Our Italy family trip report this week features an Italian American family who wanted Italy trip planning for a holiday that included exploring their Italian heritage along with family-friendly activities for a family of five traveling with three active teenage boys. They wanted to avoid renting a car to whatever degree possible, and stick with a value mid-level budget at boutique lodging in areas with less-touristy options for teenagers to have some free time to explore. Their lodging for 13 nights and 14 days of travel was around $4000.00, transportation for train tickets and rental car was $500.00, and they splurged on some wow factor activities with an activities final budget of $2200.00. For a family of five, they squeezed in tons of fun on an Italy family trip budget of around $7000 for almost two weeks of travel.
Venice Family Itinerary – 2 nights
The family flew in to Venice Marco Polo airport, arriving mid-day, and took a water taxi from the airport to their hotel (120 euro), which was easily accessible directly off the small inner canal of Calle Barozzi, near Teatro La Fenice and St. Mark’s Square. They stayed in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom family suite w/additional single bed in one of the bedrooms at the Hotel Corte Barozzi for 400 euro/night. The room had enchanting views overlooking San Moise’ Canal with a lovely roof terrace. The location is convenient to St. Mark’s Square, only about 200 meters away, yet on a quieter “campo,” with less touristy hustle and bustle.
On the first day, the family took the water ferry to the colorful island of Burano for lunch, then on to Murano Island to visit the glass blowing studios. In the evening, mom and dad enjoyed an aperitivo of bellinis at Harry’s Bar while the boys explored the area around the hotel. On the second day in Venice, they learned of the intrigue and legends apparent in the art and architecture of the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Cathedral, and St. Mark’s Square on a Context Travel private family tour with a guide who engaged the whole family in the intrigues of the history of Venice, then took the elevator up to the top of the Campanile for the view. After lunch, they took in the Grand Canal views by hopping on vaporetto line #1 and taking it along the entirety of the Grand Canal for a tour of the city from the water.
Parma Family Itinerary – 2 nights
On Day 3 of their family Italy trip they took a water taxi back to Piazzale Roma to rent a car and drive the 2.5 hour drive to Agriturismo Antica Corte Pallavicino in Parma. The hotel was a true regional experience, in a 14th-century fortified castello on a working dairy farm with a Michellin star-rated restaurant and views of the Po River, along with their own vineyard, vegetable garden, orchards, and salumi production. On their first day in Parma, they visited the Ferrari Museum and took a Test Drive, taking home the fun video the museum offers from the test drive as a cool souvenir! Day 4 was spent relaxing and enjoying the legendary cuisine of Parma with Italian relatives.
Florence Family Itinerary – 3 nights
After their stay in Parma, they drove to Florence, dropping the rental car off at the Hertz desk at via Borgo Ognissanti near the Santa Maria Novella train station, and took a taxi to their holiday apartment at Palazzo Belfiore, an apartment hotel in a historic Renaissance palazzo in the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence, where they rented the historic frescoed apartment Clarice. The local welcome by the owners of Palazzo Belfiore meant they were greeted by great dining tips in the neighborhood, and assistance with dinner reservations. The first night they ate a fabulous meal around the corner at Osteria Toscanella, and then gelato in the tiny local gelateria in Piazza della Passera.
Sightseeing in Florence was fun for all with visits to the Duomo, climbing to the top of the Cathedral, prepaid entrance tickets to the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David statue, and a visit to Palazzo Davanzati, a Renaissance home restored just as it was. Finally, they had purchased skip-the-line late afternoon entrance tickets to the Uffizi Gallery, entering at 4:00 pm to beat the crowds (it’s best to purchase tickets directly from the state museum site, Polo Museale). On their last day in Florence, they took the train to Siena for an easy Tuscany family day trip, only an hour train ride from the city center.
Rome Family Itinerary – 3 nights
From Florence, they moved on to Rome, taking the Frecciarosa fast train line, which took an hour and a half, and then a short taxi to their nearby hotel in the charming neighborhood of Monti. As a family of 5, they had to take two taxis, but the ride only cost about 8 euro per taxi to head to Monti. They checked in to boutique hotel Salotto Monti in 1 Superior Double Room and 1 Triple Room for $1200 for 3 nights, including breakfast on the gorgeous rooftop terrace. From this location, they could easily walk or take a quick bus or taxi to all of the sites in Rome’s historical center, and enjoy the less touristy and family-friendly dining in the more locally inhabited Monti area.
Rome activities included a few bucket list items, like a 4-hour Foodie Vespa tour of the city in the late afternoon with Scooteroma tours ($1200 for 5 people), a fun orientation to the city with a taste of local Roman culinary specialties. The Scooteroma guides met them at the hotel with the scooters and they easily set out to explore the sites of Rome as well as stopping to check out some foodie spots along the way.
On the second day in Rome, they splurged on a Sistine Chapel private viewing and small group visit to the Vatican’s Secret rooms, along with a general tour of the Vatican. That evening, they enjoyed the set menu diner at one of our top Rome restaurant recommendations, Asino d’Oro at Via del Boschetto 73, a wonderful restaurant on via del Boschetto in Monti that is distinctly untouristy.
Amalfi Coast Family Itinerary – 2 nights
From Rome they took the fast train to Naples, a little over an hour, where a car service met them at the train station and drove them to their hotel on the Amalfi Coast in Praiano for 150 euro. They stayed at Hotel Tramonto d’Oro in a seaview Mediterranean quad room for 450 euro/night with breakfast. They spent the afternoon at beach club One Fire Beach at the famous Gavitella Beach and enjoyed dinner at the hotel on the terrace with views looking out toward Capri and Positano. The next day, the hotel organized a day trip to Capri, with time to stop for a swim and jumping off cliffs on the way back to Praiano.
The last day, they awoke early to squeeze in a 2-hour hike on the Path of the Gods, ascending up the hill toward Ravello. Sad to say goodbye to Praiano, they took a car transfer back to Naples train station and the train back to Rome’s Termini Station, then connected to the Leonardo da Vinci express train to Fiumicino Airport, and conveniently walked across the causeway to their airport hotel at the Hilton Rome Airport to spend the night in one room with 2 double beds ($335.00) before departing on an early morning flight the next day.
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