3 week Family Road Trip through Italy

Updated: Oct 7, 2018

Itinery

2 nights in Venice

2 night in Verona

4 nights in Bellagio

3 Nights in Lucca

4 Nights in Amalfi (Sorrento)

4 nights in Puglia (Ostuni)


Holiday highlights in numbers

6 Houses (2 Agritourismo, 1 Airbnb, 3 booking.com)

2 bike rides around town walls

7 boat rides (1 overnight ferry)

2 plane rides

1 trip to dinner without a wallet

74 Churches, Duomos and Cathedrals

115 hours talking about dogs

246 bowls of pasta

4,000 steps to views

10,000 church bells chiming

1732 times Jacob refused to walk any further

?? KM's driving


Venice:

We went on a tour of Murano and here are some of the things we learnt:

  • Murano is famous for its glass making studios

  • Jacob wants to become a master glass blower

  • The Symbol of Murano is a Rooster and you can find Roosters made of glass and carved from stone in and on lots of the buildings

  • The reason the glass studios were moved from Venice to Murano was to protect the city from fire, if there was a fire in one of the glass studios on Murano, Venice would not burn down.

  • The glass is so hot that if you put paper near it, it will catch fire!

  • Once out of the furnace the master has only 1 ½ min to work the glass before it is too cold to mold, he can make a horse and much more in this time.

  • The balconies around Venice balloon so that in the olden days when ladies had big dresses that ballooned out they could stand on the balcony and look out to see what was going on in the street without their dresses getting squashed.

Venice was so beautiful and there were so many things to buy, it just had too many people

My 9th birthday was a rip snorter and the spag bol I had for lunch was one of the best of my life.


Notes from mum: we stayed in C'Banderuola it was very spacious and reasonable price. Located very close to Rialto bridge, the owner met us at the water bus stop and walked us to the apartment. It was a three story walk up so help with luggage was appreciated!

We used the water buses lots and they were great

Everything is expensive! Hard to do Venice on a budget but not impossible

We did the Murano tour and dream catcher making with Macatour and they were very good and engaging, the kids loved it.

We had a great day touring Murano and spent the afternoon round Giardini which was great. Central Venice was so ramed with people it was not enjoyable at all, by the time we left after 48 hours I was delighted to leave. That said it I am glad we dropped it as it is an extraordinary place.



Eve's lasting memories of Venice.

Venice was spectacular it was full of colour, and bustling with people.

Excellent exciting water world, was waiting for its magic to whirl into action

Naughty Lions watched over the city, if the book was open it means it was a time of peace, closed books showed times of war.

I loved making the dream catcher you needed to pick the perfect beads so each stream weighed teh same

Creative colourful glass was displayed all over the city

Enchanting mist covered the buildings like a blanket of snow


Verona: we caught a train from Venice

Erbe Square

The tower of the lamberts looks over the city and we didn’t even know it!


Torrie Dei Lamberti proudly watching over the city

There were so many stories of love like Romeo and Juliet in this city.

We went on a treasure hunt and learnt lots about the city

  • Gnocci first came from around Verona and to make it you need water, salt, flour and potaotes.

  • We found a fur cone that is cast in concrete as it is very important because it was used to light the fires that are needed to make the gnocci

  • We saw a whale rib hanging in the arch of the center square, How did it get here so far from the sea?

  • We found a letter box which was a concrete sculpture of a lion and you could post letters through the lions open mouth. This was used in the olden days for people to write down the names of people who did things naughty, the post man would then collect the letters and tell the king the name of the naughty people so they could be told off but no one would know how the king found out the names


The Letter Box!

We had dinner in a big square that we could run round and play hide and seek, it was the best spaghetti I have had since being in Italy, and I discovered that I prefer tomato pasta to Spag bol!!!

In that square they wheeled a grand piano out of the back of the van and started a jazz concert, the women playing the piano and singing was lovely.



Notes from Mum

We stayed at Boutique Apartments it was a bit more pricey but I found it hard to find anywhere good in Verona. The apartment was in a fantastic location and very comfy

We really loved Verona. It was a great city to waste time in, walk around soaking in the stylish atmosphere and sit in cafes people watching. We would love to go back for longer and I am really glad we included the short stop.

We did a kids treasure with Macatour, this was not as good as we had experienced in Venice but still a good way to have the kids entertained and have a look round.



Lake Como: we drove from Verona with a stop at Lake Garda

Bellagio: The dark waves crashed across the lake, the boats raced from place to place, the people all bustle about not knowing where they should be but looking busy.



We went on a little train that huffed and puffed and chugged its way up the hill, we weren’t sure if it would make it but pretty soon the huff and puff became a snooze and ooze as we all fell asleep to the motion of the train.




Half day hike to San Marino

'I can't do it!' 'I am too tired!' 'I want to stop!' But we didn't! And we all made it to the top.... Jacob was even the first one down and waiting for us with an apple juice when we got there.



We wanted to make a creature house for the lizards and the butterflies, it had a wall and a garden, a play area and a balcony and we left flowers around it to brighten it up.


The Creature House

Eating grass on the descent

Starving we resorted to eating grass because Jacob and Daddy had raced down the mountain ahead of us and taken all the snacks. The grass was OK













Villa Melzi


We looked across the perfect grass and little specks of paint scattered the grass, they were so pretty I want to take them home, so we plucked the wild flowers into an arrangement of beautiful purple, yellow and white

It felt like you were bouncing down the hill as we rolled out of control down the steep slopes, I kept going in the wrong direction so had to look up but was scared I was going to hit my head. Alice’s skidded down. I really enjoyed racing round the paths finding where they led



Alice said 'It made me feel sick, at the end, after my last roll, I had leaves in my hair and felt so sick.'


