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Need help with an Italian itinerary for a family of four (including 12 and 9 year old girls

Need help with an Italian itinerary for a family of four (including 12 and 9 year old girls

Jul 5th, 2001, 10:28 AM
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Need help with an Italian itinerary for a family of four (including 12 and 9 year old girls

My wife and I are starting to discuss preliminary plans for a two to three week family trip to Italy next summer (probably late June/early July, but maybe August). We were in Italy in 1987 (Rome/Porto Ercole/Florence/Asolo/Venice) and have been dying to return; our girls have never been. I would love some advice from the experts on Italy out there about designing an itinerary geared to hold the interest of our relatively sophisticated 12 and 9 year old girls. The trip should include several days at a beach resort. I think its also important for the girls to see Rome and some of the best of Tuscany. However, my wife and I would like to make it to some of the areas we missed on our last trip, especially the Amalfi coast, Cinque Terre, and/or the lake region. We want to be realistic in our schedule--not too hectic, not too many changes of venue. Any ideas? Thanks
Jul 5th, 2001, 11:15 AM
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First bit of advice---go in June or July, not in August when so many things are closed.
Jul 5th, 2001, 11:55 AM
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We were there for 10 days in March with a 9 yr old boy and 12 yr old girl. They just loved it. We did Venice/FLorence/Orvieto/Rome. Spent most of the time in venice & rome and just did overnights in the others. We didn't do anything coastal and it wasn't swimming weather but if it had been, they probably would have loved that too. Prior to the trip I showed them the travel books, old Italy photos (been there before also before kids) and watched some movies that took place in Italy. For years they wanted to see Pompeii so we did do a day trip there. My daughter was studying medieval europe at school so she really enjoyed stopping in some small medieval towns and spending the night in Orvieto. Whenever we did museums we rented the audio tours for everyone. Some higlights of our trip were STepping off the plane at the Venice airport and taking a water taxi to the hotel (even after spending an entire night flying, everyone perked up), Doges Palace in Venice, the History of Science Museum in FLorence, Underground tour in Orvieto, Pompeii and just about everything in Rome.
Jul 5th, 2001, 12:07 PM
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Neil, You need to pin down the time before you can decide itinerary. Big difference in 2 or 3 weeks. If you want the coast, Lakes, Tuscany, Venice then that is doable in 2 weeks, but not Rome.
If you start and end in Milan then you can also include Gardaland near Verona and on Lake Garda.
Here are some sample itineraires I have used in the past to give you some food for thought. Good luck ! BOB the NAVIGATORSí FIVE FAVORITE ITINERARIES

* Arrive and depart from Munich--14 nites--May thru Sep.--car travel
* ITINERARY: Salzburg, Dolomites, Venice, Lake Garda, Bavaria
* Arrive Milan, depart Venice--15 nites--car & train travel--April thru Oct.
* ITINERARY: The Lakes, Ligurian coast, Tuscany, Florence, Venice
* Arrive & depart Rome--12 to 14 nites--car & train travel, all year
* ITINERARY: Florence, Tuscan & Umbrian hilltowns, Rome
* Arrive & depart Rome--12 nites--car & train travel--March thru Oct.
* ITINERARY: Amalfi coast, Tuscany hilltowns, Rome

* Arrive and depart Zurich--12 nites--train travel--June thru Sep.
* ITINERARY: Berner Oberland, Lugano, Lake Como, Luzern
These are merely intended to be sample itineraries. Every TRIP PLAN is unique
and is designed to meet your personal travel style, budget, and preferences.

Jul 5th, 2001, 02:04 PM
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Here are some thoughts, not linked to any specific itinerary.

Venice is a must; what child wouldn't want to see the city on the water (it's one of the things my son really wants to see when he's old enough to travel to Europe with us). I also second the magic in flying into the Venice airport. Make sure to wander around a lot; the more residential neighborhoods are very interesting.

I don't know much about coastal Italy except the Cinque Terre, which is one of my favorite places. They'd enjoy the beach scene there, and the hikes from village to village. The variety of fruits and vegetables that grow there is astounding.

If you went to Rome and Florence, you've already got 3 city destinations on your trip, which can be a lot even for adults. Maybe one of those will have to wait until another trip. Think about whether your kids are "city kids" or "country kids;" whether being in a city energizes them (there's a lot for kids to do in a city), or wears them out. Then plan accordingly.

Look into renting a villa in the country or an apartment in the city. I don't have web sites, but I've seen posts about them, even in Venice. It will give the kids a more comfortable place to relax at the end of the day.

I'm not sure your daughters would enjoy the Lakes region. It is scenic (what party of Italy isn't?), but there's not a whole lot to do, particularly for kids. I'd leave this off for now.

