Your kids love pasta, pizza and ice cream, you’re enthusiastic about history, culture and shopping – then a family vacation in Italy promises to be a treat for everyone in the family. Some careful planning is required to make sure you go during the season most suitable to your family’s interests. Using the services of a travel professional might be the most cost-effective way to organize your family holiday to Italy. 

Why Go: 

Visiting Italy with kids is one of the easiest and most pleasant travel experiences. 

Italy may be the world’s most welcoming country to kids. Italians adore their own children and will roll out the red carpet for yours. Many travelers will tell stories of taking their baby to an Italian market, where immediately signoras will flock around to admire and coo over them. Even Italian waiters bend over backwards to accommodate children, bringing them special orders and treats,” says Susan Van Allen, an Italy expert and author of “50 Places in Rome, Florence, and Venice Every Woman Should Go”

When To Go: 

May to June and September to October are the best times to travel all over the country with average temperatures and a balmy weather. In the summer, choose a family-friendly resort in the countryside or by the sea. Christmas in Rome is a unique experience with beautiful decorations and an enchanting atmosphere. If your family skies, there are many excellent mountain resorts to go to during the winter season. 

Where To Go: 

If you only have time for one city, make it Rome, the charismatic Italian capital home to impressive historic sites and vibrant streets and piazzas. 

“Rome, with the Colosseum, Vatican (for the Sistine Chapel) and St Peter’s Basilica and all history behind that, will always be a fascinating city for your family,” says Maria A. Chiacchio, Founder and  President of the Italian Institute, Denver, CO. She also points out the kid-friendly food scene as one of the major draws to the Eternal City: “Stopping for a gelato will bring a special smile to both kids and adults. You will all love the feast of colors and flavors in the Italian gelateria! Keep enjoying your day and stop later on for a pizza dinner, simple and casual.” 

Meanwhile, Susan Van Allen recommends the Borghese Gardens by the Villa Borghese as one of the most kid-friendly attractions in Rome. She says, “Sixty-five acres of manicured green, shadowed by umbrella pines beckon families to enjoy La Dolce Vita. There are places to rent bikes, surrey-style carts, or roller skates, and opportunities for pony rides or to rent a paddleboat at the park pond. There’s a theater that puts on old-style puppet shows, featuring Commedia dell’Arte characters. And there’s a tiny charming tram that takes you to a large zoological garden, the Bioparco.” 

What To Do: 

Activities for the whole family include excursions in the countryside, bike tours in Tuscany and Sicily, day hikes, and cooking classes such as making your own pizza. Milan in the north is famous for its many designer outlets while Venice bursts with delightful attractions, museums, and surprises at every corner. 

While in Venice, you and your kids will want to visit  the Museo Dei Ragazzi (Children’s Museum) in the Palazzo Vecchio of Florence for a time travel experience. Costumed characters lead kids through this palace where the powerful Medici family lived in the Renaissance. The entertainment may include shadow shows or dressing up in costume. There are a few programs for children to choose from, from ages 4 and up.

Where To Stay: 

There are family-friendly hotels for all budgets in Rome, with some really great values. If you include the Tuscan countryside in your itinerary, opt for an authentic Italian bed & breakfast which makes for a comfortable base to explore the region. 

Great resorts for kids can be found on the southern island of Sicily. Maria A. Chiacchio says, “At the many beautiful, kid-friendly private resorts, children can run around on the sand and play in the calm waters, while adults can go for a nice swim or sunbathe on the beach. From the resort, take a day trip to top destinations in Sicily including Taormina, Siracusa, Ragusa, and Catania for a tour of ancient temples and ruins.”

Don’t forget:
Logistics can easily get complicated in Italy. Make sure to exchange your cash in the United States before you leave, it’ll be to your advantage. Call your bank to let you know you are traveling abroad. Also, always carry phone chargers, you never know when you’ll have the perfect photo opportunity! And don’t forget to get your international plan from your phone provider.

