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10 Best Family Destinations in Italy

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Mother and daughter in Piazza San Marco, Venice

Mother and daughter in Piazza San Marco, Venice

Italy is one of the most family-friendly destinations in the world. 

Italy’s mixture of history and natural scenery, smoldering volcanoes, and preserved ancient ruins create an undeniably captivating ambiance. 

Whether you want immersive family-friendly activities like cooking classes or scavenger hunts or simply wish to sample every flavor of gelato, the following list offers inspiration for the best family destinations in Italy.

1. Rome, Lazio

Rooftops of Rome, with the Colosseum in the background.

Rome is large and fast-paced with exceptional family-friendly excursions. Whether on your first trip or your seventh visit, Rome is a city that captures your imagination. With ancient ruins at the Roman Forum and the Colosseum to the museums that bring fascinating artwork to life, your kids will love the adventure, and you will love spending time as a family. Everyone will enjoy becoming amateur archeologists, historians, and chefs.

Immerse your family in the detailed lives of Ancient Romans on a tour of the Colosseum, and then pair the experience with a visit to a Roman gladiator school, where the kids can learn how to fight like a gladiator and experience the ancient training routines. Your entire family can have a blast participating in a cooking class, learning to make gelato or regional pasta, and learning about the culture through engaging activities.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Bike the Borghese gardens | Explore the Christian catacombs | Climb Michelangelo’s dome | Scavenger hunt in the Vatican Museums | Cooking class | Art class | Become amateur archeologists | Attend gladiator school

2. Florence, Tuscany

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy

Florence is an irresistible city for children and adults alike, with plenty of family-friendly activities built around the immersive history. The city feels like a feast for all your senses, with exceptional food, vibrant palaces, captivating art, and a welcoming ambiance. It is a joy to get lost among the labyrinth of winding Renaissance streets, with each new turn leading your family to views of 16th-century castles or the looming dome of the Cathedral.

Walking around the city feels like a scavenger hunt for iconic history, the best gelato, or the perfect slice of pizza. Florence is an icon of Italian culture with dozens of fascinating churches and famous artworks that can introduce the family to Michelangelo’s David or Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Palazzo Vecchio establishes a dramatic foundation of medieval architecture, while gelato shops offer mouthwatering varieties of typical Italian flavors.

Your family does not just witness Florence but experiences the city with cooking classes, learning to make gelato or dressing like the Medici family inside the historic palace. Each new activity offers a different perspective on the historic or contemporary culture.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Period costumes at Palazzo Vecchio | Cooking class | Scavenger hunt at the Uffizi Gallery | Artesian visits on the Oltrarno | Art class | Climb the Duomo | Visit the Leonardo da Vinci Museum | Gelato-making class

3. Venice, Veneto

Tour boat on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

The Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

Venice is a city of magic that quickly enchants your entire family. Venice offers the perfect blend for family activities spread across colorful houses, fanciful architecture, and canals churning with passing boats with endless excitement for kids and adults alike.

Upon your introduction, your family will be amazed by Venice as it rises out of the water. Exploring the city at your pace is part of the joy and allows you to experience the beauty, charms, and history the way your family would like best. Venice is endlessly inspiring, draped in the elegance of the High-Renaissance.

Riding a vaporetto creates an immediate adventure on the Grand Canal, and viewing the smaller canals on a gondola embodies a historic beauty. From chasing pigeons in St. Mark’s Square to reveling in the gilded mosaics decorating the basilica, searching for winged lions hidden around the city to crafting a Carnivale mask, Venice has a hidden charm perfect for your family to enjoy.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Grand Canal Vaporetto tour | Explore Doge’s Palace prisons | Scavenger hunt for Venetian lions | Gondola ride | Mask-making class | Glassblowing demonstration | Cooking class | Tour an antique maze

4. Siracusa, Sicily

Castello Maniace in Siracusa, Sicily

Castello Maniace in Siracusa, Sicily

Siracusa, or Syracuse, will captivate your family with titles like oldest, biggest, and best-preserved popping up around the city. With foundations dating back to the ancient Greeks, you will quickly become enchanted by the past as you discover new corners of the city to explore.

