Our ultimate guide to Italy family vacations
Italy is enchanting. There’s no doubt about it. From the historical treasures of Rome and the striking shores of Lake Como to the crisp mountain air of the Dolomites. It’s really no wonder that Italy and family trips are a match made in heaven.
But when there’s so much to see and so much to experience, it can be a challenge knowing where to start. And that’s where we come in. Planning a family trip to Italy is easy, with our Travel Experts on hand to tailor every little detail exactly to you. We’ve traversed the country from end to end with our own families in tow – finding the very best experiences for travelers of all ages, whether it’s an afternoon at gladiator school in Rome with the little ones or wine tasting in the world-class vineyards of Tuscany for the grown-ups.
In this trusty family travel guide to all things Italy, you’ll find the following sections. If you’re needing to start from scratch then read from top to bottom, but if there’s some specific insight you’re looking for, you can click on the individual links below.
- How we plan our trips to Italy
- Why our family trips are different
- Where to go in Italy with young kids
- Where to go in Italy with older kids
- Multigenerational travel
- When to visit Italy as a family
- Where to stay: the best family-friendly hotels in Italy
- Best things to do with kids in Italy
- Some of our favourite Italy family vacations
How we plan our family trips to Italy
First things first, we’ll really get to know you. We’ll learn about your travel goals and the things you’ve always wanted to see and do – and tell you about some you may not even have thought possible. We’ll also get to know the personalities you’re traveling with. Does everyone have the same interests? Are you traveling with little ones or as a bigger family group? What’s the occasion?
From these conversations, we’ll design a totally bespoke trip that caters to everyone in your group. That’s right, no cookie cutter itineraries here. We’ll talk it through with you, polishing and refining your trip plan as many times as you wish to ensure every aspect of your family vacation to Italy is perfect – and everyone is happy.
Why our family trips are different
Our family trips are created by families, for families. Many of us parents ourselves, with as much passion for traveling as you can have, we know first-hand the challenges – and the considerable time and energy – that goes into planning a successful trip. Family trips aren’t just trips to keep the kids happy. They’re about creating a space for connection and memory no matter the age, group size or destination. It’s making time for quality time, whatever that means for you and your loved ones. And where there aren’t kids involved (do we still call our children ‘kids’ when they’re in their mid-20s?) then the same abundance of nuances so often apply. Grandchildren in tow, aunts and uncles joining half-way through, a son’s girlfriend coming on a trip for the first time but only for three days in the middle. Graduation celebrations, big family get-togethers, mother-daughter only weekends. We’ve seen it all. And we know how to make each one as seamless as it is special.
We understand that every family is different, so every family trip is different. Though, we’re yet to plan one to Italy where exclusive after-hours access to the Vatican, hands-on afternoon at gladiator school, or a private helicopter trip across Lake Como haven’t hit the spot.
Where to go in Italy with young kids
With sprawling cities and endless countryside, Italy is a perfect destination for young kids – where all kinds of adventures await from region to region.
We’ve found that Florence is always a winner with young families. With the intimate Villa Cora as your base, just a 15-minute drive outside of the city, the little ones will have plenty of space to run around the property’s extensive gardens and splash around in the pool – which overlooks the city’s famous terracotta skyline. From there, it’s as much city exploring as you would or wouldn’t like – from the Duomo to Ponte Vecchio – sunset boat trips down the Arno River, and kid-friendly pizza making masterclasses.
Italy’s eternal city of Rome is also an ideal stop. This is a place for exploration and adventure through ancient streets – where the kids can do as the Romans did. One of our favourite Field Trip classes awaits – a hands-on day at gladiator school – where you’ll attend a practical class and receive specialist training from a gladiator wearing full Roman dress and armour. Upon completion, the kids will receive a Roman citizenship certificate in recognition of the morning’s achievements.
Another region for your Italy family vacation is Puglia. Borgo Egnazia, a beautiful resort modelled on a traditional Puglian village, is family-friendly through and through. There’s even a village square where live music performances, fun-filled fiestas and cooking events are held. More to come on this later.
This luxury Italian family trip is an example itinerary packed with some of the hotels and experiences our Travel Experts love to suggest for families with younger kids. But these are just the beginning of the possibilities. Nothing is too much or too little to ask – we can plan a family vacation to Italy that’s suitable for everyone you’re traveling with, no matter which region you’d like to visit.
