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Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

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Orlando, Florida
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Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

We are planning a 15-day vacation to visit Italy and France...We will be staying in Rome (when in Italy) and Paris (when in France).

We are a family of 4 with 2 pre-teens.

Since this will be our first time in both countries, how should we split our time between Italy and France to see the below in about 15 days:

In Italy, we'd like to see: the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina) in Vatican City,. Piazza Navona,. St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) in Vatican City in St Peter's square, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), Campo de' Fiori, the Colosseum (Colosseo), Ostia Antica (Day Trip), Pompeii, Tivoli (Day Trip) , Orvieto (Day trip) , Florence and Pisa (Day trip), Spanish Square & the Spanish Steps, Castle of the Holy Angel, Fountain of the Four Rivers, Papal Basilica of Saint Mary , Imperial Forums, Church of Saint Peter in Chains, Aventine Hill...

In France, we'd like to visit the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Triumphal Arch, the Louvre Museum, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Alexandre III Bridge, New Bridge, boat ride on the Seine River, The National Residence of the Invalids, Luxembourg Gardens, the Panthéon, the Palace of Versailles, The Orsay Museum, the Chaillot Palace, Luxembourg Palace, Élysée Palace and possibly do a couple of daytrips, besides Versailles, to Chartres or Fontainebleau.

We can certainly fly in 1 country and fly out the other...without having to backtrack. In light of such, please advise also where should we start/fly-in first to and where should we fly-out from.

Many thanks for helping out with the itinerary here.

Looking forward to your replies and suggestions.

Clifton Park, New...
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1. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

Well, in Italy you have about 5 days worth of day trips. Rome needs a minimum of 3 full days just to see some main sites. So you would need about 9 nights for Italy.

i was in Paris for 8 nights and did many of the things on your France list except we did a day trip to Champagne and Reims and did not go to Chartres or Fountainbleu. I think you may need to scale back a bit.

Also, i have traveled with my kids and find that things work best when their interests are also considered. When are you traveling?

Orlando, Florida
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2. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

We are planning a Spring 2015 trip to France and Italy.

Should we start in Italy (fly-in there) and end in France (fly-out there back to the US)?

Also, what is the cheapest way to get from Italy to France?

We will have about 17 days.

Please advise of the right itinerary and thanks.

Clifton Park, New...
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3. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

I don't think it matters which city you fly into and out of. I have never flown between cities in Europe, so I can't help you there. I am sure someone else will be able. You know your family best, but most children (and adults) have limited ability to sustain interest in museums and cultural sites without a break.

I would plan 1-2 main attractions per day and leave a lot of time for wandering, gelato, siesta in the afternoon etc. Your kids will love Piazza Navona - the Fountain of the 4 Rivers is there and Campo de Fiori in the early morning when the market is set up. I think they well love St. Peter's Basilica esp if they know a little beforehand and can look for the things they have heard about. (the floor has markings comparing the size to other churches around the world and there are some odd and creepy statues that appeal to kids) and of course, the lovely Pieta.

The more you know about the sites you will see the more interesting, meaningful and fun.

Some people do a day trip to Florence from Rome but I am sure it is an exhausting day. I do not think it is wise to try to fit Pisa into that same day.

I would also reconsider Pompeii as a day trip. Another exhausting day, when Ostia Antica is much more convenient. I personally would also skip Tivoli. I enjoyed it when I went but too many other things to focus on.

I would consider a couple of days in the country at a place with a pool to give all of you a break from the city pace. Since you have Orvieto on your list (lovely and fun) maybe that could be your day in the country.

If you would consider renting a car for a couple of days for that portion of the trip, you could stay at an agriturismo with a pool. This is a must for us for every trip with our kids (and for us).

This is an example of an agriturismo.

http://www.cioccoleta.it/

Arrival day- do not plan anything scheduled. Walk around your neighborhood, see the sites close by, have dinner, gelato and try to go to bed at normal italian time.

Again, plot out your days with only one or 2 main sites. The vatican museums are overwhelming.

ciaobambino.com/rome-with-kids-what-to-see-a…

http://romewithkids.com/

ottawa
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4. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

I agree with Linda's advice. There is no way you can see so much of Rome/Italy in one week. You will all be exhausted and have trouble remembering what you have seen. I would cut down on the day tours and just go to Pompeii, Tivoli and maybe Pisa. These are places where your kids can run around outside, they probably aren't interested in spending hours in art galleries, although one I particularly like is the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, with an audio guide narrated by the current Count (he lives in private quarters in the same palazzo). I am not a fan of the Vatican simply because it is so crowded, but maybe you can find a time slot with fewer visitors. If you are visiting the Pantheon, make a side trip to the church Santa Maria Sopra Minerva with Bernini's little elephant in front (for visiting churches in Rome you need to check their hours, most are not open all day). A good spot for a picnic would be the Villa Torlonia, a large park with two interesting buildings - one is the former home of Mussolini and the other, the Little House of the Owls, is decorated with fantastic stained glass. Another would be the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, very impressive. This should give you a few sights to google (also check out Rome for Kids). Remember to take time out for yourselves, it's far better to see fewer things well than tiring yourselves out trying to do everything - specially with kids. Hope this helps!

Orlando, Florida
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5. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

Thanks so much for all feedback here.

*

Taking all into consideration, if we were to do 10-12 days in Italy, how would you spread the time with the attractions originally outlined above?

