Rome, Latium, Italy Trip: 2015-06   Update: 2015-07-03   By: lifeisgood

Title: 11 days Italy family trip

Preparation: We booked air tickets Shanghai to Rome and Milan to Shanghai almost two months before the trip. At the same time we also booked hotels in all 4 cities: Rome 3 nights, Florence 3 nights, Venice 2 nights and Milan 2 nights. I also brought 3 travel books, in which the most useful one is DK Eyewitness travel family guide: Italy.

General opinion: We all love Italy and we had a great time during the vacation. Among the 4 cities, we love Venice and Rome the most. Florence is also very peaceful and beautiful. If we can do this all over again, we would spend 2 more days in Venice and skip Milan totally. Things I didn’t know before: 1. Sitting down eating breakfast is way more expensive than standing and eating. 2. Tons of Motorcycles in Rome and Florence. Motorcycles and cars are very fast even in small alleys. It seems they don’t have speed limit! 3. Even train tickets have assigned seats, and it has mistakes all the time. We once had seats 20, 21 while there are only 19 seats in that cart! 4. Major attractions like the Vatican City, book tickets online at least 1 week before!

Attractions and activities: Day 1. We flew to Rome and landed around 7pm. I’m Glad my husband arranged a driver from hotel to pick us up. Passing by the Vatican City. Day 2. We got up early and went to the Colosseum and only waited 20 minutes in line. It took us 2 hours to visit the whole site. Then we came out walking towards the Trevi fountain, passing by Trajan’s Market & Columns. The Trevi fountain was in maintenance so we didn’t get see the turquoise fountain. After lunch we walked back to hotel had a quick rest then went to Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Spanish Steps. That’s the place we had dinner. We walked almost 22000 steps one day. Day 3. We called a taxi and went to Piazza St. Pietro. We waited almost one hour and a half to get the ticket to Vatican museum. If we knew, we would buy tickets online like a week before. We ended up spending 80+ more Euros to follow a tourist group to get in. There are several museums in it and includes the Egyptian Museum, Gallery of Maps, Gallery of Tapestries , Pinacoteca, Raphael Rooms, and so on. The most famous one is the Sistine Chapel. It was great, we had a whole day walking in there and ended the day in the largest Cathedral in the world: St Peter’s. On the way home we passed the Castel St Angelo and crossed the Ponte St Angelo. I also walked to St Ignazio Church by myself right before dinner. Day 4. We stopped by the famous Truth Mouth before we went the Campo de’ Fiori (the market with fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, also pasta!) The last stop before we left Rome was the Piazza of Popolo. We climbed up the hill and the view of the entire Rome City is just breathtaking. We took the afternoon train and arrived at Florence around 6pm.

Dining: Pasta, Pizza and Salad! Breakfast really contains just a cup of cappuccino and a croissant. If you sit and eat, it will cost more than double. So the best is to get take out or stand and eat! At lunchtime we usually order Pizza and Pasta. It usually costs 30 – 40 euros. Dinner will be a little formal and cost around 50 -70 euros. The tip is much more less than in the States. Sometime if it charges the service fee, you may not need to tip. All water, bread and butter are not free, not like in America!

Commute: Since most of the attractions are close to town, be prepared to walk! The average steps we took each day is around 15000 to 20000. We usually called taxis to and from the train station since we have luggage with us. The cost is not bad. 20 minutes ride is usually around 15 euros. Most of the taxi drivers speak or can at least understand English. The interesting thing is we saw a lot BMW or Mercedes Bends as taxi. Between 4 cities we took trains. You don’t need to buy ticket before hand. You may just go to the station and buy tickets there. Looks like every hour or so they have trains to your next city.

Lodge: Since we really want to stay close to the center of the town in all 4 cities, the hotels we picked are around 300 – 500 euros per night. Rome: The Splendor Suite. 300 euros per night, has a loft with a double bed, which is perfect for the kids. It is in the Piazza di San Lorenzo, has couple of bars and restaurants outside just downstairs. Florence: An apartment (Residence Porta Al Prato) with two separate bedrooms. It is only around 200 Euros per night. Venice: 300 Euro per night. It is called Villa Laguna, right at the waterbus station in Lido. The living room window opens up to the sea. You can see the opening of the big canal with the Cathedral on one side right from the window. The view is just amazing. The best thing is it has complimentary breakfast right at the balcony that oversees the ocean! Milan: 500 Euro per night. It is a very modern service apartment hotel with very clean big rooms. They had set up the two twin beds for our kid in the living room. It is just a little expensive!

Shopping: I don’t recommend shopping in Milan. The price of the same merchandize is higher than in the US. I regret not getting more pasta or spices in Rome.

