Planning a trip to Italy with kids but feeling under-prepared? Keep scrolling to check out my personal tips for visiting Italy with kids!
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We just got back from visiting Italy with kids and it was quite the learning experience. The last time we visited Italy with kids, our oldest was a toddler and things have changed a bit.
So, I figured I would jot down some of my tips for how to plan and prepare for a stress-free vacation to Italy.
Keep scrolling to get all the information you need to plan the ultimate Italy family vacation.
Want an epic Italy guide book? This is my favorite Italy itinerary and guide!
Before You Go to Italy with Kids
Planning a family trip to Italy can seem overwhelming, but a little preparation can make all the difference.
From choosing kid-friendly destinations to timing your trip just right, here are a few tips to make your Italian vacation memorable and stress-free.
Researching and Selecting Family-Friendly Destinations
Italy is brimming with kid-friendly destinations, but it’s important to do some research and select ones that align with your family’s interests and dynamics.
For families seeking outdoor adventures, consider popular tourist destinations such as the picturesque Dolomites or the beautiful beaches of Sardinia.
Timing Your Trip
Italy is lovely throughout the year, but for optimal weather and to avoid heavy tourist crowds, consider visiting in late spring or early autumn.
These periods offer mild temperatures perfect for exploring and less crowded attractions, making it more enjoyable for you and your kids.
I know that summer is the peak tourist season in Italy but it is HOT. If you do visit Italy in summer, plan on doing daily siestas in the afternoon to avoid heatstroke.
Travel Documents and Insurance
Ensure all passports are up-to-date with at least six months of validity beyond your travel dates. I have a whole post about how to apply for a passport for a child. If required, apply for visas well in advance.
Additionally, it’s essential to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers health emergencies.
Traveling with children can sometimes be unpredictable, so it’s always better to be prepared for any unforeseen situations.
When it comes to packing for Italy, think of comfort and convenience. Pack lightweight, easy-to-layer clothing to accommodate varying weather conditions.
Consider packing a lightweight stroller for younger kids, as there can be a lot of walking involved in Italy’s cities. Or use a baby carrier for babies and toddlers. Don’t pack your favorite stroller because it will endure an insane amount of wear and tear.
Lastly, pack a few familiar snacks and entertainment options to keep the little ones happy during transit times.
Getting Around Italy with Kids
Public Transportation in Italy
We LOVE using the train in Italy because it’s just so convenient for day trips and for moving from one part of your Italy itinerary to the next.
If you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, I recommend splurging for the premier class tickets because you’ll usually get Wi-Fi and more comfortable seats. But, the other classes are still okay for families.
Rome Buses and Metro
I personally want to warn you about taking the Metro in Rome. I had heard for years about how sketchy the Rome Metro can be.
But, it wasn’t until I had my phone stolen out of my pocket while riding the Metro with my kids that I really understood. Locals know who to watch out for but tourists (especially moms who are distracted) are an easy target.
The buses in big cities like Rome can also be challenging when they are packed, as you’ll probably need to hang onto your kids.
Taxis and Uber in Italy
We primarily use taxis and Uber when we visit Italy with kids. It feels safer than the Metro, it’s a more comfortable ride, and we usually save time.
For our last trip, our kids were 6 years old and 9 years old and we didn’t worry about car seats. But, we did make sure they buckled up.
Renting a Car in Italy
Another option is to rent a car in Italy. This is my suggestion if you’re staying in Tuscany or somewhere outside of Rome or Florence.
If you’re staying in a main city, it can be really intense to drive in Italy.
We’ve rented vans in Tuscany for big family trips and it still is stressful because of the narrow roads.
Visiting Italy with Babies and Toddlers
I wouldn’t consider Italy to be a very stroller-friendly country, for the most part. I mean, there are lots of cobblestone roads and it can not only be a bumpy ride, but it can also mean your stroller will get lots of wear and tear.
If you’re visiting Italy with a baby or toddler, I’d recommend using a baby carrier instead. We really liked using our Baby Tula carriers when we visited Italy with a toddler.
Book a Family Photo Shoot
Whenever we travel, we almost always book a family photo shoot with Flytographer. They are super easy, affordable, AND it guarantees that I’ll be in some photos. You can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code HAWAIITRAVEL.
