This was a first-time trip to Europe for a family of 2 parents and 2 kids ages 8 and 10 traveling from New York City. They wanted to plan an Italy family trip to Venice, Florence, Rome and Amalfi Coast with nice local experiences during late May, early June, for 2 weeks. Because it was their first trip to Italy, they were nervous about driving, but also about the logistics of transportation between trains and taxis with the language barrier. They wanted to stay at hotels, but booking rooms for a family of 4 in Italy can be difficult (versus self-catering lodging options in Venice, Rome, Florence, etc.). Our Italy family trip planning experts created the following itinerary to ensure a stress-free and local experience for this first-time family visit to Italy.
The family arrived first in Rome, where a private car service met them at the airport (cost for transfer = 70 euro) and drove them to their hotel in Rome city center. They stayed in the premium family suite at the Hotel Nerva for 3 nights at a cost of a little over 1000 euros. This small boutique hotel is based in the charming Monti neighborhood of Rome, a very central area near the Coliseum and train station, yet distinctly local and less touristy. The Hotel Nerva is a small boutique hotel of just a few rooms, and is just a few minutes walk from the Coliseum, or to access to taxis or any nature of public transportation on Via Nazionale. It is also very central for walking the city center in general. Monti has some great dining options for family restaurants in Rome, and a nearby Conad Margherita supermarket. We also love the chocolate bottega in Monti at Via Leonina 82.
For family activities in Rome, they visited the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain on their on the first day, enjoying a simple lunch in the tiny Piazza Sant’Eustachio at Pizza Zazza, and then coffee across the piazza at the famous Caffe Sant’Eustachio. In the afternoon, they did a custom kid-friendly tour of the Coliseum and Forum with art activities from Arte al Sole.
The next day they hopped in a taxi to head over to the Ponte Sisto, where they joined the Arte al Sole docent again for a unique tour of some ancient temples, and the Bocca della Verita’, followed by a visit to some food pitstops in the Jewish Ghetto, and then a watercolor art project of the Tiber River and its bridges. They had lunch afterwards in the Jewish ghetto at a family friendly trattoria with authentic Roman cuisine. Then they walked along the Lungotevere to cross the Tiber at the Bridge of Angels, and relaxed in the park behind Castel Sant’Angelo. After the park, they walked over to see St. Peter’s Square, and from St. Peter’s hopped in a taxi to catch a dinner reservation at Felice a Testaccio, a typical Roman trattoria in the more local area of Testaccio.
After three days of fun in Rome, they took a train from Rome to Venice. They had booked first class tickets to Venice Santa Lucia Station with reserved seats on the Frecciarosa fast train line. When they arrived, they had prearranged help with getting from the train station to Venice city center using public transportation and assistance for a stress-free arrival to their hotel.
They booked arrival assistance from a local host who met them at the train station. They were met by a friendly local who asked about where they were staying, assisted them with purchasing the correct vaporetto (water ferry) pass for their three-day stay in Venice, and oriented them to the map of the vaporetto lines to understand how best to get to the activities they had scheduled during their visit. The local joined them en route to the hotel on the vaporetto, and the kids had a chance to ask questions about how Venetians live, and the best local places to eat. The local also gave them info about an interesting marionette store in town.
Finally, they arrived at Hotel Palazzo Guardi from a very crowded journey on the ferry and along small streets and bridges – they were glad to have had some helping hands! They had booked a Junior Suite with Canal View for 987 euro for 3 nights, which included breakfast. They enjoyed staying in this area, in the neighborhood of Dorsoduro, as it is less touristy and calmer than San Marco, but easy to get everywhere using the vaporetto lines with their passes.
The first night in Venice they did a gondola ride, finding a gondola stand along one of the inner canals near their hotel. The cost was 80 euro for a 40 minute ride. The next day they did a Venice family treasure hunt with art project together for 3 hours in the morning, which was a captivating Venice activity for kids that gave the whole family a sense of the hidden history of Venice in the off-the-beaten path areas that have equally interesting art and architecture as the more popular sites like San Marco.
