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Hotel Search II
Italy with Children
See also Rome with Children
Italy for kids: Everyone knows Italy is for lovers, but is Italy for kids? Of course! Travelers to Italy should not fret about bringing their young children with them, as there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy. In fact, taking your children to Italy may widen your Traveling horizons; from visiting ancient Roman ruins, exploring medieval castles, marionette shows in Naples and Palermo to spending a day on an activity filled beach or an Italian amusement park. It a sure thing that your kids will not be bored with all the things to see, do and especially eat.
Visiting Italy with Children: Things to Keep in Mind
Although there is a lot in Italy for your kids to enjoy, you do have to keep in mind there are some things they may not like, so it is good to be flexible. All kids are different and have different attention spans and thresholds for boredom. For instance some museums may just be too long and tedious (miles of paintings hanging on walls) for some children. There may be thousands of churches you find absolutely beautiful, but children may get bored visiting church after church. Bringing some sort of distraction like a game or a book may help them stay occupied as you shuffle them past another Depending upon the temperament of your children, you might want to space these types of activities with things they want to do. It is important that they experience as much culture and history as possible while in Italy, but that doesn't mean you can't have some plain old fun either. Not only will it keep them motivated but it will make them feel that's its their adventure too.
Antilopes in Italian Zoo.
When it comes to food there is plenty that your kids will like especially pizza and pasta. Take your kids to the outdoor markets and let them help pick out items for a picnic in a park or lunch at the beach. Another option for lunch or snacks are the pizza al taglio stands, offering individual slices sold by weight. For dinner, bigger kids will enjoy ordering their own pizza at a pizzeria, while younger ones could split a pizza. Italian restaurants such as family run Trattorias have no problem catering to picky eaters and of course there is the ultimate motivation for kids to finish their dinner: Gelato. In fact, with all the Gelaterias throughout Italy displaying dozens of colorful flavors on every corner, be prepared to make frequent ice cream breaks with your kids. Remember to let your children try what you are eating as well; you might have them eating things that they normally wouldn't eat.
Visiting Italy with Children: Famous Sights and Museums
Even kids with no interest in history or art will marvel at all there is to see in Italy. It is amazing how history comes alive
when standing next to the massive ruins of the Coliseum or walking the ancient streets of Pompeii or Herculaneum. When history is right in front of you, big as life, learning becomes a byproduct of having fun. A visit to Pisa's Leaning Tower will leave a life long memory on a young child and the green field of the Campo dei Miracoli makes a nice spot for a picnic in view of the tower. The Medieval hill town of San Gimignano ( nicknamed the Manhattan of Tuscany ) with its famous towers is virtually unchanged by time and will delight kids that like castles and forts. Some of the best sights are not even sights at all, but just exploring the piazzas, markets and neighborhoods of Italian cities and towns. In Venice, a family could have an excellent time simply by wandering the narrow streets, window-shopping or taking a ride along the canals.
Some of the real jewels of Italy are its churches, and there are many that the whole family should experience. First on the list is St. Peter's in the Vatican, watch your kid's jaws drop as they realize just how massive the place is. If they are not afraid of heights, take them to the top of the dome to get the best view of Rome. Kids will also like St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, San Vitale in Ravenna and Monreale in Palermo for their golden mosaics of biblical stories. See if your children can "read" the mosaics and explain to them that they helped people learn the bible when most could not understand the priest's Latin mass. For a spooky adventure visit the Christian catacombs of Rome or the mummies in the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo (may keep your kids up that night). Remember that in Italy churches are still active and are not museums so your children should be on their best behavior and keeping their voices low.
While some museums may be too tedious for some kids, there are plenty that will absolutely amaze them. The National Museums in Rome and the Archeological museum of Naples are the best for Roman artifacts while the Egyptian museum in Turin is one of the best outside of Egypt. The numerous torture museums found in Italy offer a bit of macabre fun for the family but the display of spiked chairs, thumbscrews and headman's axes may be too much for young children. However, of all the museums in Italy, the Vatican museum is a must and has something for everyone. The former palace houses Egyptian, Roman, Greek, and Etruscan artifacts along with all the Papal regalia, spacious courtyards and sculpture gardens (good places to take a break) and of course the Sistine Chapel all within the confines of an enormous Palace. See if your children can imagine livening in a house with four thousand rooms! A good idea is to make reservations ahead of time if possible for museum visits to avoid waiting in long lines (such as the Uffizi in Florence), or bring things likes games or books to keep the kids happy while they wait.
