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First time to Italy with Mom (age 68)

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First time to Italy with Mom (age 68)

Hi - my mom has asked me to plan and go with her to Italy - this is both our first time traveling abroad. She is not an experienced travel but I have done a decent amout of traveling domestically. She is 68 and still mobile (although she does get tired)

1) Should we plan to go with an escorted tour company (say Virgin or Perillo)? I would rather not drive but not adverse to taking the train to the other destinations.

2) I am seeing from the other posts the best time to go would be Spring or Fall - what are best cities to see for a first visit? I am thinking Rome, Venice & Florence - we are thinking at least 7-9 nights.

3) She definitely would want to get an audience with the Pope but I have not idea how to go about doing that?

Any advice for a first timer would be great.


Arlington, Texas
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1. Re: First time to Italy with Mom (age 68)

hapaz- How wonderful that you have taken on this task! I am a middle-aged woman and am about to embark on my 4th trip to Italy in the last 5 years... it will be my 3rd with my adult daughter! These are special memories for us, and I suspect the will be for you two, too!

If you are an experienced traveler, I see no reason you should take a tour. You will have two options (in my opinion).. a) a very expensive tour that you could have planned yourself for half the cost or b) a tour where you spend a great deal of time traveling and not a great deal of time seeing what you want to see (and almost inevitably end up at hotels outside city center).

You can do it. I've planned all my own trips- it makes your trip that much more enjoyable!

Decide what it is you want to see. Are you going for art? History? Food? With only 7 days (remember you lose one entire day traveling from the states), you will want to stick to 2 cities. I'd pick Venice and Rome. If you actually have 9 days on the ground in Italy, you could add Florence.

You would purchase "open jaw" or multi-city when booking flights. Fly into Venice and out of Rome. You can travel quite comfortably and affordably between these cities via train. It is about 2 hours from Venice to Florence. And 90 minutes from Florence to Rome.

If you have the nine days, stay 3 nights in Venice, 2 nights in Florence and the remainder in Rome.

When you say "an audience with the Pope", please note that this would be a "public audience" with a few thousand other people. The Pope usually holds audiences on Wednesday mornings.

You must have tickets for the audience seating. They are free, but you have to reserve them and then pick them up at a designated time from Santa Susanna: www.santasusanna.org/popeVatican/tickets.html

I highly recommend you visit your local big-box book store and browse through Italy guidebooks. Find the one(s) that work for you. (I love the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. For "visual" people.) : This is a good place to start when deciding where you want to go and what you want to see.

I have been to Italy in the fall and the spring. Both are fabulous!

Buon viaggio!

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2. Re: First time to Italy with Mom (age 68)

1) If you can handle the logistics, like booking hotels and buying tickets, you can diy at your own pace.

2) Spring or Fall is to avoid the heat. Perhaps harvest time even.

You mentioned the standard triangle of destinations, be sure to look up what exactly you want to see.

Edited: 07 July 2012, 05:37
Arlington, Texas
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3. Re: First time to Italy with Mom (age 68)

hapaz, I forgot to mention one other thing. I presume your Mom is Catholic.

I would book a Scavi tour for the two of you. If your mom cannot stand on her feet for 90 minutes, then maybe not. But, as a Catholic, this is one of the most memorable and special things you can do.

The Scavi tour is a guided tour by a Vatican docent, of the excavations underneath St. Peter's. It is inexpensive (about E12 per person) and near the end of the tour, you will be standing within 10 feet of the bones of St. Peter. (I was glad to see that I was not the only one with tears in my eyes.) :)

You need to write to the Vatican Excavations office. Make sure you give them a window ("we will be in Rome on Tuesday and Wednesday, October XX and YY) and that you want the English-language tour. Give them as large a window as you can. I don't believe they do Scavi tours on the morning of the audiences. But they may in the afternoon on those days. Either way, it is SO worth it, in my humble opinion.

Here is the link to the website: vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connecte…

Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: First time to Italy with Mom (age 68)


I went to Italy with my sis in law (both matured ladies) in 07 for 5 weeks planned it all booked all accommodation on the web and caught trains and buses everywhere and dragged our luggage. I think for the short time you are going you could get the fast trains between cities and hop a cab to the hotels although you would have to consider the vaporetto or water taxi ( expensive) in Venice and it is a city for walking.Get some day tours to pick you up from the hotels and drop you back in Rome but you could walk around Florence as it has a small old town and is pretty flat.As long as your mother could pull her luggage out to the cab rank you'd be OK. Consider keeping the luggage as light as possible as you would have to lift it onto the train and they do not have level entries off the platform and there are stairs at the stations. If this is a problem then by all means go on a tour.

5. Re: First time to Italy with Mom (age 68)

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