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What did your teenagers love the most of their Italy trip?


May 31st, 2011, 04:40 AM
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What did your teenagers love the most of their Italy trip?

I'm interested in hearing from all of you that travelled through Italy with teens, aged around the 16 & 18 yrs, both boy and girl. What did & didnt they like? What did they love and what is the best memory you have with them from your travels?
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May 31st, 2011, 05:46 AM
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My daughter loved throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain and putting her hand in the Mouth of Truth--mostly because we had watched the old movie Roman Holiday (tons of great Rome scenery).

Mouth of Truth is hard to find--Piazza della Bocca della Verità, 18 Santa Maria in Cosmedin, 00186 Roma, Italy 06 488991

As a girl, she loved standing on the fictional balcony in Verona.

She enjoyed Venice and buying a mask and blown glass earrings.

Of course, taking her picture "pushing" against the the Leaning Tower of Pisa was a must.
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May 31st, 2011, 07:22 AM
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This topic couldn't be more timely - we leave for Italy in 4 weeks with our 2 17 year olds, a boy and a girl. I'll be watching for replies too.
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May 31st, 2011, 09:52 AM
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I posted a trip report about visiting Rome with a 15yo daughter...


My 18yo son spent a few days in Rome with friends a couple of months ago and loved it, but then he had plenty of freedom to sample the nightlife! For him the most impressive site he saw was the Pantheon.
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May 31st, 2011, 10:00 AM
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I was fortunate enough to visit Italy with both of my daughters (separately) on high school trips; I think that made it quite different than a family trip. But both enjoyed Italy and have returned over the years - you probably know your children best and can gear the trip to their interests. I would think anyone would be fascinated in Venice, the train travel was novel to us, on return trips we have gone to some of the resort areas to give us a break from art, ruins and churches.
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May 31st, 2011, 10:05 AM
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My kids were a bit younger than teens (10 & 12), but the highlights probably were taking the water taxi from the Venice airport to our hotel upon arrival. After a long red-eye, the boat ride through the grand canal was like being on a Disney ride. They also loved Pompeii (their request when we planned the trip) and of course, the food (including their daily gelato fix).
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May 31st, 2011, 10:07 AM
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Rome, Venice and Capri were our daughter's favorite places when she was a teenager. Having said that she loved every minute of our time in Italy. No doubt it was because we were there for two months so we weren't rushed. That was back in the precomputer days. If I were taking a teenager to Italy now I would have them do a lot of research on the web and get feed back from them as to what interested them. Wish you a wonderful time with your teens, I wish our trip could be repeated, we always loved travelling with our daughter.
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May 31st, 2011, 10:09 AM
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oh two more memories - one evening we went by the Trevi Fountain - there were alot of teens / young adults and people playing the guitar - it was a lovely evening. Also at the Piazza Nuvona were various street performers which was something we had never seen here in the US
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May 31st, 2011, 10:17 AM
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I asked my daughter who was 19 at the time of our first visit in 2002(she fell in love with Italy, studied for a semester in Florence in 2004 and has returned several times since.)

Santa Maria Novella Profumeria, the food, the gelato, the markets, Michelangelo's David, the Ponte Vecchio, the Piazza del Campo in Siena. And I would say the big cathedrals and signature pieces of art that you grow up seeing on TV or in a book and then see in person. Of course, the warm Italian people and the natural beauty of the Tuscan hills and Cinque Terre, and the Amalfi coast.
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May 31st, 2011, 11:44 AM
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Two years ago we took our two grandsons, 16 and 13 at the time to Italy. They were really looking forward to Italy, but Venice turned out the be someplace they wish to return to. I agree with them, by the way
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May 31st, 2011, 12:20 PM
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During our two-week trip to Italy in December, our two teen girls (17 & 19) most enjoyed:

Top 3 locations
1. Pompeii – five star day for them (we visited when it was neither hot nor crowded, which can make a difference)
2. Rome -- they enjoyed the entire feel of Rome
3. Pisa – touristy, but fun!