Jacob said 'There were lots of secret paths to discover and big cannons'



North Tuscany: we drove from Bellagio and stopped at the Ferrari Museum

Lucca

'Whoo, I am so fast' Alice sang as she flew along the city wall only slowing her little orange bike to adjust for the speed wobbles. I felt happy and joyful as we raced past the 90 churches inside the walls.


Jigger jigger jigger over the cobbles we bounced as we weaved through the old town, brring brring went the bell as we breezed past people, zoom zoom went the bikes as we raced down the ramp at the Duomo.


The day passed so quickly we finished it off with a ride on the beautiful merry-go-round and the worlds best pancakes, Eve saw the pancakes and shrieked with excitement, the shop (Gelateria Veneta) was 91 years old and possibly the best pancakes in the world ever.



The Leaning Tower of Pisa

It was better than I expected. Clustered with marble strips and arches, peacefully watching us. Showing the past tied in a knot with one simple routine, the steps were wobbly, slowly but surely falling unevenly one brick at a time fumbling down.

It was wonkier than I thought it would be and whiter. I liked walking up the Tower mostly the steps at the beginning that were really wonky and made you feel like you were falling over. My favourite thing was the steps at the top that all had a dip in the middle where so many feet had walked on them. I liked seeing the bells at the top, Mum and Dad have been driving me crazy going on about church bells and now I got to see them close up. The front of the Cathedral was pretty amazing and actually in side there was a person who you could see in their coffin.





Sorrento and Amalfie Coast: We flew from Pisa to Naples

Capri

The boat whizzed, the waves crashed and smashed, the sun sizzled and dazzled, the Gelato amazed and dazed, the lanes tempted and relented as we skipped and ripped our way around Capri.


Notes from Mum

We used Fernando's Boats semi private tour- they were great.

The time on Capri was lovely but the best bit was visiting the caves and sites around the island and swimming in the beautiful sea


Pompei

It wasn't what I expected. I thought it would just be houses covered in mud and empty. It was actually much cooler


Mount Vesuvius behind Pompei Town Square




Facts we learnt about Mount Vesuvius eruption.

  • Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD and is one of the most famous natural disasters

  • It was more powerful than an atomic bomb and happened at 1pm

  • The deceased have been made into body casts- even a dog!

  • Pompei Cemetries also served as dumps

  • Vesuvius gave plenty of warnings, including earthquakes, before it erupted.

  • People died in three breaths, 1 they inhaled the ash, 2 the ash cooled and became solid, three they were suffocated

  • Slaves couldn't run because they were often chained up

  • The ash cloud was so dark it felt like night time

  • Pebbles and ashes the size of enormous stones flew through the air

  • The people did not know to expect the Tsunami


Things we didn't expect about Pompei

  • Pompei was not important to the Roman Empire, it was just a small town of about 20,000 people

  • They had shops with Pizza ovens in them!

  • They had fast food before McDonalds

  • The streets had white stones to light the way

  • They put stepping stones across the roads to use when roads flooded so people didn't get wet

  • Shops had sliding doors and can be identified by runs in the door frames

  • Stones around the drinking fountains have been worn down by hand imprints because you had to lean on your hands around the fountains to get to the water.

  • Slaves lit fires under marble floors in the town baths to heat the steam rooms

  • Amphi-theatre is how you describe a round theatre because amphi means 2 and a round theatre is two theatres stuck together

  • New Pompei town is built using the ash taken away to reveal old Pompei

Notes from mum.

The kids LOVED Pompei, they keep talking about and have researched more information on it since visiting.

We used Italytoursforkids.com for our tour and they were great

We caught the train from Sorrento which was really easy and less stressful than a car ride on the Amalfie roads


Amalfie and Positano


Notes from mum

We stayed in Sorrento in a great apartment.

Sorrento was a good location to explore from. There was absolutely no need to have a car.


Puglia: we picked up a car in Sorrento and drove to Puglia


Cisternino

BBQ butchers: we got a bit lost in the alleyways of the old white town. We stumbled across the old square, and heard more church bells, the restaurants were all meat shops where you chose what you wanted from the display and they then cooked it for, the food was good but I felt sorry for the animals



Day exploring Ostuni

we skidded over the white stones, racing up the hills in our new leather sandals, everything was white so it was very hard to know where to go next.



Alberobello

The little Trulli houses were like rain drops that never popped. They looked like mole hills covering the mountains.


Crazy Trulli houses


Bari:

We saw the relics of Saint Nicholas! And we caught the overnight ferry to Dubrovnik. Bye Bye Italy, we have had so much fun.



Notes from mum

We loved Puglia it is like a different world. MUCH less touristy and less obvious, you had to do a bit more digging but the towns all had little surprises that delighted us.

We stayed in an agritourismo it had lots of space and the kids were delighted to spend hours playing with the animals. It was between Cisternino and Ostuni, close to lots of sites.

If we had longer we would've explored the bike tracks, gone further south, and checked out some of the olive oil farms


Italy was an amazing place to visit as a family, very friendly and accessible. The cities were so full, even in October, I am glad we weren't there in August, and I am glad we had plenty of time out of the big cities. The weather was great. Getting around was easy and safe. The the most amazing places were those we least expected.