Family Travels
We had such a great time during our brief 2004
visit that we made Italy the focus of our 2007 trip.
Italy was just one of those countries we had not
spent alot of time exploring.

In 1990, during Mom and Dad's backpacking tour
of was raining in we
went to Rome for a day!  Ok...we were young, a
little crazy but we had a Eurarail we
discovered it was cheaper than a hotel, if we slept
on the train overnight.

In 2004, we day-tripped from Nice....and drove
down the Italian Riviera to the Cinque Terre.  We
don't recommend that you try this....the roads are
long and twisty...The scenery is beautiful as the
road twists and turns around cliffs and through
mountains along the coast.  "As the bird flies" it
doesn't look that long....driving takes FOREVER.

At the end of our trip in 2004, we took the train
from Nice, France to Venice.  Venice is perfect.  It
was so much more that we expected.  You should
plan at least three nights here....get a museum
pass, a water bus pass....and explore
Mt. Etna from Sea
We began our Italy 2007 Adventure by flying into
Nice, France. (using frequent flyer miles)
We traveled mostly by train and only used a rental
car for Tuscany.  So we took the train to the Cinque
Terre and spend three amazing nights there.

From Cinque Terre, we day tripped to Pisa to see
the sights and took the train on to Florence.  
We LOVED  Florence.
Florence was amazing, exciting and a wonderful joy.

We rented a car to explore Tuscany....really the only
way to explore the whole region.  We home-based in
Montepulciano and stayed with Gio and Ivana at the
Mueble il Riccio...which we highly recommend.

We spent three days hitting...Montalcino, Pienza,
Volterra, San Gimignano, Cortona, Siena, Assisi

We turned the car into Orvieto and took the train into
Rome (to avoid driving the crazy roads of a big city)
We spent two really nice days in Rome.
After our last experience in 1990 (without children)
we were leery about traveling there. With some
planning and safety precautions, we really enjoyed
Rome the second time around.

From Rome, we took a Train to Naples...transferred
to a local train to Sorrento and stayed at the
amazing Hotel Settimo Cielo.  We spent a day
exploring the Almafi coastal towns with our private
driver, Tony,  from the Monetti family. On our way
back to Naples, (to catch a flight to Venice) Carmine
Monetti included a quick stop at Pompeii

During our second stay in Venice...we really enjoyed
No museums, churches or palaces...we strolled
along, shopping, relaxing at local bars for Cicchetti,
or sipping wine on public piazzas.
Now that is a vacation.
Dates Visited --
1990, 2004, 2007, 2008
Our third trip to Italy was in combination with a
Mediterranean cruise.  We arrived in Rome so we
have a day or so for revisiting some important sights
and favorite places. (Campo dei Fiori for Forno's
Pizza, Piazza Navonne, the Parthenon, and Giolottis
for gelato.

We left for our cruise out of Citavecchia (Rome's port)
and our stops included Sicily, where we visited
Taormina) and a day in Naples.

Sicily is a place we have always wanted to go...and
we were very excited about the cruise...until we found
out that we were not in port (Messina) long enough to
take the shore excursions to the top of Mt. Etna to see
the lava flows.  So we visited Taormina instead.

In Naples we had a chance to visit the National
Archaeological Museum, which gave us an opportunity
to see items and mosaics removed from Pompeii
(which we had visited during our last trip in 2007)

Unfortunately, Naples pretty much closes down on
Sundays.  Don't bother going on a Sunday...outside of
the museum nothing was shops, cafes, or
even street was like a ghost town.

I guess we will just have to go back.
This visit we got to visit the inside
of the Parthenon