Where to go in Italy as a family with older kids
Whilst an overview of where in Italy works for the very little ones is much needed for some, we know that not all family trips need to factor in young kids. They grow up, after all. No matter what your family looks like, these are some of our favourite Italian regions and experiences that suit families of all shapes, sizes and ages.
The glittering waters of Lake Como have captivated so many travellers over the years. And once you witness its shores, lined with pretty pines and views to the distant Italian Alps – it’s not hard to work out why. Staying at the gorgeous Grand Hotel Tremezzo, take a Riva boat out on a private tour and embark on a scenic family drive in a classic Alfa Romeo, stopping for a gourmet picnic wherever your hearts should desire.
The rolling Tuscan hills keep us coming back time and again with our own families – especially if there’s a stay at Borgo Pignano (and its 750-acre estate) involved. To us, family time in Tuscany means morning hot air balloon rides over picturesque hillsides, truffle hunting and gourmet tours through Siena, and sampling wines from the many vineyards surrounding Montalcino (not for the little ones, of course). There’s really nothing not to love.
The Amalfi Coast is utterly charming, there’s no doubt about it. Staying at Casa Angelina, you’ll be perfectly placed for a private speedboat trip to the island of Capri, sailing pasting the jutting rock formations of the Faraglioni, a Limoncello tasting from local providers, and a trip down the iconic Path of the Gods through rosemary-clad hillsides to reach Nocelle – before cooling down with a quick dip in the sea at Arienzo.
Sicily is a must-visit on family vacations to Italy. We could write about it forever. We’d recommend Villa Athena in Agrigento as your base, a beautiful and rustic hotel overlooking the Valley of the Temples. From there, there’s experience after experience to keep the whole family engaged – whether it’s a vespa tour through the streets of Palermo, sampling fresh Cannoli along the way, or learning to make fresh Italian pasta at converted farmhouse Masseria Mandranova.
Browse all our luxury family vacations
Want to explore more of our favourite family destinations? Click below to uncover all our luxury family vacations – from Japan to Kenya and Scotland to Costa Rica.
Multigenerational travel in Italy
Whether you’re parents planning an Italy family vacation with your kids, or grown-up kids planning an Italy family vacation with your parents –we’ve got you covered. Partners, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents – we’ve got you covered too.
Italy is great for multigenerational trips as there’s truly something for everyone. And we mean everyone. We’ve got the perfect activities and accommodation tried and tested, ready to go. Looking to spread out? We can even arrange spacious, sprawling villas and suites so the whole family can stay.
When to visit Italy as a family
In the summer
The summertime will show you quintessential Italy. And, of course, it’s the best time to travel if you’re heading away with the kids as it aligns exactly with their summer holidays. The season’s hot sunshine is the perfect backdrop to all that Italy has to offer. If you’re not bound by school holidays, however, and want the same feeling and gorgeous weather but with fewer crowds, the late springtime (May or June) is also an ideal time to visit.
In the fall
Italy is – unsurprisingly – just as charming in the fall. Truffle hunting in Tuscany with an experienced guide is an experience your family won’t forget in a hurry. The famous Italian lakes are also less busy at this time of year, and there’s the added bonus of watching the leaves as they gently change to hues of rusty red and burnt orange.
In the winter
Many travelers forget that a family vacation to Italy in the winter is not only possible – but in a number of regions, extra special. Head to the Dolomites to see the pink Alpen glow “enrosadira” on the snow-capped peaks of the mountains. When not heading out skiing or hiking as a family, there’s horse-drawn carriage rides through remote northern villages and less-crowded Christmas markets. Rosa Alpina is the place to stay whilst you’re there, by the way.
Where to stay: the best family-friendly hotels in Italy
If we detailed every family-friendly Italian hotel we love, the list would go on and on. And on. So instead, below are three of our favourites.
Borgo Egnazia, Puglia
We’ve already mentioned it in this travel guide, but Borgo Egnazia is most certainly a place worth mentioning twice. Perfect for all the family, it boasts four outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, reading rooms, and a beach club – ensuring that if you’re spending your afternoons there, you’re never short of choice. The service leaves nothing unthought-of (there’s even a specialist childcare team on hand to keep the little ones occupied). One of our favourite features is its made-to-measure, kids-only restaurant Da Frisella, where the menu is comprised of deliciously healthy dishes that change every day, based on the local ingredients available.
