Despite incessant praise, Italy continues to surprise and delight. If you get it right, travelling in the bel paese (beautiful country) is one of those rare experiences in life that cannot be overrated.
In few places do art and life intermingle so effortlessly. This may be the land of Dante, Michelangelo, da Vinci and Botticelli, but it’s also the home of Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani and Gualtiero Marchesi. Food, fashion, art and architecture – you’ll quickly learn that Italy has an unswerving dedication to living life well.
Book accommodation in advance whenever possible to avoid inconvenience. In hotels, some double rooms can’t accommodate an extra bed for kids, so it’s best to check ahead. Kids are welcome in most restaurants, but do not count on the availability of highchairs. Children’s menus are uncommon, but you can generally ask for a mezzo piatto (half-portion) off the menu.
There are plenty of Italian sights and activities that kids will enjoy. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Running around the ruins at sprawling ancient Roman sites or prowling about mysterious underground Etruscan necropoli.
- Splashing in fountains at grand villas.
- Dropping in on spontaneous football kick-abouts with local kids in town squares.
- Staying at agriturismi (farm stay accomodation), particularly those with animals.
- Climbing Sicily’s surprisingly accessible volcanoes or cruising along the bike paths at the foot of the Dolomites.
- Eating gelato – the perfect mood-enhancer for the family, not to mention a great way to bribe your kids into better behaviour!