italy w/kids in July

Feb 27th, 2007, 01:36 PM
  #1  
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italy w/kids in July

We're planning on going to Italy from July 2 - July 14 with two kids - ages 12 and 9. Are we crazy? Is it too hot? Is it too crowded? We like warm weather but is this nuts? Because of school vacations and work, it's the only time we can go. Any feedback from people who have experienced Italy in July would be great. Also, what would be the best way to travel? On our own with planning? small tour? which cities? I assume no more than 3 places would be good. Thanks for your help.
iluv2trvl is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 01:59 PM
  #2  
 
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I've taken a trip to Italy in July with my son who was 14 at the time. Actually, it was during the heat wave of 2003 so it was definitely hot! That doesn't mean that it will be as hot when you are there - does the heat bother you a lot? We had a great time despite the heat - just get a lot of gelato! As far as crowds go, it didn't seem more crowded than cities here in the US in the summer, and that doesn't bother me. Since it is the only time you can go, I wouldn't worry about any of this - just incorporate some down time, take water bottles with you everywhere and enjoy. Better to be hot in Italy than at home!

I think the kids would enjoy Rome and Venice. (My son did.) Get some kids books on Italy and give them a bit of a choice of things to do in each city...then try to do them if possible. They might like to travel by train between the cities, but I would venture to guess that you'll get more suggestions on that, as well as other areas to include if you like.

We took a week-long tour which included more cities, but I don't think I would recommend a tour for a 9 year old. You need more independence based on the kids' needs. I usually plan my own trips when the kids are with me. When we took the tour, I had asked my son if he preferred a city or a countryside tour. He chose the city tour. It might be worthwhile though to do a 1/2 day tour for something special you'd like to do if the transportation would be tricky. For instance, I didn't want to mess with a car or train to Pompeii, so we did take a day trip with a tour company. It included lunch and a guide at Pompeii and suited our needs quite well.

If you have specific questions, I can try to answer them. If you go to Rome, I can tell you some of the extra kid-oriented things we did before the tour started.
kwren is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 02:15 PM
  #3  
ira
 
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Hi I,

>...it's the only time we can go.

That sort of says it all.

ira is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 02:39 PM
  #4  
jgg
 
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We were in Italy last June for 3 weeks with our kids ages 10 and 14. We ended in Rome for the last 5 days of June and it was VERY hot - 100 degrees. They kept telling us that it was unusual to be so hot in June, so I guess I have the feeling of what it might be like to be there in July. To be honest it was very hot, and I must admit, if we hadn't been to Rome in March just 15 months before, I'm not sure we would have fallen in love with it as much. It was the kind of heat where the moment you walked outside you just started to sweat. We usually took showers in the morning and then again later in the afternoon.

That being said, I agree with kwren, if that is the only time you can go, just be prepared but don't let it stop you. Be sure to only stay in places with air conditioning!!

In answer to your other questions, I would definitely plan things on your own. You can get a wealth of information on this board and should have no trouble planning it as long as you have the time and the inclination. With 12 days, I would say, you are right about doing a maximum of 3 places. The big 3 - Rome, Florence and Venice is usually a good place to start on a first trip, or consider Rome, Tuscany and Venice with a daytrip to Florence while staying in Tuscany.

Here are some links to my trip reports. The first one was in March 2005 when our kids were 9 and 12 as well. We did Rome, Venice and Florence:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34599242

Our next trip was June 2006 and the kids were 10 and 14. We did Piedmont, Liguria, Tuscany and Rome: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34830020

jgg is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 04:54 AM
  #5  
 
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What temperature/humidity are you used to in your home town? You could consider which part(s) of Italy to visit, it is likely to be a little cooler in the North than the South for example. Sea or lake locations are also likely to be more comfortable than cities as are more moutainous places. Examples of the above - (sea) Portofino & the Italian riviera, (lake) maggiore in my beloved Piedmont, (mountain resort) Cortina in the dolomites. Also consider locations out of but close (train ride) to cities. Final suggestion - pick accommodation with a pool so you can cool off on occasion.
Piedmont_Phil is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 05:37 AM
  #6  
 
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We're leaving for italy in a matter of days with our kids ages 4,7 and 10. We have tried a variety of ways to engage them and prepare them for the trip and the biggest hit has been Google Earth. You click on Rome and focus in on many of the sites. Then right click for a picture which often includes links for more detailed information.

Have fun!
prhirsch is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 06:08 AM
  #7  
 
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It is pretty hot in Italy in July, expecially in large towns.
It is a great season to go the the seaside (crowded but less then in August) and to go to the mountains.
If you want to visit cities like Rome or Florence stay in holtels out of town and be sure they have air conditionning. I am sure your kids would love the amusement park located on the Garda Lake (Gardaland) or the one in Ravenna (Mirabilandia). Ravenna is also close to the sea and have a lot of monuments and history.
zorba_01 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 03:29 PM
  #8  
 
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i have taken you trip every year for 10 years since my 3 boys were 5,7,9
they have loved it every time
the way i have always done it is stay in a villa for that time
something central to where you want to go
you need a car
make sure your villa has a pool
then
day trip it every other day
recognize that with young kids.....on the off days you will be swimming and eating in the local towns....pizza and pasta.
it makes a huge diff. to the kids and they are refreshed and ready for a day in florence or rome.....take trains when you can to the big cities
take day trips to siena or deruta or assisi or orvieto or todi or volterra....so many choices depending on where you settle yourselves......
my kids have a contest each year ,,,they still do it.....to vote for the best small town gelato
nati12 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 07:32 PM
  #9  
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Thanks to all of you for your very helpful replies. I'm working on the always-frustrating airline angle and as soon as I know we have a way to get there, I'll have more questions for sure. But the info you've already given me has helped me to focus my research. Thanks again.
iluv2trvl is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 08:36 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Nati has some good advice -- a good plan, so to speak. We do Europe every spring with the kids (I just yank 'em out of school. Give the teacher my "spiel" about how much my husband and I value travel as part of their education. I know that's not everyone's belief, but I was actually a teacher for 10 years and really do believe it!! Plus I refuse to travel in tourist season.)