Su Gologone, Sardinia
Up in the hills of Barbagia, you’ll discover Sardinia’s most authentic side staying at beautiful Su Gologne. Six on-site craft studios focusing on embroidery, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork and wrought iron objects, all created by skilled master weavers and artisans, are displayed across the Botteghe d’Arte. Any budding artists and creatives will feel inspired and right at home, right away. We love the hotel’s ‘terrace of wishes’, where you can write down your wishes and put it into the urn – leaving the rest to special Sardinian magic. The on-site ‘cinema under the stars’, where comfy outdoor seating under starry skies is the setting for film screenings, is also a family-friendly favourite.
Verdura Resort, Sicily
Surrounded by fragrant, sun-kissed olive groves and gardens, the Verdura Resort in sunny Sicily promises a brilliant family escape. Kids will be just as charmed by the multitude of activities on offer in the hotel’s two children’s clubs as their parents will be by its golf club and state-of-the-art spa. Before the week’s up, they’ll have learned a welcome dance, thrown a cake party, been on treasure hunts, enjoyed tennis, aerobics, golf clinics and mastered the art of pizza making. And if that wasn’t enough, all 203 rooms there have their own private terraces with uninterrupted views overlooking the bluest Mediterranean Sea.
The best things to do with kids in Italy
When it comes to what to do with the kids in Italy, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve. First, Italy is home to multiple of our Field Trip classes – educational experiences opportunities that offer behind-the-scenes access, all led by a team of experts and insiders. Designed especially for families, they’re all about learning from the world, in the world.
In Rome, enter the gladiatorial arena in a history class with a difference. Uncovering the history of some of the world’s most famous fighters, you’ll attend a practical combat class from a gladiator wearing full Roman dress.
In Puglia, a class in the arts will have you carving beautiful forms together from Pietra Leccese stone, learning from the very best – your teacher, Italian sculptor Renzo Buttazzo, has honed his extraordinary craftsmanship for over 25 years.
In Sardinia, learn the local way of life in a social studies session. Famous for their balanced diets, traditional lifestyles and closeness to friends and family, its residents tend to live long, healthy, and happy lives. So, what’s their secret? Together, you’ll find out.
In Bologna, getting an insight into the world’s most powerful cars at the Lamborghini factory is a treat for STEM students and car fans alike. Gain insight into the story of the Lamborghini brand and the technology and processes that go into making their cars today. Explore the real-life assembly lines, and even try out driving together in their car simulator.
It’s also no secret that Italy’s food is some of the most delicious you’ll find in Europe. In the world, even. So learning from the locals how to make it in a family-friendly cookery class is always a hit with curious kids and grown-ups alike. Whether it’s an authentic pizza making class where you’ll learn to stretch and shape dough before coating it in all your favourite toppings, practicing the art of traditional gelato making (and eating) at the best gelateria in Rome, or spending an afternoon with the restaurant chefs at Puglia’s Borgo Egnazia making fresh pasta from scratch.
Some of our favourite Italy family vacations
What better to illustrate further what an Italy family vacation might look like when you come with us, than to share two examples of Italian family trips our own travelers have taken of late.
Amy and her family embarked on an Italian odyssey – in part to celebrate her milestone birthday, and in part to celebrate her two sons graduating and heading off to college. Beginning in Florence, they embarked on a bike tour along the left bank of River Arno and through the huge Parco delle Cascine, enjoying panoramic views along the way. In Naples, they visited winery at the base of Mount Vesuvius for lunch and a wine tasting, discovering how volcanic soils make for especially amazing wines. Sorrento saw them sailing along in a traditional long wooden gozzo boat, and in Rome, they explored together the glories of ancient Rome alongside a private art historian guide. As a surprise for Amy’s birthday, we also organised a family day out on a super traditional, highly sought-after Italian Riva boat to the island of Capri (cake, Prosecco and a confetti canon were provided, naturally).
Tuan and his young family also went on an exciting Italian adventure, full of activities to keep the kids engaged. Picture this. Chocolate tasting at a Venetian maître chocolatier artisan workshop in Venice. A private painting session in the gardens by Florence’s Uffizi gallery. A family bike ride through the Tuscan countryside to meet an olive oil producer. A pizza and gelato making class with a local chef in Rome. And that’s just a small snippet of what they got up to.
What we’re trying to say, is don’t just take our word for it. These are some of the things we’ve pulled off before on actual trips, taken by our actual travelers. But what does Italy have in store for you?