Visiting Italy is something everyone should experience once in their life. It’s one of the top visited countries in the world for good reason, from the food to the history, culture, and the scenery, and it’s just as tempting to visit Italy with kids.
contains affiliate links*
I’ve visited Italy countless times before my daughter was born, as well as heading back to explore with her, including a memorable trip to Rome, one of my favourite cities – each time I visit, I fall in love with the country all over again.
The different regions of Italy offer so many different types of experiences, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do and where to go on your first visit, from the glorious countryside of Tuscany to its historic cities, including Siena and Florence, as well as beautiful Venice… just to name a few.
Contents - click to jump to a section
Getting to Italy
Italy has 77 airports and an excellent rail system. Coming from within Europe, you’re spoiled for choice, with a whole string of low-cost airlines connecting with smaller regional airports as well as national carriers.
If you’re coming from outside Europe, the most popular international airports are Rome (FCO), Milan (MXP), and Venice (VCE).
When to go
There’s no bad time to go to Italy! Depending on your personal interests, you’ll always find something to do. Head to the Dolomites for winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, or relaxing fireside holed up in a cabin!
During the summer months, the major cities can get very hot, even in the north, so consider the coast, including Cinque Terre, Sardinia, Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, or the Italian Riviera – although these will be busy.
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, Italy is also home to some of the most underrated beach destinations in Europe.
But the best time to visit – including to find some reduced prices – are the shoulder seasons of March-May and September-November. You’ll also find far fewer crowds during these months, although the major cities are never entirely quiet.
What to see
Given its extensive history and geographical location, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in Italy. This gives you a brief introduction to some of the highlights.
|Rome||Capital City, Vatican, Colosseum, Ancient Ruins|
|Venice||Canals, St Mark’s Square, Carnavale|
|Milan||Il Duomo, Fashion, da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’|
|Florence||Renaissance Art & Architecture|
|Cinque Terre||Cliffside Fishing Villages & Seaside Hiking|
|Italian Lakes||Scenery, Lakeside walking (inc Lake Como, Maggiore, Garda)|
|Naples||Pizza, Art, The Royal Palace|
|Capri||The Blue Grotto, Luxury Accommodation|
|Verona||Romeo & Juliet, Summertime Opera Series|
|Amalfi||Resort Town, Medieval Architecture|
|Sardinia||Mediterranean Island, Beaches, Bronze Age Ruins|
|Genoa||Maritime Port City, Architecture|
|Bologna||Food, Historic University|
|Cortina d’Ampezzo||Skiing, Winter Activities|
|Sulden||Skiing, Glaciers, Hiking|
|Orvieto||Truffles, Food, Etruscan Caves|
The above list is by no means exhaustive – you’ll be hard-pressed to find an Italian city with nothing to see!
Detailed Italy articles
For more tips on visiting Italy with kids, check out some of my posts:
Things to do in Rome with kids in one week
The best things to do in Venice with kids
Tips for Venice with kids – the essential things to know before you visit
The best things to do in Burano with kids in one day
The best tour of Venice for kids – my review
Visiting Venice with young kids
A day in Florence and an Uffizi tour with kids
Animals and art in Siena – exploring with kids
The best places to visit in Tuscany with kids
Bibione with kids: family-friendly Italy
Travelling within Italy
The Italian railway system is well-connected and generally efficient. Driving and parking in Italy can be a bit of a nightmare, so unless you’re road-tripping to some truly off-the-beaten-path villages, train travel is what I would recommend.
Buses are also an option, and they are cheaper than trains (but slower).
If you want to go on a road trip (or don’t fancy exploring using public transport with younger kids), it’s easy to hire a car.. You don’t need an International Driving Permit if you’re coming from the UK but if you are travelling from the US, make sure to get one in your home country, they are required to rent a car!
Skyscanner is the website I tend to start with to compare rates for my flights.
Money-saving tip: Don’t input any dates to scan the best available times to go OR simply input ‘Italy’ instead of a specific airport – you may get a much cheaper flight!
For more ways to save on a city break with kids, check out my top tips
When I travel, I often prefer to use Airbnb to give me plenty of space while exploring Italy with kids, as well as all the facilities including a kitchen (though my daughter never says no to pizza) as well as often discounts for long stays.
If you’re staying outside the cities, you’ll find some fantastic villas as well – check out companies like Top Villas, which have luxury properties across Italy, as well as specialists like Bookings For You, who I stayed with in Italy.
Check out the review of our huge villa in Tuscany, especially if you’re visiting with a big group or family
Plumguide also has a range of accommodation that’s been individually vetted, and which you can filter if you’re travelling with babies or kids.
For standard hotel stays, Booking.com usually offers the best deals, including free cancellation.
Overall, Italy is a safe country, but it’s always sensible to take basic precautions, especially in the major cities – wandering around flashing pricy jewellery and the latest phone or camera, while looking obviously lost and staring at a map is never a good plan.
Petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and scams are unfortunately all-too-common in the major cities of Italy, especially if you’re in very touristy areas or among the crowds.
But keep your wits (and your valuables) about you and there’s no reason to spend your trip feeling on edge.
The country is also hugely family-friendly, so you’ll feel very welcome pretty much anywhere if you’re visiting Italy with kids.
Money saving tips
Grab some cheese, prosciutto, and bread (and maybe a bottle of local wine) and you’ve got a fantastic picnic for a bargain price.
Or grab some suppli (snacks) or a slice of pizza for a bite to eat on the go, and it won’t set you back a great deal.
And consider eating out for lunch and stay in for dinner, as many times lunch menus will be less expensive.
For more tips on ways to save on a city break with kids, including city passes and finding cheap (or free) tours, check out this post.
Packing for Italy
If you’re keen on visiting churches and cathedrals (and to visit Italy without seeing a single glorious Duomo would be a huge shame), do dress the part.
Be sure to dress modestly, with shoulders and knees covered – bring a pashmina to cover your shoulders in the hotter summer months. Some places, such as the Vatican, will enforce rules very strictly, but it’s just polite.
And do bring a few layers with you as the nights can get cool, even in the warmer months.
Check out my complete family holiday travel planner here, including packing lists and more
The new Lonely Planet Experience range includes Experience Italy with some great ideas to inspire your trip – the book focuses on unmissable experiences to get a real feel for the destination, rather than a list of things to see and do.
Or try the DK Eyewitness Family Guide Italy for a guidebook focused on exploring Italy with kids.
Covid-19 resources for Italy
Before making any travel reservations, be sure to check the COVID restrictions currently in place in Italy.
Be aware that things are subject to change with no notice, and that your travel insurance may not cover Covid-19 for cancellations or treatment – check out my post on what travel insurance should cover.
PIN FOR LATER: GUIDE TO ITALY WITH KIDS
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links – any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a small commission
Images courtesy of Depositphotos/copyright MummyTravelsLIKED THIS? SIGN UP FOR MY EMAIL NEWSLETTER