Visiting Northern Italy vs Southern Italy with Kids
Italy, with its diverse landscapes and rich history, offers a multitude of experiences for traveling families.
Here’s what to expect when visiting the Northern and Southern regions of the country with kids.
Northern Italy with Kids
Northern Italy, home to bustling metropolises like Milan, historical gems like Venice, and the natural allure of the Italian Lakes, offers a variety of child-friendly attractions.
In Milan, the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology with its interactive exhibits can be fascinating for kids.
Venice’s unique water-bound environment can provide a thrilling adventure with gondola rides and explorations of islands like Murano and Burano.
For nature-loving families, the Italian Lakes, such as Lake Como and Lake Garda, offer scenic beauty and outdoor activities. The Gardaland amusement park near Lake Garda is a kid favorite.
Accommodations in Northern Italy can range from luxury hotels to family-friendly agriturismos, providing opportunities to explore the local farming culture.
Southern Italy with Kids
Southern Italy, characterized by its rugged coastline, sun-kissed beaches, and a more laid-back lifestyle, can be an ideal destination for families seeking a balance of relaxation and cultural exploration.
The Amalfi Coast and Capri offer beautiful beaches and boating opportunities. In Puglia, unique experiences like staying in a traditional Trulli house can delight children.
Sicily, with its intriguing mythology around Mount Etna, the puppet theatres of Palermo, and the Valley of the Temples, provides a mix of education and entertainment.
Remember, the pace can be slower in the South, which can be perfect for leisurely family vacations but might require a more flexible schedule.
Where to Stay in Italy with Kids
Finding the right place to stay can significantly impact your family vacation in Italy.
Here are some Italy family travel tips to help you select the perfect kid-friendly accommodations in Italy.
Save Money with Points
Here are the best credit card offers for families who travel and want to use points to pay for airfare and hotels.
Choosing Family-Friendly Accommodations
When planning your trip, prioritize accommodations that cater specifically to families.
These could be hotels with spacious family rooms, vacation rentals offering cribs and high chairs, or resorts with dedicated children’s programs and facilities.
Locations within walking distance to major attractions or close to public transportation can also make your stay much more convenient. Check out our top kid-friendly hotels in Rome, Florence, and Venice.
Exploring Accommodation Options
Italy offers a wide variety of accommodation types. Traditional hotels often provide convenient amenities such as room service, daily housekeeping, and sometimes even a concierge to assist with planning activities.
This is typically what we do when we travel to Italy with kids.
Apartments can be a great option for families seeking a home-like environment, with the convenience of a kitchen and separate living and sleeping areas.
We did this when we stayed in Rome with extended family and it was great to have a space to hang out together.
This type of accommodation can also provide a more immersive experience, especially if located in a residential neighborhood.
For a unique and charming experience, consider an ‘agriturismo,’ a farm-stay offering a taste of rural life. Here, your family can enjoy fresh food, engage with nature, and maybe even participate in farm activities.
Ensuring Child Safety
No matter where you choose to stay, child safety should be paramount. Check for potential hazards such as unprotected balconies, steep staircases, or unsecured furniture.
Don’t be shy about asking if the property provides safety gates or corner guards if needed.
Kid-Friendly Amenities and Services
Choose accommodations that offer kid-friendly amenities. Look for properties with pools or play areas, child-oriented activities, or even babysitting services for an occasional parents’ night out.
In-room conveniences like a mini-fridge for storing snacks, free Wi-Fi for entertainment, and a bathtub for easy bath times can also make your stay more comfortable.
Getting Around Italy with Kids
Navigating the beautiful but sometimes busy streets of Italy with children can seem daunting.
However, the country’s varied transportation options make it easier to explore and ensure an enjoyable journey for your entire family.
Using the Train
Italy’s extensive and efficient train network makes it a popular choice for families. The Trenitalia and Italo train services connect major cities and regions, making it a breeze to get from, say, Rome to Florence.
Family compartments and discounts for children are available on some routes. Remember to bring activities to keep your kids occupied during longer journeys.
Make sure to get to the train station early so you can grab some snacks, drinks, and even books/entertainment.
