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!
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.
PARKS: Italy has a wealth of natural parks, amusement parks, and water
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.
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).
BEACHES: If you visit Italy between May and October, try to plan at least
one frolic on an Italian beach with your children.
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
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
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 Romeos
the motorcycles. One is called a Vespa, Italian for wasp, and there's a tiny delivery
truck called an Ape (bee).
PICNICS: Everything tastes better when you eat it outdoors. You can picnic
just about anywhere
a city park, at the seaside, on a train or by a stream. And shopping for your
picnic is half the fun!
PEOPLE: Italians love children! Even young children are welcome in restaurants.
Many have gardens or piazzas where children can play while parents linger over