying a copy of Rick Steve's European City Walks and Museum Guide (what used to be known as Mona Winks). This will save you a lot of money, as it eliminates the need to pay for guided tours at many museums in Italy. Rick Steves' also publishes Easy Access Europe (no, I don't work for his company, just a long-term fan!) for people with difficulties getting around.
I would suggest staying in city center, your trip is only so long, and the money you save is not worth the time. Getting to and from Europe already makes each hour of your trip pretty expensive, no need to waste hours getting on and off trains and buses every morning just to get to the sights you wanted to see in the first place. Also, its nice to be able to go back and rest in the hotel midday sometimes.
I would suggest forgoing rail passes and buying point to point tickets once your there. Second class seats are more than nice enough and seniors and under 26s tend to get deep discounts.
In terms of must see sights: the Vatican, Forum, and Borghese Gallery (excellent, but requires reservations) in Rome. In Florence, wandering in the traditional markets is a treat, and a great place to find leather jackets at good prices. Also, the Accademia and Ufizzi Galleries are a must.
If you do take guided tours, I find that in Italy in particular, the tours were only worth taking when guides spoke English as a first language. This is why I recommend the Rick Steves' book highly, if you get on a bad tour, or want to skip a guided tour altogether, you can do a great self-guided one.
Hope this helps! Happy Travels!
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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About the Tuscany part of your trip: My initial thought is that you may want to skip this for more time in Rome and Florence. Ischia can be your quiet, non-city part of the trip. My thought is do NOT drag the seniors to too many places. And the teens: they'll like the cities as well as Ischia.

But they could get bored in a B&B or agriturismo in a tiny Tuscan town or in the countryside, and the seniors could get pooped.
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Old Feb 6th, 2005, 12:38 PM
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Thank you everyone for your directions and suggestions. Sorry for posting twice, but didn't get any suggestions on my first post possibly due to my lack of clarification. Thank you again.
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Old Feb 6th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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If you are traveling by train you get discounts for 5+ people traveling together on some trains so be sure to ask.
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Old Feb 6th, 2005, 03:37 PM
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I would say with all your age groups, you'd do much better staying in the cities when you can (Rome and Florence) and even in Tuscany (Siena, maybe, as a base?). The older members of your group can tuck in for the evening while the younger ones can still go out and enjoy themselves. City windows all have double-glazing so noise is never a problem. The grandaughters will all enjoy city activities and peace will reign!
Old Feb 6th, 2005, 07:15 PM
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Oh, Siena. I didn't think of it. Young people's heaven! And the ellies could rest up. Yes, if you need one more stop, Siena would be great.
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Old Feb 7th, 2005, 02:40 AM
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Re your accommodations - you might like to consider a convent stay. They appararently, offer rooms with private facilities and breakfast. Prices seem to be at least half the hotel prices and the convents seem to have some of the best locations in Rome, though there are many convents offering accommodations throughout the country. I posted a query about this earlier as to whether anyone had tried a convent stay but nobody replied. You could check out this website as a starting
There is also a book entitled Bed and Blessings in Italy (which I have ordered from my local library) and this seems to be very comprehensive. I think it would be a unique experience, not to mention the savings and the close proximity they seem to have to places such as The Vatican and the Spanish Steps etc.
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