Italy is a magical place to travel, especially with your family! The Italians are very family-oriented, so you can be sure that you and your loved ones will be welcomed wherever you go.
Like any country, one of the most interesting parts of Italy is how different it is from South to North. Each city, no matter the size, has its own unique charm, customs and traditions. From the warm waters of the South to the wine country of Tuscany and the spectacular mountains on the border with Switzerland, you’re in for a fantastic trip wherever you go. If you’re planning to travel to multiple places in Italy, there are certain cities that are definitely worth a visit for families. Here they are:
Where to Go in Italy: Family Travel Guide
No trip to Italy is complete without Rome, especially if you are traveling with children. History comes alive in this city! From the Colosseum to the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Vatican, and and Roman Forum, you can picture what life must have been like thousands of years ago in ancient Rome. This is a particularly good place to start if you have school-age children that are or will be studying the Greeks and Romans - it will give a lot of context to what they are learning about. Consider staying near the Spanish steps, where the nights are quiet (a big plus when you’re with a big group) yet very close to lots of cafes and gelato shops!
One of the most popular destinations for family travel in Italy, it is easy to rent a house in the Tuscan countryside and explore. One of the most fun things to do is to stay on a farm, where kids can learn about animals, olives, or tending grapevines. There are usually many other families at the farmstay over the summer months, which is a great opportunity for children (and adults) to make new friends. Check out options like Agriturismo Cretaiole di Luciano Moricciani, for example, to get an idea of what this special adventure could be like!
Getting to Elba feels highly adventurous and is totally worth the trip. Admittedly, it is a little bit difficult to get there - you have to take a bus to Piombino and a ferry from there - but it is really exciting. Children love taking the ferry and being on the water. Once you arrive, you can easily travel by bus around the island to your destination or rent bikes and ride along the coast. What’s special about Elba is the beautiful beaches that are perfect for families. Check out this list of great sandy beaches on the island. No visit to Elba is complete without visiting the Villa dei Mulini di Napoleone in Portoferraio - the place where Napoleon was exiled in 1814!
4. Lake Como
Northern Italy is spectacular. With pristine lakes and high mountains, it is a great destination for families and works as a day trip from nearby Milan. However, the accessibility of the outdoors and the natural beauty will make you want to stay there for days, so consider planning a longer trip there. Many of the hotels have kids’ clubs, while a vacation rental is an ideal way for you to all explore together. Go to public beaches, take a boat out on the lake and go tubing, or continue on to Switzerland on the train! Don’t miss the towns of Varenna and Bellagio during your visit.
Travel through the famous canals of this beautiful gem of a city, and enjoy some of the best gelato in all of Italy! The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a great place to take kids because it is a small house and museum, and easy to explore without spending all day getting exhausted - and there is also a beautiful garden to walk through with a Wishing Tree that Yoko Ono sent. Take a tour on a water taxi or in a gondola at night. Feeling adventurous? Take your kids on a ghost tour of Venice or head to the beautiful city of Vicenza for a day trip.
6. Amalfi Coast
Few destinations are more spectacular than the Amalfi Coast, with seaside towns carved into cliffs. The views of the water are so breathtaking that you probably will want to make every day a beach day. However, there are plenty of things to do from here. Take a day trip to Pompeii and explore the forum, amphitheater, and public baths, and see how much of the city is still covered from the volcanic eruption! Or visit Capri, where Roman emperors built villas in the first century AD!
One of the most important centers of Italian history and culture, Florence is a great place for families to visit! Take everyone to Piazzale Michelangelo to see a beautiful view of Florence and walk around after your journey there. Be sure to take your family to see Michelangelo’s David at Galleria dell’Accademia and the incredible masters of the Galleria degli Uffizi, and take an afternoon break at the carousel on the Piazza della Republica. The Duomo in Florence is an incredible place to visit, as is the Giardino di Boboli across the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge.
You may feel inclined to explore further in the Italian Alps (in which case you might want to bring along a German phrasebook as well as an Italian one) or spend more time going to charming towns in Tuscany like San Gimignano (where there is great wine tasting), Assisi, or Siena. Another great island to explore is the larger Sardinia, which is easy to get to by plane or ferry. No matter what, be sure to enjoy the gelato with your kids!
This article was written by Cathy Trainor.