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Italy is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, and with good reason. From the glories of Rome to the famous beaches of the Amalfi Coast, the magical canals of Venice to the sweeping landscapes of Tuscany, this glorious country is filled with wondrous delights. And while these images might bring to mind leisurely strolls and romantic dinners, there’s no reason to wait until the kids are grown to indulge in everything this wonderful country has to offer—Italy also happens to be a fantastic family destination.
As everyone who has ever watched The Godfather knows, nothing is more important than family to Italians. Famed for their warmth and generosity, Italians especially love children. They frequently ply them with sweets and call them endearing nicknames like patatino (little potato) and polpetto (meatball). This welcoming, kid-friendly atmosphere goes a long way toward making for a low-stress vacation filled with memorable encounters. Plus, Italians also happen to love gelato, and there are few meltdowns that can’t be averted with a delicious cone of chocolate-specked stracciatella.
To top it off, Italy is also considered one of the safest countries in the world, and the Italian rail network is the envy of train lovers everywhere. Not to mention, the fresh pasta and wood-fired pizzas are capable of pleasing even the pickiest of your brood. Add in several thousand years of history, art and architecture, as well as stunning landscapes and 4,700 miles of gorgeous coastline, and you have the recipe for the trip of a lifetime. Of course, where and when to go and how long to stay are all important considerations, but an experienced travel advisor can help you put together the perfect itinerary that includes family-friendly accommodations and transportation. Below, you’ll find a few suggestions to get you inspired.
Italy: Where to Go with Kids
Cinque Terre: An Idyllic Seaside Retreat
A favorite family destination, Cinque Terre is a series of stunning fishing villages set on the coast of the Italian Riviera. You’ve probably seen pictures of them – colorful pink, red and yellow houses stacked seemingly one on top of the other as they make their way up the rugged mountainside. Village hopping is easy here, and for families with older children, the trails that wind through the picturesque hillsides are an absolute delight that offer spectacular views. Adding to the appeal, cars were banned in the villages over twenty years ago, so exploring the medieval piazzas and winding cobblestone streets with children is remarkably relaxing. There are also plenty of beaches, some perfect for swimming, some better for lounging and a few that are clothing optional, but they are all incredibly gorgeous.
Tuscany: For a Taste of the Good Life
Made popular by the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, Tuscany is indeed the perfect place to escape from the day-to-day grind. Fresh food, great wine, beautiful landscapes, charming villages—this is the place to relax with friends and family and enjoy the bounty of nature. La dolce vita in all its glory. Villa rentals are plentiful here, and they come in all sizes and price ranges. From centuries-old stone farmhouses to modern retreats with all the mod cons, Tuscan villas frequently come with pools, and it’s usually not difficult to arrange for a cook to help keep everyone well fed. Rent a car, and your family could spend weeks traipsing through the stunningly gorgeous countryside on day trips to Florence, Siena and the medieval hill town of San Gimignano.
Sicily: Outdoor Adventure Awaits
Sometimes overlooked, Sicily is an incredibly fascinating destination. Bursting with Greek temples and theaters, Baroque palazzos and Norman churches—it’s no wonder this incredibly beautiful island is considered the crossroads of Mediterranean culture. But in addition to the abundance of historical sites, Sicily also happens to be an adventure wonderland. Number one on the list is hiking to the top of Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe. There are trails for every level and plenty of tour companies to help arrange the outing. There are also several adventure parks scattered across the island that offer adrenaline-boosting activities such as tree-climbing, cable slides and mountain biking. And, of course, being an island, opportunities for sailing and snorkeling in the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean abound.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan a family vacation in Italy? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent, who can customize the dream Italy itinerary you and your family deserve.