Italy Things to Do

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Things To Do As A Family In Italy

After figuring out the right town to visit and the perfect places to eat out, the next step in making your Italian vacation worthwhile is engaging in numerous fun activities. These activities range from sightseeing to watersports. There’s so much to do once you hit your destination, and a lot more to keep the kids engaged. 

Depending on your kids’ taste, deciding on the right activity to engage in during an Italian trip can prove tricky. That is because each child may desire something different at any given point. To work around this and inadvertently avert a catastrophe, try creating a bucket list of things the family can engage in throughout the trip. A common trick to making this work is including at least one of each person’s favourite activities. That way, everyone would have a fulfilling moment to remember. Outlined below are some of the best things to do as a family in Italy to reap the most out of the planned vacation.

1. Go Hiking In A Kid-Safe Zone

One thing you could bank on in Italy is an abundance of hills and mountains, and these physical features are just perfect for family hikes. Hence, to get your fill of adrenaline-pumping adventures, add hiking to the list of activities to engage in with your family.  Hiking not only gives you the adrenaline rush but also allows your hiking party to enjoy the view of the beautiful countryside to the fullest.

Irrespective of your destination in Italy, there is always an ideal hiking spot, which could be easily located by communicating with the locals or searching the web for child-friendly hiking spots in Italy. To enjoy this activity with kids, your safest bet is a hiking trip to the Dolomites in Trentino Alto Adige. This spot features family-friendly trails with a full view of the surrounding farms, natural sceneries, and beautiful horizons.

2. Explore Family-Friendly Beaches In Italy

With numerous coastlines in Italy, a visit to the beach seems like an obvious option when vacationing with family in the region. Yet, some trips to the beach may not go as planned, especially for particular age groups. This is especially true when you have younger kids in tow. While older kids and adults may find it interesting to take occasional dips in the sea, go surfing or take a leisure stroll along the coastline, younger kids are more interested in their sand crafts. Hence, it is necessary to opt for beaches that have sand in abundance for the kids but still feature a tall coastline to make it enjoyable to the adults as well.

Many such options exist on the eastern coast of Italy, which has sandy beaches. The north also has an impressive selection of family-friendly beaches, plus an array of resorts and beach clubs spread across the coastline to make the experience more fun. Italy’s Tyrrhenian coast is also a great place to explore with the family. This location has a beautiful mix of sandy coves and tall coastlines. Other family-friendly beaches to visit in Italy include:

  • Diano Marina in Liguria
  • The beaches of Versilia in Tuscany
  • The Sperlonga in Lazio
  • Trentova in Agropoli, Campania
  • The White beaches in Nicotera, Calabria

3. Visit The Numerous Beautiful Lakes

The Italian lakes are renowned for their incomparable beauty, breath-taking landscapes, and unique coastlines. These lakes are ideal for a family vacation, making available numerous activities like boat-cruising, kayaking, hiking, swimming, windsurfing, and sightseeing. Many of these lakes also have coastlines adorned with sandy beaches, family-friendly resorts, and captivating parks.

One of the best lakes to visit in Italy is Lake Como, which has gained popularity thanks to the influx of celebrities to the area during the summer. Lake Garda, the biggest lake in Italy is another good spot where you could enjoy a fun day with family engaging in water sports or a boat cruise.

4. A Day At The Museum

Italy is big on art and culture. Hence, it is a no-brainer that the city would be packed with numerous historically-significant museums and art galleries. While kids may not necessarily find a day at the museum worth their while, they could have a blast just exploring the significant monuments on display. Notably, opting for child-friendly museums could make the experience more enjoyable.

These museums have attractions like dinosaurs, starship prototypes, and perhaps something out of their favourite superhero comics. Play areas for kids are also reserved in most museums to keep the children occupied while the adults bring themselves up to date on Italian culture. Some great choices for families include:

  • Explora Children Museum in Rome
  • Muse, Trento
  • Leonardo Museum in Florence
  • MuBa Children Museum in Milan
  • Science and technology Museum Milan

5. An Excursion To A Theme Park

When it comes to leisure activities, theme parks are the easiest way to a child’s heart. Therefore if looking to give your kind an enjoyable vacation, endeavour to include theme parks and water parks on your list of things to do in Italy. Suck locations are flocking with fun activities like rides on a ferry’s wheel and pseudo boat rides among others. Kids also get to engage in water fights, paint-balling, or a stroll through a Jurrasic park. The possibilities are endless. Some of the best theme parks to visit with your children in Italy include Etnaland Waterpark, Sicily, Gardaland in Lake Garda, and Le Caravelle water park in Liguria.

