Rome, Florence and Venice in Half Term - any tips?!(21 Posts)
We are flying into Rome (3 nights), out of Venice (3nights) and stopping off in Florence for 2 nights on the way. We have apartments in Rome and Venice and a B&B in Florence and booked trains to get us from Rome-florence, then Florence-Venice
Its working out not cheap so we probably won't do it again! But we are very excited. Our girls are 7 and 11.
Has anyone done similar? Any tips. I would especially like to book a pizza/gelato making course in Florence as I think tha is probaly the most grown up of the places we are going.
OP, my heartfelt advice is to cut down the number of towns you're visiting. What possessed you to do all three in a week?
In Rome, I would avoid the Vatican completely. Unless you're wealthy and can arrange a private tour, it's a total jam-packed nightmare, and you can't see anything anyways. Whereabouts are you staying in Rome?
In Venice, the vaporetto is your friend. Buy a three-day pass and you're set. It's convenient during the day to get around, and magical at night, as the mist comes in and the palazzos are all lit up. Since you're staying in an apartment (smart move!), go to the food market at the Rialto for supplies (there's a fresh pasta shop right on the square and you can take home delicious filled ravioli which is simple to prepare at home).
Oh now, my Italian friend told me it was totally doable in 8 days! Also booked the trains and the apartments now so a bit late. Now a bit worried!
We kind of thought Florence was breaking up the journey from one to another....
Anyhow, its done now!
I was considering avoiding the Vatican for those reasons but was worried I was mad. Thanks for the confirmation. We are staying in the Travestre area in Rome which looks lovely.
Oh, in Rome try the Domus Aurea, which is an archaoelogical site that's still being excavated. It's Nero's old palace and quite spectacular - I would say preferable to the crowds and limited access (unless you've booked the underground tour months in advance) at the Colisseum.
In Venice don't just buy the 3 day pass go to a Venezia Unica office ( next to tourist information in Piazzale Roma) and buy a rolling Venice card for your DC's (and you if you're under 28 I think) This gives you 72hrs travel on all buses and vaporettos and reductions in shops and museums for 28 euros. (40euros for adult 72hr pass) You need to take their passports. The 72hrs starts from when you first validate it. This doesn't include travel to Marco Polo airport though.
Also anywhere in Italy on the first Sunday of the month all national museums are free to enter. This doesn't include all museums in Venice but does include the amazing art gallery in academia.
It's fab there I loved it.
I think as long as you don't try and 'do' everything it'll be a fantastic trip. All 3 places are great for just wondering as well - and the children may get more out of that then being routemarched round the Vatican. They can always go again when they are older!
I thought the Collisseum was too crowded to be atmospheric - whereas the forum is amazing with loads of room to run around. The Largo di Torre Argentina is a cat sanctuary in an archaeological site and well worth a look.
Venice - again a limit to how much art any one wants to see - but there's some stunning churches to pop in an out of - and the trip to the Islands of the boats is great.
A trip on a waterbus, go across the canals on one of the traghetto - as much fun as a gondola.
We walked everywhere in venice so you may not need a travel pass.
I think its fine to do the cities in that time. I am just v jeoulous.
As PP said dont bother with Vatican I think you can still get into the church part, and see popes square. Villla Borghese would be my absolute must in rome above all else. Interior, exterior, where it is. Loved it.
Venice I adored the doges palace, and there is some walking to room opera thing someone on here links too which looks fab and surreal I wold do doges then perhaps gughenheim as a contrast and eat at the little chiccetti bars, drink strawberry liquor and wander around.
Florence - Uffizzi,
We did similar - it was the best holiday we've ever had and it set us on our complete love affair with Italy. Are you going on the train between the cities? I hope you are, as coming out of the railway station in Venice straight onto the Grand Canal is one of the moments that will stay with me forever. Have a fabulous time, I'm so jealous.
I would suggest you limit the number of art museums you visit as it quickly blur into one! Depending on interest level of your dc I suspect the Villa Borghese museum may be beyond them but they would still enjoy the park, zoo and other activities outside. Likewise the Vatican museum but St Peter's is worth a visit. The Pantheon is free and unique. Some sites are only open at weekends (Domus Aurea) or at random! So many of the ancient sites are visible from roadside. You may choose to use the hop on-off bus tour to cover ground and decide where to spend longer time.
