|Subject: Italy for family.|
your thought of 4 weeks in Italy and Spain can be accomplished only if you're willing to put a lot of planning in it. Moving seven people around isn't easy unless you're a skilled tour operator! Talking about Italy, the best way to take children around is taking day trips, mixing art museums with exploration of Aetruscan tombs, medieval churches with days at the beach. Tuscany and Central Italy are a good summary of all of it, both the southern (sandy) beaches and the northern (rocky) ones are good, but you have to understand you can't do a day trip into Venice or Rome from there because of time and distance. Maybe some Ziner will disagree, but I don't see Cinque Terre as a place for children: it's very scenic, but the beaches are tiny, the towns full of people and, unless they love hiking, there's really nothing to do. The Northern Italian lakes, Como and Maggiore, are very beautiful and worth a visit. Your children will probably enjoy exploring the lush gardens of the villas and crossing the lake on motorboats, but a full week could probably be too long. Youngs and elders will be amazed in Venice by the structure of the town with its canals and the odd collection of service boats, from fire engine to hearse, running up and down. Even if you've seen it in pictures or movies a lot of times, you need to be there to believe. Just a last notice about transportation: your group can have valuable discounts if travelling by train, just asking at the ticket window for a group ticket. If you coose to travel by car, you'll probably need two cars to load all of you and the baggage, as the rental vans carry up to 7 people but with very limited baggage, unless you can rent a minibus carrying 9 passengers, but I guess they aren't easy to find.
If you need to know specific attractions for children, just let me know as in the years I took mine around a lot and I learned fast what to do and what don't.
Paolo Trieste, Italy