6. Check Out Family-Friendly Historical Sites

Numerous outdoor activities are available for families to engage in Italy. So make the most of it by enjoying a day out, and sightseeing with your family. A good place to start is exploring the various historical sites and structures in the country. From archaeological sites to ancient ruins, Italy has it all in abundance.

When making this trip with kids, endeavour to consciously seek out areas that appeal to them. Be it an iconic architectural structure from the 18th century, or an ancient ruin in a historic city, Italy has various kid-friendly sites to explore. Some destinations that come highly recommended include Paestum, in Ostia Antica, and the Colosseum.

7. Go Gelato Hunting

Once kids are involved, nothing beats a walk through the city trying out the best gelatos you come across. In fact, gelato is a major tourist attraction in the city of Italy. The traditional Italian variant, gelato artigianale, is infused with milk and egg, which gives it a unique rich taste. The milk or egg-free versions are also delightful and could make any kids’ day.

So next time you find yourself in Italy with your family set out a day to go gelato-hunting, and have a blast trying out variants from as many stores as you can. Gelatos also have various unique tastes and flavours which make them more appealing.

8. Visit Ferrari Museums 

Most comics and modern-day movies put exotic cars on centre stage, which in turn makes kids idolize them. Hence, any child, especially the car-lovers would not pass off an opportunity to indulge their passions in a studio filled with exotic straight-out-of-the-movies cars.

Thankfully, Italy has an abundance of car museums to indulge both the adults and kids. The Ferrari factory and museum in Maranello for instance has a variety of car prototypes on display. Visitors have opportunities to fill their eyes with old, new, and existing models from the brand. So when looking for an exciting adventure to undertake during a family vacation, hitting one of the car museums in Italy may be your best bet.

9. Say Yes To Animal Encounters

In Italy, tourists and residents alike have equal opportunities to be close to animals. If you happen to pop by the city, never hesitate to exploit these opportunities by visiting sites where animals are likely to be. From zoos to animal farms, families could have an awesome time exploring the wildlife or domestic animals, awakening their fondness for animals.

Some available opportunities to have animal encounters include a dolphin cruise at the whale and dolphin sanctuary in Liguria. The Fattorie Didattiche exposes visitors to rural life, availing them of opportunities to connect with various farm animals.

10. Spend A Day Out In A Natural Hot Spring

Various volcanoes are distributed across Italy, some of which offer the surrounding natural springs an endless supply of warmth. Families visiting this location can dedicate their day to soaking up the warmth of this wondrous work of nature. Additionally, you could have a series of dishes on hand to help you take breaks within baths to have a family picnic. The city of Tuscany especially has these hot springs in abundance, most of which can be utilized for free, and is perfect for touring families.

If none of these fun and creative activities appeals to you, you could always hit the net for a more creative idea of things to do as a family.

Top 10 Places To Visit In Italy

Before embarking on that trip to Italy, it is important to familiarize yourself with some of the vacation hotspots in the country. Most tourists opt for destinations around the countryside to have a more serene experience of Italy. This especially works best for couples hoping for a relaxed spot to enjoy a romantic getaway. The Italian Lakes and beaches also offer similar experiences, with locations like Lake Como, Puglia, and Tuscany taking the front seat.

Italian cities have also become a popular stop for tourists, especially during peak seasons like summer and spring. Touring remote villages and islands also offers the best adventure-packed holiday experience, especially when you figure out the right places to hit. That said, here are some of the best Italian Holiday and travel destinations.

