Trip to Italy with Kids 7 and 9 - Flower Mound,TX

Updated on December 01, 2014
S.P. asks from Flower Mound, TX
8 answers

We are planning to go to Italy ( Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome) trip the week before Christmas this year. Any advice on places to stay and things to do while there. My husband had traveled to I Italy a lot recently and knows the places well but he mostly travels for business and not on as strict a budget as us. So any help with accommodation , entrances to things, travel etc would be welcome. What would be fun for the kids? I know its not Disney and kids don't expect entertainment all the time but is there something off the mapa must do with kids in Italy?
Thanks .I am excited!

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So What Happened?

I can really use some help trying to find places to stay that are not regular hotels. Well not be any place more than one night so vacation rentals will not work.
hanks for the answers. We will be I'm Milan Two days as husband will be working.we will travel by train everywhere. Thanks

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answers from Dallas on

I wish I had some good pointers or recommendations as I've always dreamed of going. I grew up hearing stories of Italy from my family. So just dropping into say I hope you have an AMAZING trip! Enjoy!

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answers from Denver on

I can probably help you, as we lived in Italy (Venice) for a couple of years and did some traveling. But could you tell me how you'll be traveling from city to city (it's a long ride from Rome to Venice, for example)? Will you be renting a car, or taking the train, or flying? And do you already have hotel reservations?

Milan is a busy city. We encountered lots of homeless, lots of bustling city noises, and it was all fascinating. A highlight was seeing The Last Supper. We did not spend much time in Milan, though. A few quick trips through, except for the one day seeing the cathedral and the Last Supper.

The best part of Florence for our kids was climbing the steps to the Duomo (the main cathedral in Florence). There are over 400 steps and at the top, the view is amazing. Both kids loved looking at the scenes painted on the inside of the Duomo ceiling.

Venice, well, what's not to love? The variety of boats on the water is astounding. You can take a water taxi, which looks kind of like a nice speed boat. I wouldn't recommend that unless you need to catch your train in a hurry. There are gondolas, of course, and they're worth riding. However, don't hire a gondola near the train station, the entrance to Venice, or near the Ponte Rialto (the main bridge where all the tourists gather). Instead, walk along the canal as far as you can, and go away from the canal a bit, and hire a gondola there. The price will be considerably less. In fact, walk along the canal but wait to get away from the canal before getting cappucino or food. Canal side is expensive, and in the inner streets, the prices are better. A must is cioccolata con panna (hot chocolate with whipped cream). Venetian hot cocoa is almost like pudding and we still have never had better hot chocolate anywhere in the world. Seeing the Piazza san Marco (the main plaza) is a very interesting place and astoundingly beautiful.

In Rome, we didn't spend much time in the usual tourist spots, but went to Pompeii and Ercolano instead. Ercolano (or Herculaneum) is a village next to Pompeii that was also buried in the volcano and excavated. The kids loved seeing those towns.

If you take taxis in the major cities (except Venice, of course, where there are no cars), take them from a clearly identified taxi stand. Ask a police officer. Don't flag down a passing taxi - they can be fraudulent. Be wary of pickpockets. Any unexpected flurry of activity (a person drops his entire briefcase or a folder of papers, someone thrusting flowers in your face, a person who appears to be ill or who falls) can be a distraction created to set up a pickpocket situation. Keep your ID/passport/money in a secure pouch around your neck or inside your clothes. Even a front pocket is not safe. In some places, you will find people who offer your kids a gift. We encountered numerous people who presented our kids with a carved elephant or trinket, and they would proclaim that it was free. Of course our kids accepted the little gift. But then the gift-giver would follow my husband in a most infuriating way, hounding him for money. Often they would get mean. So we quickly learned to refuse any "free" gift.

Everywhere we went in Italy, we found the most helpful and kind people. Try to stay in small inns. Don't seek out anywhere that advertises American tourist accommodations - you'll miss out on amazing adventures.

A helpful thing to bring along is a phrase book, not an entire Italian English dictionary. Bookstores carry them. You'll need a quick phrase available.

Let me know a few more details and I will help you all I can. Feel free to ask me anything.

