Old Sep 16, 17, 12:55 pm
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: SFO, VCE
Programs: AA EXP >4 MM, Lifetime Plat
Posts: 2,881
First, welcome to FlyerTalk and the Italy Forum!

This is a difficult task, because you have to start putting together an itinerary that others can critique. People on FT generally do not put people's itineraries together like a travel agent does, but they love to comment on itineraries and try to improve them.

I think your first task is to decide whether this trip is about making the 6 year old have a memorable holiday, or you and your husband having a memorable holiday. It would be pretty difficult to please a six year old in Rome, with all the walking involved, and seeing historical sites and architecture that have no meaning to them, but that will fascinate an adult. There are little amusement park things, but they are nothing special. Since the 6 year old has another 75 years to see Rome, I'd focus on making it a great trip for you and your husband. The six year old will have to just put up with it, and might enjoy some of it.

As for timing, if you arrive the 15th, that day is pretty much written off as checking in, being tired from jet lag. You might walk to the Fountain of Trevi since your hotel is pretty close. If the six year old isn't tired of walking, you can make it to Piazza Venezia, and see one Rome's great outdoor monuments, sit outdoors, and have a glass of wine. Then it would be half a mile walk to get the child back to the hotel. That might be too much for a six year old, so it might just be Fountain of Trevi.

Keep in mind that the hotel is an upscale business hotel, but it is on Via del Corso, a garish street full of international chain store clothing shops. As soon as you exit the hotel, you should get your bearings, and get off of that street.

So, you really have the 16th and 17th to see Rome, because you check out the 18th. It is not possible to see even one neighborhood of Rome in two days. Something that your child might remember is seeing the Colosseum. Although it's an easy walk from your hotel, with a six year old you will need a taxi. Guides to the Colosseum are generally a nuisance. However, with a six year old, certain types of guides can provide some entertainment, and I would recommend that. Try Rome4Kids, and take a Colosseum guide. Your child will remember the Colosseum.

Just one caution. There are many guys dressed as gladiators around the Colosseum. If they see a tourist with a child they will come to you immediately, put there arm around the child, take pictures, all as if they are doing this for free. They are not. Once they get the pictures they are going to tell you that they provided a service to you and the child, and they will demand payment of 20 euros per picture. They will get very hostile if you don't pay them. This is the same thing that Micky Mouse type characters do in Times Square in NY. Don't let "gladiators" get anywhere near you or your child. Just give them a forceful no, and don't let them take pictures.

The harassment of tourists by fake gladiators became so severe that Rome banned them about a year ago, and there was finally peace. For some reason, the court overturned the ban and the nuisances are back. If you are not up to seeing the Colosseum yourself, try the Rome4Kids tour. They do kid-like things for children.

The second day, since you only have two days in Rome, and Rome means lots of walking, you might want to go to Villa Borghese, which is also near your hotel. It is arguably Rome's best park. You can bike, row boats, and kids just run around in that park a lot. With a 6 year old, you'll probably need to take a cab, because it's a 20 minute walk from your hotel. For the adult side of you, Borghese has one of the best art galleries in Rome. Access is limited, and you have to make a reservation in advance through www.tosc.it. That's for yourself, then let your kid run himself out in the park.

Rome means a lot of walking, and that doesn't go well for a six year old. When I had children that age I comforted myself by thinking, "They have the whole rest of their life to see Rome, so I don't have to focus on them right now."

Do you fly back out of Rome on the 24th? That kind of limits the radius of where else you can visit, or else you'll be spending too much time traveling on trains to get from place to place.

You will be wasting your time going to Pisa. There are a few nice things to see in that town, but not worth traveling for. In some marketing brilliance someone publicized that it has a tower that leans. Big deal. You spend five minutes looking at it, take a picture, and that's it. I think they let about 25 people with reservations into it per day.

There are towers all over Italy that lean, because of the nature of the soil. The Garisenda Tower in downtown Bologna leans over way more than the leaning tower of Pisa. It was just never marketed as the Leaning Tower of Bologna. It is definitely not in your interest to waste a day going all the way to Pisa just to take a picture of the tower to tell people that you were there.

If you check out of Rome on the 18th, and you fly out of Rome on the 24th, then you have to be back in Rome on the 23rd. That means you have four days to see more of Italy. Venice in October is a good choice. Crowds are starting to die down. And it will not be like anything you, your husband, or your six year old have ever seen before. It's arguably the world's most stunningly beautiful city, if you just stay away from San Marco Square and the Rialto Bridge, and all areas between the two, unless it is early in the morning, or late at night. San Marco and Rialto, the whole area between the two, and the train station are the worst places in Venice.

You already have your accommodation for Rome. In Venice, a well located and economical place is Hotel Bisanzio. Do not stay near San Marco, Rialto, or the train station. Don't eat pizza in Venice. Eat your pizza in Rome. Stick to seafood in Venice. The only mode of transport you will need is trains, until you get to Venice, where all transportation is by ferry boats called vaporetti. Buy a multi-day ticket, or else it will be horribly expensive. For trains, don't choose economy, or first class. Second class is generally the same as first class, for a lot less money. If you wanted to do a day trip from Venice, I would suggest a ferry to Burano, not Murano.

From Rome, I think Naples is the next best place to visit because it is so close, but since you planning on heading to Venice I wouldn't recommend it because you would be backtracking. Florence and Bologna are on the way to Venice from Rome, so if you wanted to stop in Bologna you could see your Leaning Tower there, instead of the one in Pisa.

Although I don't agree, some say that the best food in Italy is in Bologna, but you'd have to be really into beef and pork. To Italians, the leaning tower in Bologna is much more famous than the one in Pisa because even Dante wrote about the leaning tower of Bologna in his famous book, The Divine Comedy. Somehow, some great marketing got Pisa's tower onto the tourist maps.

Bologna has unique architecture with porticos, and wonderful sites to see. Interestingly, like Venice, Bologna is all canals, but unlike Venice, they covered them all up! There are a only few places where you can stick your head out the window and see the canal water rushing below the streets, but it's as if it was Venice, and someone decided to cover all the canals and turn them into streets and sidewalks.

Florence is also on the way to Venice from Rome, and it has some memorable sights. Piazza Michelangelo at sunset. The Duomo, and a few blocks along the River Arno. For the most part, at least for adults, it's about museums, so I don't know how much that would light up a six year old.

That is why you have to make a decision. Is this trip about making a memorable vacation for the six year old, with you and your husband's experience subordinate to that, or do you and your husband go about making your best vacation, the six year old is along for the ride, and he or she has the next 75 years to have their own dream vacation. That would change itineraries a lot.
Perche is offline