Italy trip in September

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Jun 26th, 2018, 05:43 AM
  #1
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Italy trip in September

Hello,
I am planning a trip to Italy with my 15 year old son this September. This is our first time to Europe and we are not experienced travelers. We want to see main sights and end in CT with rigorous hiking and possible swim in sea. This is our itinerary. Any input of time spent (too much? not enough?) is appreciated!
Arrive in Rome September 10th (pm).
Rome, 11-14.
Florence 14-18.
Cinque Terre 18-20.
On 21st, catch early train to Milan airport and depart.

Thank you!
Kelly
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Jun 26th, 2018, 05:50 AM
  #2
 
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With 9 days and a first trip, I'd be inclined to drop Florence or do it as a day-trip from Rome. There is SO much to do in Rome
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Jun 26th, 2018, 06:57 AM
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note that our first day/day and half will be shot by jet lag
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Jun 26th, 2018, 07:07 AM
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In my first two times to Rome I found two whole days was enough, there is a lot to do in a small central area and then loads out in the 'burbs so even in the centre expect a lot of walking (watch out for cobbles). Florence is even smaller and both can be packed in Sept.

If it were me, and it isn't, I'd drop Rome (I visited Italy annually for 10 years before visiting Rome) and I suggest Florence and say a few day trips to Siena/Pisa/Lucca would be better time spent.
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Jun 26th, 2018, 07:45 AM
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>>> On 21st, catch early train to Milan airport and depart.
This is risky if you are flying long distance to home. You might get away with it or be hit with breathtaking flight rebooking charges.
Where are you flying to? What time is the flight?
What are you going to do if there is a train foul up - track/equipment problem or a strike?
What are you going to do if the there is a problem with return flight and the options are one day later or a few hours earlier?
Is it ok to miss your return flight home?

Experienced traveler would minimize this kind of everything-involving-many-items-need-to-work-right itinerary from the beginning.

One way to plan this out is to stay night(s) before your return home in the city with the airport. In you case, if you can reverse your trip, you will end up in Rome. There are many easy way to get to the FCO airport from Rome even if your carrier need to rebook you on a flight a few hours earlier than you originally planned. Another way is to make Milan a destination with an overnight stay if there is something that interest you there.

I have been hit with this type of earlier-than-planned flight about 5% of the time. When this happens, I might get a half day notice on longer end. I have gotten a seven hours notice that my flight would be delayed many hours due to the late incoming flight. I had a choice of taking another flight 3 hours earlier to arrive at the final destination one hour later or wait one day as I would miss all the possible connections to the final destination on that day. I took the earlier flight, but I was prepared to get to the airport many hours earlier.
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Jun 26th, 2018, 07:48 AM
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Congratulations on doing an open jaws flight, into Rome out of Milan. That's an efficient use of your time.

But your itinerary confuses me. It looks like you have a day between the Cinque Terre and Milan. As a general rule it's best to be in your departure city the night before your flight home. Especially in Italy where things can go wrong: strikes, breakdowns, accidents. Otherwise you chance missing your flight home, have to buy replacement full fare plane tickets -- for when seats are available.

What do you want to see in Florence? Are you fans of Renaissance art and architecture? I wouldn't think an ordinary 15-year-old boy would be much interested in the sights of Florence. Rome OTOH would interest him. The colosseum, gladiators, catacombs, etc. I don't agree with Bilbo about Rome nor do I think most people would.

Have you considered going to Venice instead of Florence? To stay in a city with no roads, cars, trucks, vespas. Instead travel around on foot or on boats. To see not only gondolas but water busses and police boats and water taxis and garbage scows and DHL delivery boats. That should interest the boy.

Buy your train tickets ahead of time -- like now. You can make a big savings on train fares. See seat61.com for details.

And have fun!
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Jun 26th, 2018, 09:22 AM
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I agree that most people would think that Rome was the place to be and of course it is interesting, but I still don't get that excited about the place and prefer the small cities of Italy like the ones I mentioned. Rome is just big and bustling, very used to tourists and sometimes a bit of a scammer.

Still up to the Op.

I think what I would do is sit down together and leaf through a travel website on the cities you think you like and work out what really interests you. If its hiking there are other fantastic places in Italy. If it is bits of Roman stone then fine, if is the Renaissance then Florence is a must. Only you can decide.