In cities like Rome, Florence, and Milan, the public transportation system of buses, trams, and metro lines can be a convenient way to get around.
However, they can get crowded during peak hours. It’s always wise to keep an eye on your kids and belongings.
Also, strollers may be challenging to maneuver on buses or trams during busy times.
Taxis can be a quick and convenient way to reach specific Italian destinations, especially when your kids are tired or the weather is uncooperative.
Uber operates in many Italian cities, offering a familiar and often efficient mode of transport.
Keep in mind that car seats are not commonly available in taxis or Ubers, so you might need to bring a portable one if your child requires it. We love using the Bubble Bum.
Renting a Car
If you’re comfortable driving in a foreign country and plan to explore more rural areas or small towns, renting a car can be a great option.
It provides the convenience of setting your own schedule and can be less stressful than navigating public transportation with kids.
However, remember that Italian cities often have restricted traffic zones (ZTLs) where non-residents can’t drive, and parking can be challenging. Be sure to request child car seats when you rent the car if necessary.
Eating in Italy with Kids
One of the greatest joys of traveling to Italy is the food. Fortunately, Italian food is generally very kid-friendly, with a ton of options for pasta, pizza, and gelato.
Here are some tips for making your family’s culinary adventure in Italy enjoyable and stress-free.
Introducing Italian Cuisine to Kids and Managing Picky Eaters
Italian cuisine goes far beyond spaghetti and pizza. Encourage your kids to try new dishes, but be mindful of their preferences.
A simple pasta with butter or olive oil is commonly available if they’re not feeling adventurous. And you can always ask for bread that they can dip in olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar.
Gelato or sorbet can be a delicious treat for after meals (or in between).
Finding Family-Friendly Restaurants and Trattorias
Most Italian restaurants and trattorias welcome children, but it’s always helpful to look for those that are especially kid-friendly.
Places with a relaxed atmosphere, outdoor seating, or even a children’s menu can be a good choice. We’ve had good luck using Yelp or asking the concierge at our hotels.
Pizzerias can be particularly great for families, offering a casual environment and a universally loved dish.
Exploring Local Markets and Food Festivals
Visiting local food markets can be an exciting family food adventure. Children can learn about different fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and other local produce.
Food festivals, which are common in Italy, offer a chance to try a variety of dishes and engage with local culture.
Tips for Dining Out with Kids
In Italy, dining is a leisurely experience. To avoid long waits, consider dining a bit earlier when restaurants are less busy.
I suggest bringing activity books, coloring books with crayons, sketch pads, or small toys/fidgets that can keep kids entertained.
It’s customary in Italy to ask for the check (il conto) when you’re ready to leave. Tipping is appreciated but not mandatory – a couple of euros or up to 10% for excellent service is common.
Must-See Italy Attractions for Families
Italy is a treasure trove of attractions perfect for families. Whether it’s historic landmarks, stunning beaches, interactive museums, or charming parks, there’s something for every family to enjoy.
Family-Friendly Attractions in Major Cities
Visit the iconic Colosseum and make history come alive for your kids.
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill offer open spaces for children to run around and explore. Get priority access here.
A gondola ride through the city’s waterways can be a thrilling experience for children. Also, visit the islands of Murano and Burano to see the colorful houses and glass-making demonstrations.
Italy’s Beautiful Beaches and Coastal Towns
Italy’s coastline is dotted with family-friendly beaches. The shallow waters of Sardinia’s Costa Rei are perfect for little ones. Towns like Positano on the Amalfi Coast offer stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere.
Kid-Friendly Museums and Interactive Exhibits
Most of Italy’s museums cater to younger audiences with interactive exhibits. The Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence and Rome’s Explora, a children’s museum, are exciting and educational.
The Museo Storico della Didattica in Rome offers a unique look at the history of education, which kids might find intriguing.
Outdoor Parks and Playgrounds
Italy’s parks are perfect for a day of family fun. Rome’s Villa Borghese includes a zoo, puppet theatre, and boat rentals.
In Florence, the Torrigiani Garden is a secret green haven within the city. Look out for local playgrounds for a break during your city explorations.
