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2 week Italy trip with 8 and 10 year old

Hello,
We are trying to decide where to spend our time in Italy. We have 2 weeks including travel time. My husband and I have been to Italy once before and visited Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence and Tuscany. We want to spend a little more time in Rome, see Venice, Cinque Terre for sure this trip. However, we cannot decide if we should spend the remaining time in Pompeii, Varenna on Lake Como, Assisi/Orvieto or just extra time in each area. Any suggestions for us? We likely will not have a car. We will be in Italy the last 2 weeks of April.

Posted by
3816 posts

Italy is my favorite country to visit. It is loaded with history, ancient, Renaissance and more. The art is amazing. Cities like Venice that are so unique are wonderful.

I traveled with my kids all over Europe and my youngest was my son, who was between 5-10 years old. He is 44 now and remembers very little of those early travels. Still, he certainly enjoyed some of the places we visited. He was 7 when we visited the Sistine Chapel and was in awe of it. He wanted to know all about the frescoes. He didn't want to leave the chapel.

Also, my kids loved the gondola ride in Venice as well as going up to the top of the Duomo in Florence and tower in Venice.
Pompeii was fascinating to them.

You have two weeks, don't try to do too much. I would advise you to research what you want to see in your primary places, then determine if you have time to do the optional places. Due to geographical difference, I would advise against Lake Como for this trip. Assisi/Orvieto would be close to your other places. You many have time for Pompeii.

Posted by
474 posts

So with 14 total days including travel days, that leaves you 12 full days - the first of which you will be jet lagged. I think 3 places is plenty for a trip of this length since each change of location will eat up anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 of a day.
To maximize your time on the ground, fly open jaw - so, for example - fly into Venice, train to Cinque Terre and then train to Rome, flying out of Rome. If Pompeii is a "must see" it can be done as a long day trip from Rome.

Posted by
517 posts

For mid-late April the weather may be a bit cold/rainy in CT and the Lake Como area or anywhere in the foothills of the Alps. Other than cute shops in very small towns I didn't see much in the CT that would have engaged my kids when they were that age, although I loved the place. 12 days on the ground really gives you time for 3 or at most 4 destinations.

I found standing on the lip of Vesuvius and looking at the city that will be hurt by any eruption (1944 isn't that long ago in volcano time) to be quite moving and scary. It depends on the kids interests, but Pompeii, Herculaneum and the tour up Mt Vesuvius could get you all out of doors to balance the crowds in Rome and Venice (although Rome to Venice is a 4 hour train trip suggesting flying into Rome and out of Venice to limit backtracking). I agree that Assisi/Orvieto could be a different sort of stop than the others you have mentioned but stopping there will add travel time and reduce touring time in your main destinations. 3/4 days/nights in Rome, Train to Pompeii for 3 days/nights, train to Venice for 3/4 days/nights and that is your trip when the travel days are subtracted.

IF you go to Pompeii note that there are two train line going there - the regular trains that stop in the town of Pompeii which is east of the main site, and the Circumvesuviana line which has a stop at the west end of the site by the main entrance. RS seems to recommend taking the Circumvesuviana line as a day trip from Naples, but if you are staying in Pompeii overnight you can as easily take the regular train. You will then walk around the site to get to the front entrance. You will also use the Circumvesuiana line to go to Herculaneum (Ercolano stop).

Posted by
575 posts

I think your children will enjoy Venice, so purchase a vaporetto pass so you can travel by canal when the feet are weary. Last time in Venice we experienced Row Venice, [they have a website, just google,] which gives rowing lessons on the quieter back canals, 90 minutes for 89 Euros, total for four people, so that everyone can learn to row. We thought this was a much better experience than a 30 minute gondola ride, which is about the same price.
Hint: it's much harder than it appears!
Enjoy your trip and safe travels!

Posted by
2827 posts

There are some travel guides available with titles like, “Italy with Kids” and “Rome with Kids.” Using one of them, my daughter found a tour of Rome for our grandson, then in the age range of your children. It included a cooking lesson, and he absolutely loved it. (Much as I hate to say it), check Amazon.
Orvieto also strikes me as a good destination with children. There is an underground tour that might appeal to them.