Things I wish I had known before: (Continue on Resort section: ) Day 5. We spent almost the whole morning in the Duomo, the famous Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence. We climbed up onto Giotto’s bell tower first (441steps) then the Duomo (around 500 steps). In the afternoon, we passed by the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio. We also visited the Galileo Museum. We climbed hills and reached Piazza of Michelangelo, and the David statue is blue which made me a little surprised. Day 6. Took train to the small town Pisa. Spend half day at the Leaning Tower and came back visited the Boboli Gardens. Day 7. Train ride to Venice by noon. We spent the afternoon in Pizza of San Marcos and enjoyed the waterbus ride up and down the channel. Day 8. In the morning we took a Gondola ride and spent couple of hours in the Ca’d’Oro. We rested in Campo Santa Margherita and saw the fruit and vegetable market on the boat. In the afternoon, we went to the Glass Museum in the island of Murano and then went to Burano. The colorful houses in Burano definitely made me want to stay there more. Day 9. Spent the whole morning on the beach in Lido Island. Arrived at Milan around 6pm. The modern service apartment we stayed in was just a couple of minutes away from the Milan Cathedral and it is also in the heart of the shopping area. Day 10. We visited the Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano) and also went up to the top. The kids got tired and they spent the afternoon in the hotel watching TV while we two went to the Sforzesco Castle. We also did some shopping afterwards around the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II area. Day 11. Last day in Italy started with more shopping around central Milan. The flight back to home was long and we stopped at London to change the plane. Because of time difference, we got home the next day around 4pm after total 11 hours between London to Shanghai.


  • The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheater in the center of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and stone, it is the largest amphitheater ever built and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering.
The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 72 AD, and was completed in 80 AD under his successor and heir Titus.

The Colosseum could hold, it is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. ( text from Wiki)
  • The Spanish Steps  are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.

The 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, made the Spanish Steps famous to an American audience.( text from Wiki)
  • The Gallery of Maps is a gallery located on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard in the Vatican containing a series of painted topographical maps of Italy based on drawings by friar and geographer Ignazio Danti.

The gallery was commissioned in 1580 by Pope Gregory XIII as part of other artistic works commissioned by the Pope to decorate the Vatican. It took Danti three years (1580–1583) to complete the 40 panels of the 120 m long gallery. ( text from Wiki )
  • Piazza -  广场

Piazza of St. Pietro is a massive plaza located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.
  • St Ignazio Church is a Roman Catholic titular church, of deaconry rank, dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, located in Rome, Italy.

The nave ceiling celebrates the work of Saint Ignatius and the Society of Jesus in the world presenting the saint welcomed into paradise by Christ and the Virgin Mary and surrounded by allegorical representations of all four continents. ( text from Wiki)
  • meaning the Bridge of Hadrian, is a Roman bridge in Rome, Italy, completed in 134 AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian, to span the Tiber, from the city center to his newly constructed mausoleum, now the towering Castel Sant'Angelo. The bridge is faced with travertine marble and spans the Tiber with five arches, three of whom are Romans; it was approached by means of ramp from the river. The bridge is now solely pedestrian, and provides a photogenic vista of the Castel Sant'Angelo.  ( from Wiki)
  • it means "Old Bridge", Italian pronunciation: [ˈponte ˈvɛkkjo])[1][2] is a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. ( text from Wiki)
  • The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant'Angelo (English: Castle of the Holy Angel), is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castel was once the tallest building in Rome. ( text from Wiki)
  • is a piazza in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium.[1] The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones ("games"), and hence it was known as "Circus Agonalis" ("competition arena"). It is believed that over time the name changed to in avone to navone and eventually to navona.

Defined as a public space in the last years of 15th century, when the city market was transferred to it from the Campidoglio, the Piazza Navona was transformed into a highly significant example of Baroque Roman architecture and art during the pontificate of Innocent X, who reigned in from 1644 until 1655, and whose family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili, faced the piazza. It features important sculptural and architectural creations. ( text from Wiki )
  • Giotto’s bell tower is a free-standing campanile that is part of the complex of buildings that make up Florence Cathedral on the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, Italy.

Standing adjacent the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistry of St. John, the tower is one of the showpieces of the Florentine Gothic architecture with its design by Giotto, its rich sculptural decorations and the polychrome marble encrustations.

This slender structure stands on a square plan with a side of 14.45 metres (47.41 ft). It attains a height of 84.7 metres (277.9 ft) sustained by four polygonal buttresses at the corners.[1] These four vertical lines are crossed by four horizontal lines, dividing the tower in five levels. ( text from Wiki)


yanz   2015-07-02 14:52   update: 2015-07-07 06:49  

Why should we flag this? It contains
It seems you really had a great time in Italy. Thank you very much for posting your wonderful travel experience here!