How to Keep Kids Engaged and Entertained
Keeping your children entertained throughout your trip to Italy is key to ensuring everyone has a great time.
Here are some strategies to make sure the younger members of your family remain engaged and captivated during your Italian adventure.
Planning Age-Appropriate Activities and Kid-Friendly Tours
Tailor your itinerary to your children’s age and interests. Younger kids might enjoy a puppet show at the Teatro dei Burattini in Florence, while older children may appreciate exploring the ancient ruins of Rome or the spooky catacombs.
Some tour companies offer kid-friendly tours with guides skilled at making history and culture fun and engaging for kids. Get ideas with my 10-day Italy with kids itinerary.
Engaging Kids in Italian Culture Through Language and Traditions
Involve your children in the local culture. Teach them common Italian phrases or take a short language class together. Participating in local festivals or traditional events can also provide an enriching experience.
Watching a local soccer match or learning to make pizza or gelato are also fun ways to immerse in Italian culture.
Enjoying Outdoor Adventures and Nature Activities
Visit national parks and nature reserves, or take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. These experiences can provide a refreshing break from the bustling cities.
Incorporating Educational Experiences and Workshops
Turn your vacation into a fun learning experience. Museums often provide workshops for children.
For example, the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence has a secret passages tour that makes history exciting. Participating in a cooking class is another great way to learn about Italian culture while picking up a new skill.
Health and Safety Considerations
Traveling abroad with children requires extra attention to their health and safety.
Here are some crucial considerations to ensure your family’s well-being during your trip to Italy.
Ensuring Your Child’s Well-Being During the Trip
Before your departure, ensure your children are up-to-date on routine vaccines. It may also be a good idea to have a check-up with your pediatrician and discuss any travel-specific health concerns.
Pack a first-aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and child-friendly medication for common ailments like fever or upset stomach.
And make sure you have enough prescribed medications to last for your entire trip (plus a few extra days in case of travel delays). It can be super hard to get prescribed medications in another country.
Handling Medical Emergencies and Finding English-Speaking Healthcare Providers
Italy has excellent healthcare facilities, but in case of a medical emergency, it’s important to know what to do.
The emergency number in Italy is 118. Many doctors and medical staff speak English, especially in larger cities. Consider getting travel insurance that includes medical evacuation for more serious situations.
Staying Safe in Crowded Tourist Areas and Using Child Safety Measures
Italy’s popular tourist spots can get quite crowded, making it essential to keep a close eye on your children.
Consider using child safety measures like Apple Air Tags, especially for younger kids. Discuss safety rules with your children such as staying close and what to do if they get lost.
Dealing with Jet Lag and Maintaining a Routine While Traveling
Jet lag can affect children, too. Start adjusting your child’s sleep schedule a few days before departure to lessen the impact.
During your trip, try to maintain a routine similar to home, balancing sightseeing with rest and relaxation.
Regular meal times and enough sleep can help your child adjust to the new time zone and keep them in good spirits. We usually use melatonin at night to ensure that our kids fall asleep AND stay asleep so they get enough rest.
Language and Communication Tips
Communicating effectively while traveling in Italy can enhance your family’s overall experience.
Here are some helpful tips to overcome language barriers and make your trip smoother and more enjoyable.
Learning Basic Italian Phrases for Communication
While many Italians speak English, particularly in major cities and tourist areas, it’s always appreciated when visitors make an effort to speak the local language.
Basic phrases like “Grazie” (Thank you), “Per favore” (Please), “Dove è…?” (Where is…?), and “Parla inglese?” (Do you speak English?) can go a long way.
Teach your kids these phrases too – it’s not only practical but also makes for a fun learning experience. We like to use Duolingo before our trips so that our kids are familiar with key phrases.
Utilizing Translation Apps and Pocket Dictionaries
Having a translation app on your phone, such as Google Translate, can be incredibly useful. These apps often include audio pronunciation guides, and some even have a feature to translate text from photos, which can be helpful for menus or signs.
A pocket dictionary is another useful tool, especially in areas with unreliable internet connections. We like to give them to our kids so they have a job to do when we’re navigating the city.
Encouraging Kids to Interact with Locals and Learn the Language
Encourage your children to practice their Italian with locals. This can be a fantastic learning opportunity and a chance to make new friends.