On their last day in Venice, they did a 2-hour tour of Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Cathedral that included tickets to the Secret Itinerary of the Doge’s Palace with tour guide Rossana Colombo of Venice Kids Tours. The kids loved learning about more of the mystery and intrigue of Venice through fun stories and a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the Doge’s Palace. After the tour, they took a vaporetto to the Arsenale waterstop to the Castello area of Venice for a less touristy lunch along the Salizada. After lunch, they walked over to the Giardini Pubblici to do a Venetian Mask-Making Workshop.
The next morning, they scheduled local assistance again to ensure they caught their prebooked train from Venice to Florence on time and had a little help finding authentic Venetian hand-crafted souvenirs along the way to the station.
When they arrived to Florence, they took a taxi to their hotel (cost was 12 euro) on Via Tornabuoni, a great central location where it was easy to walk to anywhere in the city center. They stayed at the Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci in a quad family room for 3 nights at a rate of 270 euro/night. The hotel was in a lovely historic building with frescoed walls and a rooftop garden with views of Florence. It was a good value overall for a room of this size in such a perfect location.
For dinner the first night in Florence, they explored the fun Florence family friendly dining options at the Mercato Centrale in San Lorenzo and did some shopping in the open market of Borgo San Lorenzo. Later that evening, they stopped at one of the “Secret Bakeries in Florence” to try some of the treats set outside the bakery doors for passersby to sample for free. The kids thought this was very adventurous!
The first full day the kids did Florence Medieval and Renaissance Life art and cultural workshop while the parents enjoyed a long lingering Tuscan lunch outside in the piazza at Trattoria Quattro Leone. In the evening, they visited the famous Duomo and the carousel in Piazza Repubblica.
The next day, they did a pizza-making class at a local pizzeria followed by gelato tour with Curious Appetite. On their last day staying in Florence, they took a day trip with a chauffeured driver to Lucca, where they rented bikes to bike on the Lucca city walls and enjoyed lunch at Trattoria Gigi. After lunch, they departed for a stop to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and then returned to Florence by 5:30 pm. The kids loved the charm of Lucca, and the driver (booked through Elaia Travel) stopped along some of the Tuscan country roads on the trip back for photos with a view!
The family departed from Florence the following day by train to head down to Naples. They arrived in Naples at 12:30 and a private driver met them at the station. The driver took them to have some famous Naples pizza for lunch at Pizzeria di Matteo in the city center. The driver waited, attending to the car and the luggage during the meal, and then took them to their hotel on the Amalfi Coast, about an hour drive or so.
They stayed at the Hotel Marmorata in a seaview junior suite for 350 euro/night for 4 nights. By this leg of the trip, the family was ready for simple relaxation and fun in the sun. The area of the Amalfi Coast known as the Marmorata, just beneath Ravello, is enchantingly beautiful yet much less touristy than Positano. The hotel is perched on a cliff above the sea, with an infinity pool with a view and private beach club with crystal blue waters.
They took the local ferry from the town of Minori (just 10 minutes from the hotel) to have lunch and a swim in a cove to a nearby kid-friendly Amalfi Coast beach with beach club and restaurant frequented by many locals.
The following day, the hotel helped them to book a day trip on a small boat with 15 other people for a tour of Capri. The cost was 50 euro/per person and the skipper served light refreshments, stopping to point out sites along the way, and then dropping passengers off to Marina Grande in Capri for a 2.5 hour visit of the island for lunch. They took an open-air taxi from Marina Grande up to the town of Capri for lunch and some shopping, then returned to the boat. Then they circled the other side of the island on the way back, anchored for a swim in a secret cove, and returned to Minori by 6:00 pm.
The last day, they enjoyed the hotel and an early dinner in the town of Amalfi with some time for souvenir shopping at the paper, ceramics, and chocolate shops off Amalfi’s elegant main square. They then departed from their hotel with the same private driver to catch their morning flight back to New York from Naples airport. The total budget for the trip for lodging, transportation, and activities was $9200 for a 2-week Italy family trip to Venice, Florence, Rome and Amalfi Coast.
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