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answers from San Francisco on

We spent a month in England and Italy this summer with our two sons, aged 11 and 15 and it was amazing, especially Italy. We rented apartments for the most part, but in Rome we stayed at the Borge Pio in the Vatican City area and it was perfect for a family of four. Small kitchen, safe neighborhood and great service. Many good restaurants. I loved that we could walk all of the city. In Venice, we stayed at Palazzo Odoni, and it was lovely. Venice is very expensive and in the winter you will need to plan for flooding, but it was absolutely amazing. In Florence we were able to get city passes which allowed us to enter museums without standing in line and we did not have to buy passes for our children because the new (wonderful) Italian minister of arts in Venice decided to allow Americans the same family pass option that EU folks get. It was a major time and money saver for Florence. WE all loved the Galileo Museum in FLorence. The da VInci museum is a bit touristy, but our kids really loved it.

Have a wonderful time.

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answers from Washington DC on

Call a travel agent and have them help you with the planning!!

I never made it that far south when I was in Europe. So I can't tell you where to stay...

If your kids aren't in to churches and art? They may be very bored in Italy...I wish I would have been able to get to Venice and take a gondola ride...that will be fun for ANY person!!!

Use this website as might help you...

Have fun!!! SAFE TRAVELS!!

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answers from Washington DC on

Have you been to
It's the official tourism web site.

Find out if any Italian cities offer a City Pass (the name may not be exactly that).

These are available in a lot of European cities--we've used them in London and Copenhagen and I hear they're available in other countries. We got ours at the official Tourist Information Offices; I don't think you can purchase them over here but only once you're in the country you're visiting. They are passes that you pay a fee to buy, but they give you discounted admissions to a long list of places including museums, historic sites, sometimes even kids' sites; you can end up getting back what you paid and more if you use them a lot. The one we had in Copenhagen got us hugely discounted admission to the city's historic amusement park and a children's museum too. It paid for itself probably three times over since we used it a lot. These passes are good only for a limited time, such as three days, so you have to plan around using them.

Also go to the local library or bookstore and ask if there are any books on "Italy with kids." I've seen similar specialized guides for other places in Europe.

Rick Steves writes good European travel guidebooks and usually includes a wide range of both kid- and grownup-friendly things to do and very reasonably priced places to stay and eat. Most of his books are in libraries.

Be sure to ask at the local tourist information offices about things like holiday puppet and marionette shows; children's theatre; and most of all -- find out about local Christmas markets held in the town streets where vendors set up stalls!! Even if you buy nothing at all you get a wonderful old-world experience. I would bet there will also be amazing church services and Nativity plays with live animals the week before Christmas -- ask at tourist information in each town, and also just stop in and ask at local churches about whether they have kids' services and Nativity plays etc. Even if you're not religious, it's a huge part of local tradition that your kids and you might enjoy seeing.

One word of caution: I can't speak for Italy specifically, but in Britain, many historic sites and museums close days before Christmas so you can end up with a few days left before the holiday and....tourist sites are shut. A travel agent might be able to research this for you so you can plan accordingly and know what's open and what's not. Italy may be pretty much open, but in England for sure, some tourist destinations do shut down well before Dec. 24, especially stately homes and historic sites.

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answers from Boca Raton on

We've only been to Rome in Italy, and my boys were older teens at the time. They loved seeing the Coliseum and the old Roman ruins. We also all loved St. Peter's Basilica, though I'm wondering how hard that will be to get into around Christmas time (we went in the fall).

My older son and I walked to the Trevi Fountain one night; it was very neat but also extremely crowded.

The Pantheon is neat, too.

Our condo was right around the corner from Church of the Gesu which looks sort of "normal" on the outside but is stunning inside. Many of the churches in Rome are amazing actually. There is so much history in Rome that it's hard to appreciate it all.

We are going to Venice in the spring so I would love to hear what you think!

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answers from Washington DC on

nothing helpful to add because i've never been, but just want to say how incredibly envious i am! and your lucky, lucky kids. an experience of a lifetime!
:) khairete



answers from New York on


Seriously, at 7 & 9 a promise of dessert at the end of a day of touring around for their best behavior might have some leverage.

Take a look at the hostels, some allow family style accommodation.

Be sure to pack modest clothes, as some churches won't allow you in with bare legs, or bared shoulders. Be prepared to have to "attend" church services to gain entry into certain churches, or work around church services to get a quick tour. Services were as many as 7 times a day in certain churches.

This may sound strange, even if your kids love italian food, you might want to pack a jar or peanut butter or some other comfort food. Italian food is quite different to Italian American food, and testy hungry kids can make for an awful vacation.

As for saving a few pennies, I remember that food was cheaper to go than it was to stay, and that there were restroom charges in certain places. You might want to look into that and see if you can scrimp some that way.

F. B.

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