Venice, Lucca, Rome, Amalfi

Jan 13th, 2014, 08:59 AM
  #1  
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Venice, Lucca, Rome, Amalfi

Our family of 4 (children 10 Girl & 13 Boy) is planning a summer vacation to Italy in late July and August. I have made a tentative itinerary, but would like any feed back on places to see and things worth doing with the kids, would love to immerse them as much as possible in a limited time frame. If anyone can recommend hotels, B&B and activities such as cooking classes, mask making classes or any other tour or class please feel free to add them on.
Here is the itinerary:
Leave US to London July 23
London 2 nights
Venice 2 nights (travel by air from London)
Lucca 3 nights (travel by train)
While in Lucca visit Pisa, will love to do Forte di Marmi and Cinque Terra but not sure if possible any ideas?
Florence 1 night (travel by Train)
Rome (travel by Train pick up car go visit family south of Rome and then to Amalfi.
Praiano (Amalfi Coast) 3 nights (travel by car) hoping to visit Capri and Pompei.
Rome 3 nights
Back to US

Any ideas welcome,
123pickupngo is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 09:33 AM
  #2  
 
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It is going to be terribly hot. Try to get a couple of places with a pool.
I also think you are trying to do way too much. Travel is going to eat up more time than you might think. You need to cut something. Certainly nothing more is possible.

Right now, you have London, Venice, Florence, Luca, Rome, Amalfi and visit with family. Pick the three places that are most important to you. With day trips to places like Pompeii, that is really all you have time for.

Skip London. It would be only one jet-lagged day anyway. Fly directly to Venice. Give the extra day to Venice, or (can't believe I am saying this) skip both London and Venice, fly into Rome, train directly to Florence. From Florence, you could actually visit both Pisa and Luca on an easy day trip by train.

Exactly where is family and how long are you staying there? You might not need or want a car on the AC. Traffic will be horrendous at that time of year.

If Pompeii and Capri are important to you, then add time to the AC and stay someplace with easy train to Pompeii and good ferry service to Capri.

Personally, IME, your whole itinerary needs a re-consideration.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 09:39 AM
  #3  
ekc
 
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I agree you are trying to do WAY too much. It looks like you have 2 weeks and are currently trying to see 7 locations. Remember, you lose 1/2 day each time you change locations - pack, check out of hotel, get to train station, train ride, get from train station to next hotel, check in, drop bags/freshen up, now it's time for lunch.

We need more info on your family stop south of Rome. You absolutely do not want a car on the AC in August - traffic is insane and parking is scarce and expensive when you can find it.
ekc is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 09:45 AM
  #4  
 
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Seems rushed to me too, esp with kids in tow - I'm counting 15 nights? or were there some more with family?

I'd probably either cut London or add more nights. I like Lucca but a day trip from there to the CT is a bit arduous. Florence is a much easier daytrip from Lucca, no need to move. I'd probably add a night to Priano if you want to do both Capri and Pompeii - give yourselves a day to hang out by a pool in the July heat.

Those are my initial thoughts. As the first responder said, it will be HOT.
suec1 is online now  
Jan 13th, 2014, 10:08 AM
  #5  
 
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You have far too much moving around and not enough time to do things you listed. Two hotel nights somewhere gives you one day to sightsee. Don't see the point of one night in Florence at all as you aren't allowing any time to see Florence.

If you depart the US July 23, you arrive London July 24 and you will be jet-lagged. Usually the first day is a waste as everyone it too tired to concentrate on visiting sites (best to view some outdoor things that day). You either need to cut some cities or skip London altogether (not enough time there and not logistical for your trip).
kybourbon is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 10:25 AM
  #6  
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The reason for London was 2 things, price of RT was much cheaper. Also, daughter doesn't do well on connecting flights after transatlantic flight. We arrive in London 24th, chill that day to adjust. 25th we plan to take a small tour of the city, doesn't have to be all sites just the most famous ones. Fly the 26 in the morning to Venice, 26 just visit and relax, 27 do Gondolas and check out Venice, no museums. 28 take train to Lucca in the morning arrive at 3pm or so. Walk around Lucca. 29 Bike ride in Lucca, I love this town and want to spend a day checking out stores and churches. 30 Pisa. 31 train to Florence (we only did one night to get the fast train to Rome the next day to pick up car to visit family) I know we do not have enough time in Florence but it cuts down the delay of trip from Lucca to Florence.
1 pick up train to Rome and Car to Ceprano (1 hour south). We need a car in this area.
Our hotel in AC is in Praiano so not easy to go to Pompei (which I think we will do either on our way there or on our way back to Rome) Aug 4 in Paiano, 5th AC, 6th Capri, 7th back to Rome for 3 nights. Still sounds crazy?
123pickupngo is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 10:31 AM
  #7  
 
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I agree with Sassafrass that you need to widdle down your itinerary.

