Milan, Venice, and Rome-Feb. 2023

Old Dec 4th, 2022, 10:52 AM
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Milan, Venice, and Rome-Feb. 2023

Hi All,

I'm trying to decide how to split our time for our upcoming trip to Italy. We will arrive in Milan from the US on Fri, 2/17 and will fly home from Rome on Sun, 2/26. Traveling with me are my husband and three children (11, 9, and 4-turns 5 during trip).

Only flights have been booked so far, so this is very flexible, but my initial timeline is as follows:

Fri, 2/17-Arrive in Milan early afternoon
Sat, 2/18-Visit The Last Supper in the AM, early afternoon train to Venice
Sun, 2/19-Venice
Monday, 2/20-Venice and afternoon train to RomeTues, 2/21-Sat, 2/25-Rome
​​​​​​Sun, 2/26-Morning flight home

I know that our arrival day is going to be a jet lag battle, but I am TENTATIVELY planning on squeezing in the Duomo di Milano that afternoon. Tickets for The Last Supper aren't available for February yet, but I think we'll aim for a mid-morning slot to allow for a slightly later start. We were only planning on one night in Milan, but would it be worth stretching it to two nights, and leaving for Venice on Sunday? The extra night in Milan would affect our stay in Rome, taking it from 6 nights (5 full days), to 5 nights and 4 days.

My initial thought is that there are more high interest sites in Rome for the kids, and the extra night is probably better spent there, but feedback is welcome!

​​​​Thanks in advance!
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 11:50 AM
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Honestly, with such a tight schedule and travelling with children, much though I love it I would jettison Venice and just do Milan and Rome. With only 8 whole days, and the unknown factor of jetlag to contend with, you are I feel tempting fate to try only to spend one night in Milan especially sandwiched between a long flight and a train journey. You also have limited light levels at that time of year and the possibility of bad weather which could literally make Venice a wash-out.

If you can bring yourself to do that then your itinerary becomes far less frantic. No need to try to squeeze the Milan Duomo into your arrival day, move that to the second day, and the Last Supper to earlier on the third. Then catch an early train to Rome on your fourth day and spend the rest of the time in Rome. That will give you this:

Fri, 2/17-Arrive in Milan early afternoon
Sat, 2/18- Duomo, etc.
Sun, 2/19 - Visit The Last Supper in the AM [subject to availability on Sundays]
Monday, 2/20- train to Rome
Tues, 2/21-Sat, 2/25-Rome

​​​​​​Sun, 2/26-Morning flight home

That gives you 3 nights in Milan and 6 in Rome which feels to me like a much better paced trip especially with three children in tow.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 12:10 PM
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I also love Venice and tend to agree with annhig that you might consider skipping it for such a short visit (with three children in tow). Also, I visited Venice once in February and it was bone-chillingly cold and damp. We didn't have rain, but yikes it was just so cold. This was during Carnevale, which your proposed dates coincide with, by the way. That can make the city quite crowded, though festive--and expensive.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 01:26 PM
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I think your plan is quite doable and wouldn't stretch out your time in Milan. Tentatively scheduling the Duomo for your arrival date is a good idea as the kids can run around the plaza area (if they have the energy) and you will feel like you really have arrived in exciting Italy. Years ago we walked on the top of the Duomo, which was quite fun. I think the kids might enjoy that, if there is no age restriction and it isn't raining.

My kids loved being in Venice but weather and Carnevale might make that challenging. You could save Venice for another trip and instead add Florence.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 04:02 PM
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Afternoon train departures usually mean you have to pack and check out of your hotel, leave the luggage and retrieve it before heading to the train station. This sounds like a hassle with three kids in tow. You can take taxis in Milan to make things easier, but water taxis in Venice are pretty expensive

What if you're unable to get your preferred time for the Last Supper? What if you can only get tickets in the afternoon for that day?

You only have 8 days not impacted by arrival and departure. I agree that dropping Venice would reduce the time pressures and help with the jet lag, and you certainly won't run out of things to see in both Milan and Rome.

If you do keep Venice in the mix, be sure to take no-change trains Milan-Venice and Venice-Rome.
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 09:43 AM
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Thank you all for your feedback; I really do appreciate it. While I recognize the wisdom in the suggestions to eliminate Venice to simplify the itinerary, it is a non-negotiable for my husband (and interestingly enough, my 4 year, who is obsessed with the book Olivia goes to Venice).

​​​​​​That said, am I shortchanging Milan by only allocating one night? Having previously visited Rome, my husband and I aren't necessarily opposed to pulling a day from that portion of the trip if it might be better spent in Milan.
Separately, my daughter turns 5 while we are in Rome. We have promised to celebrate at home before we leave, but are there any activities that I might earmark for her special day?

Thank you!
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 09:58 AM
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<<Thank you all for your feedback; I really do appreciate it. While I recognize the wisdom in the suggestions to eliminate Venice to simplify the itinerary, it is a non-negotiable for my husband (and interestingly enough, my 4 year, who is obsessed with the book Olivia goes to Venice). >>

In that case, Danielle, I think that I would give an extra night to Venice [which will give you two full days] and then get an early train to Rome on the morning of Sat 2/21.

