One of the most precious gifts that you can give your children is to take them travelling to foreign countries. Travel broadens a child’s world view and allows them to experience new cultures, cuisines and countries; all of which will feed their curious and developing minds!
Travelling with children, as a family, will create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime while you enjoy watching your children learn and appreciate the sights and sounds of a new culture. This is true if you are living in Italy with children as an expat.
Italy is a perfect travel destination for children because the country is very safe and has a hugely diverse range of scenery, activities and adventures just waiting to be discovered. The only thing that is even better is living as an expat in Italy with your kids!!
Italy has a wonderful array of cultural sights, museums, galleries, churches and archeological sites to explore. As a parent travelling with your kids in Italy you’ll never be short of exciting new things to see and do. You can schedule an action packed holiday or take your time with a more relaxing itinerary that includes plenty of time on the beach and swimming in the crystal clear waters of the sea.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Italy With A Child?
Italy welcomes tourists and visitors throughout the year although the high season is during the summer months.
The best time to visit Italy for a hot beach holiday is between the months of June and September. The hottest month is August when temperatures can get uncomfortably high and the prices are also at their peak in this month.
The ideal time for city sightseeing in Italy is either in Spring, between April and May, or in the early Autumn, between September and October.
Lastly, you may also want to time your visit to Italy with one of the many festivals so your children can experience the magic of these unique celebrations and cultural highlights; including the Scoppio del Carro at Easter in Florence or the Carnival in Venice in March.
Things To Avoid While Travelling In Italy With A Child.
While it’s fair to say that most places in Italy are perfectly safe to visit with children, you should always use your common sense as well. For instance, many of the major cities can become dangerous after dark, especially in some of the rougher districts.
When you’re booking your accommodation for your stay with your children in Italy you should always do a little research to find out if the neighborhood is famous for its nightlife! If so, you may want to steer clear so you and your children aren’t kept awake at night.
Where Can You Stay With A Child In Italy?
There’s plenty of options for accommodation while you’re staying in Italy that are fun, unique and perfect for children.
- Campsites: There are loads of campsites where you can stay with your kids. They can run around and explore the surrounding countryside and in the evenings you can have fun cooking your dinner over the fire.
- Agritourism: Also known as ‘farm stays’, you and your children can stay in self catering accommodation while learning about life on a farm. There’s always a good range of activities to take part in including swimming, horse riding and hiking.
- Hotels and Bread and Breakfasts: Italy has thousands of excellent hotels and bread and breakfasts to suit all budgets. They almost always welcome children and can often make special arrangements for you if you need a little help.
- AirBnB and other rentals: If you want to have a more authentic experience of Italian life while you’re in the country you can rent an apartment or house for your stay. Every city has thousands of properties that are available for short term rentals and for an even more exclusive experience you can rent villas and even castles for your stay!
Eating Out And Dining With A Child In Italy.
One of the best aspects of life in Italy is the superb cuisine which is a crucial element of the Dolce Vita for which the nation is so famous! There’s a lot to try while you’re in Italy and although your kids may want to stick to pizza and ice cream there’s plenty of other options that are available.
Children of any age are welcome in all restaurants and cafes, especially in the lovely family run trattorias. Italian waiters always go out of their way to spoil children in their establishments giving them treats and little freebies!
Italians tend to eat dinner quite late compared to what you may be used to with restaurants opening for their evening trade between 7pm and 8pm. This can sometimes be tricky if you’re travelling with children and they need to be in bed early, however if you’re there as soon as the place opens you can still have the children in bed for 9 or 10 pm.
When you arrive in the restaurant you can also ask for the ‘Menu Bambino’ which is the ‘children’s menu’. Portion sizes will often be half that of an adult’s dish and prices are significantly discounted too. If the restaurant doesn’t have a specific children’s menu you can ask for a ‘Mezzo Porzione’ which is a ‘half portion’ in English. A large number of establishments also have high chairs, or ‘Seggiolone’ available for younger children and infants.
All throughout Italy you’ll find charming markets selling all the ingredients that you need for the perfect picnic, a popular option for parents travelling with their children in Italy. You can stop by in one of the beautiful parks to have your picnic during the summer to have your bread, olive, cheese and salami!
If you’re travelling with a young baby then you can buy baby formula in pharmacies and supermarkets as well as diapers, baby food and all the required sterilizing solutions that you need. You can also buy fresh cow’s milk, called ‘Latteriea’ in convenient cartons from supermarkets and smaller stores. Just remember that on Sunday almost all shops are closed so you may want to stock up on baby food in advance.
Best Regions In Italy To Visit With Your Children.
Almost all regions in Italy are kid friendly. Here are some of the best regions:
- Rome: Taking your children to the Eternal City of Rome is a fantastic way to introduce them to some of the most important historical and cultural sites of the country.
- Naples and Campania: If you’re looking for an exciting break then why not visit the volcanoes, beautiful beaches and caves along the coast and taste the region’s unique offerings in cuisine.
- Sicily: The unique island boasts incredible hiking, swimming and seafood is always on the menu!
- Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia: These beautiful towns are a wonderful destination at any time of the year and are perfect for a fun family holiday in the warm summer months.
- Sardinia: This oasis is a real slice of heaven with water sports, horse riding and stunning beaches to enjoy. It’s also a great destination for a hiking holiday or a relaxing weekend break.
- The Dolomites: The stunning alpine peaks offer some of the best ski slopes in Europe that are all family friendly with a great range of accommodation to choose from. Skiing and hiking in the Dolomites are not something that I would recommend for young children.
Visiting Italy’s Museums And Historical Monuments.
There are few places in the world that have more cultural significance than Italy which has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any nation! The museums and art galleries are filled to the rafters with some of the greatest artworks and sculptures on the planet.
Visiting the museums of Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan will open your children’s eyes to the wonders of our shared past. The museums and galleries are extremely glad to welcome children and have installed modern touch screen gadgets, multimedia installations and audio guides that all make the experience more fun and engaging for children as well as adults.
The state managed museums and sites of cultural significance are always free for children under the age of 18 and for EU citizens the cost for 18 to 25 year old’s is just 2 Euros!
This means that you can take your children to all the famous museums without having to spend a dime on their admissions. At all other attractions and tourist sites you’ll also find that tickets for children are significantly discounted. Don’t forget that all museums in Italy are also free on the first Sunday of the month between October and March as well as a few other days throughout the year.
Learning About The Historical Heritage Of Italy.
For children with an interest in the past there’s no place quite like Italy! Children can learn about the Roman Empire, the gladiators, the Renaissance and much more besides.
As a parent you can supplement your visits to the historical sites of Italy by showing your kids free YouTube videos about the history of these locations. This can really help to bring the past to life in the mind of your children.
- The Colosseum in Rome: Take your children to see the famous colosseum where the gladiators of Rome battled with wild animals, including lions and bears, as well as fighting each other in huge events that were the most popular entertainment in the Empire!
- Pompeii: The tragic tale of Pompeii, the city that was buried by a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Italy. Your kids can see the mummified bodies of people who were caught in the eruption which is incredibly interesting and unusual.
- The Castello Sforzesco in Milan: This awesome castle makes a wonderful day trip where your children can explore the deep subterranean passages and the old battlements of the castle.
- Virtual Reality Tour in San Gimignano: Your children can explore the Palazzo Comunale and the Torre Grosse with augmented reality glasses that will bring the history of this incredible town in Tuscany to life before their eyes as they learn about its interesting medieval past.
- Learn about World War I at the Museo del Monte San Michele in Friuli: This remarkable museum is fun and educational to visit where your children can learn all about the lives of the soldiers in WWI. There’s plenty of fun displays, digital multimedia and even an immersive VR experience available for kids to try!
Outdoor Fun For Children In Italy.
There’s plenty to do in Italy which is suitable for children! Some of the top highlights for kids in Italy includes, but are not limited to:
- Sardinia: Ideal for rock climbing, caving and water sports adventures, Sardinia is a fantastic place for kids. Explore the picturesque beaches or take your children on unforgettable horse riding trips!
- Aeolian Islands: These magical volcanic islands off the coast of Sicily have unique black sand beaches with loads to see and do for your children.
- The Dolomites: For a fun packed skiing holiday there’s nowhere better than the Italian Alps where there’s a good choice of Red and Blue ski routes which are suitable for kids. During the summer you can cycle, hike and visit the famous orchards and farms of Val Pusteria and Val Venosta.
- Abruzzo: With Italy’s first ever zipline your children can fly over the stunning village of Pacentro in the national park of Majella. Just remember that children have to be over 35 kilograms to be allowed to use the zipline.
- Venice: With gondolas and beautiful canal ways to discover your kids can also have fun on the water on a sailing trip or a kayaking tour around the city.
- Lago Garda: Boasting amazing lakeside beaches, climbing, hiking, cycling and water sports, Lago Garda has a huge amount to offer families with children.
Create Lasting Memories And Strong Family Bonds.
Travelling with children is a joy that every parent should try to experience. You’ll create strong family bonds and amazing memories that you can all look back on later in life. There’s a few tips to keep in mind when you’re travelling with children that will help both you and them to enjoy the experience as much as possible.
- Don’t rush! It’s always a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to get from A to B while you’re travelling with children. Talking things slowly will remove the stress from travelling and allow you to focus on enjoying yourself with your kids.
- Always take plenty of snacks, bottled water and other food with you. Children can often get hungry at pretty awkward times and so having a few snacks and water with you will mean that you can keep them properly fueled throughout the day.
- Explain the trip to your children in advance. Your children will have a much more rewarding time if you take the time to explain where you’re going and all of the interesting information about the places you’re visiting.
While you’re travelling with children, never forget to ask if there are discounts for them at hotels, museums and other attractions. You’ll be surprised how many places actually offer significant discounts for children under the age of 18!
The last thing to keep in mind when you are travelling is that things are bound to go wrong sometimes with unexpected events and incidents to deal with along the way. However, try not to stress and where possible, see the funny side of things!