Every inch of Italy should be visited by families travelling with kids. There are so many incredible destinations that can be quite hard for me to say where to go in Italy with children.
Italy is divided into twenty regions and each has something special to tell to tourists. Ancient traditions, lovely recipes, attractions and landscapes, beaches and mountains, big cities and tiny villages, natural or theme parks.
So… since I’m biased 🙂 I’ve asked fellow travel bloggers the best places they have been in Italy with kids and why. Here you can find from North to South, from East to West, their travel inspiration, top tips and useful suggestions, that can help you plan your next family trip to Italy.
Best places in Italy for kids: where to go for unforgettable vacations to Italy
Table of Content
- What to visit in the North of Italy with your family
- The best destinations in Central Italy not to miss during a family trip
- Where to go to Southern Italy for the best holidays with children
Top 10 touristic attractions in Italy for kids
Emma, author of World Best Hikes
Italy is a great place to travel as a family, wherever you go. The food is kid-friendly, there’s gelato everywhere and everyone loves children – whatever they might do, however crabby and tired they are, you are still met with a smile. This makes it hard to single out a single destination as the best place to visit in Italy… but one place does stand out.
Venice really is like no other city. My boys loved wandering around the canals, watching the gondolas and taking vaporetti and ferries everywhere. Also, chasing pigeons. We skipped cultural sights like Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace in favour of just walking the streets, admiring the carnival masks in the shops and soaking up the atmosphere. We also visited the island of Burano. Way less crowded than Venice even in summer, this small island also has a canal as well as charming colourful houses. As long as you don’t have your heart set on a lot of architecture, shopping or churches, Venice should definitely be part of your family trip to Italy!
Katerina, author of 4kids und Ich
My 4 girls and I did a 14-day road trip to “Budapest and Back”. Italy was our last stop and I we decided to spend one day in Venice. The plan was to just stroll around the city slowly making our way to the Piazza San Marco. I didn’t realize how many winding and narrow streets there are in Venice, but the girls knew the drill and stayed together. Mostly. When the 3 oldest girls and I saw a shop with a chocolate fountain we stopped to admire it. The youngest, a proud independent 100 cm tall girl, kept on walking. Just like I taught her. She vanished in the sea of legs. By the time I realized that she was gone, a group of tourists just passed by. Fortunate, she isn’t fast, so I caught up with her a couple of meters further. She didn’t even realize that we lost her.
In short, don’t do Venice as a solo parent with 4 small kids.
Nichola, author of Globalmouse Travels
My favourite Italian destination has to be Verona. With none of the vanity of Venice, Verona is the real, in my opinion, more beautiful neighbour. Packed full of history you can wander over Roman bridges and up Medieval towers but kids will love the fact that there’s gelato on virtually every street corner. The Arena here is so much more accessible that Rome’s Colosseum and all the more evocative because of it. Let the kids run around underneath the stadium to imagine a time now past. We visited Verona as part of our spring trip across Italy and wished we had more time here, to soak up the fictional but still much embraced Romeo and Juliet story and to eat more of the biscuits named after the Shakespearean play too. Verona is picture perfect and having travelled extensively through Italy it is my absolute favourite and perfect for a family trip.
Stefania van Lieshout, author of Views of the World
Lago di Garda is my favourite family destination in Italy. As a kid, I spent each summer there and many winter holidays as well, because of my mother, who is Italian. She grew up in Castelletto di Brenzone, a picturesque village on the eastern shore of the lake. When I was little I spent most of the summer at the pebble beach and in the water, later as a teenager I learned to windsurf. Till this day the lake continues to attract surfers from all over Europe, due to the strong winds.
The winters are even better, because it is a lot quieter and you can enjoy winter sports here at the Monte Baldo ski resort; it was and still is a small resort with just nine runs, thus ideal for beginners.