Simple interactions like ordering at gelato shops or asking for directions can be great practice. And if nothing else, they can greet people or say thank you.
Overcoming Language Barriers for a Smoother Travel Experience
Remember, communication is more than just language. Non-verbal cues, like gestures and expressions, can also convey meaning.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or sounding funny, as locals usually appreciate the effort and are happy to help.
Family Trip to Italy FAQs
Is Italy a good place to take kids?
Yes, Italy is a wonderful place to take kids. It’s rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. Additionally, Italians are known for their love of family, and children are welcomed nearly everywhere.
The country is filled with interesting museums, parks, historical sites, and kid-friendly cuisine (pizza, pasta, and gelato).
Is Rome or Venice better for kids?
Both Rome and Venice have their own unique kid-friendly attractions that can be enjoyable for families. Rome, with its historical sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and interactive museums like Explora, is full of educational opportunities.
Venice, on the other hand, offers a unique experience with its canals, gondola rides, and islands like Murano and Burano that kids usually find fascinating.
It might depend on the specific interests of your children. My kids personally enjoyed Venice more because they decided they were “boat people.”
What is the best month to travel to Italy with kids?
The best months to travel to Italy with kids are during the spring (April to June) and fall (September and October). The weather during these months is typically mild and pleasant.
Also, these periods avoid the summer high season when tourist sites can be extremely crowded and temperatures uncomfortably high.
What is the best way for a family to travel in Italy?
Trains are a comfortable and efficient way to travel between cities in Italy. They’re often faster than driving, and kids usually enjoy the experience.
When in cities, public transportation is widely available (just be alert), Uber is readily available, or you can explore on foot as many city centers are pedestrian-friendly.
Is there a UNESCO world heritage site in Italy?
Yes, there are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy, in fact, Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any country in the world, with 55 designated areas.
These include well-known sites such as the Historic Centre of Rome, the Historic Centre of Florence, Venice and its Lagoon, and the Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum, and Torre Annunziata, to name a few.
What are the top activities for families visiting Rome?
Rome captivates families with a ton of activities, from historical adventures at the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, to interactive experiences like a pizza-making class and explorations at the Villa Borghese park, making it a delight for children and adults alike.
Where can I do a boat ride in Italy?
Italy presents a multitude of picturesque boat ride options, from iconic gondola rides in Venice and ferry voyages on the serene Italian Lakes, to coastal tours along the Amalfi Coast, explorations around the islands of Capri and Sicily, and excursions in the Cinque Terre.
Does Italy have an active volcano?
Italy is home to several active volcanoes, including Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active, Stromboli off Sicily’s coast, and Vesuvius near Naples, infamous for its devastating eruption in AD 79.
What are the most popular Italian cities for families?
Popular Italian cities for families include Rome for its history and museums, Florence for its accessible art and kid-friendly science museum, Venice for its canals and glass-blowing demonstrations, and Naples for its proximity to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast.
Milan also has many kid-friendly attractions like the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology.
Is it worth visiting Florence with kids?
Absolutely, visiting Florence with kids is worth it as the city offers a rich history, kid-friendly museums, and beautiful parks.
Plus, a day trip to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, an iconic symbol of Italy, can be a memorable experience for the entire family.
Are there any theme parks in Italy?
Yes, there are several theme parks in Italy. Gardaland near Lake Garda is one of the biggest and offers a variety of rides for all ages.
Is Cinque Terre worth visiting with kids?
Yes, Cinque Terre can be a fun place to visit with kids, but it might depend on their ages and interests. The five coastal villages offer opportunities for easy hiking, beach vacation time, and boat rides, which can be enjoyable for older kids.
However, the area can be crowded and might be challenging to navigate with a stroller or for younger children. Be sure to plan for plenty of breaks, and consider staying in one of the less crowded small villages for a more relaxed experience.
How to Explore Italy with Kids Wrap-Up
And there you have it! Our top tips for planning a stress-free family vacation in Italy with kids. I hope these tips help you embrace your Italian adventure and create lasting family memories.
Italy is one of our favorite family vacation destinations and I hope it will be for you on your next family trip!