Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice

The Italian Trifecta: Rome, Florence, Venice



DAY ONE: Fly in to Rome into Fiumicino Airport aka Leonardo Da Vinci airport . (FRO) Take airport transportation or train and check in to the Hotel Forum.  Explore Trevi Fountain or Capitoline Hill two of the best spots in Rome at sunset.
DAY TWO: Walk and Explore,  “Ancient Rome Day.” See Ancient Rome Walking Map.  Use a private hired tour guide if new. (See helpful hints for suggested guides). Eat dinner by Trevi fountain.
DAY THREE: Take a morning Segway tour.  Similar spots to visit but so relaxing on the feet! Children must be 12. Climb the Spanish Steps and spend ½ day at Villa Borghese for a lower key afternoon.  Enjoy dinner with reservations at Trattoria Monti.   
DAY FOUR: Tour St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, and Vatican Museums.  Take late afternoon train to Florence and check in to Hotel Bellosguardo, Via Roti Michelozzi.
DAY FIVE: Relax and enjoy breakfast on the Terrace.  Walk and explore Florence.  See Florence Day Map.
DAY SIX: See Florence Day Map.
DAY SEVEN: Morning train to Venice.  Check in at Corte Grimani.  Explore Venice Walking Map.
DAY EIGHT: Take a ½ day trip to Isola Di Burano an island just outside of Venice to avoid some crowds. Take the “Learn how to be a Gondolier” tour.
DAY NINE: Get transport to Marco Polo Airport, (VCE)  Venice airport through hotel and fly home.


  • Take a day trip to Lucca, Pisa or Siena.  Can use train or hire drivers for day trips!  



Ancient Rome Day #2 and 3:
  • We started at Roman Forum which is free and bought tickets for the Colosseum at the booth near the Arch of Titus on Palatine Hill as there was no line.  Bring map and guidebook to bring some meaning to the ruins. Walk through entrance nearest the Colosseum, up a ramp marked Via Sacra. (1 hour)rome-2
  • Colosseum, built in A.D. 72 once able to seat 50,000 (1 ½ hour)
  • Arch of Constantine, next to Colosseum, celebrates the legalization of Christianity. (½ hour)
  • Capitoline Hill (Piazza Del Camidiglio) next to Forum designed by Michelangelo (½ hour)
  • Victor Emmanuel-Monument built for Italy’s 1st king.  Take 242 steps to the top. (½ hr)  rome-spanish-steps
  • Trajan’s Column (Piazza Venezia)  2,500 figures on 130’ column telling of Trajan’s victory.  The Via del Corso shopping streets starts here and ends at Borghese Gardens and intersects Via Condoitt.  (½ hour)
  • Pantheon, built in 27 B.C. one of the most impressive  and complete ancient Roman monuments remaining today (1 hour)  Free.  
  • Trevi Fountain-Designed by Nicolo Salvi.  One of the more infamous and recognizable fountains built in 1762 (5 minutes to an hour)
  • Villa Borghese the “Central Park” of Rome, where there is bumper cars, ponies, zoo and more. (2-3 hours)
  • Climb the Spanish Steps. (1 hour)

Rome Day #4- Vatican City
  • vatican-citySt. Peter’s Square (no fee).  There is a trove of treasures, you just need to know where to look.  Climb the 320 steps to St. Peter’s Basilica roof where you can peer down at the square and take in the views.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica just inside the doors on the right is the PIeta, by Michelangelo at the age of 24, the Statue of St. Andrew, (near dome) and Statue of St. Peter-to the right before dome.
  • Purchase your tickets to the Vatican Museum in Advance here:
  • You have to walk 10-15 minutes to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel from the Square to a separate entrance on Viale Vaticano.
  • Attend a Latin Mass at the Chapel at 5:00 p.m.