Now as an adult I like to return to the lake with my own family, where we often go hiking in the mountains. The Monte or Mount Baldo has a large number of trails at different levels. You can hike along the steep mountain crest or for the less adventurous simply walk up the panoramic trails to enjoy sweeping views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Lisa, author of FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com
When thinking of visiting Italy with your kids fashion city Milan might not be your first choice. But it’s actually very cheap to fly there from lots of European destinations, it’s only a train ride away from popular Venice and Rome and what’s more, Milan is actually a fun city to visit with kids! The Duomo di Milano, the huge cathedral in Milan’s city center, is very impressive and worth a visit. But the really cool part? You can walk around on the roof! They even have an elevator to get there. Our son also very much enjoyed the Science and Technology Museum, which has scaled models based on Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches and a large transport section with boats, planes, trains and even a real submarine in the garden. Sforzesco Castle is also a cool place to explore and of course you have to go see the dinosaur skeletons at the Natural History Museum. If the weather is good, don’t forget to check out the Indro Montanelli Public Gardens, a lovely large city park with various small playgrounds and plenty of space to run around.
Celine Brewer, author of Baby Can Travel
As we began the planning process for our trip to Italy with our toddler and preschooler, we knew we had to include Cinque Terre. It had been suggested to us that we should really reconsider and that Cinque Terre wasn’t the ideal location to visit with a toddler, but now having been there we beg to differ.
It is the ideal location to visit with small kids, as long as you are well prepared. The five coastal towns are fun to explore with kids and those early mornings mean you get to see them before they get swarming with tourists. Hiking between the towns is a great way to escape the crowds, we just recommend being prepared with the proper carrier to carry your child when needed. Top this off with beaches, playgrounds, easy access between all the towns and delicious food (oooh, the gelato), we couldn’t imagine a better place to visit with kids.
Alex Waltner, author of Swedish Nomad says about Cinque Terre”
“Cinque Terre is definitely one of the best Italian destinations to go. Here await various hiking paths, picturesque villages with lots of history and of course delicious food! The hiking paths are moderate or easy, which is suitable for families traveling together. You can choose the difficulty level as there are different paths to choose. What they all have in common is the breathtaking views of the five villages Vernazza, Monterosso, Corniglia, Riomaggiore and Manarola. When you go to Manarola, make sure to make a stop at the restaurant called Nessun Dorma. Here you can eat delicious bruschettas while having the best view over the village. Along the hiking paths, you can also stop and have a picnic in the nature. We brought our own wine, some fresh tomatoes, pizza and some soda as well. Make sure to schedule enough time, though, and bring water too as well as proper shoes!”
Chrysoula Manika, author of Travel Passionate
If there is something all children love unconditionally, that is Gelato, the famous Italian ice cream that is appreciated all over the world. Families with children can enjoy an amazing trip to the Carpigiani museum in Bologna and have the little ones learn how to make their favorite Gelato! There is a one-day course created in collaboration with Gelato University that will engage kids in the process of making Gelato and develop their creativity as well. During your family day trip to the Carpigiani museum, you will enjoy a complete tour of the history of this delicious dessert and a session of tasting the best Gelato in the world. For the little chefs that want to learn how to make Gelato, there will be an apron and a hat to wear as well as a variety of ingredients to use. And to complete the day in a glorious way, kids will receive diplomas that will prove their new skills.
Sharon Gourlay, author of Dive into Malaysia
Pisa is a fabulous place to visit with kids especially if they have seen pictures of its most famous attraction before. There is always something extra exciting about visiting a well-known landmark and your kids will love their first glance in real life of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
There are other attractions worth visiting on this site as well, and Pisa itself is nice to wander around, although the tower is always going to be the highlight. We liked it so much we have been twice! The last time in January, which is a great time to go as the crowds are so much less than when we went in summer. It makes it so much easier to explore and take the silly compulsory staged photos of holding up the tower. Taking those photos was particularly a hit with our kids. Note that kids must be over 8 to climb to the top of the tower.
