Siena, Florence, Rome... what to visit in Northern Italy in 14 days? - Interview with Marina and Alex

Siena, Florence, Rome... what to visit in Northern Italy in 14 days? - Interview with Marina and Alex


Alex and Marina left with their two children for a fortnight in Italy with the desire to discover a maximum of places and cities. They tell us about their stay through an interview they gave to our blog Baage but also through their logbook.This interview was conducted a few weeks after their trip:


Very simple question to start with: why Italy?

First of all, we could say like many people just to enjoy a constant and 100% sunshine, something we don't always have even in the southern part of France.But there is a deeper reason. But there is a deeper reason. We had been to Tuscany once before, a few years ago. We were absolutely delighted with that trip. We were staying in the countryside next to a large olive field in a beautiful residence in a village near Arezzo. At that time, our children were not yet born. We wanted to show them the Dolce Vita and visit as many places as possible with them, but it was also a curiosity for us to see even more, as we had stayed in the centre of Tuscany that time.

And practical question, what do you take with you for a fortnight in Italy for a family?


Well, we have to admit that we tend to take our house with us! For this particular trip, as we were going by car, we were limited, as our SUV was not expandable. With a set of 3 Tunis suitcases from Bluestar, we managed to pack everything without any worries, adopting a simple method: the large suitcase for the adults' stuff, the medium one for the children's clothes, a carry-on suitcase for shoes and other accessories and finally 2 additional vanity cases for toiletries and small accessories. 

3 Luggage Set TUNIS-B

 Let's look back at these 2 weeks of holidays. What was the best part of the holiday for you?


We have 2 or 3 moments that have really marked us, those that remain engraved in our memory. For the children, when we talk to them about it, it's the Colosseum in Rome, the history associated with this place really interested them. First of all, our little boat trip one afternoon to the village of Portofino, a sublime place with an incredible panorama. There was a little wink for the children. Following the release on Disney +, a few weeks ago, of the cartoon Luca. The settings of the imaginary village in this cartoon are very much inspired by this village and indirectly also by those of the Five Lands. The visit was quite fun for the children, they remembered scenes from the cartoon depending on where we were in the streets of Portofino.and otherwise, we loved the natural pools in the heights of the village of Rochetta in Liguria, during our last stop of the holidays. The panorama, the green nature, the fresh and warm water (for a spring water) coming down from the mountains, it was great to explore and swim. It's really a great spot, not well known by holidaymakers, but very pleasant.


Do you have any good tips to share with us?


I've just mentioned one in fact, it's Liguria in the more mountainous part above Ventimiglia, the village of Rochetta. We had never really heard of this region, it's a big hit. It's the kind of place where you feel good. You're close to nature, you can go swimming even if you're not by the sea. It's quite relaxing.2 good plans, finally, small ones that we feel are necessary when we are in Florence and this time it concerns the gastronomy. Of course there are the ice creams, holidaymakers will easily come across this address, as its reputation is already established, so it's not a scoop. Isn't it TripAdvisor? It's a gelateria La Strega Nocciola, with the best ice creams we found during our stay.And also, we have to talk about the sandwich shop All'Antico Vinaio. A must for every visitor to have one! We were quite amazed when we arrived in this street. We wondered why so many people were queuing for a simple sandwich. After tasting them, we understood better.

If you had to change things on your trip, what would you do differently? What would we do differently?


So there's one thing that comes to mind without hesitation, and it's a little regret really. We would start with the countryside in Liguria and end with intensive visits to Rome. We were a bit "on edge" when we arrived on holiday. We would have really appreciated a little break to recharge our batteries before going on an "adventure" and walking the hot streets of Rome. We easily had 36-37° each day... Coming from the Paris region and its 17 degrees, it's a big jump in temperature that we have to take. The heat doesn't bother us at all, we really appreciate the sun. For people who are not so keen on hot weather, it can be a bit difficult to manage, I must admit.

How much did you have to budget for this great holiday?

As far as the budget is concerned, given that we hadn't taken a holiday for a long time, because of Covid, we weren't too fussy.

Clearly travelling in Italy for two short weeks requires a good budget. Flat rentals in Rome, if you want to be well located in the city centre, are relatively expensive. You have to pay a good hundred euros per night, and the same goes for hotels. It's very difficult in the big Italian cities in the north to find a normal hotel room for less than €100-€120. Well, we have to qualify this because we left in August and we did it late, because with the COVID crisis and the fear of having difficulties to travel abroad, we didn't know what to expect, not to mention the health pass launched at the beginning of August. As a result, we probably rented the more expensive properties, remaining on the market, so, in summary, we will count on about 2000 € of rent for a fortnight and then we will also have to eat. You also need to plan a visit budget. Good visits are generally quite expensive in Rome (Colosseum pass, Mount Palatine, Forum for example). We had planned 200 euros for the family. Finally, you also have to take into account the travel budget, which should not be underestimated at all: fuel and tolls for 3,500 km from the Paris region to Rome (return trip). You have to count 250 euros for fuel and for the tolls, we had 180 euros for the outward journey and 100 euros for the return journey. If we add up all the expenses, we can say that going to Italy is not necessarily the cheapest if we were to compare it to an all-inclusive trip, full board or half board residence + flight... But we have the great freedom to move around wherever we want.

Are there things you would have liked to do that you didn't have time to do?


Well, you're going to tell us that we're eternally dissatisfied and that "our eyes are bigger than our stomachs", but with one or two more days, we would have tried to visit Naples. We had done some research, we had seen that many daily trains made the journey from Rome to Naples in a little less than 2 hours (the same for the return journey), which avoided a long journey on the road We thought that we would be able to soak up the "Southern Italy" atmosphere, which is quite different from Northern Italy, and if we were even more motivated, we had imagined another option, even more courageous, which would have allowed us to do a day trip to Pompeii, as it is only a few dozen kilometres from Naples. We reasoned with ourselves and let it go, and it must be said that we already had the chance to enjoy Rome, which already offered us many visits. In fact, in Rome alone, you have to set limits, because you're really tempted to want to visit everything when it's not technically possible to do it all in 4 or 5 days. In fact, having discussed it with a friend of Neapolitan origin, August is clearly not the most favourable time to enjoy this city. May or October are much better times to do it, without the heat and the flood of tourists in the summer, but we know that we will go to the southern part of Italy one day and that will be the subject of a new family trip and new stories!

An expression, a practice, something funny that you learned or discovered during the holidays?

So, directly what comes to my mind, it was an expression that we used quite a lot during the holidays at the restaurant, at the hotel etc, it's "tutto a posto" rather in a contracted version "tutt'a posto". It works everywhere. It would be translated as C'est parfait or tout est au point" to say that you are happy at the end of the meal etc. It was a game of contracting the "tutto" with the "a" that follows, to make it Italian with the intonation.

One last thing to say to the people who will read this interview?

"Listen, I think we had the opportunity to talk about a lot of things. If you have the opportunity to go to Italy, it's not the most exotic destination but it's a sure thing. It's the promise of a great time. Viva Italia!