Mama Mia What a trip!
Tips and destinations when traveling to Italy with kids
Can we truly combine our need for a real vacation with our children’s summer vacation?
Our kids are looking for high adrenaline attractions, while we are looking for magical landscapes and lots of peace and quiet.
Almost possible to combine? Well, almost.
I wish to offer my experience as someone who has lived for several years in Italy and loves Italy with all my heart.
Here are some trip ideas that nicely combine these conflicting desires:
Many claim that Italy is not welcoming to families with children, but fortunately the reality is very different today, and those who warn you not to travel with children to Italy, are wrong. Very wrong.
In my experience, Italy offers plenty of attractions for children of any age.
One just needs to know where to go and when.
With proper planning, the chances are that you too, like the Italians, can enjoy a good Italian espresso and a great cone of ice cream while overlooking magical scenery, and without the wailing of your children in the background
The classical solution of many parents is to travel to the northern Italian Lakes, led by Lake Garda- Lago di Garda
Indeed; this area holds a large number of attractions.
First, the familiar-to-many amusement park Garda - Land (GardaLand ),
which is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Europe.
As there is plenty of articles about it, I’ll skip to the rest.
Another familiar park is the Canebah Resort (Caneva world resort ), a park that combines water,
movies and "knights meal," which is a show-style meal with medieval knights.
Now, are you looking for something a little more unique?
The Lakes area is very busy during the summer and sometimes even very hot.
"Sweating" with thousands of kids and their parents, is not such great fun.
Get out to the open landscapes and the adrenaline of the nature.
Here are some ideas:
The Dolomites are in the north - east of Italy and you can learn and practice mountain climbing. Do not panic. They have different levels of difficulties and they are even suited for small children. Combine the climb with a calm trip into the green meadows, along the towering mountains of the Dolomites. Here is an example at Www.emsclimb.com
Not far from the Dolomites, in Brenta, you can get wet at the Center for Extreme waves, which is located north of the ski town and is known as Madonna DI Campilio, which is not far from Italy’s northern border with Switzerland.
From here, go rafting in the river, which also has different levels of difficulty (relaxed track of 10 km and a stormy track of 25 km).
If you are "brave," you can try rock climbing in the deep canyon, while those roaring waterfalls hum next to you, or to hover between heaven and earth while you are going through tracks ropes between trees of the forest, climb the cliffs or take part in mountain bike riding trips.
Toddlers’ familes have a center games and activities tailored for them, on the riverbank next to the kiosk and a restaurant is also available. Until the youth will complete the action , you can indulge in a restaurant, or have a picnic in the nature.
Tuscany - not for adults only
Tuscany has acquired a name for being magical and romantic, but not exactly the place to bring children. Well, you may be surprised; as there are quite a few attractions for children.
It is recommended to walk at least half a day in Siena. The beautiful old city has little traffic. Siena invites children to a special artistic experience: the art museum for children of the city: Bambimus. This is entirely intentional art museum for children (until the age 11 or so).
Address: Complesso Museale del Santa Maria della Scala (Piazza del Duomo, 2)
Not far from the famous city of Pisa (yes, yes, the one with the Leaning Tower) is the city of Lucca
Luca, which is less "celebrity" than Siena, but is one of the beautiful ancient cities in Tuscany.
The tour in the city could be made with a bicycle, which you can rent from one of the many shops scattered around the city. You can select an easy riding track of about 3 km surrounding the city. It is guaranteed fun for children and adults.
If you arrive at the Leaning Tower of Pisa for a visit, try to plan your trip so you arrive to the city on 17 June. When the race boats on the Arno River happens outside of the city. Boats decorated like a medieval knights, and all residents participate in the celebration.
Chocolate, knights and dragons
Who does not love to lick chocolate? Kids sure like it (as they are not on a constant diet)
The city of Perugia, is the capital of the Umbria district, on the south wing of Tuscany. Perugia is the largest chocolate factory company Perugina, which produces the famous chocolates of Ferrero - Roche, Kinder, Bachchan ''s and more.
Once a year, in October, the Great European Chocolate Festival occurs. The whole city wears a chocolate face and the city is filled with stalls featuring chocolates; the squares have the option for free chocolate tastings, chocolate making workshops and exhibiting. The festival’s website
More in Umbria...
Every year, on the first weekend of October, a race is held in the city Trevi which restores the traditional medieval race, with scenes from the life of the Middle Ages.
All residents dress as knights and other figures from this period; and the central piazza is full of food stands serving typical food of the area.
Another special event for kids is the Dragon Run, held every year in August, at the Val Sugana valley, in the Dolomites (not far from the capital of the province - the city of Trento). You will not see competing dragons here, but you will see competing boats, decorated as dragons. This is a real experience for children. The race takes place on the lake Lago Caldonazzo, which is one of the biggest lakes in Dolomites, near the city of Trento - Trentino district capital.
Venice, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, is hosts every year in February the famous carnival of masks. But February is cold and there is no vacation for children from school. So, throughout the year you can learn here how to make the carnival masks. Traditional places are available which make masks,as well as hold workshops for making masks. The workshops include an explanation of the history of masks, and then creating and coloring masks together. It is great entertainment for children and adults too.
Venice Masks Workshop
If you’re in Venice don’t forget to take a boat on the Grand Canal. No need to get on the gondola and pay an exorbitant price. You can just take "bus" trip along the canal, at a price of 12 euro per ticket and enjoy a cruise for half an hour, which passes near all the beautiful palaces of the city.
In Rome act like a Roman...
but you can touch...
In Rome, the eternal city, a museum called Explora was built. This is an experimental museum for children, illustrating the history of the city and its daily life. You can touch every display and experiment. The museum is located near the historic center of town, so you can go on foot.
Museum activities for children age 3-10 are held in Italian and English only.
Address: via Flaminia 82
Museum Web site
If you plan to visit the museum over the weekend, you must order tickets in advance, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Some general tips when traveling with kids
Prefer nature over the city.
Try to avoid long journeys and frequent changes of accommodations.
Eat some lunches in nature with fresh groceries bought from a nearby "alimentri" - much calmer lunch than at restaurants…
Keep some snacks, fruits and drinks - in case of traffic jams or the drive is long.
Parents of small babies, you should know that in Rome and other places, the roads are built with interlocking stones, which are unpleasant for strollers.
But the most important tip is to plan ahead!
if you wish to get a tailored trip plan for your family,
make sure to contact me in advance.