Italians love children. You are sure to have your little ones treated with generosity and doted on indulgently wherever you go by friendly Italians.
But traveling can be stressful, even without kids. Let's see what you need to know when bringing the whole family.The following five tips should help:
1. Food is unlikely to be a problem.
Italian restaurants rarely offer children’s menus because Italians believe their children should eat the same things they eat. In any case, your children will not find too many unfamiliar foods or tastes in Italy, and when they do, it's good to encourage them to try new things. That's an important part of travel, to experience other cultures. Chefs are also willing to make a custom pasta dish for your children.
Most villages in Italy have a market day or night which is a good opportunity for your children to try local food and enjoy a family experience together.
2. Make sightseeing fun by engaging them.
Not all famous sights and attractions will be suitable for kids with their short attention spans. But there are many family-friendly tourist attractions and sights in Italy. Many museums have hands-on activities just for children, such as the Galileo Museum in Florence, pictured above.
Famous places such as the Colosseum and Mount Etna, where they can visit a still active volcano, will delight even the hardest to please children. Try to get them excited about what they will see before you go by reading and discussing books that will stimulate their imaginations about ancient history. Italy has an abundance of fascinating architecture that can be overwhelming, even for adults, let alone children, who can get tired of sightseeing and need a break. So try spacing things out.
3. Pick a city with good access points.
Whether you're traveling on your own, or with an independent tour that you customize yourself, it's wise to pick a city with good access points to the region you're in. For example, if you’d like easy access to somewhere like Cinque Terre, consider staying either in one of the five towns or somewhere close to Florence with good access to the area. It'll also allow you to explore the surrounding area easily.
If you want to see Tuscany, then consider basing your family in Florence or Siena. Access routes here make it much easier to travel throughout Tuscany and it's a great base for day trips. Whatever region you want to see, pick a base city first.
4. Be prepared and keep it simple.
Sightseeing can be exhausting—they may not be used to so much walking and you may not be able to get a meal whenever you want. Don’t pack too much into each day. Make sure you stay stocked up on water and snacks for quick pick me ups.
It will be harder to see or do as much as you’d usually do on your own when you have kids. Doing too much at once with kids is a recipe for disaster. Plan a few days where you don’t have anything at all. Keep it flexible.
5. Pack with their comfort and utility in mind.
Pack a little more clothing just in case. Take things that are low care for your kids to wear. Unless you are going to a wedding, they don't need to dress up. Their shoes should be good for walking, because you'll be doing a lot of it.
You may want to bring electronic gadgets for the flight. However, Italian children don't have as much of an affinity for electronic gadgets and they watch about two hours less television a day than Americans do. If you're going to all the trouble of taking them overseas, you'll want your children to see more of Italy than their screens.
At Bella Vista, we love arranging trips for families of all sizes, for special events or just for fun. For suggestions and tips on where to visit for groups or families, we are available at 877-723-0802. We'd love to hear from you.