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Italy

6 Best Cities to Visit in Italy with family

Thinking of going on vacation to Italy with family? Many people think that Italy is just a destination for lovers or adults. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Italy holds a wide array of fun and interactive things to do and see for kids of all ages. You and your family can enjoy history, beautiful scenery, amazing food, fun, and adventure in Italy.

Italy with kids
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From beaches to boat rides, the cities of Italy pack a punch for the entire family. This is a country you will surely want to visit more than once because you are going to have a hard time choosing which cities to go to. “Divertiamoci!”

Read below about some of the best places to visit in Italy with family!

1. Venice, Italy with family

Sometimes, we as parents can get overwhelmed with trying to show our children every amazing attraction in a city. The wonderful thing about taking them to Venice is that Venice in and of itself is an attraction! There are many wonderful things to do in Venice with kids! And you can relax a little and just enjoy being in the city without feeling like you have to have a filled itinerary each day.

Why not try lion hunting when you are visiting Venice, Italy with family? That’s right, I said lion hunting with little kids! This is one of the most captivating and historical activities to do with your children involving a fun version of “I-Spy”. Venice is filled with architecture and statues featuring lions, often winged.

Venice Italy with kids

Here’s a piece of history for you: The winged lion is the city’s symbol of its patron and founder, St. Mark. In 828 AD, St. Mark’s relic was brought from Alexandria to Venice by two enthusiastic Venetians. That’s when the lion was adopted. Once the lion was adopted, the Venetians began collecting lions from their conquests and travels. Standing proudly in the Piazza San Marco, beside St. Mark’s Basilica is one of the oldest lions of Venice. It is a popular photo-op for little travelers. 

Challenge your kiddos to spot lions, with and without wings. You can also add another challenge of finding lions with a book open and closed. It is a great way to get kids to interact with their surroundings while the adults enjoy strolling in this breathtaking city. You can also tour a palace, go on a treasure hunt, tour the Grand Canal on the vaporetto, ride in a gondola, shop for the famous Venetian masks, and visit the Lido beach. There are so many adventures waiting for you and the kids in Venice!

Murano Island, Venice

When we visited Venice, we stayed at the hotel on Murano island nearby. Absolutely stunning island and the vaporettos run frequently back and forth.

The view from our hotel room on Murano Island

Murano is the island where all Venice’s Murano glassblowers have their workshops. If you come to Venice as a family with kids, I highly recommend taking a boat to this island. Here you can show them where the famous Murano glass comes from, and how it is made.

If you are a bit into history, you may be interested to know that all glassblowers were quarantined on the island in the 13th century. When we hear the word quarantine, the first thing that pops up in our minds is Covid. However, back then, they were isolated for two reasons. First, as a precaution to prevent fires from spreading from their furnaces in closely packed Venice. The second reason is that isolated glassblowers were unable to leave Venice and reveal the secrets that made Venetial Murano glass highly treasured in royal courts in Europe. 

I recommend checking out the hotels on Murano island when planning your trip to Venice. We stayed at NH Collection Murano Villa, and everything was perfect to the tiniest detail. 

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2. Naples, Italy with family

Naples is not usually on the checklist for family adventures.

Just because it doesn’t have the most famous landmarks in Italy. However, it is positioned close to some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Italy. Moreover, it is just a stone’s throw away from some of the most famous ruins. Indeed, Naples offers a historic adventure for adults and their tots.

Italy with kids
Capri, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

What to do with kids in Naples during your family vacation in Italy?

Pizza Time!

What kid, and let’s face it, adults too, don’t like pizza? Naples is the birthplace of the world’s favorite fast food! Naples boasts over 800 pizzerias. You can choose one of the pizzerias closest to you and you won’t be disappointed. There are also many pizza-making classes or pizza-making championships to attend. Challenge your tots to find their favorite pizza and have a debate!

What to see with family in Naples Italy
 Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

An Underground City in Naples

Shhhh…there is an underground city in Naples that will have your tiny travelers “oohing” and “ahhing”. Underground Naples or Napoli Sotterranea is a complete city. It is equipped with air-raid shelters, aqueducts, catacombs, secret chambers, and vegetable gardens hidden away under the Historic Center of Naples.

Kids love to discover and walk around the hidden labyrinth of passageways and tunnels. Try an underground tour to teach them more about Naples’ history if they aren’t scared of the dark. It’s one of a kind adventure when you visit Italy with family.

