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Need help planning a trip to Italy - thanks

Need help planning a trip to Italy - thanks

Dec 30th, 2014, 11:41 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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Need help planning a trip to Italy - thanks

Hi everyone,

We will be traveling to Italy next summer starting around June 15th. We are hoping to have about 15 full days there + 3 days of travel time from west coast.

My early plan has about 6-7 days allocated for Tuscany area and 3-4 days for Rome. That means I have just 4-5 days for other places (but hopefully we will make another trip to Italy sometime in future).

We have two kids ages 6 and 10 - and they are happy travelers. They like wandering around in cities, little bit of museums, parks, small hikes, ocean....and just learning about different cultures. While we do want the trip to be kids friendly, we don't have hard limitations in terms of walking or activities.

What would you recommend for us? I am open to make changes to Tuscany and Rome part as well.

Also, I saw that Milan and Rome seem to be the best options for flying in/out. Should we add Milan to our itinerary just because of convenience and ticket prices?

thanks,
Meg
megpat is offline  
Dec 30th, 2014, 11:49 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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It can be penny wise and pound foolish to book air tickets that are cheaper but that don't really fulfill your desires. Milan is not a cheap city, and while it has some very kid friendly attractions, if there aren't things there that you have always wished you could see, better to focus on where you want to go, and then buy air tickets that make it easiest to get there without extra time and complications. You appear to already have a complicated journey to Italy.

You've really not said much about your kids or yourselves, so there is an infinity of possibilities in Italy to add on to Rome and Tuscany. However, if someone were to hand me 2 kids aged 6 and 10 plus the money to take them to italy, I would make my life easy and take them to Venice. If when they got there the kids said "blah", then I would take them on day trips on the trains to Verona and Ferrara and there are other choices.
sandralist is offline  
Dec 30th, 2014, 12:12 PM
  #3  
 
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It seems to me that flying in/from Rome is the best option if you wish to visit central Italy and you could make a round trip visiting Tuscany and UMbria. I would suggest the following stops in this order: Rome, Spoleto, Montefalco, Spello, Assisi, Perugia, Cortona, Arezzo, Firenze, Chianti, Siena, MOntepulciano, Orvieto, Viterbo e Roma. It seems a lot but they are all very close to each other, so you can even make 2 stops in one day. Hope this helps! Enjoy!
luciafamily is offline  
Dec 30th, 2014, 12:58 PM
  #4  
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Thanks you for your replies, sandralist and luciafamily.

I agree that we need to first figure out our itinerary and then book tickets. I was thinking of doing open jaw/one way tickets thinking we will start up north from Milan/Venice area -> Tuscany -> Rome.

I should leave the booking for later and first focus on narrowing down areas/cities that we want to explore.

For Tuscany, we will be staying at one place in Siena for 6-7 days so that it's easier on the kids. We will have a car to do day trips to nearby towns. Lucianfamily - thanks for your suggestion. I will look into each town at detail.

Sandralist - my kids are fairly good at trying different things when we travel. They enjoy simple things like train and boat rides, watching animals and fountains, ice-creams, hiking...and also enjoy exploring urban areas, museums, hands on activities such as chocolate, candle or pasta making. We enjoy good food but we are not foodies.


thanks,
Meg
megpat is offline  
Dec 30th, 2014, 02:40 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Venice, Florence and Bologna all have international airports. You are likely to face a connecting flight, either in western Europe or on the US eastern seaboard, to reach them. I prefer to make the more complicated journey when going east across the Atlantic. Even with a connection to reach a secondary international Italian city, you will get there by early afternoon, able to settle in, do some walking, and take an early-evening meal to catch up on sleep.
Depending on where you live on the US west coast, you may be able to find non-stops between Rome and your home airport. My approach is to use the non-stop on the return trip. It usually means departing at a reasonable hour of the morning and still getting home in decent time.
Price, however, is always a factor. I balance multi-city convenience against the cost in time and money of returning to your arrival city when going home.
No real advice from me about activities for kids, although walking on the roof of Milan's cathedral to stare the gargoyles in the eye would seem the sort of thing memories are made of. And Venice, with no streets and lots of water, is self-evident.
Southam is offline  
Dec 30th, 2014, 02:49 PM
  #6  
 
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Meg,
I don't know if you've set your plans for Tuscany, but I would highly recommend staying at Cretaiole outside of Pienza

http://www.cretaiole.it/index.php/en/

It is an agritursimo taylor made for families. Isabella can set up as few or as many activities as your family desires. We stayed at the sister property and enjoyed this immensely. There were several other families so our kids had a chance to interact with kids from other countries. I've told many people that I've never met someone so in tune to her guests .
You can click on my name and read my trip report for ideas. My boys were much older than yours but it may still give you some ideas.
LauraLF is offline  
Dec 30th, 2014, 03:41 PM
  #7  
 
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Rome, Milan and Venice have direct flights from the US - so I would stick to those airports. To me the simplest is into Venice and out of rome. gives you3 stays - Venice, Tuscany and Rome - easily done by train and all child friendly with lots of things kids will want to do.

