In October 2015, my wife, 80 year old mother, and I traveled to Italy. We flew into Venice and then traveled to Florence and Rome by train.
We stayed in holiday apartments throughout the duration of the trip. This was the first time we’ve rented holiday apartments but it definitely will not be the last. In fact, as we prefer to settle into a location for at least 5-7 days at a time, I think apartments are the only way we will travel from now on.
We took trains to Florence (Italo) and Rome (Trenitalia). I arranged all transportation, tours and accommodations myself. The long-distance trains were booked in advance on their respective websites with no difficulties. The apartments were researched and booked via TripAdvisor. The tours were booked through Viator. We purchased our train tickets to Vicenza, Padua, Pisa, Lucca (and return from Lucca to Florence) via Trenitalia ticket kiosk’s at the train stations. My Chip & Pin card (issued by USAA Bank) worked flawlessly.
We were traveling with my 80 year old mother who is slightly mobility challenged. Due to health reasons, she has difficulty climbing more than just a few stairs or walking great distances. For these reasons, apartments needed to be close to public transportation and have a lift if above ground level. I also desired two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It wasn’t necessarily difficult finding apartments meeting these requirements, it was just a little time consuming. In the end, it was well worth it. Not only did we save a great deal of money as compared to two 3-4 stair hotel rooms, we were much more comfortable.
Petty crime was never apparent and the only place we even heard of a pickpocket incident was in Rome. I will say, however, the roaming street venders (selfie sticks, umbrellas, laser pointers, etc.) were much more aggressive than 2 years ago. Some of these guys went well beyond annoying.