So you are going to Italy with the kids….what a wonderful decision! There is so much to see and do in Italia – the country is so full of culture, great food, history and AMORE. After multiple visits with my kids, there are a few things that we always try to squeeze in.
Here is my top 10 list of what to do with kids in Italy:
1. Go to the Beach
Smack right in the middle of the Mediterranean, the majority of Italy offers stunning shore line and breathtaking vistas. Whether its just for a few days or a few hours, visiting the beaches is a familiar pastime for the locales and is definitely something you will not want to miss. The kids will love frolicking in the waves, making sand castles and catching some rays.
2. Visit an Archaeological site
From the Colosseum to Pompeii to Agrigento – the country is filled with archaeological sites that are fascinating. The history, the culture and the technology that the Romans had over 2000 years ago is something to marvel at. Even if the kids aren’t history buffs, they will enjoy just being in the center of it all and maybe be inspired to become an archaeologist one day.
3. Visit a Farm
Agriculture is still a very large part of the Italian culture. Whether it’s growing grapes for wine, tomatoes for sauce or foraging for truffles in the mountains, visiting a farm is not only fun but educational. I am a strong believer that all children should learn where our food comes and what it takes to make its way to our bellies – and what better place to learn this!
4. Rent a Boat
Nothing beats getting out into the ocean, feeling the wind in your hair and smelling the ocean air. Sailing is a popular pastime in Italy and there are so many wonderful places to stop and enjoy the panoramic seaside. Kids especially like to get in the water and perhaps do some snorkeling. If lucky enough, you might get to see a fish or 2. If a rental isn’t possible, maybe a ferry in the Cinque Terre area or along the Amalfi Coast?
5. Take a Cooking Class
Italy is known for its phenomenal food. Whether you are a pasta lover or if pizza is your thing, nothing beats rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. Learning food appreciation and getting some hands on experience is not only fun, but a life long skill. It’s a great time for the family to bond and once done cooking, enjoy the fruits of their labour. To learn about our Italian cooking class, click HERE.
Taking a Cooking Class in Venice
6. Take a High Speed Train
There is no better way to see the Italian countryside than by traveling by train. Kids love to hop from city to city while enjoying their time using this a very popular form of transportation. For some north American children, this may be the first time on a train and traveling at a speed of almost 400 km/hour is beyond exhilarating.
7. Climb a Mountain (or a Volcano)
Much of the Italian landscape is full of mountains and volcanoes. Whether you are skiing in the Italian Alps or climbing Mount Vesuvius, they are marvelous sites that should not be missed. The majestic beauty is something that needs to be experienced to be appreciated it. Not to mention, going back to school and telling your classmates you climbed a Volcano definitely gives you some street cred.
8. Visit a Botanical Garden
I’m not sure about your kids, but my kids love flowers and botanical gardens. No matter how large the city or how crazy the hustle and bustle is, there is something so peaceful and calming about visiting a garden. It’s such a great experience to slow down and learn about some of the flowers that you may not find at home. “Stop to smell the flowers” is a lesson that I try to teach my kids especially while on vacation.
9. See a Museum
Museums are everywhere! Whether it’s the most popular choices of the Vatican Museum in Rome or seeing David in the Academia in Florence to that obscure one found in the smallest of towns, museums are a great place to learn about the country you are visiting. Many museums these days offer maps and recorded tours just for kids that point out the highlights that they find most interesting.
Admiring the artwork in the Vatican Museum
10. Sample Gelato
Italian gelato can be found in every town, on every corner of every street, and if you don’t stop to sample you are just missing out. The various flavours from Nutella to Pistachios to Tiramisu will have you salivating. Do not forget to try Lemon Granite in a Brioche (Italian bun) for a delightful treat. The kids will love comparing flavours and deciding at the end of the trip which one was their favorite.
The many gelato flavours
11. Visit Sicily
I know this is my top 10 but I had to squeeze in one more. Call me biased as my family originated in Sicily, but I think Sicily is one of the most beautiful provinces in all of Italy. So many travellers visit Italy and often forget about this small island right at the tip of the Italian boot but doing that is definitely a mistake. Sicily is full of small medieval towns, majestic churches, Greek and African Influences, mountains, agriculture, and some of the kindest and welcoming people you will ever encounter. I always say that if you want to truly experience Italy, you must visit Sicily! The province feels a little like going back in time as everything moves slowly there and the people enjoy every day with such a zest for life.