Italy with Children: a few things to keep in mind

See also Rome with Children

 

Everyone knows Italy is for lovers, but is it also for kids? Of course! If travelling to Italy, one shouldn't worry about bringing children along,  as there is plenty for the whole family to do. In fact, taking your children to Italy may widen your traveling horizons. You may go for something cultural, yet fun, such as visiting ancient Roman ruins and exploring medieval castles, or enjoy  traditional  marionette shows in Naples and Palermo. If you'd rather choose a more traditional sun, sand and sea holiday, you could choose a day on an activity filled beach or an Italian amusement park. Either way, you can rest assured  your kids will not get easily bored with so many things to do, see and, of course, eat!

Visiting Italy with Children: Things to Keep in Mind

Although Italy is certainly a children-friendly country when it comes to tourism, you need to keep in mind not all tourist attractions may be suitable for them, so it's good to be flexible and have a couple of options ready to pick from.  All kids are different and have different attention spans and thresholds for boredom: for instance, some museums may just be too tedious to visit all at once for some children. There may be thousands of churches you find absolutely beautiful, but children may get bored visiting them all one after another.

If you still like the idea of having a full, educational holiday, you may like to bring some sort of distraction for them,  like a game or a book, which  may help them stay occupied as you shuffle them past another painting. 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 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: this will keep them entertained and make them feel as they're participating in one big, amazing adventure.


Antilopes in Italian Zoo.

When it comes to food, there is plenty your kids will like, especially pizza and pasta. Take your kids to farmer 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 pizza al taglio stands, offering individual slices of freshly baked pizza, sold by weight. For dinner, older kids will enjoy ordering their own pizza at a pizzeria, while younger ones could split a plain one. If you'd like to treat yourself and your young ones to something more traditional, Italian restaurants such as family run Trattorias have no problem catering to picky eaters, either. And of course, Italy is home to 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. Remember to let your children try what you are eating as well: you might get to 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

 

Little brother and two sisters are sitting on blue bench.

 

when standing next to the massive ruins of the Coliseum, or walking the ancient streets of Pompeii and Herculaneum. When history is right in front of you, alive and breathing, learning becomes a byproduct of having fun. A visit to Pisa's Leaning Tower will create a life long memory on a young child's mind, 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 lies virtually unchanged since medieval times, and will delight kids with a passion for castles and forts. Some of the best sights are not even sights at all: try exploring the piazzas, markets and neighborhoods of any Italian city and town and enjoy the pleasurable feeling of watching and feeling Italian life passing you by.  In Venice, a family could have an excellent time simply wandering its narrow streets and doing some window-shopping, or taking a ride along its romantic canals.


Certainly, some of the most beautiful jewels of Italian art are churhces. Many of them should be experienced by the whole family: first on the list, of course, 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 the Eternal City. 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 how they were used to help people learn about the Bible when most  could not understand the priest's Latin mass or read. For a spooky adventure, visit the Christian catacombs of Rome or the mummies in the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo, although these may well keep them up at night! When visiting churches, remember that Italy is a Catholic country and churches are still actively a piece of spiritual worship and not museums: this means your children should be on their best behavior and keep their voices low at all times. 

While some museums may be too boring 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 could 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.

In any case, of all the museums in Italy, the Vatican Museum is a must and has something for everyone. This  former palace on the grounds of the Vatican State houses Egyptian, Roman, Greek, and Etruscan artifacts along with all papal regalia. Its spacious courtyards and sculpture gardens are good places to take a break while still enjoying amazing artefacts and, of course, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel will amaze you and your kids for its sheer grandiosity. All of this within the confines of one, enormous palace. See if your children can imagine living in a house with four thousand rooms!

For all major museums, it may be a good idea to make reservations ahead of time, so that you won't have to wait in line to get tickets.

Visiting Italy with Children: Castles

 

Trulli at Alberobello

 

You would be hardly 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 the country, from dilapidated ruins to opulent family estates. Both kids and adults will love walking along their battlements, climbing their towers and letting imagination run wild. To add up to the excitement, some castles have weapons and armors on display, like the Doge's Palace in Venice or Castle Sant'Angelo in Rome, both of which have impressive collections. Many Italian cities and towns have palaces and castles within the city limits, sometimes in their very center, 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 "Saracen Towers" (used to defend against Turkish pirates) of Italy's southern coast. 

Although not castles, the fairy-tale Trulli village of Alberobello will get your kids's fantasy run wild. If you'd like a bit of adventure, you and your family should explore Italy's countryside and mountains, which offer hundreds of castles off the beaten track. In any case, 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  Italian coastline is home to some of Europe's best beaches and many of them are fully equipped 

 

Photo of three nice Italian girls

\

for children. This towns have many entertainment possibilities both on and off the beach, from amusement parks to waterslides, to windsurfing. If the beaches of Capri, Ischia and the Bay of Naples had been well known by families for decades, and are well equipped, but often crowded, the beautiful beaches of the Adriatic coast were known only to Italians up to more recent times. Today, many families have discovered these gorgeous towns have plenty of kid friendly activities, a fact that had made them already popular with Italian families.

