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Itineray help for Family Trip to Rome/Florence/Venice this February

Itineray help for Family Trip to Rome/Florence/Venice this February

Oct 31st, 2002, 09:30 AM
  #1  
Susan
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Itineray help for Family Trip to Rome/Florence/Venice this February

Hi, I just got my flights figured out for this family trip (2 adults and 2 kids, 12 and 15) to Italy this February and I could use some help/advice on the trip. We are arriving in Rome and leaving from Venice 8 nights later. We want to spend some time in Rome, take the train to Florence, spend a couple of nights in Florence, and then take the train to Venice. I am trying to get another night out of this trip; but the airlines (we are using air miles for the tickets) are not helping. So, within my time constraints (arrive on Wednesday at about noon in Rome and leave the following Friday early morning from Venice, how would you allocate the days/nights to the 3 cities? And, any inexpensive,centrally located hotel ideas for us as well? I will come back to the board to ask for the sights in each city once we get this part figured out, but I will welcome suggestions for "not to miss" places. Thanks, Susan. p.s. my kids love history and museums!
 
Oct 31st, 2002, 09:56 AM
  #2  
Eye Spy
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Hi Susan. You are doing a lot of traveling in 8 days. While you'll see all 3 cities, you will barely scratch the surface of any of them, in particular Rome, which has so much.
Here's what I came up with.

Day 1 (departure) ---->2: arrive Rome
Days 2 / 3 / 4 (half day): Rome
Days 4 (half day) / 5 / 6 (half day): Florence.
Days 6 (half day) / 7: Venice
Day 8: Venice --> airport home.
[you can cut your time in Florence or Venice as you which thereby extending the other; I'd spend the most time in Rome because there's simply so much and you'll want a full day just at the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's basilica].

Just an idea. What did you come up with? Personally, I try to plan in taking a train from one city to the other in the early or late afternoon depending. Why? Because this gives you another morning and a relaxed start to your train trip to the following city and you still arrive at a decent hour and in time for dinner.
 
Oct 31st, 2002, 07:09 PM
  #3  
Zach
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ttt
 
Oct 31st, 2002, 08:23 PM
  #4  
mjs
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I think Eye spy has a fairly good itinerary but I personally would change it alittle. It is likely that you will not get much in the way of sight seeing your first day due to jet lag and the fact that it will probably be in the middle to late afternoon by the time you settle into your hotel in Rome. I would leave very early to Florence day 4. I disagree about a afternoon train as the Es trains to Florence take about 2 hours and if you take a early train you may be in your Florence hotel by middle morning and ready to go. Remember in February your day light touring time will be limited. Again would leave early 6 or 7 to Venice depending on whether you wish to spend more time in Venice or Florence. I personally would favour Venice. However I will be in Florence next month for a week so I may change my mind. There is a 0640 train to Venice that gets in at 1010 and a train at about 0830 that gets into Venice at about 1100. ( been doing some work for my trip)
We did a trip similar to what you propose a few years ago but with more time and extension to Amalfi. We found that we did not do much in the morning if we left in the afternoon. Best get your travel done early, then relax and explore.
If your budget allows, a personal tour guide for a half day or so in each city would help maximize your ability to get a grasp om each city as you have so little time.
As for inexpensive hotels; what is your budget? Outside of the USA it is rare to get one hotel room that will accomadate 4 people. Quads are uncommon. Often you will need two rooms or a short stay apartment. There are quads I believe in each of your cities but I do not know where. Sandra Gustafsen's book on Great Sleeps Italy will help. Have a great time!
 
Nov 1st, 2002, 05:27 AM
  #5  
Susan
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Eye Spy - I guess I did not correctly explain the length of my trip. My count of 8 days is the full days I will have in Europe; not counting the day of my evening flight from the US to Zurich (then Zurich to Rome on my Day 1) and not counting the final day which is all flights home. We are arriving in Rome about noon on a Thursday and leaving Venice in the morning of the following Friday. Knowing this would you plan any differently? I appreciate the help, Thanks, Susan.
 
