Italian Holiday: Venice and Florence

Family friendly, romantic and historic—whatever your travel interests, you’re sure to find them satisfied with a vacation to Italy.


In case you haven’t already guessed from my name, my father’s side of the family is Italian. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved all things that come from Italy: its language, art, food, wine, fashion and film. Even the trials and tribulations of Italian politics have fascinated and entertained me over the years.

However I’ve managed to make just one visit to my “home” country so far, but it was a worthwhile one—that included stays in Florence and Venice, two of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen. My favorite memories of Venice are simply walking along its winding streets and canals; taking in the gorgeous architecture, especially St. Mark’s Basilica (San Marco in Italian) and its beautiful mosaics and the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale); and falling in love with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

In Florence, one of the best meals I’ve ever had was at a small restaurant named Pane e Olio that we passed on our walk between Florence and the villa we stayed in a few kilometers outside of the city. Communal tables, mostly local patrons, one fixed-price seven-course menu that changes daily, fabulous fresh ingredients, all for about $20 per person, including house wine. It’s since changed management and expanded, but not too much—seating for 38 only inside—and I’m sure the price has increased as well, but I’ve recommended it to many people over the past 10 years, and they’ve all loved it.

This week TravelMuse contributor Barbara Radcliffe Rogers, who wrote our Rome coverage earlier this year, shares her love of these Italian cities and her secret finds for individuals and families alike. In addition to her Florence feature, be sure to also read her Secrets of the City article and Parks and Gardens, which is great for family travelers in need of green space for running around. Her Florence Hotel Alternatives piece takes a look at villas and small inns outside the city.

For Venice, Rogers gives a great overview of this romantic port city, then shares her recommendations for how to make a family visit educational and fun for the kids in Counting Venetian Lions, Unmasking the Mask Makers and getting lost in the garden maze at Villa Pisani.

Additional Features and Columns

Kim Foley MacKinnon shares 10 tips for your next Italian vacation, options for safe adventurous activities and the hot WaterFire Providence event; Amy L. Hatch takes a look at family cruises; and Nicole Fancher writes about eco farm stay vacations, a growing trend for family travelers. Also check out articles on single parent travel and our weekly travel deals.

On a closing note, watch the TravelMuse video from our presentation at DEMOfall’08 last week, and cast your vote for us. Tell all your friends and family to vote too! Following our successful launch of Social Trip Planning at DEMOfall’08, TravelMuse was listed in VentureBeats’ Top 10 picks from DEMO, PC Magazine’s favorite list and CIO’s top 12 favorites from DEMO and TC50.

If you haven’t yet checked out our great new planning tool, do so now!

Happy travels,

Donna M. Airoldi
Editorial Director

Themes: Family Travel

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