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Top 10 Things to Do in Italy with Family

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Mother and daughter on gondola ride in Venice, Italy

Mother and daughter on gondola ride in Venice, Italy

Combine the following essential experiences on a family vacation to Italy. They share Mediterranean culture, highlight Roman heritage, and introduce you to natural beauty.

Several iconic seas circle the Italian peninsula, comprising views from charming coastal towns pinned to lush headlands. Across the countryside, cities and fortresses punctuate the rolling landscape, opening their doors to families who wish to unpack the origins of Ancient Roman civilization. All ages can absorb the marvelous atmosphere and signature experiences during family vacations in the Mediterranean.

You and yours will spend time at iconic destinations and on illustrious islands as you relish the following essential experiences in Italy.

Overview

  1. 1. Experience the Italian Islands
  2. 2. Cruise Venice by Gondola
  3. 3. Lean on the Famous Tower of Pisa
  4. 4. Make Memories at Mount Vesuvius
  5. 5. Discover the Cuisine of Tuscany
  6. 6. Take a Hike into the Remarkable Countryside
  7. 7. Go Castle Hunting Around the Country
  8. 8. Uncover the Layers of History
  9. 9. Take a Gelato Tour
  10. 10. Become an Artisan Family
  11. Experience the Top Things to Do in Italy with Family

1. Experience the Italian Islands

Exploring caves in Sardina, Italy

Exploring caves in Sardina, Italy

There are plenty of Italian islands scattered throughout the Tyrrhenian, Ionian, Adriatic, and Ligurian Seas. The most famous, Sicily and Sardinia, capture the Mediterranean’s coastal beauty like no other place in the world.

Golden- and white-sand beaches, hideaway coves, translucent seas teeming with marine life and coral, and colorful coastal villages introduce families to the traditional Italian way of life. You and your family will embrace the breathtaking seascapes and culture as you hop from island to island.

You can find more ideas on what your kids will enjoy most with our 10 Best Islands to Visit in Italy.

2. Cruise Venice by Gondola

Gondola ride in Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Thoughts of Venice conjure images of gondolas gliding across canals that weave between ancient buildings.

This typical view of Venice is worth every second and your family will adore a cruise across the Venetian canals to boutiques, museums, markets, and more.

You may choose gondolas as your main mode of transportation around Venice, set sail during sunset past significant Venetian sites that your gondolier will share stories about, or access nearby beaches via gondola to relax and soak up the sunshine.

Learn more: A Guide to Planning a Gondola Ride in Venice

3. Lean on the Famous Tower of Pisa

Mother and daughter in Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Before you explore the hidden charms of Pisa and the magnificent museums and monuments scattered around the Tuscan city, be sure to stop at the Tower of Pisa to capture a quintessential snapshot of your children leaning against the iconic building.

There is more to see and do around the towering marble cylinder than you think. After capturing photos together, take your family to the cathedral and baptistery in the Piazza dei Miracoli, where singers show off the famous acoustics of the breathtaking Roman Catholic ecclesiastical building.

4. Make Memories at Mount Vesuvius

Trail on Mount Vesuvius on the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Italy

Mount Vesuvius in Campania, Italy

The mighty summit of Mount Vesuvius casts a commanding shadow across the Italian coastline, where the Bay of Naples rests.

The stratovolcano is a beautiful natural formation shrouded in history that you and your family will unpack as you choose from several activities beyond the borders of Naples.

You may wander the trekking trails that weave through the mountainside to lofty viewpoints overlooking the sea with your older children or amble around the remnants and ruined buildings of Pompeii with younger kids to discover the stories of Ancient Rome.

5. Discover the Cuisine of Tuscany

Kids making pasta

Italian cooking class

Tuscany is a marvelous Italian region that encompasses vast stretches of sunflowers and hosts historic fortress towns and castles overlooking the scenery. The culinary legacy of Tuscany is also iconic and your family may delve into its history on gastronomy tours of olive estates and restaurants revered for their pasta.

