A vacation in Italy is a grand adventure for anyone — whether you’re 5 or 85 years old. Travelling in Italy with kids brings its own opportunities, and challenges. Not all kids will be content to wander through museums or enjoy a multi-course Italian meal. However, Italy offers so much more…. Including beaches, snow-capped mountains and historic ruins to captivate kids of all ages.
We’re going to have two main approaches for child friendly holidays in Italy — urban versus rural. Of course, you already know what kind of family you are: maybe you’re city explorers, outdoors enthusiasts, or a bit of both. Read on for a quick tour around Italy to discover some remarkable family adventures.
A wide-variety of Romans ruins and epic museums can make Rome an interesting place to visit for those with older children. While a visit to more famous architecture such as the Coliseum is likely a must, there are plenty of other activities for kids to try out. You can make places like the Coliseum come alive for the little ones by enrolling them in Gladiator School — a two-hour class designed for kids that teaches them how to be a Roman gladiator.
If you’re strolling the Borghese Gardens, take a stop at the Bioparco, a zoo in the park with lots of kid-friendly activities. Even better, get some exercise by doing a family bike trip on the Via Appia Antica, an ancient road that connects Rome to Naples, now a state park. Being one of the world’s great cities of culture, Rome naturally also offers dozens of play centers, puppet theatres, and children’s libraries where the kids can be entertained.
Naples and the Amalfi Coast
Perhaps one of the best places in Italy for young families, Naples and the Amalfi Coast offers tons of things that will captivate kids. While you may live for the fine architecture and delicious meals, kids are sure to adore the beautiful beaches, boat rides out to hidden grottos, thermal pools and volcanos. We recommend basing yourself in a smaller city like Positano so that you can relax comfortably when you’re not taking day trips to the subterranean ruins in Naples or the gladiator battlefields of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The slower pace of Positano will give you some calmer days to soak in nature and enjoy the scenic beauty that surrounds you. If you’re looking for a luxury retreat perhaps one of the best family resorts Europe, try the Hotel Santa Caterina. Gorgeous rooms and a glass elevator that goes down through the cliffs to a private beach quickly turn it into a magical family hideout where adventures abound.
Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria
For amazing seaside adventures, look no farther than the small towns in Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria. Go from exploring sandy beaches to cliff jumping, to experiencing the drive-through zoo safari of Fasanolandia. Puglia is a haven for aquatic ocean adventures, with plenty of opportunities for snorkelling, scuba diving, island-hopping and caving.
This may also be the time to take a family cooking class in an area famous for its many foodstuffs. We recommend a locally-taught family course in making your own pasta — a skill you can enjoy as a family when you get back home.
If you like your family-friendly holidays to be filled with activities, Sicily is the place for you. The kids will get a kick out of seeing molten lava and the smoke from an active volcano. Older kids will enjoy hiking, and you can always take younger tots to the beach. Don’t be afraid to get messy as a family in some of the region’s muddy hot springs. You’re still in Italy, so history’s never far behind, with plenty of stunning hilltop castles and ancient ruins to explore. Sicily still has a thriving tradition of puppet theatre that can provide excellent entertainment for the whole family.
Trento and The Dolomites
Italy is not only a great destination for archaeological sites, sun, sand and food. There is plenty of the world’s best skiing and snowboarding to be found in the Dolomites, home to some of the world’s best family resorts.
Take for example the Cavallino Bianco in Ortisei, which has been called the world’s most-family friendly hotel. Start with Lino World, a 1000 square meter place that offers a pirates’ lair, ball pit, and beach. Or choose from six swimming pools on site — including a baby pool and family lagoon. With a gorgeous spa for adults, as well as world-class skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, it’s a destination the whole family will enjoy.
Pack up the kids...
Whether you’re travelling with infants, school-aged kids or gawky and jaded teens, Italy is a magical place for kids, with enough marvels and adventures to delight the entire family.