Venice -- they enjoyed the beauty and uniqueness of Venice, and they did a lot of souvenir shopping here -- but didn't love it as much as Rome
Florence -- they enjoyed shopping in the leather market, but weren't particularly wowed overall. My eldest spent a day in Arezzo with a friend and really enjoyed the countryside.

Top Activities
1. Walking around and time to explore on their own
2. Taking pictures (film and digital)
3. “Big sites” – they liked to see things that they had studied or were familiar with through books or movies (e.g., the Colosseum, Leaning Tower, Pompeii)
4. Riding the train (anywhere, everywhere)

What they liked in small doses:
1. Museums – in two weeks, we just toured the Vatican Museum and the Uffizi in Florence. This was just enough for them to enjoy and appreciate. I might have been able to squeeze one more in, but that would have been the absolute max.
2. Churches – it’s easy to overdose here, and they had definite limits

What they didn’t like:
1. Getting up
2. Being on the go all day
3. Spending too much time with the family

In other words, they were still teenagers in Italy like they are at home, and some of that teen moodiness had to be navigated. We tried to allow them some down time every day, and gave them a map and a phone so they could spend time exploring on their own. We brought a laptop and they were able to check in with friends on FB and watch movies online at night; but most hotels provide access to the internet and there are convenient internet cafes. We didn’t allow phone contact with friends though. Also, they each had their own travel debit card so they could spend their money the way they wanted.

Italy is a great place to visit with teens. Each place has its own vibe, and my girls really enjoyed just walking around getting a sense of each place. Many of their favorite things were unexpected or what one might consider "small things" -- the pine trees in Rome, watching street performers, Nutella on toast, trying to spot pickpockets. And they squeezed a little history, art and architecture in as well.

Have a great time!
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May 31st, 2011, 12:22 PM
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Let us not forget feeding the pigeons in San Marco (Venice)! As an 8yo girl it was almost all I remember from our trip (other than dire warnings not to jump into the canals). When I returned as a college student, I was shocked to see the beautiful buildings. Fast forward- took my daughter to Venice- pigeons all over again! San Marco at night, gondola rides and glass blowing also made the memory list.
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May 31st, 2011, 02:10 PM
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We went to Rome for a week several years ago with our then-16 year old son. His main interest was seeing the ancient Roman ruins and he really likes ancient history/archeology so is probably not a typical teenager in that regard.

He was not enthusiastic about visiting many churches or museums, even the museums with ancient Roman art.

We all went to the Vatican museums and St. Peter's and churches that were nearby on our walks, and my husband and I went to other churches on our own a few times.

The Roman history sights that my son enjoyed in the central part of the city were the Forum, the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine,the Palatine, the Pantheon, Trajan's column and Markets, the area Sacra dell'Argentina, the temples and arch of Janus near the Piazza Bocca della Verita (and the bocca--Mouth of Truth itself), the Baths of Caracalla, the Pyramid of Caius Cestio and the obelisks at Piazza del populo, St Peter's , Piazza della Minerva and Piazza Navona.

We stayed at an apartment in the ghetto area and all enjoyed walking across the ancient pedestrian bridges of Isola tiberina to and from Trastevere. There was a sax player there most evenings.

Even though he knew there was very little left to see of the Circus Maximus I think my son was disappointed by that. On the other hand he was really impressed by the Pantheon.

We took the hop on/hop off archeo bus tour. It goes out of the central city to the catacombs, the Appian Way and major aqueducts on Viale appio Claudio and is a convenient way to see these sites.We went to the catacombs of San Callisto, but my son thought the tour there was too short (not sure if any of the others would have pleased him more, but possibly the catacombs of San Domatillo which are larger)

We spent an afternoon at Ostia Antica, a short train trip away from Rome. However, if you are going to Pompeii you might well skip this.

