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first time italy

We have tons of American express pints that I would like to use. My family of 4, husband, 18 girl and 12 boy are considering going to italy for the week (Friday April 2 till the 12th.)before Easter. Is the weather good and where should we go and stay. Can we rent a car to get around or should we trains ect. We would like to visit historic sites and perhaps have some nature/ sun downtime

Posted by
3313 posts

Respectfully to Susan, but sacrificing time on a short trip to be in Milan instead of Venice would be a travesty of travel. Venice is on the short list of places to see before you die. Before it dies. Venice is a world treasure. Granted, so is Rome and so is Florence. Milan has the "Last Supper", its Duomo and a bunch of Mussolini era architecture (remember, we bombed the crap out of it in WWII). On your first trip to Italy, the only reason to go there is because you got a ridiculously cheap flight out.

Posted by
22976 posts

Please, we don't have time or space to plan your trip. Read some guidebooks, read many of postings on this site that pertain to Italy (use the search box) AND then come back with specific questions. Much more efficient than trying to guess what you might like or not like. Italy is a big country and you cannot cover it in a week. And the weather -- could be hot, could be cold, could be rainy, and it might be sunny. It is Spring time.

Posted by
3313 posts

Congratulations on being able to have points to redeem for a trip to Italy! For a first trip of the duration you have, I'd do no more than the basics - Rome, Florence, Venice. Train the whole trip and see if you can fly into Rome and out of Venice.

Posted by
2023 posts

When you subtract the days for travel time you may not have as much time as you think. As special as Venice is, I don't think I would include it. Flights back to the US from Venice are ridiculously early and we always avoid flying home from there. Orvieto is worth a day between Rome and Florence. We were in Italy (Milan) on Palm Sunday several years ago and the celebration at the Duomo was very special. Olive branches were given out rather than palms--actually we had to donate some euros for them. But the week before Easter is a great time to be in Italy.I would stick with trains for travel unless you want to see Tuscany. Weather was perfect when we were there in early April. Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
2023 posts

Yes, as Frank stated, you have to read a couple of guidebooks and do some research to get an idea of all wonders that Italy has to offer, and be mindful of the time it takes to travel between them. You can only scratch the surface in the amount of time you have, but I suggest flying into Venice, spend 1/2 of your time there, take a train to Rome spend second half there and fly home from there. (you don't need to rent a car). I think these 2 cities would impress your kids the most, and be the most fun for a family. Delta flies from JFK into Venice airport, perhaps from other east coast cities as well.

Posted by
32101 posts

Julia,

With a trip of only a week, I'd recommend limiting your stay to Rome (perhaps with a few day trips to Orvieto, Ostia Antica or wherever) and Florence. If your air points allow, flying open jaw would be a good idea (into Rome, home from Milan).

Keep in mind that you'll lose the first day in flight time and time zone changes. With such a short trip, I'd suggest 3-4 days in Rome and the balance in Florence (determine the times in each city based on what you want to see there).

DON'T rent a car for such a short trip. Use the excellent rail system instead.

If you haven't done so already, it would be a really good idea to review the "Rail Skills" chapter in Europe Through The Back Door or the download the free rail guide from this website.

The Italy Guidebook has LOTS of information on the various sites in both Rome and Florence, including which days various Museums are open or closed, admission costs, etc. There's also great suggestions for lodgings in various price ranges, place to dine, etc.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
3558 posts

I agree with BG about limiting yourselves to Venice and Rome, with the possibility of a day-trip outside each one of them. Orvieto, Tivoli, Padova, and Verona spring to mind as possibilities; but there are many others. I'd add the caution that the crowds will get bigger each day closer to Easter, so it would be better to start in Rome. We flew home from Venice on Delta last year. The flight left at a reasonable morning hour (9?) and made a stop at JFK. Perfect for east-coast residents. You could do it all without renting a car. Or you could, for example, take the train to Orvieto, see the town, then pick up a car. That would enable you to see some places of your choice (not too many I hope) on the way to Venice. Drop the car upon arrival there. As one posters said, the weather can be anything. Be prepared!

Posted by
586 posts

Our intro to Italy was a week, too, and while it was quick-moving and tiring, looking back, I don't think we'd change a thing...it was what it was...our start on Italian travel, not a one-time trip. We flew to Milan, train to Venice; 2 nights Venice; train to Florence; 2 nights Florence; bus to Siena; 1 night Siena; bus to Rome; 3 nights Rome; fly home from Rome. Just one itinerary for a week, but really depends on the kind of traveler you are and what you hope to gain from this trip (relaxation vs. excitement/movement).

Posted by
2297 posts

Gio,

that trip might have worked for you. with a kid in tow I would NOT recommend it! Our kids are used to heavy travel but I wouldn't do that to them. Two places in one week is all I could handle with them.

Posted by
934 posts

I also suggest Venice,Florence and Rome but id fly into Venice and home from Rome.Venice is a better place to be with jet lag and getting to the airport in Rome is easier no matter what time you fly out.

Posted by
53 posts

I agree with Jack, we did just that, flew into Venice and flew out of Rome but if you only have a week, I'd skip Florence and hit up Tuscany, somewhere like Siena for my R&R time.

If you read through Rick Steve's Italy guide, he pin points what places to hit up if you have a certain amount of time, breaks it up into a few days and goes to a month. Worth the read. We followed the RS guides and never had a bad moment, everything from where we stayed to where we ate, you cannot go wrong. Enjoy!

Posted by
586 posts

Bea raised a good point to consider, but I work with pre-teens and teens at a school, and we've taken them abroad at a much faster pace than you're considering, and it was fine...provided the kids know what they're getting into and the itinerary holds some appeal for them, too. 12 and 18 are certainly old enough to keep pace with you, in my experience. But again, it really depends on what type of experience you're seeking for your family.

Posted by
518 posts

Good luck redeeming those American award travel points. I've had my 3 tickets since September for next July, and I had a hard time getting those. So you may want to see if you can redeem those points soon. It is not as easy as they make it sound.