Your kids will adore the opportunity to string together their own bowl of pasta as you prepare pockets of traditional ravioli topped with cheese and sundried tomatoes. There is so much joy to be had indulging in Tuscany’s culinary courses.

Whether your family is interested in culinary history or eager to try the many famous flavors of the region, 4 Best Cities to Explore the Food of Tuscany and 5 Dishes to Try on Your Trip to Tuscany provide more information on how you can experience the gastronomy of the region as a family.

6. Take a Hike into the Remarkable Countryside

Family hiking at the Puez Odle Nature Park in the Dolomites

Puez Odle Nature Park, Italian Dolomites

History and culture may be the main focus on trips to Italy, but the landscape from the northern Alps to the southern arid coastline along the Adriatic Sea offers dynamic hiking opportunities perfect for children of all ages.

Trails weave through the emerald fields to views of glacier-capped mountains in the north, while hills crowned with medieval villages roll to the horizon, and golden plains lead to dramatic medieval monasteries.

Alpine lakes, thundering waterfalls, and hidden gorges add an extra layer of natural opulence to the experience, accentuated by discovering ancient towns or meandering historic walls.

Learn more: 7 Breathtaking National Parks in Italy for Nature Lovers

7. Go Castle Hunting Around the Country

Aragonese Castle in Ischia, Italy

Aragonese Castle in Ischia, Italy

Villas, some of which once acted as manor houses, are grand estates often located in the country, but Italian castles are distinct fortresses, of which there are thousands throughout Italy. Known for impenetrable walls or deep moats, soaring towers or prominent positions on the edge of a hill or mountain, they bring storybooks to life.

Each tells a unique historical tale that may feel like a game or fantasy. Medieval fairs further create an immersive ambiance, with locals dressed in period clothing, the aromas of medieval food drifting through the streets, and traditional games, including sword fights, bringing contemporary crowds to their feet.

8. Uncover the Layers of History

Mother and daughter at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Italy can feel like one large archeological site, making it a perfect destination to uncover history. Wander through museum galleries to find functional ceramics and tools or view mosaics and frescoes preserved through the centuries.

Become amateur archeologists by finding clues in the landscape that lead to giant Greek temples or enjoy a scavenger hunt inside the halls of a legendary museum to solve a mystery of ancient Rome.  Whether visiting Ostia Antica or touring the Colosseum, exploring Pompeii or visiting Ostuni, Italy makes the past relevant.

9. Take a Gelato Tour

Selection of gelato at a gelaterie

Gelaterie in Italy

Gelato is an essential treat to enjoy when visiting Italy, especially when touring as a family. The delicious combination of flavors offers a light and creamy variation on ice cream that kids are sure to enjoy, coupled with tastes that range from indulgent to fruity, nutty to artisanal.

A gelato tour can take your family to a number of different gelaterie in a city, introducing you to what makes each individual location popular and special. You could also complete a tour with a class that will teach your kids how to make traditional gelato, with a recipe you can take home as a souvenir.

10. Become an Artisan Family

Artisan glass blowing on the island of Murano in Venice, Italy

Murano, Italy

Italy provides an alternative perspective to mass-produced goods by celebrating the artistic quality of a product through artisanal craftsmanship.

Centuries-old traditions can take center stage as you discover what makes an item artisanal, who is behind its design, and how you can follow their instructions.

Whether learning to blow glass in Murano or make paper in Tuscany, craft chocolate in Perugia or produce olive oil in Puglia, pride, elegance, and focus add to the luster of artisan crafts across Italy.

Traditional techniques and legacy combine in preserved craftsmanship and you find inspiration for the types of experiences right for your family when exploring our 10 Italian Arts & Crafts - How to See and Experience Them.

Experience the Top Things to Do in Italy with Family

Father and son exploring the Duomo in Milan, Italy

Milan, Italy

From island hopping to cooking traditional Tuscan cuisine, these essential experiences will let your family explore the best of Italy during your vacation.

You may visit the iconic destinations that are home to these exceptional experiences with sample itineraries from our Italy Family Vacations or clue yourself up further on Italian culture with our Italy Travel Guide.

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