1. Venice

Venice is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world and unarguably the pride of Italian tourism. From its alluring atmosphere to its romantic ambience, the city offers an overall magical experience. Many believe the city is at its most alluring in February, yet, Summers in Italy witnesses an influx of tourists looking for a peek at the sparkling canals interconnecting the city. In fact, a visit to Italy is never complete without hitting this popular romantic tourist destination, and with good reasons.

While Venice is undoubtedly a number one pick when looking to give your family a memorable travel experience, securing worthwhile accommodations may prove tricky. This is due to the rapid influx of people, causing most renowned hotels and lodges to be filled up. Hence, it is best to book your lodging before embarking on the trip. This saves you unnecessary glitches upon arrival. Some lodging options in Venice to look into include The Grill Palace, The Gritti and the Rosa Salva.

2. Puglia

Famous for its unique traditional conical-roofed Trulli houses, Puglia is another must-visit Italian city. The region boasts of not only the idiosyncratic houses but also a spread of Masseria hotels once standing as fortified manor houses. The extensive coastline further contributes to the city’s irresistible ambience and serenity. Puglia is a great choice for a seaside vacation, having several amenities on-hand to keep a family engaged throughout the trip. Couples could take an intimate stroll along the long coastline, kids could get their adrenaline boost running around the beach or taking occasional dips in the sea while friend groups could have a blast partying around a campfire or acquiring the perfect tan in the warm Italian sun.

3. Sicily

The island of Sicily offers the best of both worlds, combining the natural serenity of surrounding beaches with the cultural appeal of the small baroque towns and villages spread across the Island. It is home to several historic sites like the Greek and Roman Ruins, traditional restaurants and the most exotic delicacies. Sicily allows tourists to experience the fulfilment one could only get from bonding with nature, without missing out on the rush of the typical city life.

Families who choose to vacation in Sicily have the luxury of enjoying a full-blown pampering at the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort, an adventurous day connecting with nature at the Sardinia Beach or the perfect environment for families to bond at the Forte Village Resort. Interestingly, a handful of beach clubs are also available in the region, availing you of opportunities to connect with other visiting families.

4. Verona

If historic landmarks are your thing, then Verona would make a great vacation spot for both adults and kids. The city, home to the infamous Arena hosts thousands of tourists yearly, flocking in to experience the annual open-air opera festival held in the summer. With July being the peak season, families looking to have a memorable trip could do so seamlessly, equipping themselves for the thrills that await them in this citadel of history and culture.

Notably, while a trip in the summer would certainly pay off, it is advisable to plan your lodgings ahead as thousands of other families are also eyeing that dream vacation. Some lodging options to check out before hitting the road with your family include the Palazzo Victoria located a reasonable distance from several culturally-significant landmarks of the ancient city. For a complete experience touring the region, be sure to explore the Roman Arena, the infamous Juliet’s House, and the ancient town centre.

5. Florence

The incredible architecture of Florence is a magnificent sight to behold all year round, making it a preferred vacation destination. One of Italy’s most remarkable cities, tourists flock in all year round, hungry for a taste of the architectural wonder or the artistic masterpieces on display. Aside from the bustling city life, Florence is home to several iconic museums and historic cathedrals. Furthermore, locals endeavour to keep a couple of items on display in community stores which tourists could purchase at great prices. Bonus point if you hit the location earlier on in the year just before the spring or summer sets in. That way, you and your family could beat the crowd of tourists, land more affordable accommodation and touring deals, and even benefit from the infamous January sales reeking with eye-popping prizes.

Some top accommodations you could check out include The Place, Portrait Firenze, and the Four Seasons Hotel in Firenze. Beware that during peak seasons, lodgings in these areas sell out fast, making it necessary to book accommodations ahead of the planned vacation.

6. Italian Lakes

The Italian Lakes offers some of the best vacation experiences for families, with a wide range of activities for adults and kids. The location lives up to the reputation of Northern Italy, with places like the infamous Lake Como housing several grand lakeside hotels punctuated by mountainous landscapes. Lesser-known destinations like Lake Iseo and Lake Orta also give tourists access to breathtaking sites that make the vacation worthwhile. Families looking for a more active Italian getaway could cruise along with Lake Maggiore’s Borromean Islands.

