Trip to Italy

Old Mar 5th, 2015, 05:41 PM
  #1  
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Trip to Italy

We are going to be traveling to Italy in early April for 12 days. Flying into Milan and out of Rome with a family of 4 including a five year old and a seven year old. We have Milan/Lake Como on the agenda for the first 2 days, then Florence for the next 5 days, during which time I'm planning to do day trips to Venice, Sienna, and Cinque Terre. I was wondering if I could squeeze a trip to Pisa in on the way to Cinque Terre, and if it is possible to go into the tower. Also, I wanted to know if there are any specific tour companies we should use. Do we have to book the trains beforehand, or can we do them the day of?
From Florence, we will be in Rome the remaining 5 days, staying in an apartment near Trastevere. I wanted to know how to organize the time there in a way that I get to see as much of the history, and fit in the Vatican, and engage the kids. Also, any tour companies there? Thanks!
sanka is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2015, 07:11 PM
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Day trips to both Venice and the CT are not advisable from Florence--just too far for a day trip---especially with kids in tow. And, early April may be too early for Lago Como. We had snow in mid-April one year. I would add Venice to your itinerary and drop Como and the CT--too early.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 07:20 PM
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You have set an ambitious plan for yourself. A day trip to either Venice or the CT from Florence would be rough; Siena is a piece of cake. The bus station in Florence is beside the SMN train station and there is regular service to Siena. Pisa is also reachable via train from Florence. I understand that you can climb the Tower, but while we have been to the site, we did not enter the Tower.

OTOH, it is a several hour trip to the CT, and to Venice. I might suggest choosing one or the other. You might also consider going from Lake Come to Venice for 2 days and then go to Florence and skip the CT altogether. The problem you will find is that it takes a lot of your day changing cities. You get up, eat breakfast (especially with two youngsters,) check out of the hotel, get to the train station, and by the time you get to your destination city and check into the hotel,the day is gone.

Be sure that you reserve your Vatican tour now, as it can be crowded. One of the things we did on one of our earlier trips to Rome was to sign up for a New Rome Free Walking Tour; they meet at the Spanish Steps (but you need to reserve in advance.)

Website is NewRomeFreeWalkingTour.com
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 08:51 PM
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How much do your kids like busses and trains? I think you're asking a lot of them, and short changing yourself.

Consider landing in Milan and going straight to Venice for at least 2, maybe 3, nights.

Then on to Florence where you can take your daytrips to Pisa and Siena.

Then on to Rome.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 08:55 PM
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I'm pretty sure your children are to young for the tower. It also requires reservations as they only allow a certain number of people up at a time.

I don't think it's impossible to visit Venice from Florence, but it is a 2 hour train ride each way.

If you visit CT, it's a couple of train changes. I would go there first and stop at Pisa on the way back if you have time.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 09:47 PM
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Children have to be over eight years old to climb the Leaning Tower and yes, reservations are necessary although you can get walk-ups only if there are slots available - which there probably will be in early April. If you're keen to go to the top of the tower then one of you could stay below with the kids although I have to say its pretty vertigo inducing up there - was for me anyway. I found it's best appreciated on the ground. If you do go, see the Baptistry and Cathedral as well as it's a calm oasis in a very busy place.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 07:25 AM
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As mentioned above, your plan is too ambitious. If you stick to Milano/Como, Florence, and Roma you will have plenty to see and do without feeling like you are in a marathon.

The first time we took our kids to Italy they were 7 and 5, respectively. We planned an activity in the AM and one for the PM and then went back to the room. Since we were both teachers we knew that if we planned around their schedule the trip would be more enjoyable for everyone. IMHO, planning some down time for the youngster may improve the quality of your experience in Italy. The food can sometimes present a challenge for kids. For example, the hot dogs came with mozzarella and the ketchup was not Heinz. Just saying'... We are an Italian American family so we stuck to what they knew best...and you can't beat pizza,pasta, and veal.

Go and have fun.

Buon viaggio,
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Old Mar 7th, 2015, 08:24 AM
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Thanks everyone.
sanka is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2015, 08:56 AM
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Wow, that gave me a chance to see that American crate veal is being phased out... but by 2017(about time too). The EU banned this evil practise in 2007.

So maybe not like at home.

I'd drop CT, slot Venice into a Como visit into one visit, go see Pisa as a day trip or swop it with Lucca which is way more fun for kids, you can hire bikes to ride round the massive walls, climb towers on top of which trees are growing etc, while Pisa just has a couple of dull buildings in a field, one of which wasn't even built correctly.
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Old Mar 7th, 2015, 09:13 AM
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I recently hosted a young woman aged 8 years who visited a great deal of Italy in the 2 weeks she was here -- Venice, Rome, Florence, Perugia, San Gimignano and Lucca -- and hands down the Leaning Tower of Pisa was her favorite sight, especially at night, but she also loved it during the day, although she did not climb it. Her words, not mine.
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Old Mar 7th, 2015, 09:59 AM
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You should do some homework with a good guidebook to minimize long waiting times, standing in line to enter places like St. Peter's and the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel, since you are visiting with young children.
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