The best place for a family holiday on the Adriatic riviera remains Rimini, in Emilia Romagna. The hometown of Federico Fellini has plenty to offer for both kids and parents,  along miles of sandy beaches complete with playgrounds and baby care facilities. All summer long, beach centers are turned into real entertainment parks with activities and games for the whole family. The beach is also home to fireworks displays, sandcastle building competitions and drive-in style movie shows. Besides the beach, Rimini is also home to water slide parks, aquariums, several amusement parks and plenty of nightlife for parents - if they can escape their children, that is!

Visiting Italy with Children: Amusement Parks

 

Gardaland (Italy with Children)


Italy is home to several theme 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 in a pint-size version. There is also an entire miniature Venice, laser shows and a log river ride. Italy also has a growing number of water parks all across the country - with at least three in and around Rimini , which make a great way to spend a hot Italian summer day. 

If you opted for an art city holidays, you may like to seek some respite from the heat in a park.Rome's Villa Borghese or the Boboli Gardens of Florence are probably the best known in the country: both have lots for your children to explore, as well as plenty of children oriented shows (puppet shows!) and activities and plenty of shade and fountains to keep cool.

 

Visiting Italy with Children: Zoos and Aquariums

Rome's Villa Borghese is more than just a  park, it is also home to one of Italy's best zoos. Bioparco di Roma is a

 

A cute young boy holding an italian flag 

 

venerable institution in the city, which is home to over 200 species of mammals, reptiles (including giant tortoises) and birds. Italy also has some fun safari style zoos, always a popular choice among 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:

GARDALAND
The park is located at Castelnuovo del Garda, near Verona in North Italy
www.gardaland.it

MIRABILANDIA
The park is located South of Ravenna
www.mirabilandia.it

FANTASY WORLD
www.fantasyworld.it

ITALY IN MINIATURE
The park is located near Rimini
www.italiainminiatura.com

PINOCCHIO'S PARK
The park is located in Tuscany, in the city of Collodi
(pen name of the author of the book)
www.pinocchio.it

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

www.cittadelladomenica.it/

CAVALLINO MATTO
In Tuscany
www.ilcavallinomatto.it

BIOPARCO DI ROMA:
www.bioparco.it



NATURE PARKS

GENOVA'S AQUARIUM Tel. 010/2345666 fax 24465422
www.acquario.ge.it

PARCO NATURA VIVA
The park is located between Bussolengo and Pastrengo,
near Verona in Northern Italy Tel. 045/7170113 fax 6770247
www.parconaturaviva.it

ZOOSAFARI:
www.zoosafari.it

By Justin Demetri

Edited by Francesca Bezzone, 12/03/2014

No votes yet
Location: 

Comments

Monday, April 02TH, 2012 by Guest

salut a tous moi je mapelle morad de  maroc moi roucherge de travail de itali ce mon ne,ero tel moi 00212526550411 svp 

Saturday, November 17TH, 2012 by Guest

Lesley on web sight to Italy children as to there state flag ok lesley mean well and bean use and beaten and as you no a Italy men bless her human hair and church man where children pray ok ever day for years said with voice control grow back scientific cyber ok they hit her over charlie sheen think it great as to who he is that nothing to use and the church as to children go and pray ok look at web sight lesley poole mccalla crime and in UK Lesley no Italy men and had sex and super clean and was control to stpauls to bye drugs a big big crime they beat lesley over Steve who sent a Harrods toy who siad he no a blond women with very thick hair ss as well they show hair underneath as well the top super rich italy women bless Lesley hair who don't go to London palace as to top mafia women and got other men not ones who play game with women life and want control govts to look after them and make them a masss as to money they want and a crime now as to the blessing to children in Italy leave Lesley hair a lone and grow back and dont play power trip you are to her and there is a nother ramy out there with better eyes who made all living life's and love people now tell govts and web sight as to charlie sheen back of uk and leave lesley a lone from italy churches we dont want u s a playing clever as to there caters ok and hitting a women and say how you can make people look with life and tocher and mind control and human hair evil need to be found money and lifes

Friday, February 15TH, 2013 by Guest

You had me until you said that the Vatican museum had something for everyone. No, it doesn't. Please readers, don't attempt to bring anyone under the age of 12 here. It would result in a miserable time for all. (And that 12 year old should have a high tolerance for long lines.) and the Archeological museum?!? Come on sir, this place IS a historical treasure but no place for a child. Most adults with an average exposure to work history will max out in an hour. Maybe my kid is simply a dolt but room upon room and row after row of unidentified roman statues doesn't really do the trick. Perhaps the "secret room" might be provakative or interesting for the preteen and up crowd, but im guessing that a conversation about flying penisis isnt on the top of most travelers lists of things the want to do with their kids in Italy. There are unique challenges and treasures for family travelers in Italy- especially for families with young kids. If you plan to go, please do more research than reading this article.

Saturday, May 11TH, 2013 by Guest

Please contact me, I am an American student who would like to stay in touch with you for an upcoming class. Great writing in your blog. Please read my blog at www.larrydonte.blogspot.com .