5 Musts for Traveling in Italy with Kids

5 musts for traveling in italy with kids

Back in the fall, our family of four ventured to Genoa, Italy, a 2.5-hour flight from London, and spent five days exploring the country. Along the way, we discovered that Italy is an amazing place for families looking for an international travel destination that will appeal to everyone. Today I’m sharing five musts for traveling in Italy with kids, from things to eat to activities to plan — check it out!

(Note: the tips in this article focus on travel within northern Italy, specifically the Liguria and Emilia-Romagna regions.)


5 musts for traveling in italy with kids

5 musts for traveling in italy with kids

1. Visit the Beach

Italy is a treasure trove of coastal destinations that appeal to little ones. We started in Genoa, a port town largely known for cruises, before traveling to Sestri Levante, a sleepy little town situated on two bays. The bays are home to peaceful waters and sandy beaches. Sestri Levante is accessible by train from Genoa (travel time is just over an hour), or you can drive along coastal roads for 45 minutes. Genoa is also a logical jumping off point for exploring the gorgeous portside towns of Cinque Terre, known for its delicious seafood, terraced vineyards and colorfully painted architecture.

For more information on how to arrange tours and guided day excursions to Cinque Terre or points beyond in the Liguria region (including Genoa), contact Beautiful Liguria, which provides English-language bespoke tours for families and couples.

2. Tour a Food Factory

5 musts for traveling in italy with kids

Italian culture is centered around food and family, and what better way to experience that than to visit one of the many family-run food producers? Children of all ages (adults too!) will love seeing the process of making giant wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese), or touching the old barrels where balsamic vinegar ages. Many producers give English-speaking tours and there’s usually an opportunity to sample the goods (and purchase, if you’re so inclined).

Parmigiano Reggiano, parma ham and balsamic vinegar are all produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, near the cities of Parma, Bologna and Modena:

  • Parmigiano Reggiano: For information on how to arrange a Parmigiano Reggiano tour, click here. Alternatively, you can visit the incredible factory we visited, Casearia Corradi, by contacting them directly here.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: For information on how to arrange a tour of a balsamic vinegar factory, visit the Consortium for Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Ancient Producers here.
  • Parma Ham: The Consortium on Parma Ham Producers also provides contacts for arranging your own tours here.

Alternatively, you can always contact Food Valley Travel for all-day guided tours, including transport, between handpicked producers in the Emilia-Romagna Region.

For more photos, check out this gallery (click on each photo to expand):

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”12″ gal_title=”Parmigiano Reggiano Factory”]

3. Book a Walking Tour

5 musts for traveling in italy with kids

Sometimes you need a guiding hand to help you see what’s right in front of you. For older children, a walking tour is a great way to see details in a new environment that they might not otherwise notice. In Modena, with the help of the tourism bureau for Emilia Romagna, a guide met us for a two-hour walking tour of pedestrian-friendly Modena. The kids loved learning that the carved details of the Modena Cathedral were made to tell the most famous stories of the Bible to the largely illiterate population of 12th century Modena. Together with their guide, Simonetta, the kids also explored the Mercato Albinelli, a vibrant open-air food market frequented by locals and took delight in the Piazza Grande, a large square in the center of the city bustling with local activity.

For assistance with arranging your own walking tour of Modena, visit the Emilia Romagna Tourism Bureau here.

4. Eat All the Things

5 musts for traveling in italy with kids

It goes without saying, but Italy is all about the EATS. For most kids, pasta and bread are within their dietary comfort zone, making Italy a perfect destination to make sure your kids are happy and well fed. In Bologna, kids can delight in alfresco (outdoor) dining that literally spills out onto narrow alleyways. Locals dodge tables while waiters deliver gigantic charcuterie boards and glasses of wine to waiting customers.

Bologna in particular was a culinary highlight for all of us. Food was reasonably priced, with nearly every meal at a local trattoria costing around 60 euros (around $74) for a family of four with a bottle of house wine for the parents. Don’t miss the handmade tortellini en brodo (in broth) or bolognese (meat sauce) pasta, which are Bologna’s specialties.

For more photos, check out this gallery (click on each photo to expand):

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”10″ gal_title=”Italy with Kids – Food”]

5. Wander

5 musts for traveling in italy with kids

Overscheduling just doesn’t work with little ones and European travel. Trains can be late, tummies can rumble, and adults might need caffeine (amiright or amiright)? Bologna is perfect for unplanned meandering — the center of the city closes down on weekends to vehicle traffic, allowing for pop up plaza board games or street performers to occupy nearly every street corner.

5 musts for traveling in italy with kids

For tired legs, many cities operate hop-on, hop-off tourist buses or trains that allow for venturing out beyond just a couple of city blocks. The Bologna “CityBO Express” train runs on the hour from Piazza Miaggore (prices are 14 euros for adults and 7 euros for kids in cash only).

For previous posts on Italy, check these out:

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Check out these 5 musts for traveling in Italy with kids! Ideas for what to do, where to go and what to EAT!

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About me

I’m Ann, a mom / wife / lawyer / certified culinary enthusiast. I share recipes, travel guides and home life tips while living overseas. Currently based in São Paulo, Brazil.

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