Rome Attractions being around

1) Ancient Rome & Spanish Steps areas

2) Vatican Areas

3) Piazza Navona and Vicinities

4) Tivoli

5) Pompeii (South of Rome) - Naples area

6) Ostia Antica

7) Orvieto

Longer stay further North in Florence (Tuscany)...more central to Pisa and Venice for day trips.

We'd like to visit Pompeii (South of Rome) as a day trip as well as Orvieto as a day trip and Ostia Antica (Day trip as well);

In addition, we would spend about 2-3 days in Florence (Tuscany) as a base to visit Pisa (Day trip) and Venice (day trip).

*********************

Please advise and thanks of what would make sense as an itinerary for the above.

More importantly, we need help arranging must-see sights in Rome, including Vatican area. Once this is done, we will figure out the day trips, what to keep and what to eliminate as day trips..

*

Many thanks and looking forward to your suggestions.

Edited: 24 August 2014, 17:51
Clifton Park, New...
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6. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

If this were my familiy's first time and I had 10 nights in Italy i would visit Rome and points north or Rome and points south.

For example; Scenario 1

I would visit Rome for 5 nights (4 days) with one of the days EITHER to Orvieto, or Tivoli whichever appeals to your family more. For us, it would be Orvieto.

The other 5 nights, I would spend in Sorrento or The Amalfi coast. On the way there, i would visit Pompeii.

My kids favorite place in Italy is the AC and believe me, they love every place we have been.

Scenario 2 requires a car for the Tuscany portion.

4 nights in Rome (3 days)

4 nights in Tuscany with day trips to gorgeous hill towns.

2 nights in Florence- fly to Paris

You can visit Orvieto on the way to a base in Tuscany

In Tuscany I would stay at a centrally located agriturismo with a pool. In Tuscany, my family's daily pattern is to get up, have breakfast, head out to the hilltown or 2 of our choice, a simple lunch, gelato and a little more site seeing, head back to the agriturismo for a swim, short siesta and R and R. Another little town or activity and back to the agriturismo for a fabulous meal around 8pm.

I always tried to plan some kid friendly activities. We have bathed in the HOT springs in Saturnia- FREE, hiked up to castles, toured wineries- small family run ones are the best bec there are usually some pets around to entertain the kids, gone up to a mountain top in a funivia (Gubbio), hiked the Path of the Gods on the AC, hired a boat for a 3 hour cruise along the AC and stopped for swimming in the gorgeous Mediterranean and some small cliff diviing.

In Rome, with 3 full days you can see and do most of what you would like from the above list. I would just be very careful that you do not have so much scheduled that you are rushing or dragging from place to place.

I honestly would skip the Vatican Museums esp with the kids. It is truly overwhelming and never ending and ext crowded. My kids loved Castel Sant'Angelo much more.

Set your priorities for Rome for each day and fit in what is left, realizing you may not get to it and that will be ok.

Orlando, Florida
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7. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

This is FANTASTIC. Excellent Suggestions here.

We got a rough draft of our Italy stay and we are inclining to cross out Paris for another time.

We will skip the Vatican museums but we will see the other sights in the Vatican area.

We got it exactly to 3 full days in Rome to do the Rome activities + 1 daytrip for Ostia Antica, + 1 daytrip for Orvieto.

Then we'd move South for Naples, Pompeii and Amalfi Coast (Sorrento/Positano) for 3 days. Thinking on staying in Sorrento...as a base.

Then North to Tuscany for 4 days with Florence as a base to explore Tuscany Towns like Pisa (day trip), Cinque Terre, Siena, San Gimignagno, + 2 days in Venice and head back to Rome for flight back to the US.

Does this make more sense? Would you advise better for an itinerary?

Should we keep Florence as a base in Tuscany?

Should we rent a car for North and South Italy or should we rely on public transport (trains/buses)?

Thanks so much for all your feedback and suggestions here.

Looking forward to your guidance on this latest proposed itinerary.

Canada
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8. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

Why not fly into Venice and work your way south from there and end up in Rome and fly home from Rome. Just to eliminate some of the backtracking.

Also, do you plan to see any of Florence at all? You have multiple day trips but it appears you don't have anytime visiting Florence.

With 2 pre-teens you are going to need some down time. I personally think you are still trying to do too much.

I don't think people realize the distances between all the places they want to see.

Orlando, Florida
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9. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

We plan to spend some time in Florence, like 3-4 days in Florence and 2 days in Venice then work our way down...we will have time for Florence and other hill towns.

However, as we plan to visit South of Rome (Pompeii/ Amalfi Coast area), we will end up going back to Rome, as we do not plan to do Pompeii as a day trip.

Also, if we do Ostia Antica, is Pompeii a must?

Thanks for all your feedback/suggestions...

Edited: 25 August 2014, 00:22
ottawa
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10. Re: Itinerary Help Needed-Family of 4

You've made a wise decision to spend your time just in Italy. I am not sure why you want to make Florence your base rather than Pisa or some other Tuscan town (for example the ancient nearby walled city of Lucca). Either would be convenient for a trip to the Cinque Terre. Florence is very much a city for art lovers, crowded and rather grey to my way of thinking. Venice with its narrow streets and numerous canals (also lots of galleries if you are so inclined) might be more amusing for your children. The vaporettos are very expensive, but you can buy a card for one, two or three days, depending on how often you plan to use them Can't advise you on driving - my idea of a holiday is to avoid driving altogether, though this limits some of the places I can visit.