The Science Centre of Citta della Scienza

It’s an interactive science museum where children learn by touching, experimenting, and putting their scientific ideas into practice. 

Exhibits are interesting for the whole family, not just the kids. How about exploring the exhibitions of a Human Body Museum, a 3D Planetarium, an Aquarium, and a Bugs Museum? 

I am sharing the link to their official website, check it out for more details of the fun things your family can enjoy.  

Hop on a funicular ride: Funicolare Centrale 

Did you know that one of the longest funiculars in the world is located in Italy? Naples, to be exact. Yes, it carries millions of passengers every year, and you can be one of them! The ride lasts around 5 minutes and ascends at an angle of 30 degrees. How’s that for a family adventure in Italy?

At the end of the ride, you will align at Piazza Vanvitelli. It’s a gelato lovers’ paradise. With plenty of gelato shops, you can get every flavor imaginable. My daughter’s favorite flavor is chocolate. Especially when she is wearing light-colored clothes. How about your kids?

Verona Italy with kids family

Hike up Mt. Vesuvius during your family vacation in Italy!

The iconic Mount Vesuvius which destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii is located in Naples and you can hike it! Needless to say, it will be a useful lesson to share in school or pre-school. 

If you wear comfortable shoes, have no breathing issues, wear a hat and drink lots of water, hiking up is safe and not too difficult.

Tip for hiking up Mt. Vesuvius in Naples: leave early in the morning to avoid the midday sun. Don’t forget your camera!

3. Verona, Italy with family

Verona truly is the city of love. That might make your older kids roll their eyes and your little ones giggle. However, there is so much to do in and around the city, it is a perfect destination for families visiting Italy with kids.

Italy with family
Puenta Pietra, Verona, Italy

One of the things I love about Verona is that the city offers downloadable games that can be played as a part of sightseeing. The online resources provide families with information about the main sites in Verona. 

What to do in Verona, Italy with kids?

Love Hide and Seek

Your family can play “Love Hide and Seek”. It will guide you and your littles through Citta Anticathe, or the Old City, in search of famous Romeo and Juliet sites. This also gives you a chance to see some of the other famous landmarks on the way. 

Straddling the River

The “Straddling the River” walk is a great activity to take part in. First, print out the map and the parent guide for this jaunt from Ponte di Pietra, across the river to the Cathedral, while still getting to see the main sites from the Arena and ending at St. Peter’s Castle.

Lake Garda

You also don’t want to forget to visit Lake Garda, just a short trip outside of Verona. Lake Garda has Gardaland, Italy’s largest and most famous theme park! Inside Gardaland, your tiny tots will love the Legoland Water Park. 

Amusement Parks

Next to Gardaland is the Gardaland Sea Life Aquarium. There are also two other large amusement parks at Lake Garda, Movieland, the Hollywood Park, and Caneva the Aquapark. 

4. Minori and the Walk of Lemons on the Amalfi Coast

Minori is one of the best cities on the Amalfi Coast to visit with kids. Why? Because it is smaller and less busy but still packs all of the charms of the area. There are small beaches to play on and splash about as well as many wonderful eateries. 

The Walk of Lemons on Amalfi Coast

I highly recommend “The Walk of Lemons”. It is a scenic historical path that connects the towns of Minori and Maiori on the Amalfi Coast. This family-friendly hike takes around 1 hour and helps you discover the stunning beauty of the Amalfi coast. As the name suggests, the trail between the cliffs and the sea passes through the lemon groves that produce the famous lemons of this area. Although the path is not accessible to strollers, and wheelchairs and is not recommended to anyone with knee problems and mobility issues, it can easily be walked with kids in tow. While you might need to help your toddler with stairs, older kids will have no difficulty on this path. 

Check out these private tours that will help make the most out of your trip on Amalfi Coast with kids:

Amalfi to Capri: 6-Hour Private Boat Excursion

Amalfi: Cooking Class & Farmhouse Visit with Meal

Minori center is made of beautiful paths that run through the mountains. For the most part, it is open to pedestrians only. This makes it perfect for strollers and little legs running here and there pointing fingers at all of the wondrous things to look at.

You can rent a boat and enjoy the scenery on the shores of the coast while you bask in the sun and swim in the water. You can even visit nearby Capri via the water. There are also many cooking lessons perfect for you and your kids.

5. Rome, Italy with family

What is a trip to Italy without visiting Rome? Rome holds so many opportunities for kids of all ages.

