Hit me with your Italian tips(15 Posts)
3 weeks backpacking round Italy with 5&8yr old DC, and DH. All accommodation and travel booked, now looking at the nitty gritty stuff to do/not miss especially restaurant recommendations, maybe playgrounds or child friendly museums to offset the more grown up stuff we want to do. I know it's going to be seriously hot, hoping we can get in a routine of napping in the middle of the day!
Our itinerary is:
Naples - 2 nights (going to hit up Herculaneum)
Nerano - 5 nights (2 nights of which DH are staying Positano while the grandparents babysit, already have boat trip to Capri booked and prob going to head up to Amalfi, maybe a day in Sorrento?)
Rome - 5 nights (have a vatican tour booked, should we fork out for the colosseum too? We're hoping to book a family cooking course too so any recs?)
Lake Garda - 3 nights (staying in Bardolino)
Verona - 1 night
Venice - 4 nights
Rome and Venice we're in AirBnB's. Any personal recommendations very gratefully received! Especially vegan helpful stuff would be great (just me, the rest of the family very happy to subsist on pasta, pizza, cheese and cured meat!)
Colosseum is amazing. I don't think you need a tour - you can hire headphones. See if there are any "child's guide to Rome" apps before you go. Villa Borghesi (sp?) is worth a visit and is in a lovely peaceful park.
Grado, along from Venice would be worth it for a day at the beach. It's a family resort, mainly frequented by Italians.
Don't get your hopes up for Capri - it's the most crowded overpriced tourist trap I've ever been to. But the rest of your trip looks amazing. Enjoy!
Venice - book a tour of the secret part of the Doge's palace and a tour of the Jewish ghetto (only way to see inside the synagogues) plus a trip to Burano on the boat. Naples is amazing- my kids loved going up to the fortress at the top which is a good place to start as you can see the whole city. The pizza is amazing and really cheap. If you are going when the opera is on, you should see it in the amphitheatre in Verona but might be tricky with the kids.
Definitely do the Colosseum and definitely shell out for a private guide, particularly with the kids. Don't rely on the headphones, you will get so much out of the guide. i'd also recommend a private guide at Herulaneum - they really know their stuff.
Agree that Capri will be horrendous and I would totally avoid it, if you've got time, go for Ischia instead, its a longer boat ride, but a nicer island (albeit quite German).
Agree, head for sea food lunch at Burano, you'll be grateful for the boat trip and sense of fresh air out of Venice.
ok swayed - we'll do Ischia instead of Capri. I'm not sure what to do about the Colleseum now, sounds like a tour would be a good idea but having just shelled out for one of the Vatican it all starts adding up
Skip Capri & skip Sorrento (very built up & full of ugly hotels!). Amalfi is nice as is Positano. Wander a lot in Rome, get a good map & head off the beaten track & eat outside of the main tourist areas to avoid getting ripped off! 5 days in Rome is quite long - would have gone for 3 days & then 2 days in either Bologna or Florence. Venice will be heaving - again, get off the beaten track, eat off the beaten track!
You don't say how you're getting around but if it's by train, skip taking suitcases. Some Italian trains have corridors with pull down seats & compartments. You can't get suitcases in the compartments & have to leave them outside. It's also a right pain in the bum pulling them through the corridors on busy trains if people are sitting on pull down chairs! It's cheaper to pre book through Trenitalia than buy on the day and if you do buy on the day, any ticket has to be validated in the machine before boarding.
I'm a Veggie (not Vegan) & reckon you'll be fine! Have a wonderful trip - sounds fab!!
Forum is much much more interesting than the Colosseum. Forum you can wander about with your own guide book and enjoy. Colosseum you go in , it's big and that's about it unless you get a tour to telk you about gladiators. I'd do forum first and then tack on the Colosseum at the end.
Venice is stunning. We definitely didn't do a child friendly trip so I don't have much advice there but I would say take a pashmina/light scarf to cover your arms if you plan to visit any of the churches. it was boiling hot so I couldn't bear sleeves but a lot of the churches have a dress code.
There was an amazing pasta place that was a hole in the wall type thing where you can pick up a freshly made box of pasta and go eat it beside the canal. Dal Moros I believe it was called.
We're just back from Rome ( 4 nights) and Praiano on amalfi coast plus a night in naples.
Are you training it? If you time it right you can get bargainous tickets in premium economy on frecciarossa for quite cheap- they are clean quick and spacious... and you get a glass of prosecco and a snack bag . only an hour rome to naples.
Herculaneum is awesome.... get there when it opens and you may get the place almost to yourselves for a little while.
We didnt use any guides (they were £££ and my youngest is 3 so we needed to take our time).....but did get an audioguide for the forum. It was informative and had a map- well worth it. We also got some videoguides for the colloseum. tbh not that worth it as very difficult to see the screen when sunny!
The vatican is great. We went in the evening and headed straight to the sistine chapel... spent nearly and hour in there and was not crowded at all . Again the audioguides were good. childrens one aimed at under 10's ish I'd say.
The only area I didnt like was the area around naples train station... but ercolano / using the circumvesuviana was fine. And sorrento was a bit "meh" compared to the amalfi coast proper.
If you havent booked accom in Rome yet have a look at principessa trevi ( on booking.com) in rome- RIGHT next to trevi fountain and really great host
Bardolino has lovely pink and white marble crazy golf, nearby Scaliger castles which are small and fun, and the cable car at Malcesine up into the mountains. Also excellent water park next to Gardaland.
Venice - kids love glass-blowing demos on Murano. Burano is pretty but the lace musuem is pretty tedious. Highlights were aircon and spacious clean toilets...
Walk round Venice and find mask shops to look in. I still slightly regret not buying a huge elephant mask...
Try the lavender cocktail at the bar near the lake at bardolino
If you have time whilst in Rome, catch the train to Ostia Antics (shortish distance outside Rome). There are the partially excavated remains of a Roman town (Ostis) which was slowly covered with silt from the river Tiber. Bit like Pompeii / Herculaneum but better preserved. When I last went a few years ago you could get a lot closer to the remains and we found it generally more interesting.
Oh lucky you, so many of my favourite Italian spots! We had our honeymoon on Amalfi Coast and I absolutely loved Capri. Please ignore the people and visit the island. Take the bus up to Anacapri, wander around the main square and soak up the atmosphere. Then take the chair lift up to Monte Solaro for amazing views. Your kids should be old enough for the chair lift and will find it exciting. Our honeymoon was on the first week of July and whilst it was crowded at the main square (Capri town), you didn't have to walk far to have beautiful streets and views all to your self.
We also stayed at Sorrento and Positano, Positano was beautiful but Sorrento really meh. It's the only place in Italy where I have no desire to return to. If you must go, then visit Marina Grande which is right next to Sorrento old town (?).
You prob will get people saying they hated Napoli but I totally fell in love with it's faded grandeau. Walk up to Scappanapoli is a must. And have pizza.
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