Jessy Lipperts, author of Planet Pilgrims
So off we went with my then 2-year-old daughter to visit the birthplace of Pinocchio. We were holidaying at a seaside village south of Pisa so it was a bit of a drive to get there. I don’t mind driving and I thought it would be great fun for my daughter to visit this fun but also historical place, something unique.
It was totally Italian, like there were no signs in English and I think we were the only international visitors. Our biggest challenge was that Rosie wasn’t happy seeing the long noses and all the dressed-up people. She was very scared and our visit to the park was cut short, unfortunately.
I would recommend the park for families with small children under the age of 10 (not scared of puppets, clowns and dressed up people). The village is worth a visit as well. Afterwards, we enjoyed very much walking through the Giardino Garzoni so the 80 km was still very much worth it.
Rashmi and Chalukya, authors of GOBeyondBounds
Rome was a family trips with our parents and our year-old kiddo. We started with Vatican City Museum. Museums are not always a favorite with the toddlers. We ensured we did it slowly with a couple of breaks for feeding and also allow her to run around a little sometimes. Rome city sightseeing was a walking tour and the part of the trip our kiddo enjoyed the most. We walked the bridges, explored the squares dotted with fountains, street musicians, and other artists. There was always a lot of space most of them car-free areas where kiddo could run around freely.
We spent some time in every square and let our kiddo out of the stroller. She enjoyed running around and watching the street artists and musicians. When in Italy you cannot miss trying out different flavors of gelatos and we remember having more than a dozen in a single day. And you cannot leave the Italian capital without devouring some delicious pizza. Make sure you have enough gelato and pizza breaks. Kids are going to love the foodie treat. Villa Borghese is a landscape garden in Rome a must visit when with kids. The park has several attractions, museums, a zoo, you can also go boating in a small lake in the garden.
Katy Clarke, author of Untold Morsels
Sicily is a feast for all the senses and our favourite Italian family travel destination. Italy’s biggest island has everything you need and more for the perfect vacation with kids. In Sicily, you enjoy some of the most stunning landscapes in Europe. There are not too many places in the world where you can visit a smouldering volcano then head to the beach for a dip in sparkling blue seas. Or climb on alabaster cliffs to watch the sunset.
Hundreds of picturesque villages like Marzamemi and Cefalù hug the coastline. Here you will eat the freshest seafood and feast on granita – Sicilian gelato which locals sometimes eat for breakfast!
In Sicily, you can mix up lazy beach days with sightseeing and a fun history lesson. Inspire your kids’ imaginations with the ruins at the Valley of the Temples that have stood proud for over 2,000 years. Explore the stunning baroque towns of the Val di Noto with their elegant piazzas and art-filled churches before returning to the beach for a swim and more granita.
We can’t wait to return to Sicily to explore more.
Ortigia, Siracusa – Sicily
David Angel, author of Travel with Little One
We wanted to take our young son to Italy before we moved to Australia in 2016, and after a great deal of research decided to base ourselves in Ortigia, the island that is the heart of ancient Siracuse, or Syracuse, in the south-east of Sicily.
He was nearly two at the time, and a runner and explorer always seeking out new things, and new places. We thought of Ortigia because much of it is pedestrianised, there is very little motor traffic, and we had wanted to go there for a long time ourselves.
It turned out we made a great choice. He had plenty of alleyways to explore, and the magnificent Piazza del Duomo – one of our favourite squares in Italy – to run around every evening. He also enjoyed trying out pistachio pizza, but this didn’t come close to the gelato he had most evenings. And everywhere he went, our little blond “ragazzo” got lots of attention – four different people came up to him to give him biscuits in the ten minutes we waited for a bus at Catania airport.
He can’t wait to go back, and nor can we.
Italy is adorable and a pretty child-friendly country. Children of all age (from babies, toddlers and up) are more than welcome almost anywhere and I’m sure you will get plenty of fun during a family vacation to Italy.