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There’s no better way to explore Rome than with your family. Here are some suggestions for things to do in Rome, Italy with kids:

The Colosseum

Without a doubt, the Colosseum is on every traveler’s to Rome a must-see list. And it is so for a reason. Visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill with family. All three sites offer an amazing opportunity to learn about ancient Roman history. The Colosseum is one of the most iconic landmarks in Rome. It was originally built as an amphitheater but now it hosts concerts and other cultural events. The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are where many important historical events took place.

Recommended tour for families: Colosseum and Ancient Rome Family Tour for Kids

Become a gladiator!

Take a two-hour class on how to become a gladiator! The kids get to dress up and learn how to fight like a warrior in Ancient Rome! During these entertaining lessons, kids learn about Roman weapons and about life in the imperial city. They even get to take home an official diploma declaring their knowledge and experience of being a gladiator.

A puppet show

Next, experience an iconic tradition when you visit Italy with your family- a puppet show! Teatrino di Pulcinella al Gianicolo and San Carlino theater have puppet shows throughout the day and some are interactive which really get the geo-traversers giggling! These shows are generally free but they do pass around a hat and your kids will love to toss in some coins as a donation to the puppeteers.

Address: Viale dei Bambini

The Borghese Gardens

There are many activities to get out the wiggles in little bodies. There are boat rides, sightseeing, bicycle riding, segways, playgrounds, and pony rides. It is one of the local’s favorite parks so you will get to experience authentic Roman pastimes. 

Gelato

You can cool off with some of Italy’s most famous gelato while you tour the famous site of the marble fountains of Piazza Navona. You can visit the catacombs, look in the Hole in the Pantheon’s Roof, or throw a coin in the famousTrevi Fountain.

Fontana di Trevi, Rome

6. Florence, Italy with family

Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. It is a city full of history and culture, with many kid-friendly attractions. Actually, it probably is the most kid-friendly city on this list, thus making it a perfect destination when traveling in Italy with family. 

Florence is filled with activities for the kiddos all the while being compact which makes it easy to move about and get to all of the fun to be had. 

What to do in Florence with kids

So, what can you see and do in Florence, Italy with kids?

Antique Merry Go Round in Piazza Della Repubblica

Piazza della Repubblica is my personal favorite place in Florence. I loved the festive ambiance, little shops and cozy cafes lining the square, and street musicians and performers entertaining tourists and locals. 

Thea wasn’t with us in Florence but I am sure she would have adored the gorgeous antique Merry Go Round. If your kids are sweet-toothed, I recommend Cafe Gilli. It lures visitors in with its mouth-watering traditional pastries and sweets.

Bartolucci toy shops

Make sure you watch Pinocchio with kids before your trip to Italy and visit Bartolucci toy shops that sell wooden toys. They are strictly handmade in Italy. Bartolucci toy shops are located in multiple cities throughout Italy. However, the one in Florence, very close to Piazza della Signoria is located in a gorgeous ancient building which is a must-see! Even if you don’t buy anything in their beautiful shop (not easy to resist, to be honest), show your kids versions of wooden Pinocchio. Nowadays, when kids are surrounded by tons of plastic, China-made toys, it’s nice to see and experience difference and quality. The address in Florence: Via della Condotta, 12 

Santa Maria del Fiore

The most distinctive and iconic landmark in Florence is Florence’s Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore. Climbing its cupola to gaze over Florence is one of the most popular activities in the city. 463 steps lead to the top. This might be too much for the little tots, however, one of a kind hiking through the winding stairwell adventure for older kids. 

The children will love to visit Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore. They can climb all the way to the top of the tower and be in awe of the multicolored marbles on the facade, baptistry, and tower.  

Italy with family, what to do with kids in Forence Italy
Florence, Italy

Did you know that Brunelleschi’s architectural marvel is still the largest brick dome ever built? In fact, during its construction, the skeptics thought it might even collapse.

Tip on visiting Santa Maria del Fiore: If you only plan to enter the cathedral and leave, the entrance is free. However, if you will be going up to the cupola, or wish to visit other monuments within the complex, you will need a ticket. By other monuments I mean the underground archaeological site of Santa Reparata, the Cathedral Museum (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo), the Baptistery, Giotto’s Bell Tower (campanile), and of course Brunelleschi’s Dome (the cupola). The lines can be pretty long, especially during peak seasons, so I recommend getting a ticket in advance. Check these options for visiting Florence’s Duomo:

Family- friendly museums in Florence, Italy

Take a break from the sun or refuge from the rain by visiting one of the many kid-friendly museums in Florence. Some of these are the Museum Stibbert which holds suits of armor that will leave kids wide-eyed and breathless. The Museo di Ragazzi al Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza della Signoria where the kids get to dress up. While the Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci Museum are perfect for science lovers and kids who love construction.