My son really enjoyed the Piazza Navona/Piazza Rotunda (in front of the Pantheon) area. Since our apartment was a short walk from this part of the city we went there at least once a day. We also walked by the Area Sacra dell' Argentina and the cat sanctuary several times a day and always stopped to see how many cats we could count among the ruins

the amazing thing about Rome is that there is so much else that we didn't see. I especially regret (1)not having booked the Scavi tour of the Vatican which is a highlight for many people and (2) not taking our son to a soccer game which he would have loved.

Since we carefully threw our coins in the Trevi fountain I am confident we will all go back.
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May 31st, 2011, 04:55 PM
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Wow, I love these answers, all cities we are going to. I read all of them with a smile on my face and I can tell that reminiscing would have brought a smile to your faces too!!
kwren - cant wait to hear all about your trip!!
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May 31st, 2011, 05:15 PM
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Our two - 14 and 17 - loved almost everything about Italy - esp the food, the roman ruins, the museums and some of the churches. After a while some of the churches began to pall and they would go shopping while we toured some of the more obscure ones. In Venice they loved Torcello (really ancient), they liked Siena but loved Asissi, liked Florence but loved Venice. Most of all they loved spending a couple of evenings at the student hangouts. They were not that impressed by Capri - but to kids used to the Hamptons - it;s not so exotic.

It's vital to involve them early in the planning process so they know in advance what they want to see/do and get their basic Italian up to speed. And if they don;t know much about Italian history make sure they brush up so what they see means something to them.
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May 31st, 2011, 08:45 PM
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Just a suggestion - in Venice, the area around Campo Margerita in Dorsoduro is where students hang out. There are a couple of Uni campuses nearby.
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May 31st, 2011, 09:04 PM
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LOL, nytraveler, besides loving Capri where we were going to stay 3 days and ended up staying 10 days as it was a vacation especially for my husband who did all the driving for 2 months my daughter met her first love on Capri who was a son of a long time family on that island. It was heartbreaking when we left and they had to say goodbye.

And regarding Rome which my daughter adored and still does to this day. She ended up marrying a wonderful man, a Roman, some years later. So be forewarned kcnewby.
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May 31st, 2011, 10:43 PM
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Oh dont worry LoveItaly, my daughter is already dreaming of the Italian boys! My son is looking forward to the girls too. Oh god, does this forum have help on love in italy???
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May 31st, 2011, 11:04 PM
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If you've got a lazy half hour or so, I wrote a bit about our last trip to Venice. It's not really veru useful, but maybe there's a bit of an Australian perspective to it. I didn't write about the big sights much - it was more the intimate things that turned me on. Like a big Donald Duck made of Lego in the upstairs window of a shoe shop that used to be a toy shop.

Not earth shattering, I suppose, just little details in the cosmos.

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Jun 1st, 2011, 02:48 AM
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and for a historical perspective- I travelled in Italy with two girlfriends when I was 17, many many years ago. My friends were Italian although born in Australia so we had our 'tours' with their Italian family members.
My standouts were, the Alps near Sondrio, Bormio, and into Switzerland. Assissi, and in Rome, St Peter's,particularly the hike up the cupola (fantastic), the catacombs below and the Pieta, and even the glimpse of the outside of the collosseum!
I was enthralled with the way of life, which was so different to home, cows wandering the mountains with cowbells, wild blueberries and strawberries to pick.. and my shopping was for a few leather goods, and hand woven rugs, a great cheese knife, a bottle of Galiano and 10kg of swiss chocolate!!
My daughter travelled with a friend when she was 18 (a few years ago) and loved the Roman Holiday places )as mentioned earlier,the places mentioned in Da Vinci Code books, and loved Venice) bought some beautiful glass pieces. And the food is fantastic! I will be travelling with my husband and younger two children in October and hope to create heaps more fantastic memories, have a WONDERFUL trip!! JT
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