While I'm a big believer in car rentals, try to plan some of your trip around train travel. All kids love to ride in other forms of transportation.

If your kids are relatively sophisticated, they should enjoy many of the same sights you do. Remember to eat lots of gelato!
Jul 5th, 2001, 07:44 PM
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Italy is a great place to go with kids.It is much more relaxed, the food is good & pretty much is familiar to them. Absolutely go to Rome, but take @ least 3 days for that. There is so much to see & it will be very crowded @ that time of year=long waits for tourist spots.

Naples is so interesting! Take a hydrofoil to the Isle of Capri for an afternoon. Make sure you get round trip tickets & are @ the port for the last trip back. Great shops & the Blue Grotto is interesting if open. It wasn't due to high tide when we were there last.

Pompeii is great! Hire a private tour guide---you get so much more information & you miss so much otherwise. We also rented a car from Pompeii to Sorento recommended by our guide & this was a fabulous day! He brought us to a great restaurant that opened early just for us & had huge baking ovens for pizza & gave us complimentary lemonchillas (awful cough medicine like liquer---but fun!). I'm sure the restaurant was either family owned or he got a "cut", but he gave us a great tour.

Tuscany is beautiful & relaxing to adults, but probably boring to kids. The Duomo in Florence is a hearty climb to the top, but the view is incredible & only the young CAN do it!!!

My daughter rented a Vespa & took me for a night tour to the top of the hill facing the Arno with "David" on the crest. I thought this fat bod would never make it & gasped @ things whizzing by, but I will never forget the night view & the closeness we felt.

The leaning tower in Piza is so commercialized, but kids love it! The shops have the same junk, for the most part---don't bother.

In Venice you MUST take gondola ride. We didn't when I was there the 1st time & I waited 38 years to return & do it. Don't go unless the guy sings, though!
Some do & some don't---it adds romance & makes it more unforgetable, although for 4 people it was pretty pricey for 1/2 hr. Still worth doing!

When we went the 1at time i was 12. we were only allowed to buy souveniers that were special from that country or region. I still have them all, nearly 40 yrs later!

Have a great time! Learning a few phrases--excuse me, please, thank you, etc. @ dinner each night will make everyone more comfortable & it prolongs the enjoyment & anticipation of the trip.
Jul 5th, 2001, 10:55 PM
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Neil - wow, Marg and others have given some great advice...you hardly need mine but can't resist. We were in Italy for two weeks in April with our not-so-sophisticated 12 and 10 year old son/daughter. Went to Rome (3 nights) and Umbrian farm (4 nights) Florence (3 nights) and Venice (2 nights). Without a doubt my kids loved Rome as did we. The Colosseum, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain were a big hit with them. My son was also studying ancient Rome, Middle Ages and the Renaissance this year and really got alot of value out of this. We had been to Italy before children, and like you, wanted to see Cinque Terre this time, but alas, couldn't deny our children the experience of Venice which they loved. Arriving by train and emerging from the station to see the Grand Canal, then hopping a water taxi to our hotel was a highlight. And yes, spring for a gondola ride! Riding to the top of the Campanile and feeding the pidgeons in St. Marks Sq. were really enjoyed. My kids weren't all that enthralled with Florence, so for my money that might be the one to skip unless you really want them to have the art exposure. Must admit the kids did love Michelangelo's David. While Cinque Terre might not be that great for kids, I'm sure they'd enjoy it. You could always stay in Santa Margherita which friends tell us their kids loved, then day trip to Cinque Terre.

I agree with the general notion that Tuscany and the Lakes hold less interest for kids. However, we stayed on a family run farm that included breakfast and dinner. Meals with the other guests were an international affair and, I think, among the most beneficial for children. I believe that the interactions with people really enhance and balance experiences of sightseeing in a foreign country. That's why we opted not to stay in an isolated agriturismo rental, but instead one that mingled us w/ the other guests. They also had horseback-riding, a pool and children's play area. We visited a number of medieval hill towns...the highlight of which was a day in Assisi with a WONDERFUL tour guide named Anne Robichaud...(see her website www.annesitaly.com and comments about her on the Rick Steves Graffitti Wall ("Virgin Hilltowns) at www.rick steves.com. - it included a fabulous lunch in her home and she really captured the attention of the children and made the day special, plus we enjoyed her other guests on the day tour. The name of the agriturismo in Umbria we stayed at and enjoyed so much is Madonna delle Grazie...you can find it through www.karenbrown.com. Also, I agree that a mixture of car rental and train rides makes it fun. Happy planning!
Jul 6th, 2001, 03:08 AM
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I can suggest to dedicate 1 week to visit Sicily: you can find archaeology, history, beaches...
If you want I can detail you more, just reply and I will suggest to you some nice web site

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