Several locations also offer tour packages, which is an easy way to experience the Italian Lakes to the fullest without the stress of mapping out locations. A fully-paid Lake Como tour for instance gives tourists not only a tour of the small Lake-town but also a drive through the Bernina Express through Alpine terrain and a day in St. Moritz, Switzerland. This tour also covers accommodations at the Hotel Rissi located right on the northern shores of Lake Como. Continental breakfasts and three-course meals comprising the best Italian dishes are some of the benefits you get to enjoy with your family.

7. Capri

Capri is a popular Italian destination with exotic villas and resorts, picturesque cliffs and the calm water bodies surrounding the astonishing Island. For years, this dramatic location has attracted celebrities, public figures and the wealthy, thanks to its stunning structures that blend seamlessly with the natural environment giving off an overall display that seems straight out of a painting. Thanks to the effect of the green landscapes, clear blue rivers, bougainvillaea-covered walls with colourful papery bracts and artistic structure, the Island gives off an overall mythical effect one can’t ignore.

When visited in the spring or summer, tourists can enjoy this Island at its most beautiful. The abundance of hospitable villas around makes it perfect for anyone to spend the holiday irrespective of their budget, and families are no exception. Wondering where to start? Check out the wonderful Villa Calypso to make the most of that trip.

8. Calabria

For a fun-packed vacation away from the busy city life or crowded towns, look no further, as Calabria holds numerous promises. This Italian destination lets you experience the country on your terms while giving families an avenue to bond with little or no distractions. The southern region of Calabria especially holds hidden wonders only a few get to explore. Experience a memorable vacation frolicking through the white sand beaches and dramatic landscapes. For a more sublime experience, avoid the Italian cities completely by opting for a weekend or week-long getaway in one of the medieval villages. Additionally, you can have your fill taking in the ancient ruins of Calabria.

9. Brera

Brera is a beautiful district in Milan, Italy marked by slick designs and historically significant structures. The district, situated within Zone 1 is home to the Brera Art Gallery and the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. These two locations contribute primarily to making the neighbourhood the city’s artistic centre. Also, the Bohemian atmosphere and other significant features serve to attract tourists.

A visit to the artists’ neighbourhood avails tourists the opportunity of exploring the bountiful spread of restaurants, art fairs, local markets, and antique stores. Those craving a taste of the nightlife could also hit the numerous bars and nightclubs spread throughout the district. Kids would have a great time surfing the Milan Botanical Garden and various kids’ parks upholding the Milano culture. Learning has never been more fun.

10. Remini, Marche

There is no point in a family vacation if it does not appeal to the kids. Hence, when it comes to picking out an enjoyable vacation spot for everyone, one must pick out kid-friendly destinations that still give room for the adults to benefit. Remini, located on the Adriatic sea in Marche, Italy offers the promises of a memorable fun-packed vacation, especially when there are kids in tow.

The destination, comprising a 9-mile beach with hotels lining the shores, is as appealing as it gets for all age groups. Each hotel boasts of unique colourful beach huts where guests could change before a fun day at the beach, they also have play areas for children. The region also boasts of the Fiabilandia theme park, which gives families a taste of Disneyland.

Top 10 Places To Eat Out In Italy

Aside from the breathtaking architectural structures, historical monuments and dramatic blend of nature and culture one could experience, traditional cuisine is another of Italy’s selling points. Italy is known for its variety of dishes, from local to continental. Each cuisine is not only pleasing to the palate but also holds special significance to one of the cultures or tribes around the region. Little wonder traditional Italian cuisines have become highly sought-after across the globe.

Therefore, while taking a trip to Italy, as an individual, family or group, having an idea of the types of dishes to expect, and the restaurant that makes them readily available at the best prices could save you some time and money. Bonus points if your trip to Italy was inspired by the zeal to try out a bunch of Italian dishes and tick them off on a bucket list. Let’s look into the ten best places to eat out during an Italian family vacation based on popular recommendations and five-star ratings.

1. Combal.Zero, Rivoli

With two Michelin stars, Comnal.Zero restaurant in Rivoli, Italy is one of the best restaurants in Italy and the world at large. The establishment offers the best selection of dishes created through years of experimentation with various ingredients. The experienced chefs working in the restaurants constantly come up with the right texture, and temperature best suited for each dish. Enjoy the taste of classic Piedmont cuisines like barbecue sweetbreads.