Wherever you end up you'll find Italians are noisy and friendly with a wish to please and, in the areas you are looking at either good English or they will make an effort.
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Jun 28th, 2018, 10:16 AM
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You're going by train so as no one has elaborated on that the best tip is to book your long-distance high-speed trains as far in advance as possible - up to 2 or 3 months I hink and online by yourselves -www.trenitalia.com and www.italotreno.it/en are two competing train companies using same stations and tracks so check both. check schedules first at www.bahn.de/en - German Railways pan-European scheduling site and if i say R or Regional train those are best bought at stations as flat fare and always dirt cheap - no advantage to booking online - like most trains CT to Florence but Florence to Rome and Milan to CT could save a bundle - for lots of info on Italian trains and booking own tickets check www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
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Jun 28th, 2018, 10:38 AM
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What time in the pm do you arrive in Rome on the 10th? If it's not late, I'd just hop on a train and continue on to Florence (or whatever place you may substitute for Florence). It's a wasted day anyway unless you are immune to jetlag, and it makes more sense to lump all your days in Rome at the end of the trip.

I do agree the Florence is perhaps not the best destination for a 15-year-old boy. My guess, and that's all it is, is that he would enjoyt Venice a lot more.

At any rate, don't make the mistake of taking an early train to Milan to day of your departure. If I have one cardinal rule of travel it's always to be no more than a taxi ride away from the airport I'm departing from.
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Jun 28th, 2018, 10:48 AM
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If I have one cardinal rule of travel it's always to be no more than a taxi ride away from the airport I'm departing from.>

Yes train stoppages can always happen due to strikes or mishaps on the tracks, etc. Not likely but for peace of mind yes be near airport city last day.
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Jun 28th, 2018, 11:39 AM
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If the 15 y.o. has interests in science and art history, Florence is a wonderful destination.... The Galileo and da Vinci Museums, the Uffizi and other galleries, climbing to the top of the Duomo or the tower in Pisa. Florence is also much smaller than Rome and feels easier to explore in a short visit. Replacing Florence with Venice would mean spending many more hours on trains, especially getting from Venice to the CT.
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Jun 28th, 2018, 02:42 PM
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I've taken kids to Florence, Rome, and Venice, and Rome has always been the biggest hit. My granddaughter says she wants to live there when she grows up. (She says the same about London.)

However, you have to take it easy, and do everything possible to avoid the worst of the crowds, even if it means skipping some "must-see". Your kids have plenty of time to return to Italy and see what they missed on the first trip.
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Jun 28th, 2018, 03:19 PM
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Well, kids are different of course, because mine didn't warm up to Rome, and frankly neither did I, until about our third visit there, whereas they loved Tuscany and Umbria and the coast south of Rome, and Venice and Vicenza and Padua and Lago Maggiore and Orta.
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Jun 28th, 2018, 04:25 PM
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But all kids are different - depending on ages I think it helps to have kids do some research on various things like Colosseum and Forum and places and get their inputs and not just be dragged around.
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Jul 6th, 2018, 07:51 AM
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I think your plan looks wonderful. The only suggestion I have is to leave the Cinque Terre on the evening of the 20th and go to Milan so you are there for your flight out on the 21st. I would not trust leaving and traveling the day of you flight. Always better to sleep in the city you are leaving from the night before
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Jul 6th, 2018, 09:59 AM
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Yes to lancer's advice - always be near departure airport - especially if relying on public transit - strikes and accidents could upset train links - if fully flexible air ticket OK if not be in Milan at least.
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Jul 6th, 2018, 11:29 AM
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I'd say go early to Milan and spend some time exploring area around Duomo and see Last Supper (bookings imperative folks say) - many overlook Milan as too modern or whatever but it has a cache all its own - you may find two days in CT enough with those crowds. Malpensa Express from Cordona station near central Milan provides a dedicated airport train - no need to go to Milan Centrale for that.
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Jul 7th, 2018, 03:01 AM
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If you are anywhere near the Duomo in Milan, go up to the roof terrace, where you'll see a forest of fantastic medieval sculptures.

Also, the Rocca Sforzesca, an enormous medieval fortress in the middle of the city, is worth seeing. In the evening, you might want to get a bite to eat at one of the bars or restaurants along the Grande Naviglio, a large canal, where you can also take a canal boat ride.

It's very difficult to get reservations to see the Last Supper, unless you sign up for an expensive all-day bus tour of Milan. The tour companies snap them up as soon as they go on sale. Anyway, the painting is in very poor condition and may disappoint you. If you're interested in art, I highly recommend the Brera Gallery, which boasts a wonderful and varied collection of paintings from prehistoric to modern times.
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Jul 7th, 2018, 03:24 AM
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Milan has one of those over the top cemetries with a lot of buildings/tombs from the start of the 20th cent, if there is a hint of a goth about you you will love to see it
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Jul 7th, 2018, 03:57 AM
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I'm with lancer11 and PalenQ; I like your plan but would leave a day earlier and stay in Milan the night before the flight. And there is enough to do in Milan that it's well worth a stay. bvienci has given you some great suggestions -- the roof terrace of the duomo is fantastic! Otherwise, I think you've got a nice plan.
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