An even better plan, given that Venice is a must with your family, would be to fly into Venice, and cut Milan completely.
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 11:43 AM
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Definitely reserve for dinner in Venice as you will be there the final weekend of Carnevale.
https://www.carnevale.venezia.it/en/
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 12:07 PM
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I think your original plan works well.
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 06:05 PM
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I was in Milan last week so some thoughts:
Milan Duomo has access to the cathedral only, only on Wednesday. Other access is through combo tickets. If you haven't already check out to see what works for you at duomomilano.it/en. There is just 5 timeslots left for an English tour for Sat.

https://cenacolovinciano.vivaticket.it/ for Last Supper tickets. Tickets for me opened up Oct 29 for Nov,Dec,Jan. With that schedule, for your Feb visit the tickets should open up Jan 27-30. Due to the environmental access procedure, only 35 people are allowed in each time slot. Again, English slots maybe limited.

I was in Venice and Rome in May 2022 and as noted Venice can be damp and chilly. Carnavale ends the 21st and although there seems to be one free event, the rest are costly. Tickets for St. Marks is timed as well and may be snapped up as the time gets closer. I would also look into going to Mass especially the service with the choir which is wonderful and gets you an extra glimpse of a portion of the Basilica.

Lots of options with the Coloseum now but timed as well.

I was in Croatia in April 2022 and planes from the US were virtually empty but visitors in Italy overwhelming and crowded. Northern Italy Nov 2022 massive crowds, especially in Milan and flights completely fully. Weather and time of year do not seem to deter visitors either pent up desire now that COVID feels to be over (rightly or wrong). All vendors in shops in Northern Italy wore masks (Nov 2022) and I'd say at least 40-50% of pax on trains and buses wore masks.

I also tracked my long distance train ticket prices and they increased the closer to the travel date. I did notice Italo was a bit cheaper than trenitalia and I appreciated that Italo offered a senior rate.

I booked my apartments in Jan 2022 for Nov and by Nov the prices for my apts had doubled.

Just FYI.
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Old Dec 7th, 2022, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by KTtravel View Post
I think your original plan works well.
Thank you!
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Old Dec 7th, 2022, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jan47ete View Post
I was in Venice and Rome in May 2022 and as noted Venice can be damp and chilly. Carnavale ends the 21st and although there seems to be one free event, the rest are costly. Tickets for St. Marks is timed as well and may be snapped up as the time gets closer. I would also look into going to Mass especially the service with the choir which is wonderful and gets you an extra glimpse of a portion of the Basilica.
Lots of options with the Coloseum now but timed as well.

I was in Croatia in April 2022 and planes from the US were virtually empty but visitors in Italy overwhelming and crowded. Northern Italy Nov 2022 massive crowds, especially in Milan and flights completely fully. Weather and time of year do not seem to deter visitors either pent up desire now that COVID feels to be over (rightly or wrong). All vendors in shops in Northern Italy wore masks (Nov 2022) and I'd say at least 40-50% of pax on trains and buses wore masks.
In regards to temperature in Venice, in particular, I am planning on bringing winter coats, hats, gloves, etc for everyone. We're from upstate NY and are used to cold, but also know that trying to play tourist in the cold and rain is a different beast altogether. My last trip to Rome was also in February, and that was more than manageable weather-wise.

I will plan on booking timed tickets-i know certain tours for the Coliseum can book up quickly after being released.

We just returned from a week in Madrid and Barcelona last week, and while I didn't find crowds in those cities to be an issue, we definitely experienced full planes and trains.

Thank you for your insights from recent experiences.
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Old Dec 7th, 2022, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by KTtravel View Post
I think your original plan works well.
Originally Posted by Danielle811 View Post
Thank you!
I think your plan would be OK-ish for one person or maybe a couple . . . BUT you have five people, three of whom are children, one quite young. Everything (meaning absolutely everything) will take more time and each of you will be affected by jet lag differently so the possibilities of extra complications. Plus schlepping the luggage after morning check outs, checking it at the station, will eat up time. PLUS it is February and while you might luck out, you could face dreadful/wet weather making a lot of moving around even less pleasant.

It seems your 'musts' are Venice and Rome . . . so IME/IMO you should stick to just Venice and Rome.
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Old Dec 8th, 2022, 02:17 PM
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Excellent points.
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Old Dec 8th, 2022, 03:29 PM
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I would also suggest flying into Venice and out of Rome, if possible. We visited Milan after many other trips to Italy, and while we liked it a lot more than expected, IMHO it doesn't compare to the other two cities (even when you include The Last Supper).

If you do that, and if you can, budget for a water taxi ride from the airport to your hotel. It's an amazing way to get your first view of Venice.
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Old Dec 8th, 2022, 11:04 PM
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Completely agree with Annhig and Janisj about cutting Milan. There is so much in favor of doing that. Going to Milan means you will be rushing about with three young kids in very cold weather, spending a huge amount of extra time in travel and more money, to spend only a few minutes with one painting that is not likely to have much impact on the children. Is The Last Supper worth seeing? For someone really interested, of course. Is taking children to see Art a good plan? Again, yes. However, this just does not seem to be the best trip for this specific experience.
In Rome, you might like The Borghese Gallery. The kids might find the Capuchin Crypt really fascinating.

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