If you are only spending 2 nights in London and the bulk of your trip is in Italy, I would skip that and go straight to Venice. Flights from the US generally arrive in London/Europe the next morning. You will be jetlagged and your first day will be spent adjusting. While your kids aren't very young, this can still have a tiring effect on everyone. I remember I felt like a zombie and crashed as soon as the hotel room was available.

That essentially gives you one full day to explore London, which I think would be very stressful and overwhelming.

If you want to head to Capri and Pompeii, Sorrento is a good base. If I remember correctly, the train ride is about 45 minutes to Pompeii. The ferries to Capri run frequently. I would leave a day open for each. You could then head over to Praiano if you wanted to stay on the Amalfi Coast.

Is there a reason you need to go from the Amalfi Coast back up to Rome? Could you do Rome after Florence then head out of Naples airport?
sap0602 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 10:46 AM
  #8  
 
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I went to Lucca when it was hot last summer and really appreciated staying at Hotel Rex, which is a few feet from the train station. Super comfy, great A/C, really nice prices. What made it logistically great was getting there immediately from the train, the free bicycle rentals for going straight into town (the city wall that you can ride bike on is across the street and riding into the city from there you enter into the least touristed streets - - with bikes you get anywhere in town pleasantly andn easily), and also going straight out from the hotel to the station with beach gear for the 20 minute train ride to the beach in Viareggio.
dfourh is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 11:08 AM
  #9  
 
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Concur with everyone above that this is way too much. Two nites means one full day. Your children are not going to like moving around so often--my spouse would rebel at this schedule.

If you want to immerse your children, then I'd suggest you limit this to two places. Because the family visit, I'd say Rome and the Amalfi Coast, including visits to Pompeii, Capri, Herculaneum and the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. With family there, I'd be tempted to stay for a while where the family is, particularly if it is an interesting place; that might be the best way to immerse your children.

And concur with Sassafras re no car on the Amalfi coast. Trains are good as far as Sorrento and you can take the train to Pompeii and Herculaneum, the ferry to Capri, and then ferry from Capri to Amalfi City (then bus back to Praiano), both of which modes of transportation should be interesting to the children.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 11:20 AM
  #10  
 
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>>>The reason for London was 2 things, price of RT was much cheaper.<<<

False economy. It appears cheaper because you are ignoring the cost of getting to your actual destination (Italy) and the loss of two travel days (getting back to London plus another hotel night there).

>>>Also, daughter doesn't do well on connecting flights after transatlantic flight.<<<

Do you mean your daughter can't sit still for another two hour flight?

>>>Still sounds crazy?<<<

A bit, but you really haven't told us details such as when you depart (Aug. ?) or where in the US. Do you have 14 hotel nights? 21?

>>>Fly the 26 in the morning to Venice,<<<

You make this seem simple, but the reality is it will likely take an hour to reach the airport in London (you didn't say which part of the city you were staying or which airport). Factor in checking out of hotel, getting to the airport, mandatory check in time before flight, flight, finding your way from the airport in Venice to your hotel, etc. and you've lost a big chunk of time.

>>>but it cuts down the delay of trip from Lucca to Florence.<<<

What does this mean? What delay of trip?

It makes more sense to start south and head north (although London departure taxes are much higher than elsewhere) because of the heat.

Are you staying any nights with relatives?
kybourbon is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 11:51 AM
  #11  
 
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Agreeing with everyone else... it's way too many places for your amount of time.

What you want to cut is completely individual choice.

I think London at the beginning is just fine for a couple days to get everyone rested and onto local time. I often do that myself because I can't sleep on the plane over, suffer terrible jet lag, and have trouble with the big time change.
suze is online now  
Jan 13th, 2014, 01:19 PM
  #12  
 
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We did a very similar trip with kids about the same age.

From the activities/locations you mention, I'd consider looking into Tauk-Bridges or Adventures By Disney's Italian family tour & just add on the stop in London. (Or just try to copy their itinerary). Being with other kids magically erases a lot of jetlag/boredom in the museums.

Consider shooting for at least 3 nights in each location since its the city-hopping that wears the kids out & waste valuable time traveling instead of enjoying the sites.