Anyway, back to your real question -- we always "temper" our plans, knowing that we could keep going and going and going, but that they need a break from touring. So we ALWAYS rent a villa or apartment. Gives everyone some breathing room and allows them to have some real "down time" playing games, watching TV, snacking. You can get a break from always eating in restaurants b/c you'll have a kitchen, etc. Last May we rented a house on the beach in Trouville, France, and they loved just collecting pebbles from the beach and painting them! (Our kiddies are younger, 3 and 8.) But definitely alternate days spent running with days spent lounging.

Find playgrounds, arcades, the local toy store. Let them buy little goofy toys or other things to keep them entertained. Consider an apartment with an Internet connection -- again, to give them time to do the things they might do at home. (Plus we had our oldest daugther do a blog of the trip -- pictures and story about our trip every couple of days.)

Because it will be July, consider including the Lakes region of Italy during your stay. My husband and I stayed in Lake Como on our honeymoon (10 years ago) and loved it. Rented a cute little apartment and explored the area, including Milan. (Also did Switzerland.) But that area's a little less crowded and a little cooler in the summer. Plus the lakes have lots of recreational stuff going on. Bellagio is gorgeous. The Amalfi Coast is STUNNING, but I'm afraid it might be overrun with tourists at that time of the year. Nonetheless, if you book something soon (like THIS WEEK), you may still be able to find accommodations there. Definitely a beautiful area to visit in the warm weather.

Buon Viaggio!!
BarbMH is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 03:47 AM
  #11  
 
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I would suggest that there will be a difference in temperatire between northen Italy and the south.
Genoa has a hufe aquarium i seem to recall. You could also drift in to France and Monaco (grand-prix circuit that uses public roads). Turin could also be good - show the kids the original "Italian Job" film. They wil love it.
STUMBLEBUM is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 04:29 PM
  #12  
 
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Haven't traveled with children recently but spent last July in Italy. It is VERY hot...well over 100 degrees in Rome.

IMO, if your kids really like art and museums, then do Florence...if not, skip it till they get older. Venice and Rome will be interesting for them. Plan on doing some of your walking around Rome at night...safe and much cooler with LOTS of people about. And DO stay where there is a/c.

Think about adding the Cinque Terre to your itinerary. Not as crowded or expensive as Amalfi, but great for kids. Safe, small towns with beaches (Monterosso) or protected rocky cliff areas to swim (Manarola). CT is a laid-back place on west coast of Italy that had lots of kids...both tourist and local. Plus, you can hike on trails from city to city along the coast which makes for a good family activity.
enkimo is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 04:36 PM
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I spend half my time in Florida and half in Italy. I like warm weather, BUT I'm in Florida for July and August. Even I find Italy too hot and busy in July and August.
TravMimi is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 05:11 PM
  #14  
lvk
 
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You have gotten great advice so far.

We were in Italy last August with our kids, 13 and 11. Fortunately, there was a surprising cool spell while we were there. Unfortunately, it was also cloudy and rain on many days.

We stayed away from the major cities and had a great time. I would consider renting villas or apartments in areas where interesting day trips are possible. As others have mentioned, "down time" is very important. Rushing around from attraction to attraction, standing in long lines, is not our idea of a great vacation. Check out the "Slowtrav" website for more information.

We stayed at a friends' villa along Lago Maggiore for 8 days. There, the kids enjoyed the beaches and watersports, played soccer and table tennis at the beachside recreation area with kids from all over Europe. We shopped at the local markets for fresh foccaccia, gnocchi, salamis and cheeses, shopped the local farmer's markets for fresh vegetables and fruit. Every afternoon, we stopped for a lakeside gelato or granita.

We toured the Palaces on the Borromeo Islands. If it hadn't been so cloudy, we would have taken a day trip to Zermatt, Switzerland. We did visit Locarno on one day. There are many other day trips you can take from the Lago Magggiore area.

We then stayed near the Cinque Terre and they enjoyed the hiking and beaches there. We spent another day touring Pisa and Lucca, bicycling around the wall of Lucca and throughout the city. We bought some fresh foccaccia, olives and salami and had a picnic on the wall while the kids played in the meadow below.

On the way back to Germany, we stopped for the night in Verona and toured the Arena there.

There is so much more to Italy than Rome, Florence and Venice. We stayed to the North and did not experience large crowds or humid weather. The kids still talk about it and want to go back. Here are some of our pictures (the 1st dozen or so are Germany.):
http://preview.tinyurl.com/gkb7t

Have a great time!
lvk is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 05:21 PM
  #15  
 
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Nice to see someone post that there is so much more to Italy than Rome-Florence-Venice. I agree the north would be nice for July. Also up into Switzerland and maybe even Austria (Salzburg one of my favorite towns.) You can even stop off in Bolzano and visit the museum and se Otzi the iceman!
TravMimi is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 06:02 PM
  #16  
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Thanks again to an amazingly helpful group of people. I'm even more excited to go to Italy now. We're having an awful time with the airfares - my goodness have they gone up. We may chicken out for this year and do it next year - not because of heat but because of airfare rates. I think we need to book far enough in advance to get all 4 fares with miles. But either way, I will be archiving this info and using it to make my planning so much easier. Thanks again. P.S. I'm really well versed in visits to Hawaii if anybody needs any information about that.
iluv2trvl is offline  
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