April weather can be very iffy. We once landed in Rome on 4/12 to freezing i.e., 32 degree temps. It only reached 40 that day. The next couple of days were marginally warmer - - mid 40’s - - but rainy. I wouldn’t include any destinations that have only outdoor activities.

Posted by
16123 posts

When did you visit Cinque Terre? That area has gotten more and more overrun in recent years. If your visit was quite some time ago, I fear that it will be quite a disappointment now--though I'm sure it's not at its worst, crowd-wise, in late April. The weather concern is a significant one, of course.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you for the very helpful information. I am wondering how a trip of Venice, Rome, Pompeii and Orvieto would look? It appears staying in Sorrento is best for visiting Pompeii? Would it be better to skip Orvieto and do Amalfi coast? Also is the Amalfi area much more expensive than others? We need to book tickets soon and we are unsure where to fly in and out of. Sorry if these are crazy questions, just never been to southern Italy past Rome. I even questioned skipping some things and doing a day trip to Capri. Is that worth it. Thanks again for all the help!

Posted by
14 posts

Also for those asking, we were in Italy in April 11 years ago so it's been some time.

Posted by
1493 posts

Thank you for the very helpful information. I am wondering how a trip
of Venice, Rome, Pompeii and Orvieto would look? It appears staying in
Sorrento is best for visiting Pompeii? Would it be better to skip
Orvieto and do Amalfi coast? Also is the Amalfi area much more
expensive than others? We need to book tickets soon and we are unsure
where to fly in and out of. Sorry if these are crazy questions, just
never been to southern Italy past Rome. I even questioned skipping
some things and doing a day trip to Capri. Is that worth it. Thanks
again for all the help!

While you could do four spots with two weeks, I'd lean toward three. Or, split a week or so between Venice and Rome, and then do a week among the Amalfi Coast, an island, and Naples--provided you can fly out of Naples. I often choose a trip based on airfare because really anywhere in Italy you can find amazing stuff--and having to buy four tickets would make that a given. If you can get a good fare into Venice and out of Rome, then those two and Orvieto could be great, with lots of day trip options and a more leisurely pace. If you can get into Venice and out of Naples at a fare, I'd do Venice-Rome-Amalfi/Naples.

Sorrento is best for people who are either uninterested in Naples or wanting one base from which to see it "all."
Compared with Venice and Rome, I don't think you will find Amalfi area considerably more expensive--all three are not exactly budget destinations, but I was amazed at the deal I got by staying in a less popular Amalfi Coast village (trade-off being less convenient transport, but for 50 euros per night for a sea view, not a problem).

Some people do day trips to Pompeii from Rome--I would only do that if it was my only shot because it's a long day and especially with two kids. Ostia Antica is a Roman site just outside Rome that could sub for now if Pompeii can't work for this trip.

Posted by
14 posts

Valadelphia, Which small town did you stay in on Amalfi? We are considering other options outside Sorrento as well.

Posted by
1493 posts

I stayed here in Cetara:
http://www.ilglicinebb.it/
It has a friendly owner who gave use rides to and from Salerno and occasionally drove us home from dinner when we ran into each other in town (It is a 30 minute uphill walk, but we often had the roof deck to ourselves.) The breakfast was nothing to write home about but otherwise lovely. It has parking, but we went sans car and it was fine (since it is so close to the mainland, it would not be crazy to have one here). Cetara may have ferry service in April now, and it has some great restaurants (known for anchovies and colatura, which is like fish sauce). We loved it! It was easy to visit Pompeii from here by train out of Vietri.
There is also a hotel down on the water called Cetus.
It was time consuming to get to the other towns, but overall it served our needs well--to hike and to visit Pompeii, and to get the Amalfi coast without constant crowds. All of the mainland ends towns are nice, just slightly less wow factor compared to Positano.