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Advice on Italy

13 replies

JaneSR · 16/08/2020 20:49

Looking at a trip with out 9 year old to Italy. The two places coming up are Lilo de Jesolo or Viareggio. Don’t know anything about either really so looking for thoughts from anyone who has visited the areas.

Many thanks

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SJaneS48 · 17/08/2020 08:55

Hi - we go to Italy a lot so will try to help, the below is just my personal opinion and obviously others will have different views!

I assume you’re looking for somewhere on the coast if these 2 are coming up? I’ve not been to Viareggio but I have been to Lido de Jesolo. Bar Milan, it’s probably the place I’ve liked least in Italy. It’s basically a sand spit constructed by Mussolini as part of a ‘get back to work scheme’. There is a very long stretch of beach backed by a road then hotel after hotel. Quite a lot of these hotels were built in the 50’s/60’s & are well past their best (certainly the hell hole I stayed in was!). There are restaurants and a small park but compared to a lot of Italy it’s not especially attractive. Getting into Venice involves a bus journey to the ferry port then a ferry over. It’s a bit of a faff. If you are just looking to sit on a beach then it would be fine but there honestly are much much nicer places in Italy (IMO). It often comes up because it’s comparatively cheap compared to the Amalfi coast but it’s cheap for a reason.

If you are set on going to Venice there is an area called Lido which while I’ve not stayed there is supposed to be nice and getting into Venice itself is a much quicker journey. Various airlines do cheap flights into Venice and you could find a hotel (I’d go for an easy to cancel option!) in Lido on Booking.com

In terms of seaside alternatives, the Amalfi coast is gorgeous. It is more expensive than Lido Di Jesolo but if you DIY it (flights into Naples, Air BnB or Booking.com accommodation) you’ll save a couple of hundred. I personally love Amalfi. You can combine the seaside with a trip to Pompei.

Sanremo up in the North will cost you less - it’s on the Italian Riviera and used to be where the jet set went, it’s glamour has now faded but it’s got a lovely palm tree fringed promenade and an attractive Old Town. Flights into Nice and then either private transport or train it there (it’s about 1hr30).

Sicily is another nice option. Taormina (google it) is absolutely stunning with an old Greek amphitheatre and picturesque old town. Just off the coast is a little island (Isola Bella) you can snorkel round and walk too. You can also do a trip to the smoking volcano Etna from here. Flights into Catania (which is worth staying a night) and either a half hour train ride to Taormina or private transport.

It’s not the seaside but If you are happy to swap sea for Lakes, Lake Garda has some very pretty towns. They are easy to get too from Verona (which is gorgeous) either by bus or private transport.

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JaneSR · 17/08/2020 09:24

Thank you that really helpful. We are trying to do something very last minute so don’t have the luxury of many options unfortunately. May have an option in sciliy now too (Giardini Naxos) but equally concerned it may be too quiet for my 9 year old (although perfect for me!). We had thought of Lido as an option for a trip to Venice (we have never been) with some beach time thrown in but it now sounds like that may be a faff in any event!

Many thanks

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DianasLasso · 17/08/2020 09:39

The Lido is an artificial island between Venice and the outer lagoon. It would be quite a decent base to explore Venice from - you can get the water bus back to the main city. The Lido itself is a bit of a nowhere place, though the beach is nice (I've been there once in August when it was steaming hot and packed, and once at Easter when it was wet and windy and almost empty, and had a bit of a British seaside vibe to it Grin). To be honest, that bit of coast is not the first place I'd pick for a beach holiday in Italy, but Venice is fabulous.

Where you go depends a bit on what you want out of the holiday. We love Italy as a family (ticks every box on our list - art, architecture, mountains, incredible scenery, beaches, brilliant food). The public transport network in much of Italy is very good, so you have the option of deciding where you want to go and picking a relatively cheap base (a few years back we wanted to see the Veneto - the region Venice is capital of - so used Treviso as a cheap base).

Sicily has some gorgeous beaches and is cheaper than many bits of Italy. It's also got an incredible range of stuff to look at - Greek temples, the Roman villa at Piazza Armarina, Medieval hill towns like Enna, Baroque cities like Ragusa Ibla and Noto, amazing churches like the cathedrals in Cefalu and Monreale.

Florence is one of my favourite cities - again, amazing architecture, the Uffizi is fabulous, beautiful feel to the place. A long way from any beaches though.

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JaneSR · 17/08/2020 09:58

Thank you. That’s helpful

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SJaneS48 · 17/08/2020 10:35

As above there are two Lido’s outside Venice - the one the PP is referring to is this one.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lido_di_Venezia

The other one is Di Jesolo. It’s a bit confusing! I didn’t like Di Jesolo at all so am biased but quite honestly it’s not got loads to do other than beach/pool. I remember walking the kids up and down it and other than tat shops and a small play park there was really not much they got excited about. I’d definitely take Sicily any day over it!

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Rosa · 17/08/2020 10:41

Venetian here , Jesolo is a bach resort with long beach , shops , bars etc to walk along the promenade in the evening , hotels on the beach , many with pools. You can take the bus to punta sabbioni and then the vaporetto to venice if you want to for a day . ( Note the water park is closed for the summer)
Venice Lido is totally different , used mainly by the Venetians , is closer to Venice so good if you fancied a city break with a bit of beach.
Viareggio is the same pretty much as Jesolo, in teh sense its a wide beach with cafes , restaurants bars but many of the hotels are older and more regal / classical looking and I think it has a more Italian feel to it.

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JaneSR · 17/08/2020 13:52

Thank you all. We have now booked Sicily as it looked beautiful when I looked into it and pools and beach looked enough to keep my daughter happy. Also felt it would be a safer option for us than going nearer to Venice. Just fingers crossed now nothing changes over the next few days!

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SJaneS48 · 17/08/2020 15:56

Have fun - I loved Sicily and am a bit jealous!

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minnieok · 17/08/2020 17:19

If you have a nine year old I can recommend Caorle, north of Venice. There's a huge hotel and chalet complex, 3 pools, beach, restaurants, kids club but only an hour into Venice, other places to visit too. My DD's loved it at that age, except they found Venice hot, crowded and too many paintings (I liked it) they liked the water bus service though

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minnieok · 17/08/2020 17:20

I would recommend Sicily if there's availability, Taormina is beautiful

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minnieok · 17/08/2020 17:22

Ah that what comes of leaving Mumsnet open and not finishing your reply - all sorted! Sicily is lovely, go up etna if you can, the cable car ride is good

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Rosa · 18/08/2020 16:27

SIcily is beautiful and there is loads to see and do, the water is beautiful and the food amazing ! however your comment about it being safer ???
If you mean Covid Venice city has the lowest cases in Veneto with the highest influx of foreign tourists.
If you mean violence wise Venice is very safe. Jesolo Piazza Mazzini has ben gettings ome bad press recently but that is one very small area and late at night . DOn't forget masks are obliigatory between 6pm to 6 am in all of Italy in all public areas-
Just wished to clarify as overall right now we are doing better than the UK covid wise !!!

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JaneSR · 18/08/2020 21:21

Hi Rosa. Thank you and sorry it’s just my term of phrase - I meant a safer option in terms of meeting our holiday needs for relaxation, hotel activities for my daughter and we need a chance to chill. We have already said we will separately do a trip to Venice next year. In terms of Covid safety we have particularly picked Italy because we feel it’s the lowest rates and doing better than the UK Xx

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