Italy with kids

Italy with Kids

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The family unit is very important for Italians, and children are well-liked and accepted warmly in most social settings.  As a holiday destination, Italy is a perfect introduction to Europe for your little ones, who will be welcomed and happily engaged.

There are just so much to see and do, too!  While not huge, Italy is a country best savoured slowly.  Visiting Italy with the kids would mean choosing the sights you can take in for this trip, and leaving the rest for the next trip (not a bad strategy, that)!

For first time visitors, an itinerary covering Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan looks ideal. But that’s purely scratching the surface of what you can do in Italy with the kids!

Choose from cultural activities that engage all ages…  Are the kids old enough to appreciate the masterpieces? If so you’d want to book tickets in advance and online.  For example, be forewarned that if you want to see The Last Supper (in the Duomo di Milano), be prepared to go online and book those coveted tickets once they are released, usually three months before the visit date.   Or be prepared to fork out a big sum for a tour that includes 15min standing time in front of the masterpiece.

Pisa, with it’s iconic leaning tower, is a highlight many families travelling to Italy with kids.  Delightful hill towns where time seem to come to a standstill dot the countryside  – with each region having a special claim of its own.  Attend a festival – there are many to choose from, and in particular if it is Tuscany you are visiting, this website offers an updated calendar of events.   Or soak up the chic atmosphere cities such as Milan and Como (of Lake Como fame) offer.  Did we mention the Italian Lakes where movies stars go to chill and be seen?

Automobile fans in the family might clamour to visit the Ferrari museum in Modena.  Soccer fans would want to visit the world-famous Milan stadium San Siro.

How about indulging in some excellent dining?  Homely, kids-friendly, Italian food is probably the favourite cuisine of kids all over the world. The best steaks are often simply seasoned, the best pastas freshly made.   Do not get us started on the gelatos….

Perhaps, the toughest part of the holiday would be in the planning… deciding where to go, what to do, and what to shelve for the next trip! It’s a tough call – so here’s a collection of trip reports and travel stories shared by mums and dads in our community to help you make that difficult decision on where to visit when in Italy with kids!


Quick Facts on Visiting Italy with Kids

Population:61.3 million
Area:301,230 square kilometres
Capital City:Rome
Currency:Euro
Tipping: Tipping is not customary in Italy.

The exception would be with front line hospitality staffs. For bellboys, a tip of between 1 – 2 Euros per bag handled is fair; chambermaids should be tipped about 1 – 2 Euros per night. A general rule of thumb - the posher the sleep, the more you should tip.
Languages:Italian is the official language, though German, French and English are all widely spoken.
Climate:The climate of Italy is as varied as its landscape. Generally, it is warmer in the South and cooler in the north all year round.

The summer months, from June through August, brings hordes to the country’s most popular cities (Rome, Florence, Venice), whilst Autumn is favored by some as the best time in the year to enjoy Italy without the crowd.

For an overview of the climate when planning your trip, visit http://www.knowital.com/weather/italy/, and bookmark http://www.meteo.it/ (only in Italian) for detailed weather updates.
Useful numbers:Tourism Information Hotline +886-2-2717-37371912
Toll-free Travel Information call centre 0800-011-765
Police Emergency 110
Ambulance / Fire 119
Getting around:Travel between cities and towns is relatively fuss-free via the extensive train network. Check Trenitalia's website for schedules and rates. Also check for Bambino Gracias - special discount tickets for kids.

For families looking to experience the Italian countryside, and explore towns and villages tucked into hillsides and along the coast, hiring your own wheels would be the best option. Plan your trip well - Distance Calculator is a good resource for planning your Italian road trip.

Bear in mind though, that the centres of most cities and towns have a Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL, restricted traffic areas). These zones are marked by a red-rimmed circular road sign giving the hours and days of the limitation and are vigorously enforced, often by police on the ground as well as by cameras. Fines will make it’s way back to you via your car rental company.

Alternatively, leave the planning to a specialist, and opt to join a tour.
Drinking water:Romans are proud of their free-flowing fountains, found throughout the city. They’d tell you Rome’s water is the sweetest in the world, bring a bottle and drink up!

Outside of Rome though, it is a good idea to stock up on bottled water, though tap water is generally safe to drink. For making formula milk for the little ones though, it might be best to keep to bottled water, which is easily available.
3 Themes for Planning an Italian trip1. The Big Ones
Take in the big sights - Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower in Pisa, the waterways in Venice. Involve the kids when planning the itinerary - you might be surprised with what they come up with.

2. Eat your way through
Italy is a country for food lovers – whether rustic home-cooked fare or elegant, delicate cuisine. Every region has a specialty – Naples claims to be the birthplace of pizzas, Bolognese sauce originated from the city of Bologna. Then there is the gelato - creamy, dense, delicious Italian ice cream. Which is your family’s fave? Tell us all about it here! Plan, and have a feast!

3. Enjoy a festival. Every city and town has its own patron saint, and festivals are held throughout the year in cities and towns, big and small to honor the saints. Plan to be at a town holding a festival during your holiday, and check it out. It will be an interesting, unique experience your kids will remember for a long, long time.