2. Dal Pescatore, Runate

For a taste of the best-chargrilled eels, a visit to the Dal Pescatore would offer the best palate-stimulating experience. Famous for its authentic Italian cooking, this fancy restaurant in the heart of Runate is one of the best in the country, sporting three Michelin stars. The recipes are in line with the traditional cuisines passed down in families, with some modern twists. Tortelli with pumpkin is also a great addition to the recipe.

3. Restorante Il Desco, Verona

If you ever hit Verona with your family, one thing you do not want to miss is a visit to the Il Desco restaurant. This iconic location serves local dishes made from the best traditional Italian ingredients. With its elegant décor and salon-like ambience, the Il Desco has become popular among tourists, earning it a one Michelin star. Chef Elio Rizzo and his son Matteo constantly work to make the restaurant more reputable with newer dishes added to the menu.

4. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Naples

Being around for over a century, the L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples serves its pizzas as healthy as they come. Driven by the belief that good pizza requires no added junk, this pizzeria mastered the art of pizza-making, serving only Margherita and marinara pie. Families looking for the top restaurant to eat out in Italy should check out this location in Naples to give the kids a much-deserved treat.

5. Le Calandre, Rubano

Boasting three Michelin stars, the Le Calandre restaurant in Rubano is the one-stop joint for modern Italian delicacies. This tourist hotspot, masterminded by Chef Massimiliano Alajmo serves the best cuttlefish cappuccino and hand-chopped beef tartare with black truffles.

Additionally, the food outlet has a contemporary décor and an overall ambiance that makes the eating experience a memorable one.

6. Osteria Francescana, Modena

Ranking among the top restaurants in the world, Osteria Francescana, Modena is one of the top places to eat out in Italy. Run by the infamous chef Massimo Bottura who has shown his genius in shows like the Netflix docuseries “Chef’s Table.”

The restaurant has been in business since 1995, advancing over the years to the three Michelin stars wonder the world knows today. In fact, Osteria Francesca was voted the world’s best restaurant in 2016 and 2018, further popularizing its services.

7. La Pergola, Rome

La Pergola, located within the Rome Cavalieri has become a highly sought-after restaurant in Italy. It is renowned for its top-of-the-art wine list and the exotic roof-top garden that impresses just about any guest. Coupled with the luxury Mediterranean dishes, the La Pergola is no doubt a favourite, hoping for a place to enjoy a lavish family moment over cocktail.

Treat yourself and your loved one to a plate of sous vide lamb, served with broccoli and goat cheese for a complete experience of the La Pergola’s special.

8. Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia

Located in Milan, the Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia is a famous Michelin-starred restaurant that upholds a great customer-service culture. It offers a mix of traditional Italian recipes with some modern twists to produce the best meal spread. One of the recommended dishes one could enjoy in this lavish destination is the beef oxtail, which melts easily into the palate, releasing its rich flavours.

9. Fiola at Dopolavoro Venezia, Veneta

The Fiola at Dopolavoro, only accessible by boat, is another eatery in Italy that promises families the best experience eating out. With its historic architectural structures and exotic décor, this restaurant provides just the right atmosphere for families to bond and enjoy each other’s company over cocktails.

The staples are made from fresh seasonal locally sourced ingredients all hand-picked from their private garden, the Adriatic Sea, and Rialto Market. Tourists flock to this location to enjoy their unique upgrade to conventional Venetian dishes. Craving a bite of the best foie gras Alla Veneziana in Italy? This chic eatery is a must-visit!

10. Reale, Caste di Sangro

Housed within a historic 16th-century monastery overlooking Castel di Sangro, the Reale is a must-visit restaurant for families vacationing in Italy.

The eatery offers a spread of delicacies with mild, yet savoury flavours that tease the palate, leaving guests wanting more. Their staple includes the lamb rib, which is a blend of tender lamb meat with a grassy-sweet after-taste. Pairing this with the black truffle’s earthy flavour would certainly become the highlight of your Italian getaway.

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