Things to Do with Kids in Italy: 30 Ideas

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy | This Is My Happiness

If you’ve followed along on this website for a while, you know that Italy is my favorite country thanks to my background in art history and experiences traveling and studying in Italy starting at age 16. I can’t wait for the day when we finally visit Italy as a family. Fortunately, I know several Americans who either live in Italy or visit there frequently and can offer insider suggestions for what to do in Italy with kids.

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy | This Is My Happiness

One of these Italy experts is Shannon Kenny, Founder & Editor of Italiakids.com, an online family travel and lifestyle resource, and Director of the Arte al Sole arts and cultural workshops in Italy. Here Shannon shares her “30 things to do in Italy with kids”: suggestions for what to do in Italy with kids broken down into eight regions. These guidebooks can also be helpful: (click on the image for a link to the book)

             

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy:

What to Do on the Amalfi Coast with Kids

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy | This Is My Happiness

Take a boat to a secret cove for lunch and swimming.

Attend a Luminaria festival. I love the Luminaria of San Domenico, in Praiano the first week of August. The Piazza Duomo, perched above the sea, is illuminated each night with candles and fire-themed entertainment. On the last night, thousands of fire balloons are released into the air, floating across the Mediterranean toward Capri.

Art at the beach! Roman urn sketches, sea creature watercolors, and lemon-themed cooking classes are some of the options available in July at the Amalfi Coast Arte al Sole kids art workshops.

What to Do in Umbria with Kids

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy | This Is My Happiness

Visit the land of Narnia: The hilltown of Narni is in an enchanting area of Umbria near Terni and the Cascata delle Marmore, a man-made waterfall created by the Romans. This area was reputedly the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’ magical land of Narnia in The Chronicles of Narnia. It is a beautiful terrain to explore and becomes even more special as children and parents alike see why it perhaps inspired such literary majesty.

Castiglione del Lago on Lake Trasimeno: Swim beneath a castle at Castiglione del Lago on Lake Trasimeno. There are fun “bagni” (bathing establishments) along its shores with playgrounds, kayak and paddle boat rentals, and snack bars.

Walk with a shepherdess at one of our favorite farm stays in Italy in Colle San Paolo. Here you can buy fresh cheese and goat-milk yogurt daily and find the shepherdess Graziella guiding her flock across the property in the morning and the evening. Kids really, really think this is cool!

Truffle hunting: When truffles are in season, there are a variety of options for guided truffle hunting in the oak woods dotting the hills of Umbria. This is a great way for children to learn about the connections between the land and cuisine.

Soccer day camp: Soccer skills in the morning and Italian language games in the afternoon make for a uniquely local experience at Soccer al Sole, near the historic small city of Perugia.

Visit the Perugina Chocolate Factory in Perugia.

Go in an ancient Etruscan tomb. The ancient town of Chiusi has a famous Etruscan Museum, which is very interesting for children. Included in the price of the ticket (€4) is a visit to the Etruscan tombs “del Leone” e “della Pellegrina” dating from before the Roman Empire. The tombs are located in the beautiful countryside about 10 minutes away from the museum by car.

What to Do in Venice with Kids

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy | This Is My Happiness

Go on a family treasure hunt to explore the city’s history by unraveling the myths and symbols of its mysterious past.

Kids and adults can learn about Carnevale traditions at this mask-making workshop.

What to Do in Lombardy with Kids

Take a historic ride with breathtaking views on the scenic train of the “hundred valleys” from Locarno (Switzerland) to Domodossola. To start, take a boat to Locarno from wherever you’re staying on Lake Maggiore, then catch the Centovalli train to Domodossola (schedule here). The views on this 2-hour scenic ride are breathtaking!

Visit a puppet museum. The marionette collection at the palace on Isola Madre on Lake Maggiore includes examples of puppets and scenery, set in the palace’s actual ancient theater, as well as a display of 18th-century puppet show scripts.

Swim in an Alpine lake at Lake Mergozzo, a more pristine water than the other lakes with no boat traffic. It’s just a short drive from Stresa on Lake Maggiore.

What to Do in the Cinque Terre with Kids

Stay in a castle with a lord. For families traveling to the Cinque Terre area, a fun off-the-beaten-path option is a stay at the medieval Castle of Malaspina di Fosdinovo, still owned by the chivalric family that has inhabited the fortress since the 12th century. There is a small museum of armaments and heirlooms, along with falconry demonstrations. From the castle ramparts, there are expansive views of the Tyhrennian Sea looking down upon the Cinque Terre area. Keep a lookout for pirates!

What to Do in Rome with Kids

Take a glass elevator to the vista terrace at the top of the “wedding cake” monument to Vittorio Emanuele II for 360 degree views of the city.

Bike the Via Appia Antica, the ancient Roman road connecting Rome to Naples, which is now preserved as a state park.

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy | This Is My Happiness

Take a boat ride down the Tiber River to the archaeological site at the ancient port of Ostia Antica. You catch the boat on the banks of the river just below the Ponte Sisto.

Winter holiday ice skating outside: From November to January, the city of Rome installs an outdoor ice rink at the park behind Castello Sant’Angelo.

Have a picnic in Borghese Gardens.

