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Please suggest itinerary- first trip to Italy

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Jan 9th, 2013, 06:40 PM
  #1
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Please suggest itinerary- first trip to Italy

Plan on 10 days- 2 weeks in Italy, arriving in Rome July 4
Originally thought 1 week Rome, 1 week Amalfi Coast but now DH is muttering Pisa, Florence, Venice etc

Could that work ?
a week in Rome ( will need to go to Pompeii and Ostia Antica if possible)
Then a week visiting some of the other major sites?

Best to go by train or rent a car ( we are very comfortable driving if needed)?

We will need to get to Nantes in Brittany after, so looking for an end city with flights or trains to France

Thanks for any suggest ions
dendleju is offline  
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Jan 9th, 2013, 07:20 PM
  #2
 
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The popular plan for first timers is Rome-Florence-Venice (some prefer these in reverse order, because there are more flight options to the US out of Rome). It totally works.

So check your flight options to Nantes from Rome and Venice. It sounds like a long journey by train, but may be do-able.

You could split it evenly 3 ways or spend a couple extra days in Rome, taking one day each from Florence (day trip to Pisa if you want) and Venice. It kind of depends on what you like do do and see.

Trains are frequent and inexpensive, and recommended by most. In Venice you will have no use at all for a car.
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Jan 9th, 2013, 07:23 PM
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With two weeks you could easily do three areas/bases, four would be ok, but a bit too rushed for most people's tastes. Given what you first thought of I'd do 4 days Rome (no day trips), 5 days Sorrento (easy day trip from there to Pompeii, and lots of day trip options including Amalfi, Positano, Capri, etc.). Then with the remaining five days I'd pick one other area - EITHER Florence (day trips to Pisa, Siena, etc.) OR Venice (day trips to Verona, Padua). If you tried to do all four areas you really wouldn't have much time for day trips. But another reasonable option would be four days Rome, four Sorrento, three Florence and three Venice. It would give you just a taste of each area.
isabel is online now  
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Jan 9th, 2013, 08:33 PM
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For a first trip, I would not recommend a lot of "day trips". There is plenty to do in each city of Rome, Florence and Venice, and you want to remember each city..not getting on/off buses/trains and checking into/out of hotels, etc. Since you are going in summer, there will be more crowds, so you will most likely need more time to see the sights in the cities you do go to.

Two weeks would be wonderful, if you can do it. Trust us- you will kick yourself once you've spent a couple days there if you had the option to stay 13 days and instead chose only 9 (one day for travel to Italy).

If we knew more about what it is you like to do/see, we could better recommend in which areas you might want to spend your time.

I also think that Venice/Florence/Rome is great for a first trip. If you have the full 13 days, then certainly one day trip from Rome for Pompeii would not be too much. But I think I'd skip any other "day trips" for another time.

If you arrive Venice, you could stay Venice 3 days, train to Florence, spend 3 days, train to Rome. Pompeii is a day trip from Rome.

Please let us know your ages/health status/likes (art, history, food, hiking, shopping) and we can better assist you in finalizing a plan.

You will love Italy. It steals your heart!
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Jan 10th, 2013, 06:52 PM
  #5
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Kids are 10 & 12 and very well traveled so they can handle pretty much anything
We will need to break up museum visits - 10 year old still has shorter attention span
We love history, architecture , gardens and being immersed in local culture
We prefer apartments to hotels
Thanks!
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Jan 10th, 2013, 08:57 PM
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dendleju- what timing! I just saw this other post here on Fodor's- Rome trip report with kids 9 and 12. You might want to read it for some insight: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...log-photos.cfm
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Jan 10th, 2013, 10:33 PM
  #7
 
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I would stick to your original plan - otherwise you'll be travelling around too much. If you're going to add a 3rd area do Venice or Florence. Definitely don't bother with Pisa.
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Jan 10th, 2013, 11:38 PM
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I think you should leave where you place Rome in your trip flexible. Why? If suppose you end up flying out of Rome to Nantes, you probably have to stay overnight "again" in Rome. You can easily compute how much time and money get consumed by splitting your stay. I know many people do this without thinking. If you have to fly out of Rome, put Rome at the end of the Italy trip. If you fly out of Napoli the, put Napoli at the end of the trip, etc.

This is your first trip to Italy and you are comfortable driving in a country you have never visited before? I presume you are comfortable dealing with ZTL gotchas unique to driving in Italy especially if you are heading to Tuscany.

