When it comes to planning family travel, it’s easy to fall back on the usual destinations. And while beach vacations and cruises featuring a certain cartoon mouse definitely have their place, it can also be nice to indulge your sense of adventure.
Summering in Europe may seem like a thing of the past, but we’re here to tell you that you can still experience a slice of la dolce vita and your children can too. Your vacations nowadays might include less late-night cocktails and more frequent rest stops, but adventure travel doesn’t have to be taken off the table just because you have a family.
Here are 5 reasons why we think an Italy family vacation is a great bet.
Italian cuisine is well-known and beloved by children and parents alike. If you’ve got picky eaters, it’s easy to order them dishes they’ll like such as a simple pasta dish or a cheese pizza. If they’re not picky, it’s still helpful to have menu items they’re familiar with. Plus, if you go with Intrepid Travel, we do our best to make mealtime fun (pizza-making demonstration in Sorrento, anyone?).
To top it all off, gelato is available on practically every street corner, which is something both parents and children can get on board with. You’re on vacation too, after all.
Activities for all ages
Whether you have a 5-year-old or a 17-year-old (or anything in-between), you’ll find there are plenty of activities to occupy kids of all ages. Active adventurers will love kayaking along the Amalfi coast and climbing Mt. Vesuvius (do both on this 8-day family adventure); mini-foodies will enjoy making their own pesto in Levanto; and aspiring history buffs will love going to gladiator school in Rome.
Add these events to the incredible, ever-present art and history found throughout Italy, and you’re in for a family adventure you’ll remember forever.
Way less are-we-there-yets
We know that one of the major challenges of traveling with children is actually getting from place to place. Long hours on the road can seem even longer if your children are unhappy. Thankfully, in Italy, this is rarely the case. Italy itself is fairly small – the whole country is about the same size as the state of Arizona, so travelling from city to city takes less time than you would think. Additionally, when you vary up the mode of transportation, the journey can be just as fun as the destination. Kids get a kick out of traveling across the country by train or riding in a gondola in Venice or climbing a cliff via funicular in Capri.
Family comes first in Italy
Family is hugely important in Italian culture. Social gatherings often include many generations of aunts, uncles and cousins, including children of all ages. In turn, you’ll see it’s fairly socially acceptable to have children out late at restaurants or bars with the rest of the family. This means that most people will be very accommodating of you and your little ones. As a general rule, Italians love children, so don’t be surprised if your kids are the ones helping to break down cultural barriers with the locals.
Not only are the locals super friendly, but when you travel on a group trip with Intrepid, your travel mates will be a few like-minded families from all over the world. That means you’ll have other adults to talk to and your kiddos will have ready-made playmates. That’s what we like to call win-win.
Top tips for an Italy family vacation
- Leave the rolling luggage at home
Opt for a backpack instead since Italy’s cobblestone streets make it tough to get from point A to point B with a giant rolling suitcase in tow (not to mention a kid or two and their belongings).
- Pack snacks
Italy’s food is very kid-friendly, but you’ll find that some restaurants don’t open for dinner until about 8pm, which may be too late for little tummies.
- Learn the language
Italians greatly appreciate when you make an effort to speak their language and this could be a great opportunity to teach your children a new language as well. Start with a few simple words like buongiorno (good day), per favore (please) and grazie (thank you).
- Bring your own entertainment
While Italy is full of interesting sights, and your Intrepid group will be full of ready-made friends, it helps to have some movies downloaded or to bring along some cards or games to play during downtime.
Interested in an Italian family vacation? Check out our new, 8-day Northern Italy Family Holiday trip. (Alternatively, check out our Italy Family Holiday which includes Sorrento, Mt Vesuvius and more!)
Image Credits (top to bottom): Intrepid Travel x3, iStock/Imgorthand.