Doorways, Ltd.
Summer 2006 Newsletter:
Kids Love Italy!

Kit en route to Capri.

Dear Grandparents, Parents and Kids,

So many of you are traveling with children this summer that we decided to dedicate this newsletter to you and your kids. You are in for a treat, because Italy is such a child-friendly country, from the food to the costumed medieval festivals, to the strong Italian family ties in evidence everywhere. You can feel relaxed whether you are bringing your kids to the supermercato or to a dance in Castellina in Chianti, where you are likely to find three or four generations of Italian families in attendance.

This newsletter suggests places to go and things to see with children. I hope you will try out some of our ideas, but also leave some time for playing and creating, and just spending time with each other, too.

Before your trip, be sure to get each child a travel journal to keep and treasure. Suggest some activities and let each choose a favorite as you plan your itinerary.

You might like to look at some art one day, and the next, sit as a family and paint or draw the scene from your window or patio. Hang up all your paintings and talk about the differences.

If you go to see Michelangelo's David, visit the Carrara Marble Quarries the next day to see where he got his pure white marble. Let the kids handle the marble and buy some souvenirs to take home. Then visit Volterra to see, touch, and buy alabaster, which is much softer than marble. Have a family soap sculpture party with Ivory soap blocks. How did Michelangelo carve David out of one huge piece of marble? How could he have planned it? Can you carve a man or animal out of a block of soap? The results should be fun!

Most of all, we hope that you will use these suggestions to enhance your whole experience in Italy and to have a chance to see Italy through the eyes of the children you know and love. Shared experience is another way to know, love, and remember.

Have fun!


Top ten reasons why kids love Italy:

Biking in Lucca

1. HISTORY & FANTASY: In Florence, look for coats of arms, family crests, and interesting doorknockers. The hilltop towns of Tuscany and Umbria are often surrounded by walls and topped with towers and fortresses. The tree-topped walls of Lucca are perfect for strolling or bicycling!

2. CHILD-FRIENDLY MUSEUMS: See the fascinating inventions of Leonardo da Vinci at the Museo Leonardiano, in Vinci (near Milan), or visit the Stibbert Museum in Florence, with one of Europe's largest collections of medieval weapons and armor. There's a pasta museum in Rome (near the Trevi Fountain)…a marble museum in Carrara (where Michelangelo got his marble)…and you can even see Galileo's middle finger on display (groan) at Florence's History and Science Museum.

3. PARKS: Italy has a wealth of natural parks, amusement parks, and water parks. Italy's largest amusement park is Gardaland, in the Lakes region. Explore Italy's famous buildings at Italia in Miniatura, near Rimini. Most city parks have activities for kids. Water parks are a great way to spend a hot summer day.

4. ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS: One of Europe's largest aquariums is in Genoa. One of its oldest is in Naples. Visit zoos in Rome (Bioparco), Pistoia (between Florence and Lucca), Umbria (Citta' della Domenica in Perugia), and Piemonte (Safari Park of the Langhe).

5. BEACHES: If you visit Italy between May and October, try to plan at least one frolic on an Italian beach with your children.

6. ART: Outdoor sculpture museums are a great way to introduce even the youngest children to art. Visit the Tarot Garden on the Tuscan Coast near Grosseto, the whimsical Parco di Pinocchio in Collodi (near Lucca), and Bomarzo Monster Park in Lazio.

7. FOOD: One of the best things about traveling to Italy with kids is that there are plenty of wonderful choices to please even the pickiest of palates. (See Kids' Cuisine: A Taste of Italy). For a fun afternoon and a wonderful memory, arrange for a hands-on pizza-making class. Your kids will never forget it, and neither will you.

8. TRANSPORTATION: Trains are an exciting way for families to cover long distances while enjoying each other's company. Ride the traghetti across Venetian canals, or take a boat trip on the Italian Lakes or in the Cinqueterre. Tour the Tuscan hills in a hot air balloon, or float above Rome's Villa Borghese in the world's largest tethered air balloon, the Aerophile 5500. Kids will enjoy all the cool cars in Italy — Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Alfa Romeosand the motorcycles. One is called a Vespa, Italian for wasp, and there's a tiny delivery truck called an Ape (bee).

9. PICNICS: Everything tastes better when you eat it outdoors. You can picnic just about anywherein a city park, at the seaside, on a train or by a stream. And shopping for your picnic is half the fun!

10. PEOPLE: Italians love children! Even young children are welcome in restaurants. Many have gardens or piazzas where children can play while parents linger over dessert.

Click to read more :
News from Europe

• Andalusia, the birthplace of flamenco, offers visitors a chance to learn about this traditional southern Spanish dance with shows, concerts, demonstrations, and lectures (all free of charge) until December, 2006.
The Catalonian town of Igualada hosts the biggest balloon festival in Spain and one of Europe's largest (July 12-16).
The Barcelona Summer Festival is one of the season's most important cultural events (June 25-Aug 5).

For the past few summers, the Paris City Council has transformed the banks of the River Seine into a beach, complete with sand, palm trees even a boardwalk (July 20-Aug 20).
The avant-garde Festival d'Avignon celebrates its 60th year with theater, dance and music (July 6-27).
Pianists from all over the world delight music lovers under the blue skies of Provence at the 26th International Piano Festival in La Roque d'Anthéron July 20-August 22.

Safety Tip
"Before our trip, our 10-year-old daughter expressed her fear about traveling where people spoke another language: "If I get lost, how do I ask for help?" I got lanyards for our two youngest kids and put cards in them that said, in Italian: "Can you help me?," along with their names, our names, our Italian cell phone number, and our villa info. One day, we rode bikes into Lucca. On the way home, our son tried to ride ahead and took a wrong turn. We got a call from the waitress of the nearby pizza shop. She didn't speak English, but our son had stopped there after riding in circles for a while and showed her his card." — P. Boyce, Bryn Athyn, PA

The Tarot Garden,
near Grosseto

Attractions for kids in previous newsletters

Provence: The Pont du Gard
and More

Shopping in Italy: Fun Stuff for Kids to Buy
Torino: The Egyptian Museum and More
Lazio: Bomarzo Monster Park
Lake District: Activities for Kids
Lucca: Things to Do with Kids

Website Tips

Kids Love Italy is full of ideas and information about sights and activities that will appeal to children.
Featured Villas contains a list of villas that work especially well for families with children.
Our Selected Reading List for Italy includes kids' books, too.

"Childhood is the world of miracle or of magic: it is as if creation rose luminously out of the night, all new and fresh and astonishing. Childhood is over the moment things are no longer astonishing. When the world gives you a feeling of "déjà vu," when you are used to existence, you become an adult." — Eugène Ionesco, absurdist playwright