Leonardo da Vinci museum 

It is especially great for older kids, tweens, and teens. Da Vinci probably needs no introduction, but there is more to Leonardo than Mona Lisa. Interactive exhibits in the museum display reconstructions of his military, flying, and civil engineering projects. The fun part? Kids can actually play with the machines and test them out!

On displays, visitors can see reproductions of Leonardo’s most famous paintings, and have fun with the Mona Lisa reproduction. In fact, you can take a photo with your kids’ faces peeking through the hole in the Mona Lisa reproduction.  

Address and the official website: Via de Servi, 66R, 50122, Florence https://leonardointeractivemuseum.com

Stibbert Museum (Museo Stibbert)

This is the go-to place for fans of knights and armor. Even if you are not that huge of a fan, I am pretty sure that the rich collection of ancient artifacts will impress you. But first, have you heard of Frederick Stibbert?

To be completely honest, before our trip, I didn’t know who this person was. Apparently, the guy lived between 1836-1906. He inherited a huge collection of artifacts from all over the world. He kept adding to his collection, eventually transforming his 19th-century villa into a museum. What you can see in the museum are relics that include tapestries, gorgeous furniture, costumes, paintings, musical instruments, armor, and more!

The villa museum is located around a 15-20 minutes car ride from central Florence. It’s surrounded by stunning English-style gardens thus making it a perfect place for a stroll. Please note that only guided tours are permitted here. 

Address: Via Federigo Stibbert 26, Florence

Museo Galileo 

As the name suggests, this little but definitely worth visiting museum focuses on Galileo’s contributions to scientific discovery. Again, this museum is more suitable for older kids, tweens, and teens. However, there are some interactive exhibits to keep the youngest visitors entertained. 

The exhibits focus on astronomy, geometry, medicine, and meteorology.

There is a particularly interesting exhibit displaying ancient microscopes, clocks, and their parts, telescopes, and thermometers. Now one of the displays is not for the faint-hearted and definitely not for the youngest members of the family. It displays one of Galileo’s preserved fingers…

I am adding the link to the museum’s official website. There are some guides and maps in several languages for download. 

Address: Piazza dei Giudici 1, Florence

Official sitehttp://www.museogalileo.it/

La Specola 

La Specola is a Natural History Museum that happens to be the oldest science museum in Europe. I guess after many palaces, paintings, and other works of art, seeing some stuffed animals, and sea creatures is a cool change for young kids. The 17th-century pet of the Medici family is also on display here. Can you guess what kind of animal that is? No, not a cat. They kept a hippopotamus for a pet! You and the kids can see this stuffed hippopotamus pet in one of the displays. Enjoy!

Foodie’s Paradise

Foodie in Italy with kids
Photo by Bruna Branco on Unsplash

I love how Florence is great for foodies! In addition to mouth-watering dishes in restaurants and cafes all over the city, visitors can participate in a variety of cooking classes. We all love gelato, right? In Florence, you can participate in a cooking class and learn how to make one. How about enrolling the kids in cooking classes that teach cooking traditional Florentine cuisine while you enjoy Italian wine tasting?

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In addition to cultural and architectural gems, Florence is a culinary delight. Some of the best pizzas I ever had in my entire life were in Florence! 

Check out the links below and book family-friendly tours in and around Florence:

Florence: Ticket to Brunelleschi’s Dome with Panoramic Views

Florence: Uffizi Gallery Timed Entrance Ticket

From Florence: Pisa, Siena & San Gimignano Day Trip with Lunch

From Florence: Tuscany Day Trip with Optional Lunch and Wine

That brings me to the end of this list. As you can see, Italy’s historic cities will provide the perfect backdrop for the vacation of a lifetime with your children. They will be having so many adventures that they won’t even realize they are learning so much about the history and culture of Italy.

Some of the cities are small and close together. This allows you to plan a few cities in the same trip. That is a big bonus when trying to pack in all of the fun that is waiting for you and your little ones. Whether it is mainstream, busy, tourist attractions or slow-paced, quaint adventures you desire, Italy and its glorious cities have you covered. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

Should you choose a road less traveled and experience an alternative city break in Europe, click on the link below:
11 Kid-friendly alternative city breaks in Europe

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