For your Amalfi Coast portion, I'd consider basing in Sorrento. Perfect base-camp for Pompeii, Capri, & day trip down the Amalfi Coast. Hilton Sorrento Palace has an awesome pool, great view, and the rare quad-family room.
2idocs is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 01:31 PM
  #13  
 
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While in Lucca visit Pisa, will love to do Forte di Marmi and Cinque Terra but not sure if possible any ideas?>

Very possible - just take the train to Pisa and change to trains to La Spezia Centrale then change to the milk train serving all 5 villages - I've day tripped from Florence and had the whole day there.

Personally if you've never been to Florence I'd spend another day there and one less in Lucca - which is a fantastic old town known for its circle of ramparts and medieval towers but gets old after a day or so. But if a base I guess it's fine. But Florence is vibrant at night - you will be taking mainly regional trains to and from Lucca and 5 Terre - from Venice you take high-speed trains and can get discounted tickets from www.trenitalia.com if you book far enough in advance - those tickets are non-changeable non-refundable however I believe so be sure of your date and time. For lots of great info on Italian trains (apart from Fodorite kybourbon who posts above and is a font of info on Italian trains!) check out these IMO superb sites - www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 26th, 2014, 04:30 AM
  #14  
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Well I guess my mom was right I do not listen, we decided to do the trip above despite all comments, and we had a wonderful time. Yes we may not have seen everything but the kids and us were relaxed and we enjoyed what we saw and did. Here is a recap of our adventure, hope you enjoy it.
Day 1
We landed in London on July 24 sunny day, I think London likes me because it has never been a cold or complete rainout day on the 4 times I been there. We took the Paddington Express and then a cab to the Hilton Metropole Hotel. Was not impressed with the location of the Hotel, but it is all about taste not a bad place but doesn't represent London as a city.
To be able to handle the jet lag, decided to change into shorts (yes shorts it was hot) and go to Hyde park for a walk with the family. As we excited the hotel a nice dove decided to plant one on my DH, too funny, had to go back to the hotel and shower and change.
Off we went to Hyde park where we found bike rentals and took a wonderful 1.5 hour ride around the park stopping, taking pictures and enjoying the views. The kids loved it.
After we walk around some stores and decided to head back to the hotel pool.
That night we ate in the hotel and got to bed on the earlier side to be rested for touring London the next day.
123pickupngo is offline  
Sep 26th, 2014, 04:31 AM
  #15  
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Day Two: Boarded the Big Bus Tour (hop on hop off bus) Blue line at Hyde Park, then off we went to see the major streets and sights of London, it was a beautiful day, although they did say it will have some rain on and off (I guess I cannot be that lucky). We stopped at the London Eye. We had purchased tickets for that morning. That was an incredible experience, wonderful sights even with some rain (it started just when we got in). The views of the city were incredible. After our time up in the Eye, we decided to do the River cruise on the Thames to the Tower of London, all included with your ticket for the BB Tours. Now it was pouring, the boat has an indoor section so we were ok.
At the Tower of London, we waited a bit for the rain to pass and off we went to tour the area.
Afterwards we boarded the bus tour again and off to Buckingham Palace. The kids were in shock when they saw the size of the palace, they had only seen it on TV. They were so cute. Unfortunately we missed the palace tour by one day, the Queen was leaving that day and tours were opening the same day we were departing. Bummer!
We went for dinner at Bag O' Nails just a few blocks away, great pub and awesome burgers and fish n chips. We caught the bus towards Harrods, another winner for the kids, they loved seeing everything in the store and checkin the prices of all crazy priced things. Got the last DD tour bus to the hotel. We had some dessert at Patisserie Valerie best little shop just across from our Hotel.
End of day, very tired. London we will miss you, until next time, off to Venice tomorrow.
123pickupngo is offline  
Sep 26th, 2014, 07:57 AM
  #16  
 
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Good to hear you had a good time and no rebellion!
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Sep 26th, 2014, 08:47 AM
  #17  
WWK
 
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If you have to connect, why not do it in the U.S. and try to fly non-stop to Venice from JFK? No time difference, and I think much less hassle with kids along.
WWK is offline  
Sep 27th, 2014, 06:00 AM
  #18  
 
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Thanks for reporting back, especially in the same thread. Will be interested to see more how the advice you got and the predictions match up with actual experience.

I'm surprised no one on Fodor's warned you about that a bird could poop on your husband and cost you hour and ruin your trip, and therefore you shouldn't travel so much. Maybe next time people will remember to include that in the parade of possible horribles for active travelers.
sandralist is offline  
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