Venice and Florence are worth just wandering round. Santa Croce is interesting to visit in Florence.
Thanks, great tips everyone. And awks, yes we are getting the train.
Am feeling reassured that it won't be too much, as long as we don't try to do too much!
I have treated us to a pizza and gelato making course in "a tuscan farmhouse" in Florence. My older dd particularly will love that.
My advice is to get up early to miss the crowds. I know it sounds punishing to chivvy everyone out of the door by 8 (or even earlier) but I did this with my two in Rome and the city really is a different place without the hordes. Really magical seeing the city come to life when only the locals are out and about - being first into monuments like the Collisseum for instance means you see them without the crowds. That goes double for Venice. You can always go back to your room for a siesta in the busiest part of the day to fortify yourself for a night out.
We went out to Murano when we were in Venice and paid to go in the glass centre, which was definitely worth it. Otherwise boat trips on the vaporetto routes and just wandering around was enough. Definitely queue to go in San Marco.
My Florence knowledge is too out of date but I do remember climbing the cathedral bell tower when I went there age 12. I don't remember anything else much!
Yes to the Pantheon. Incredible place
I think that the Galileo museum if the best interactive museum for children in all of those cities so I would definitely go there.
Skip the art in Rome, because you won't have time, do stuff like collosseum instead.
Do the Uffizzi in Florence, but book ahead (I believe you can).
"I think you can still get into the church part"
We went in October half term and the queue for St Peters was 2 hours long. We didn't bother. I think visiting all three cities is too much for a week's holiday because you will only skim the surface.
Take comfortable shoes. You will walk miles
Take cagoules - when it rains in Venice it pours
Watch out for pickpockets and make sure any money/phones/valuables are secure and hidden
Agree with Lonicera about St. Peter's church. Queues are horrendous, involving hours. There are plenty of other splendid churches in Rome.
"There are plenty of other splendid churches in Rome"
We saw some really beautiful churches, and they are all free. You must visit the Pantheon. It is amazing (and free).
We took ours to Venice when they were 6&8. Didn't go to a single museum so no need for the pass. Instead we dipped in and out of places and took vaporetti/ traghetti. They loved murano and a glass blowing demo (we paid 20euris to go to a master crafstman's studio where we saw them making enormous works with truly impressive amounts of molten glass - two men to hold the bar- rather than the free one where they make tiny animals, worth ever penny. We climbed the S Giorgio maggiore bell tower for the view, walked the Rialto bridge/ bridge of sighs and stopped at Florian's. The kids had sketchbooks and a tiny box of watercolours and made a record of their trip, mucked around in the car free piazzas, nipped into the odd church to eye up a Bellini. For similar in Romw, suggest Pantheon, Spanish steps, piazza Navona, piazza del popolo and nip into churches en route for a Caravaggio/ baroque hit. campo de fiori in the evening. The Cappucin ossuary. Florence- sta Croce for the market, piazza Della signoria (see David there instead of the Bargello), duomo and baptistery. boboli gardens, maybe s miniature al monte for the view, piazza stissima annuziata is a short walk from the duomo and has an intense hit of art / architecture/?florentine history- Brunelleschi's finest work, a church lobby full of paintings by masters like Pontormo and a great equestrian statue of a Medici with a filthy story behind it, all within about 20 steps. Entire 8 days without a museum is quite possible if you have been before and don't mind! Get them to live it first and go back...
Wow. Fantastic tips thank you all so much. Good idea about a little box of water colours and sketch books.
In all honesty I know it’s a lot to do in a week but we just wanted the dc to get a real flavour of Italy. Not expecting to do any of it in depth really so fully expect to skim the surface. Dd1 is desperate to see the colluseum so we have booked a family friendly tour there which isn’t cheap so we were looking for budget friendly activities for the other two days and so loads of ideas here. Dd2 is so easy going she will be happy soaking up the atmosphere.
DH and I got engaged in Venice 15 years ago so it will be nice to go back with the girls. I can’t wait for them to see it.
Join the discussion
Please login first.