The city has a timeless beauty where ancient ruins rest beneath citrus orchards and cafe tables spread across Baroque piazzas. The ancient architecture connects to medieval alleyways that lead to views of the dazzling Ionian Sea. The city is flat and easy to navigate, with traditional shops and enticing aromas of gelato to granitas.

Casteloos Maniace can become the focal point of knights and pirates, and the traditional puppet theater brings to life stories of epic sword fights and dramatic beasts. You can stroll through history at the Archeological Park to find one of the world’s largest Greek Theaters or enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the water on an exciting boat ride as you take in the breadth of contemporary life winding through the ancient architecture.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Ancient Ortygia tour | Mount Etna visit | Cooking class | Food tour | Visit Museo del Papiro | Explore the Greek Archeological Park | Visit the local markets | Discover fishers at the harbor | Wander Castello Maniace

5. Cinque Terre, Liguria

Monterosso town and beach from the Cinque Terre hiking trail

View of Monterosso from the Cinque Terre hiking trail

Cinque Terre is undeniably memorable for its natural beauty, particular heritage, and absence of the usual “must-see” sights. The five towns on the Ligurian coast offer your family the perfect active destination with natural charm and indelible wonder stretching from the cliffs to the cafes, the sparkling waters to the colorful houses.

The small towns excuse Old World wonder and feel completely absorbing. Cinque Terre’s five towns were isolated from greater Italy and practically unknown to visitors until the late 19th century. Cars are still not allowed in each town, making the cobbled lanes great places to explore as a family. The most famous sight of Cinque Terre is not the towns themselves but the trail that connects them. The rugged pathway winds along the cliffs weaving between terraced orchards and breathtaking panoramic views.

Each town remains rooted in antiquity and carries a medieval ambiance significantly connected to the sea. The aromas of basil often blend with the scent of citrus chiseled into the cliffs. Instead of elaborate churches and grand art galleries, Cinque Terre represents the grandeur of Italy and the wonders of family adventure through a different lens stemming from the elements and local culture.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Hike the famous trails | Visit Montorosso’s beach | Explore the ancient towers | Visit Castelloe Doria | Enjoy the scenic train between towns | Cooking class

6. Lake Garda, Lombardy

Sirrmione with Scaliger Castle in Lake Garda, Italy

Sirrmione with Scaliger Castle in Lake Garda, Italy

Lake Garda is the perfect destination for every kind of family when visiting Italy. As Italy’s largest lake, Lake Garda reaches the foot of the great alpine hills and spreads to the edge of the Po Valley. Calm beaches connect to charming towns, and marvelous natural landscape accentuates the fascinating historic castles.

Roman ruins establish a rich sense of history in the area and give way to more contemporary stories of World War II. The lakeshores offer your family an endless ambiance of Italy’s famous la dolce vita with access to fantastic museums or captivating mountain biking trails, charming lakeside promenades to delectable cafes.

The views from Monte Baldo spread across the lakeshores, and the private Isola del Garda reflects the former grandeur of the Venetian Republic. Whether your family is eager to lounge on the beach, sail on the water, visit the castles, or explore the mountainside, Lake Garda acts as a fabulous base for every activity.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Visit Sirmione Castle | Climb a clock tower | Cooking class | Sample typical cuisine | Visit famous amusement parks | Explore a Roman villa | Take a scenic ferry across the water | Swim in the lake | Hike | Mountain bike

7. Naples, Campania

Ruins of ancient city Pompeii with Vesuvius volcano in Italy

Ruins of Pompeii in Naples, Italy

Naples provides a perfect blend of ancient insights, a captivating ambiance, and accessibility to fascinating legends. The city looks chaotic and rushed but has a pace all of its own that the entire family will love finding authenticity in an exuberant lifestyle, delicious cuisine, and enchanting history.

You cannot beat taking kids to the uncovered cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD covered both cities in pumice and ash, preserving the villas, houses, streets, and, in some cases, the people for a view into daily life during the Roman empire.