Nov 1st, 2002, 06:48 AM
  #6  
Eye Spy
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Susan: Much better you'll have 8 full days. With that in mind, this is what I would do (but that's just me and other Fodorites might advise different itineraries):

1)Thurs: Arrive Rome.
2)Fri: Rome.
3)Sat: Rome.
4)Sun:Rome-->Florence
5)Mon:Florence
6)Tues:Florence--->Venice
7)Wed:Venice
8)Thurs:Venice
9)Fri: Venice--->USA

As you can tell, you spend the most time in Rome (depending on if you leave for Florence either in the morning or afternoon). You choose. Personally, I like taking the Eurostar (aka "Pendolino") at about 1:00pm from Roma Termini to Firenze Santa Maria Novella. That gets you into Florence at about 3:15pm, transfer to hotel, walk around in evening. You are much less hurried in the morning to get up so quick and dash off for the train. Others do it differently.

Other things I recommend:
1) One full day for Vatican Museum and St. Peter's. I prefer Vatican Museum in the morning and St. Peter's late afternoon when there are less crowds and the late afternoon sunlight in the Basilica is breathtaking.
2) Reserve for the Uffizi and Accademia in Florence right when you get to your hotel in Florence or from Rome (your hotel might do it for you but be sure to ask them if they are going to charge you extra just for doing it!). Usually if you reserve the day before, you'll get a spot the next day. DO NOT FORGET TO RESERVE OR YOU WILL WASTE TIME IN LINE or worse never get in. If you are really into art history, also go to the Pitti Palace (Galleria Palatina) -- what's not in the Uffizi is there!
3) Do not be in a hurry for meals if you dine in trattorie/osterie. Roman service is notoriously slow and people usually eat after 7pm.
4) MJS is correct: quads are uncommon so you're going to have to get that straightened out beforehand and as soon as possible. Venice hotels will be slightly more expensive than Florence I usually find. Lodging will be a good part of your travel budget.
5) Buy all camera film here -- much more expensive in Europe.
6) Do NOT get off of train at the Venezia-Mestre trainstation! You must wait for Venezia-Santa Lucia. For train times, www.trenitalia.com. Click on English flag.
7) The centro storico ('historical center') of all 3 cities is rather compact (Rome's being the largest) so you will be able to walk a lot without public transportation.
8) Just walk around each city and get lost. That's half the fun of travel.
9) Remain flexible in your plans. You're not going to be able to see it all; make the most of the time and the things you do see.
10)Post any of your opinions, etc. I don't profess to be an expert; as many Fodorites know, we all do what has worked for us.
 
Nov 1st, 2002, 07:07 AM
  #7  
Rex
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Susan,

I do think that this additional information of eight FULL days does make a difference. I will offer a few opinions, based on planning a similar eight day "three majors of Italy" trip last May 2001 (Ours were Rome, Assisi and Venice, not Florence). It had a few similarities and a few differences, and the differences are fairly significant. They may influence decisions that you make for your family.

My trip was six adults - - my wife (who had been to Rome for 10 hours, once before) and myself, plus four sixty year olds (her parents and an uncle/aunt). None of then had been to Italy before; the uncle/aunt had never been to Europe before. Their energy levels were much lower than (most likely) what you have with two adolescents and parents. Moreover, they were/are not really "big city" people, accustomed to a lot of noise, traffic and

We were also constrained by having to arrive and leave from Rome (we had phenomenal business class fares that could only go into and out of Rome).

Our itinerary was as follows:

Day 0 depart
Day 1,2 in Rome
Day 3 drive to Assisi
Day 4 in Assisi
Day 5 drive to Venice
Day 6 in Venice
Day 7 train Venice to Rome
Day 8 in Rome
Day 9 fly home

Observations: we had four stays, you can elect to have only three - - this works in your favor. My aunt and uncle did NOT like Rome that well on days 1 and 2, and days 7 and 8 they thought it was much more pleasant than they had remembered just earlier in the week. I would call this the "Rome is too intense" phenomenon, and it is a reason that I have suggested that some travelers (especially first time to Italy) might want to put "somewhere else" (Florence) first. I don't recommend Venice first because Venice is so magical that you ought to go there (relatively) free of jet lag.

So, I won't give you specific directives on how to plan your trip because your prior experience/background and comfort level with the "urban intensity" of Rome might well be factors.