Lisa Crow contributed to this article. She is a travel writer and lifestyle blogger based in Waco, Texas. Lisa is the Head of Content at Gigi’s Ramblings. She spends her free time traveling when she can and making memories with her large family which consists of six children and fifteen grandchildren.

Venice Italy Waterway

Venice, Italy, a World Heritage Site, is a beautiful city built on 117 small islands in the Venetian Lagoon of the Adriatic Sea. Separated by canals between the islands and linked by bridges, Venice has only water transportation. Here are five great family-friendly hotels in Venice, some of which were palaces during the Renaissance! All of these have babysitting services or a kids’ club so you can also have some time alone.

The Belmond Hotel Cipriani Venice is located on the Giudecca Island with breathtaking views of the Lagoon and the Doge’s Palace and is a four-minute boat trip to St. Mark’s Square. A private boat can take you on tours of the Venetian Islands. The hotel has a big heated filtered sea-water swimming pool, pampering spa, fitness center, boutique and an on-site family-friendly restaurant with high chairs and kids’ menu, and can also accommodate large families. Kid-friendly amenities include a children’s pool open from May to September, a children’s welcome kit with DVDs, slippers and bathrobes, children’s and teens’ treatments at the Casanova Wellness Centre, and the Smile Club. The Smile Club operates between April and September and offers supervised fun activities for kids. This kids’ Smile Club plus the babysitting services will give you the chance to pamper yourself in the Cassanova Spa, work out in the fitness center, play tennis or have an evening out.

The Residence Corte Grimani is a 17th century refurbished Venetian palace in the heart of Venice that offers non-smoking family-friendly apartments with amenities such as a washing machine and dryer and a fully equipped kitchen with refrigerator and dishwasher. Apartments are suitable for large families and children through age five stay for free in an apartment with their parents. Babysitting services allow you to have some time alone. Corte Grimani is walking distance to St. Mark’s Square Piazza San Marco, the Rialto Bridge, and market. Corte Grimani has its own dock so it is very convenient for traveling about with water taxis.

The Hotel Antiche Figure is a 15th century palace that overlooks the Grand Canal and is adjacent to an old gondola workshop. It can also accommodate large families. You will appreciate starting the day with a complimentary breakfast before setting out with the kids to explore Venice. The hotel is walking distance to many famous sites like the Basilica dei Frari, Scuola Grande di S. Rocco, the Jewish Ghetto, the Rialto Bridge and the modern Art Museum of Ca’ Pesaro. St. Mark’s Square is a 30-minute walk or you can ride a vaporetto water bus. The hotel can arrange gondola and other tours. Kid-friendly amenities include babysitting services. The hotel is conveniently located across from the Santa Lucia Train Station. 

The Palazzo Odoni is a historic 15th-century palace that has been refurbished with modern conveniences located in the heart of Venice. From here you can take a fascinating gondola tour or walk to St. Mark’s Square and to many of the historical buildings and art attractions like Scuola Grande di S. Rocco and the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum – Museum of 18th century Venice. Besides the homemade pastries and biscuits served at breakfast, some of the foods like jam, eggs, and yogurt come from organic farms. Kid-friendly amenities include babysitting services. The hotel is near the train station and the dock for cruise ships.

The Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort is built in Moorish Renaissance style and is located right on the beautiful Lido Beach with its kid-friendly shallow water. Besides the luxurious private beach with cabanas, there is a large heated outdoor swimming pool, gym, tennis court, golf course and boutique. The rooms and suites, which can accommodate large families, have a view of the sea, the Lagoon or a beautiful Moorish courtyard garden and fountain. On-site gourmet restaurants specialize in Mediterranean cuisine. Kid-friendly amenities include babysitting services and a Kids’ Club for ages 4-12 from 10am to 6:30pm that will allow you time alone. The hotel offers all-day free shuttle boat service to and from St. Mark’s Square Piazza San Marco.



Lisa Crow contributed to this article. She is a travel writer and lifestyle blogger based in Waco, Texas. Lisa is the Head of Content at Gigi’s Ramblings. She spends her free time traveling when she can and making memories with her large family which consists of six children and fifteen grandchildren.