Visiting Italy with Children: Castles
You would be hard pressed to find a kid that did not like castles and Italy is full of them. Castles of all shapes and sizes are to be found in Italy, from dilapidated ruins to opulent family estates. Both kids and adults will love walking along the battlements or climbing towers and letting their imaginations run wild. To add to the excitement, some castles have weapons and armor on display like the Doge's Palace in Venice or Castle Sant'Angelo in Rome, which have impressive collections.
Many Italian cities and towns have palaces and castles within the city limits, sometimes in the center of town, so transportation is not an issue. Besides castles there are also plenty of other impressive fortifications that can be explored such as city walls and the "Saracen Towers" (used to defend against Turkish pirates) of Italy's southern coast. Although not castles, the fairy-tale Trulli village of Alberobello will have your kid's imaginations running wild. For adventurous families Italy offers hundreds of castles away from the tourist routes in the beautiful countryside and in the mountains. When planning your trip make sure the castles or ruins you plan to visit are open to the public since some can only be viewed from the outside.
Visiting Italy with Children: Kid Friendly Beaches and Resorts
The long Italian coastline is home to some of Europe's best beaches and many of them are fully equipped to handle
children. Resort towns line coast and have many entertainment possibilities both on and off the beach from amusement parks to waterslides to windsurfing. The beaches of Capri, Ischia and the Bay of Naples are well known, well equipped for families and often crowded but up until fairly recently the resort lined beaches of the Adriatic coast were known only to Italians. Today many travelers with children have discovered these gorgeous beaches to have plenty of kid friendly activities, which make them very popular with Italian families.
For families looking for beaches with lots of activities the resort town of Rimini in Emilia Romagna is perfect. The hometown of Federico Fellini has plenty for both kids and parents to enjoy along the miles of sandy beach complete with playgrounds and baby care facilities. All summer long, the beach centers are formed into entertainment parks with activities and games for the whole family. The beach is also the home to fireworks displays, sandcastle building and outdoor movies. Besides the beach, Rimini also is home to water slide parks, aquariums, several amusement parks and plenty of nightlife for parents - if they can escape.
Visiting Italy with Children: Amusement Parks
Italy is home to several theme style amusement parks, with the largest ones located in the north. It isn't Disney, but they do make for an excellent "day off" from sightseeing. In the Lakes Region there is Gardaland, Italy's largest amusement park with rollercoasters, themed attractions and water rides. Another popular attraction is Italia in Miniatura near Rimini, where kids can explore Italy and Europe's most famous buildings at their own level. There is also an entire miniature Venice, laser shows and a log flume ride. Italy also has a growing number of water parks all across the country - with at least three in and around Rimini - and make a great way to spend a hot Italian summer day.
Another way to spend a hot afternoon away from the sights and museums is to visit some of the Italian city parks such as Rome's Villa Borghese or the Boboli Gardens of Florence. Both have lots for your children to explore and activities for kids in the summer - including puppet shows - with plenty of shade and fountains to keep cool.
Visiting Italy with Children: Zoos and Aquariums
Rome's Villa Borghese is more than just a city park; it is also home to one of Italy's best zoos. Bioparco di Roma is a
venerable institution that is home to over 200 species of mammals, reptiles (including giant tortoises) and birds. Italy also has some fun safari style zoos that are popular with children. ZOOSAFARI located in Puglia is a safari style zoo as well as the largest animal park in Italy. The park will delight children with its large assortment of exotic animals including lions, elephants, giraffes and moneys. There is also an accompanying amusement park and special exhibits that are both fun and educational. Fiabilandia is an amusement park with aspects of a safari zoo, with rides and attractions incorporating African animals such as ostriches and giraffes in a fantasy setting.
Aquariums are popular with both kids and adults and Italy has several. Virtually every major city by the coast will have some sort of Aquarium, but the Aquarium of Genoa is the largest in Europe and the best in Italy. The Aquarium houses a world-class collection of dolphins, sharks, seals, penguins and an excellent coral reef tank. Kids will really enjoy the Tactile Tanks where they will be able to pet skates and rays. Kid friendly Rimini is home to the Dolphinarium, where families will enjoy the playful dolphin shows and the piranhas in the tropical aquarium.
For Further Information:
The park is located at Castelnuovo del Garda, near Verona in North Italy
The park is located South of Ravenna
ITALY IN MINIATURE
The park is located near Rimini
The park is located in Tuscany, in the city of Collodi
(pen name of the author of the book)
CITTA' DELLA DOMENICA
Near Perugia, the town of the famous chocolate Perugina , in central Italy
Open from april to the beginning of the schools
Tel. 075/5054941 Fax 075/5054
GENOVA'S AQUARIUM Tel. 010/2345666 fax 24465422
PARCO NATURA VIVA
The park is located between Bussolengo and Pastrengo,
near Verona in Northern Italy Tel. 045/7170113 fax 6770247
By Justin Demetri