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Suggestions for Rome, Florence, Venice group tour end of June???

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May 29th, 2013, 07:36 PM
  #1
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Suggestions for Rome, Florence, Venice group tour end of June???

We made a last minute decision to try to take a first time trip to Italy at the end of June/beginning of July - my husband, myself and our soon-to-be 18 yr old son. We want to go to Rome, Florence and Venice, stay in hotels in the city where we can walk out at night and go to restaurants and some fun street life, We are thinking a tour group might be the best for our first trip to Italy. Any suggestions on good tour companies that folks have successfully used in the past, when they traveled with a teenager and not super active parents (i.e. can walk but not 10 mile hikes) would be appreciated. We did a some checking on the Internet but there is so much info it's hard to sort through it all so we thought we'd ask for experienced travelers advice/thoughts. Thanks!
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May 29th, 2013, 07:52 PM
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Gate 1, just returned from a 12 day Italy tour with them and they did a terrific job. Excellent itinerary and hotels.
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May 29th, 2013, 08:00 PM
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Thanks - I will check it out.
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May 29th, 2013, 08:33 PM
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First, I would tell you that experienced travelers are unlikely to take group tours. They have good ideas about where they want to spend time and that do not usually align with group tour itineraries. However, you are going during the peak season and you have so little prep time. Aligning all key elements: flights, hotels, ground transportation, and attraction requiring reservations may be hectic even for the experienced travelers. How many days do you have in Italy (not from your home to home)? While many people don't agree, for someone in your circumstances, you should immediately get hold of Rick Steves Italy guidebooks likely to be available from your local library. It has a section on what you can do with various number of days and sample itineraries. For each city you mention, he also shows you what he thinks are the top attractions (this is where many people don't agree) on two pages per city. Even if you do end up taking a group tour, you have something to evaluate the content of various group tours.
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May 29th, 2013, 08:41 PM
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Friends went with Trafalgar a few years back and liked it. But, I think you could do the trip on your own with a little research and reading posts here as well as on TripAdvisor. Since you are only thinking of visiting Rome, Florence, and Venice, you could easily travel via train. At least think about it..
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May 29th, 2013, 09:01 PM
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I will check out the Rick Steves Italy guidebook tomorrow and also the Trafalgar trips. Thanks to everyone for their quick replies to my post.
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May 30th, 2013, 10:43 AM
  #7
 
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Tauck has some great Italy tours, and some of them are geared especially for families. Check out the Tauck Bridges Italia Bella tour, http://www.tauck.com/tours/europe-to...r-yi-2013.aspx. It goes to Rome, Florence and Venice. They stay at great hotels too - the Westin Excelsior in both Rome (Via Veneto) and Florence (Piazza Ognissanti) and the Westin Europa & Regina (near San Moise and very close to Piazza San Marco) in Venice. I have stayed at all 3 of these hotels, and they have very nice locations.

I have taken a number of Tauck tours (as a single female traveller who likes luggage and nice hotels) and have always been pleased. I often go do my own thing once I get to a location, but they always, in my experience, have great local guides in addition to your tour director.
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May 30th, 2013, 07:43 PM
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I'd pick up Rick Steves Rome book and pick out a hotel within walking distance of Terminale train station. We have stayed in Hotel Aberdeen and hotel lirico. both are fine.
Take train to Florence. We have only been there once , Stayed at hotel David. Would stay there again in a heartbeat. It's about a 10-15 min. walk along the river to the centre of town.
Take train to Venice. You can stay any where in Venice, can walk everywhere. We stayed at locando Garfaro (I think that's the Name) Short walk from train station. Get the vaporetto pass and can hop on and off the vaporetto (The water equivalent of bus). Have a great trip. Using the trains in Italy is very easy,once you figure out ticket machine.
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May 31st, 2013, 03:13 AM
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Your choice of destinations is very easy to organize by yourself.
These three cities have excellent tourist services and transportations.
Do not choose an organized tour and save your money (and your freedom)!
Use the fast train (TAV) for routes Rome-Florence, Florence-Venice and Venice-Rome. Generally, it is a good service.
You can book here (in english).

http://www.trenitalia.com/

The right station are: Roma Termini, Firenze S.M. Novella and Venezia S. Lucia.

Get accommodations in the historic centers, use "tripadvisor" for rewiews. On tripadvisor you could find links to the web sites for booking (in english) (ex: booking.com).

Transportation:
in Rome use walk, bus, metro and taxy. There is a shuttle train to/from airport.
In Florence use 80% walk (small historic centre) and bus or taxy to go to panoramic viewpoints "oltrarno" (= "at the other side of Arno river").
In venice 98% walk, 2% boat!!! Remember: Venice is probably Italy's most expensive city (they are "shark"!!!), it is better use pubblic boat.

In each station (but in the centre too) you can found the "tourist office". Here you can ask for a tourist guide (if you need). Instead, you can find guidebooks in english everywhere!

I'm Italian, so, if you have any questions... you are welcome!

Have a great trip!
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May 31st, 2013, 04:01 AM
  #10
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Thank you to everyone for taking the time to reply to my post. There are many great ideas and options for us to pursue. We are searching guidebooks and also tours to see what works best for us.
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May 31st, 2013, 04:48 AM
  #11
 
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I'm not going to recommend for or against a tour. All I will say is if you take a tour, examine closely the details of the tour -- location of hotels, restaurants included, amount of free time, what trips are included.

For instance, friends of ours took a tour that included Rome. It turned out that their hotel was several miles outside the city, so the only way they got to see Rome was with a scheduled tour into the city on the tour bus.

Planning your own trip takes some work, and can be daunting if you've never done it. It's not for everyone. People here tend to have the attitude that "oh, anyone can do it." Those people have never met my brother.
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May 31st, 2013, 05:58 AM
  #12
 
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Tours are often made up primarily of seniors. Nothing wrong with seniors - I am one! But it might not be the most stimulating atmosphere for an 18 year old. If you plan an organized tour, try to find one with hotels in the city centers, significant free time and a minimum of sales stops (stops in establishments that want you to buy their wares). Tour companies make money this way.

Normally, I would not recommend an organized tour. We have never taken one but have heard from friends and acquaintenances of the down sides. However, in this case since it is your first trip to Italy and you have such a short time to plan, an organized tour might work for you. I have heard that the Tauck tours are nice.

Good luck and enjoy Italy - it is wonderful.
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