What to Do in Puglia with Kids

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy

Visit the trulli village of Alberobello. These cylindrical structures with mysterious symbols painted on the roofs are sure to captivate the kids!

Have lunch on a farm with a playground at Agriturismo Santa Chiara, near Lecce.

What to Do in Florence and Tuscany with Kids

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy | This Is My Happiness

In Florence:

The carousel in Piazza Repubblica has been a family favorite for many years. We like to enjoy a hot chocolate at Café Paszkowski afterward.

The Arte al Sole family art workshops offer a ceramics class focused on Renaissance style ceramic-ware. In these workshops, you can create your own cherished heirlooms.

The Museum of Zoology and Natural History in Florence: This museum, also called “La Specola,” began in the 18th century. It now houses an interesting array of scientific artifacts including an extensive collection of taxidermied animals. And after the museum, visit the newly renovated Mercato Centrale for a selection of local Italian cuisine and a mini Eataly location.

The Palazzo Vecchio for kids: Take an educational, family-friendly tour of the Palazzo Vecchio, one of Florence’s grandest historical buildings. This free tour must be arranged in advance by calling or emailing–find info. here.

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy | This Is My Happiness

Outside Florence:

Follow in the footsteps of Michelangelo with a kids’ marble and art history workshop at the Palazzo Mediceo, near Pietrasanta, where Michelangelo carved the David.

Visit the real Sword in the Stone! According to legend, the true Excalibur is the sword stuck in a stone in the beautiful Abbey of San Galgano.

Attend a medieval festival and experience life as it once was in small Tuscan towns. One our family’s favorite festivals are the Monteriggioni near Siena. It takes place the first week of July every year.

Bike the city walls of Lucca.

30 Things to Do with Kids in Italy | This Is My Happiness

More ideas of what to do in Italy with kids:

Florence with Kids on Travel Babbo

Walking tour of Rome on Walking On Travels

Much more about Italy on this blog

Photo credits: Photo 1: Giovani Racca on Flickr, Photo 3: bass_nroll on Flickr, Photo 7: Piergiorgio Mariniello on Flickr, Photo 9: Barney Moss on Flickr, Photo 10: Albert on Flickr

17 Comments

  • Andi says:

    I don’t have kids but feel that travel with children is so important. I grew up traveling all over the world with my family and I feel I am a much better person because of it! Italy is such happy place and I always see families there enjoying their time together, it is not surprising to me that there is so much to do with your children in this wonderful country.

    • Jenna says:

      I agree. I think Italy offers so much for adults and children, and as Shannon has shown, many cool things can be found in the countryside of Italy, too.

  • Marissa says:

    I don’t have kids but I would like to do many of these things myself! Italy was my first overseas trip when I was growing up and my family is hoping to do a multi-gen heritage trip out there next summer, so I will definitely be saving this for the kid friendly activities!

    • Jenna says:

      Oh, how fun! We are planning a multi-generation trip to England for next summer (2017). And I think many of these ideas would be appropriate for families without young children, too.

  • Tamara says:

    I love these ideas!! I help plan trip to Italy for families and some of these are new to me and I need to check them out!

    • Jenna says:

      How fun that you help families plan trips to Italy. I think Italy is a wonderful country for children.

  • I took my children all over Europe from when they were babies (my son was 2 1/2 months old and actually was baptized there on his first trip to Italy!) I agree, these are all great ideas to engage children in travel and instill a love of travel from an early age. Maybe other parents don’t feel that is a value that is important, but I think it is so much more important than learning from a desk and chair in a classroom all school-year long.

    One of my biggest pet peeves is when parents say, “We’re waiting until the children are older to travel.” I say start them young and teach them what it is to be a “good traveler”!

    • Jenna says:

      I agree that kids don’t need to remember it later for it to be a meaningful and important experience for them. I think every family needs to decide what works for them, but the sooner you can get out there exploring, the better in my opinion!

  • Katie says:

    Your kids are so lucky to have parents who value travel so much! I love Italy as well and can see how it would be an amazing country to travel to with children.

    • Jenna says:

      Yes! I can’t wait to go there with my kids; all of these ideas from Shannon have inspired me to see much more of Italy as a family.

  • Kelly says:

    I don’t have kids, but want to do every one of these! I’m going to send to my sister in law as she’s thinking of taking her kids to Italy and around Europe for the first time soon. Thanks for the info!

  • These are some great ideas! So many people are afraid to travel with kids, especially abroad! I’d love to do some of these too!

  • Morgan says:

    This is great advice for making a trip to Italy a nice vacation for everyone, including the kids! The ceramics class sounds like a lot of fun! Awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  • Rizqah says:

    Absolutely love these idea’s! Thanks for the advice.

  • Hii,
    Its a great idea to visit to Italy with your children,because there are lots of places in Italy that is a mode of attraction for kids.So please visit to Italy with your kids.

    Thanks,for sharing this valuable information about Italy Trip with children.

  • Bailey says:

    I don’t have children yet I might want to do a large number of these things myself! Italy was my first abroad excursion when I was growing up and my family is planning to do a multi-gen legacy trip out there next summer, so I will spare this for the child well-disposed exercises!

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