Bottom line is that I think you CAN enjoy the "big three" in 8 days, first trip or not.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Nov 1st, 2002, 07:53 AM
  #8  
Marj
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We stayed in quad/family rooms at these hotels in Italy which I strongly recommend:

Rome: Santa Chiara 3*, a 2 room suite.
Venice: Hotel FLora 3* (absolutely charming), 1 large room with 1 1/2 baths
Florence: Hotel Casci 2*, 1 large room.

Each of these had 1 Queen and 2 twin beds, included breakfast and are conveniently located. The staff at the Casci, is particularly warm and friendly. The other hotels were quite pleasant too.

 
Nov 1st, 2002, 07:59 AM
  #9  
Susan
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Thank you all for the itineray advice. As for the hotels, I would prefer 2 doubles but I picked up on the concept of "quads" from this message board, and when I have checked out the hotel websites most of them advertise quad rooms at less than the price of 2 doubles. I figure that since we are not going to be spending much time in the hotel room, we might as well squeeze into a decent place, centrally located, and save the money! Any hotel suggestions? Thanks,
Susan.

Also, Rex, we live just outside of Manhattan and my kids love the city. My daughter has already informed us (at 12) that she will only live in large cities)We have taken the kids to both London and Paris and they really enjoy the noise, crowds and commotion of a bustling city.
 
Nov 1st, 2002, 08:04 AM
  #10  
Rex
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There is still other acclimation to your family's arrival in Rome (everything in Italian, for example), but I suspect that you're going to do fine putting all your Rome time "upfront", and proceeding in logical orderly fashion to Florence and Venice.

Hopefully, my observations are still worthwhile to others planning similar trips.
 
Nov 1st, 2002, 08:13 AM
  #11  
Marj
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Other Rome hotels with either quad or connected rooms are, la residenza, due torre & guilio cesare. I researched these when we went on our trip. They all came highly recommeded. We chose the Santa Chiara on the basis of value/quality/location.
 
Nov 1st, 2002, 09:26 AM
  #12  
ccc
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My family (2 adults, 2 children) are planning a trip to Italy as well. I found a quad room at the Villa San Pio in Rome for 186 euro and at the Locanda Orseolo in Venice for 190 euro. There is a lot of positive information on the Villa San Pio on this site. Hope this helps.
 
Nov 1st, 2002, 09:35 PM
  #13  
mjs
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A few extra thoughts. The museums in Florence are closed on Monday so you may wish to plan around this.
Secondly there was a series of posts about quads in Venice not too long ago on this site which may be helpful.
 
Nov 2nd, 2002, 05:35 AM
  #14  
vgt
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Very good thread.
 
Nov 2nd, 2002, 04:17 PM
  #15  
Susan
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Thanks for the information on the Florence museums. I had not gotten to the point in my planning where I checked out museum hours. But I see that I need to do it right away! I guess I can stay in Florence a day longer becaue I do not want to short change the museums there. So, how about this as a revised itinerary - or am I short-changing Venice?

1) Thursday - arrive Rome
2) Friday - Rome
3) Saturday - Rome
4) Sunday - Rome - Florence
5) Monday - Florence
6) Tuesday - Florence
7) Wednesday - Florence - Venice in morning
8) Thursday - Venice
9) Friday - Leave Venice for home

I guess we could always take a late afternoon, evening train from Florence to Venice on Tuesday, that would give us all of Wednesday and Thursday in Venice. Or, should I now stay an extra day in Rome? Help!
 
Nov 3rd, 2002, 08:23 AM
  #16  
topper
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top
 
Nov 3rd, 2002, 09:14 AM
  #17  
Eye Spy
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I think you are being too hard on yourself. Just go with how you feel when you are there. You may be in Florence and like it so much, you won't want to leave. You'll experience the same in Venice. I think about 2.5 days in each as I recommended to you earlier this week will give you a good idea of each city; you'll always be able to go back!
 
Nov 3rd, 2002, 01:35 PM
  #18  
ann
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I don't agree with the advice to decide how long to stay once your are there - you can't have reservations and do that and having reservations will save you many headaches, a lot of time and much money. I personally liked Venice more than Rome so I would probably split the three cites equally. As far as quad rooms - we stayed at the Hotel Canal and Walter in Venice and at the Hotel Picasso in Rome. Both were fine, not luxurious but the price of $150 night for a quad including breakfast for a clean, nicely located hotel was perfect for our family of four.
 

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