Click to view Walking Map


Florence Day #5 and 6
  • Take a map from your hotel before you begin your day.  All the major attractions are within walking distance of the center of the city/Duomo and very well marked by brown signs.florence-4
  • Statue of David in Galleria dell’Accademia.  Purchase tickets in advance online or through concierge.
  • After an indoor visit to a museum, explore the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo)  You can climb both the dome and the bell tower (Campanille).  We chose the bell tower for the great views of the Duomo.florence-3
  • Uffizi Gallery -a wonderful museum featuring renaissance art
  • Piazza Della Signoria -a wonderful square
  • Ponte Vecchio-most ancient and photographed bridge in Florence. Walk cross the Ponte Vecchio to the other side of the Arno, turn right onto Borgo San Jacapo and walk down to Hotel Lungarno for a great photo spot.florence-2
  • Palazzo Vecchio -Florence’s primary palace and square
  • Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) and Boboli Gardens-largest museum complex in Florence
  • Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
  • Piazza della Repubblica -southwest of the Duomo; open square with a carousel
  • For great views, just outside of Florence is Basilica Di San Miniato al Monte

Click to View Walking Map

Venice Day #7 and 8  
  • Learn to be a Gondolier.  This company does a great job of educating the whole family on the mechanics and history of being a Gondolier.  The whole family enjoyed this experience and we had a great English speaking guide who shared with us so much about the history of this area.
  • View Piazza San Marco, (St. Marcos Square)  before visiting the Basilica, busy but beautiful square.  venice
  • Explore the Church, Saint Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) and pre book tickets to go inside.  Worth the scenery, not the lines.
  • Doges Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in St. Mark’s square,
  • Academy, Galleria dell’ Accademia, Art Museum  Bellinis
  • Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)
  • Isola di Burano-take a waterbus to see this beautiful island.  Spend a ½ day relaxing, shopping and soaking in the pastel colors.

Click to View Walking Map


  • gondolierWe had fun with the kids on an interactive experience with “Learn to be a Gondolier.”  Great way to see the sights and have fun for the kids.
  • We enjoyed the Segway tours as a way to rest our feet and still see the sights.  They are available in Rome, Florence and Venice.  If kids are too young for segway tours, the same company offers bike tours for younger kids.rome-segway



Places to Stay in Rome:
  • We’ve stayed in Rome multiple times and we like both of these hotels because of nice rooms and service. The Hotel Forum and Hotel Compo de Fiori 
  • If you’re looking for space to accomodate 2-3 bedrooms, try, airbnb a growing website for renting apartments!

    The Hotel Forum
    The Hotel Forum

Hotel Campo Di Fiori
Hotel Campo Di Fiori


Places to Stay in Florence:
  • Torres Di Bellosgardo
    Torre di Bellosguardo
    The Hotel Bellosguardo (Torre di Bellosguardo) is on a hill above Florence away from the hectic city sections. 15 minute downhill and 40 minute walk to Duomo.  Beautiful terrace pool and outdoor terrace breakfast.
  • Also, recommended during another stay in Florence, Park Palace 


Corte Grimani
Albergo Corte Grimani


Places to Stay in Venice:



Selecting and recommending an eatery is difficult in a city with over thousands of  restaurants because you often want to stumble into one when you’re all starved and they’re nearby.  Many are closed however, from 3-7p.m. so catch your lunch beforehand.  
Here are some places we’ve tried:
Tip:  When you arrive in your city, go to Tripadvisor and your concierge for local best restaurant type that would suit your needs.



  • Try not to rush through the cities with a specific agenda.  We feel like it’s all one great giant museum when you’re experiencing Italy.
  • If it’s the whole families first time to Italy, you may want to hire guides to help you through long lines and get educated on what you’re viewing for an easier experience with kids.  As a reminder, this overall, is for a “cerebral” child who likes to soak in history.  In Rome, we used a great guide who has an art history Ph.D, Angela Caiati, Eyes of Rome. Official Story Teller. Email  In Florence, we used, for guided tours.  Both were great and well worth it!
  • Start and end your Italian trip in major cities car-free and either rent a car or arrange train/driver transportation in between.
  • When getting on/off trains don’t linger around the train stations there can be a lot of drifters and bums hanging out.
  • Wear comfy shoes!  The cobblestones will devour any heel or sandal.  Soak kids feet at night!
  • Jet lag is a factor for some kids. I wouldn’t plan anything on first day of arrival. Most flights land early.  See if you can arrange early check in.
  • Most hotels have wifi, but it’s worth getting an international plan for your phone as you’ll need it for maps.
  • Try to pack light as rolling suitcases don’t roll in Italy.



  • Valid passports for 6 months.
  • Pre-order some of the Rick Steves Guides for Italy. Or, if you’re an art history buff, listen to some of Rick Steves downloadable podcasts for some of the museums so you can then educate your kids and pretend you know what you’re talking about!
  • Watch Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn (not sure if kids would be interested!)
  • Purchase Rome City Walks: 50 Adventures on Foot 


Photo Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


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