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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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