How best to get around depends on where you are heading.
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Jan 11th, 2013, 05:42 AM
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First you need to figure out how you are getting to Nantes, so you know where you are departing from in Italy.

In July, Italy will be extremely hot and muggy. Along the Amalfi coast, it will be jam packed. If you like gardens, you might have a much more comfortable stay if you visited Rome, Florence and Venice but then treated yourselves to some time on Lago Maggiore, which is filled with beautiful gardens, before moving on to France.

Instead of going to Rome, your family might get its fill of Roman sights by visiting Verona (which has a super Colosseum and other Roman ruins) and taking the 15 minute bus ride up the hill above Florence to see the Roman theater there. That way, if you visited Pisa-Florence-Venice-Verona, you would have time to relax on the lake. On Lago Maggiore, you would be very close to Milan, where you are likely to find planes or trains to get you close to Nantes.
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Jan 11th, 2013, 06:18 AM
  #10
 
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We took our first trip to Italy in 2010 and were very pleased with our itinerary: 4 days in Rome, 2 nights in Florence (one full day exploring Florence and a day tour on bikes through the Chianti region of Tuscany with ibikeitaly), 3 nights in the Cinque Terre and two nights in Venice. We thought this was a great way to get a sampling of Italy and can't wait to go back! Highlights were touring the historical sights in Rome, relaxing by the water in the Cinque Terre and our biking tour in Tuscany.
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Jan 11th, 2013, 07:36 AM
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I vote Rome, Capri and Amalfi. I loved Capri at night.
Rome 5 nights
Capri 2 nights
Amalfi 3 nights
NAples 1 night. Fly out of Naples
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Jan 14th, 2013, 03:47 AM
  #12
 
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I just got back from my first trip to Italy (17 days) and I'd quite agree with Isabel for having 3 base areas. Rome, Florence, Venice and Sorrento are probably good options as bases.

If Pompeii is a must, then I would highly recommend staying around Sorrento area and daytrip to Pompeii (as opposed to Naples, where I stayed in my trip) - a much more beautiful and clean area especially with children travelling together. sarge56 suggests daytrip to Pompeii from Rome.. I personally have no experience with that so can't comment but it seems a little far to me given that I day-tripped from Naples and still found the local train ride rather uninspiring along the way. Sorrento would be much closer especially if Capri or Positano or other parts of Amalfi are on your to do list. If not then Rome might as well be the best base for Pompeii.

As to day trips, if the children can sit in transportation for around 2 hours on any one day for return travel then day trips will be fine, but as sarge56 mentioned, probably keeping these to a minimum would be a good idea. Most places should not be much longer than 1 hour one-way (such as Florence to Pisa/Siena and Sorrento to Positano/Capri/Pompeii).

I would also recommend getting some museum passes as (from my recent experience in Winter) they do speed up the process of queuing and getting into attractions a lot. Firenze Card for Florence and Roma Pass for Rome were very useful for us.

If it were 3 bases in 14 days I would probably split it into the following:
Rome 7 days
Florence 4 days
Venice 3 days
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Jan 15th, 2013, 06:50 PM
  #13
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Lots of great suggestions as usual Fodor friends!

Children are used to flying 10 hours "home" to UK from our current home in Texas, followed by 5 hour car ride to Devon, so point to point travel is not a concern, though we do hope do do it by train, so that DH can see the sights on the way too!

I am going to research Sorrento as a number of you suggest that as a better base from which to see Pompeii; much appreciated and I would never have figured this out by myself!

We already have flights into Rome since we use FF miles accumulated by DH crazy worldwide business travel.

We can either fly to Nantes from Florence or we can take the train to Paris and rent a car which is normal for us visiting family in Brittany very year.

Leanign towards
Day 1-5 Rome
Day 6-8 Sorrento (Pompeii)
3 days Venice 3 Days Florence or vice versa depending on our end game plan getting to Nantes.
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Jan 17th, 2013, 09:22 AM
  #14
 
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Pompeii is an easy day trip from Rome. I've done it twice. Catch the train to Naples, change to a local train and then walk the last bit. You do not need to stay overnight.
That said, Ostia Antica (ancient Roman port),is much closer to Rome and in my opinion has more to see than Pompeii. Considering that you're visiting during the height of the summer, I'd opt for Ostia Antica and not have to change hotels.
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