The thought of a museum may sound dull when compared to the active discoveries of Italy’s first pizzeria or the nearby archeological site of Herculaneum, but the National Archeological Museum of Naples has one of the best collections of ancient Western European artifacts. Wedged between the Bay of Naples and the Campania countryside, Naples is an authentic exploration of Southern Italian culture.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Pizza making class | Pompeii and Herculaneum tour | Climb Mount Vesuvius | National Archeological Museum of Naples scavenger hunt | Gelato tasting

8. Matera, Basilicata

Alley carved in the rock with the old cave houses in the ancient Italian city Matera

Alleyway carved in the rock with the old cave houses in Matera, Italy

The city of Matera is often overlooked but captures the imagination of adults and children alike. The unique ambiance of Old Town’s scenery looming over Gravina Ravine leads to the habitable caves that residents of the city used as homes from ancient times until the 1960s. Medieval architecture still decorates the upper-levels of the city that overlook the rugged cliffs and the edges of the ravine.

The medieval streets crown the plateaus with a series of stairways leading down to the ancient sassi. Your family can traverse the levels of the city and become archeologists, historians, and explorers as you focus on the ancient history and the medieval life that has shaped contemporary culture. An expedition through the caves breathes life into the ancient fresco of Cripta del Peccato Originale and the churches crafted out of soft volcanic rock.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Explore the cave houses | Descend into Palombaro Lungo | Discover Parco della Murgia Materana | Uncover the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture | Visit Casa Noha

9. Bergamo, Lombardy

Medieval town of  Bergamo, Italy

Bergamo, Italy

It is hard to find cities more suited for bringing the dreams of castles and knights to life than in Italy, and Bergamo fills the imagination. The medieval walls protect the streets and its residents from foreign invaders in the shadow of more famous Milan.

The city moves beyond the medieval façade and allows you to step into the preserved ambiance of life during the Medieval period and reign of the Venetian empire filling the chivalric dreams of children and the prestige of Italy’s past. The Old City, referred to as Citta Alta, brings fantastic panoramas of the lower city and the bordering mountain peaks.

Trace the city's evolution before the walls with routes originally established for spices and explore the city walls as walkways to and viewing platforms connecting watchtowers, four city gates, underground passages, and former noble apartments. People of all ages will feel as though they have stepped back in time to an age of kings, queens, and epic knightley battles.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Explore medieval castles | Visit the Civic Museum of Natural Sciences | Wander the city walls | Ride the funicular | Sample the local food | Discover the public gardens | Climb the Tower | Find secret passages | Scavenger hunt for Veneitna lions | Uncover Palazzo del Podestá

10. Milan, Lombardy

Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy

Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy

Milan is known for its fashion and glamour, but Milan is also a great place to enjoy as a family. Romans settled the city as a legion outpost more than 2,000 years ago, leading to the prestigious rise of a powerful city-state during the Renaissance.

The streets provide a fantastic scavenger hunt for the whole family with coats of arms decorating churches, castle walls, ceilings, and mosaic floors. The Duomo is an impressive structure decorated with more than 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles, and 700 figures. The impressive Sforzesco Castle holds several museums on the grounds and captivates children and adults alike with the guided rampart and underground cellars.

Without the museums and galleries, Milan would retain its sense of majesty, allowing kids to run around and imagine knights and princesses roaming the scattered ramparts and former regal apartments. Venture beyond the surface to find a family-friendly city decorated with museums, architecture, and fashionable locals.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do: Shop in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II | Experience royalty | Explore castles | Enjoy a cooking class | Cruise the Naviglio Grande canal | Visit the Library of Children | Visit into botanical gardens | Sample the chocolate | Scavenger hunt at the art museums

More Travel Information & Tips

Scaliger Castle in Sirmione

Scaliger Castle in Sirmione

Italy is a country that inspires families with endless options that can shape your time together. Dive into ancient life, discover the traditions of favorite foods, or enjoy effortless fashion. Find more ideas and tips on how to enjoy your customizable family vacation by visiting our Family Vacation Page. You can also uncover more ideas on the best places for your family on Zicasso’s Travel Blog. If you are planning a family trip, you can speak with a family travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling 1-888-265-9707.

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