If you want to spend Tuscany time in an agriturismo then rent a car for that week to facilitate getting to and fro various interesting small towns - and allowing kids time to play - be sure to pick one with a pool.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 30th, 2014, 08:59 PM
  #8  
 
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I agree w/ NYTraveler - 3 stays - Venice, Tuscany (you said you would stay in Siena, right?), and Rome is the way to go. Kids really like all three destinations, and I think Siena is a great base from which to explore the region. You're also lucky that your kids are easy travellers!

You've probably already thought of this, but there are a few great books out there to really get kids involved in the trip. Our family loved the book, 'Mission Rome'. It's a scavenger hunt book for the kids to use while you're out sightseeing together. It made sightseeing much more interesting. Also, Lonely Planet's 'Not For Parents Rome' is filled with interesting facts about the city.
AliciaJ is offline  
Dec 31st, 2014, 02:14 AM
  #9  
 
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i was going to suggest Venice as well. It's a great place to start a trip to Italy. I suggest staying 4 nights to give you 3 days including a "getting over jet lag day" in which you could just ride around on the vaporetti. [water buses].

you could then pick up a car, and drive to Tuscany - and spend 6-7 nights there.

then drive to Orvieto, tour the town and Cathedral [not to be missed] return your car, and get the train to Rome. Stay 5 nights - gives you 4 days which you would be able to fill many times over.

Have a wonderful trip.
annhig is offline  
Jan 5th, 2015, 03:45 PM
  #10  
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thanks so much for all the suggestions. We have decided to add 3 full days with 2/3 nights in Venice.

If our schedule permits and if ticket prices vary significantly based on days, we may add upto 3 days to our trip which should give us some more flexibility in case if we decide to stay in Florence or Umbria for couple of days instead of doing day trips from Siena. Let me know if any recommendations


I am hoping to book flights (sfo to Rome, return from Venice) within a week so that the finer grain planning can be started.

Many many thanks!
Meg
megpat is offline  
Jan 6th, 2015, 06:54 AM
  #11  
 
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Hi Meg - that's beginning to look like a plan!

BTW, I've never done it as we live in the UK, but most people here from the US end up flying into Venice and out of Rome as the flight times are more comfortable.

just something to watch!
annhig is offline  
Jan 6th, 2015, 07:31 AM
  #12  
 
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I wouldn't fly in/out of Milan...it doesn't appear to be near the destinations you're interested in seeing and while it's beautiful and has some interesting sights, IMO it doesn't remotely compare to your other destinations. It's a bustling, working city (meaning a lot of ppl work there and are rushing around to get to their meetings, etc). Maybe I feel that way because I was one of those people rushing around to meetings but it's definitely a different feeling than the other cities you're considering.
JES28 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2015, 09:45 AM
  #13  
ekc
 
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Not sure why you are alloting 3 days for travel time from the west coast. I live in Portland, OR and usually arrive in Italy in time for lunch, so the entire day isn't wasted as a travel day.

I highly recommend starting your trip in Venice. It is a great city for getting over jetlag, because you have to walk (or boat) everywhere and there are no cars/buses/scooters to contend with.
ekc is offline  
Jan 7th, 2015, 09:48 PM
  #14  
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Thanks for suggestions!

We have the first flight booked! We will be getting in Venice at ~10am. We will be returning from Rome. I have yet to book that flight.


We have 6 or 7 days for Rome. I have been showing Italy DVDs and travel books to kids, and they got very excited about Pompeii (volcano!) and Amalfi coast. Is there any way to fit that in our trip? I am thinking about spending 3 days and 2 night there before heading to Rome.

The other option is visiting Rome first, and then spending last 2 nights in Naples/Sorrento.

We will have a car in Tuscany. We can keep it longer if necessary.

thanks,
Meg
megpat is offline  
Jan 7th, 2015, 09:50 PM
  #15  
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ekc - three days travel time includes ~20 hours flight each way + jetlag time
megpat is offline  
Jan 8th, 2015, 01:24 AM
  #16  
 
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We have the first flight booked! We will be getting in Venice at ~10am. We will be returning from Rome. I have yet to book that flight. >>

I'm a bit concerned that you are booking these flights separately. you usually book multi-city [open jaw] flights at the same time, just like a round trip flight, and they shouldn't cost a lot more than round trip either. if you book them separately as one way flights, they can be a lot more expensive.
annhig is offline  
Jan 8th, 2015, 08:18 AM
  #17  
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Hi annhig, I did research to confirm that booking two oneway flights wouldn't cost more. I have done that often in past as many airlines don't have roundtrip restrictions. This way if some different airline has a better options for the return trip, I can take advantage of that.
megpat is offline  
Jan 8th, 2015, 09:34 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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megpat - that's great to hear. hope you get a good deal for the homeward flight.
annhig is offline  

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