Italy for Kids: Where to Go and What to Do

Here at Baby Friendly Boltholes, we’ve made travelling abroad with babies, toddlers and little ones in tow as easy and stress-free as possible. And that includes one of our favourite destinations in the world, Italy. An Italian holiday is the perfect combination of stunning scenery and sights, rich history and culture, good food and even better wine, and breath-taking nature that will captivate children and adults alike. We think that a holiday in Italy has it all, and allows the grown-ups to enjoy a cultural immersive, luxury break whilst the kids have plenty to do too.

So let’s take a look at some of the different regions. Including what to do, where to stay and what you can expect when travelling with your little ones.

REGION: LE MARCHE

The beautiful region of Le Marche, located along Italy’s easy coast, is one of the best family-friendly regions in the country. With everything from beautiful beaches and hiking to museums and castles that will fascinate the little ones, there’s never a dull moment here. Situated between the glorious Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, holiday makers will benefit from the multifaceted landscape. So for outdoorsy families or scenery lovers, Le Marche makes an excellent choice of destination throughout the seasons.

Attractions / Activities for Kids:

Sibillini National Park is a brilliant natural playground for kids! There’s so much to do, including nature walks, wildlife spotting, cycling, and even skiing in the winter time. Another natural attraction for children is the Frasassi Caves, with its network of incredible alabaster formations and underground lakes. Other things worth checking out are Rancia Castle, Museo della Sibilla in Montemonaco, The Paper Museum in Fabriano and Adventure Quercus Park.

Don’t Miss:

This region is definitely one of Italy’s hidden gems, playing second fiddle to regions such as Tuscany and Umbria. But if you’re a foodie, you will find some outstanding restaurants in this part of Italy. Head to the capital, Ancona for a day trip if you want to explore the port and the city’s medieval architecture and be sure to try some of the local foods on offer; such as Olive Ascolane (local stuffed olives), Ciauscolo (smoky pork sausage), Vincisgrassi Lasagne, and Brodetto all’Anconetana (a rich and tasty fish soup).

Where to Stay:

Le Marche has many strikingly stunning towns, communes and villages and we have many featured properties in this fantastic region. The hilltop town of Mogliano is a great place to stay if you’re looking for wonderful views; you’ll be able to see the spectacular Sibillini Mountains whilst being less than 40 minutes away from the coast. The city of Ancona and its beaches are also just over an hour away by car.

Book your stay at the Caserma Carina country house in Mogliano, surrounded by stunning countryside and boasting its own swimming pool (shared with Caserma Carina guests only). Baby gear and cots are provided, and babysitting is available.

CASERMA CARINA LAVANDA

REGION: PUGLIA

Puglia is the southern region, forming the heel of Italy’s boot, and has been one of the lesser known regions until quite recently. These days, it’s a rather famous destination for every type of holiday maker, with many crowded hot spots and now boasts various venues that are family-friendly and tourist-friendly. This charming part of the country is known for its Masserias (ancient fortified farmhouses) which are found only in Puglia, and here are the many things you can get up to whilst here…

Attractions/Activities for Kids:

A trip to Puglia isn’t complete with a visit to the seaside, so pack your buckets and spades and hit the beaches at Torre Canne. There are pretty little beaches scattered across the coastline and in most sea-facing towns, but at Torre Canne you will find a child-friendly spot that’s safe for swimming. And the long stretch of golden sand gives them plenty of room to run around. Other fun things for kids include the Zoo Safari and Fasanolandia Amusement Park, the cable slides at Indiana Park, Curtipetrizzilandia Acquapark, and the nature reserve at Torre Guaceto.

Don’t Miss:

If your little ones are interested in caves, take them on a tour of the Grotte di Castellana – it’s a great day out for all ages. For towns and cities, be sure to visit Bari and explore the labyrinthine old town and the Basilica di San Nicola; or the trio of port towns that are Molfetta, Trani and Barletta, each boasting their own unique charm.

Where to Stay:

For a quaint and quiet seaside resort suitable for the whole family, we recommend staying near Savelletri. Choose from the beaches of Lido Ottagono, Archeolido and Passbeach, and enjoy the fantastic selection of restaurants and bars in this beautiful fishing town. One of our featured hotels, Masseria Torre Coccaro, is located very close to Savelletri and features a superb restaurant serving up amazing local specialities. There’s a large outdoor pool for guests and plenty of baby and toddler facilities on site. We can also reccommend a number of very stylish and child-friendly villas in the region view them here.

MASSERIA TORRE COCCARO

REGION: SARDINIA

This beautiful island is made for beach lovers and nature lovers. There are fewer places in Europe with beaches quite as beautiful as Sardinia, and many of them are child-friendly with soft white sand and water safe enough to paddle in. It’s one of those paradisiacal destinations that you’ll want to return to time and time again.

Attractions / Activities for Kids:

Wherever you decide to stay on the island, you will have access to some fantastic beaches for children. Including Costa Rei or Pula on the south coast (good for swimming due to the shallow water), San Teodoro in the north east, Bosa Marina in the West, or the reef-enclosed Sa Mesa Longa in the Oristano Region. Kids will also love the weird and wonderful rock formations carved by the wind over the centuries; these are Elephant Rock in Castelsardo, Bear Rock in Palau and Turtle Rock in San Teodoro.

Don’t Miss:

With Sardinia being an island, fish is a staple part of the local diet. So be sure to try the seafood. Head to Alghero to taste the famous lobster or visit the city of Sassari for the local snails which taste miles away from the farmed version. Wine connoisseurs should try Cannonau wine, a tipple that is little known outside of Sardinia.

Where to Stay:

The family villa by the sea, Villa Capo Boi, always receives rave reviews from guests travelling with their children. Not only is it situated along the island’s south coast, where there are plenty of family-friendly beaches with beautiful sandy shores and shallow waters, but it’s also extremely spacious. The villa sleeps up to 9 adults, with babies in cots in two bedroom wings – so it’s ideal for larger families, holidays with relatives, or blended family travel. You’ll find a number of beaches nearby, where the shallow sea and fabulous rock pools provide a natural playground for the kids. Plus, snorkelling is a fun activity for the older children who want to explore Italy’s sea life – so there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained.

VILLA CAPO BOI

REGION: SICILY

Often, holiday makers find it difficult to decide between the two competing islands, Sardinia or Sicily. Both with a similar offering such as beautiful beaches, outstanding cuisine, and fun outdoor activities to keep the whole family occupied, it can be hard to choose. But if you’re after the best pizza (and food doesn’t get more child-friendly than a good old fashioned pizza) or tours of Europe’s largest active volcano (kids will love learning about this imposing mountain), then Sicily is the island for you.

Attractions/Activities for Kids:

Whilst a hike up Mount Etna can take over 5 hours, there are much more convenient ways to see the volcano with kids in tow. Take the drive up to Rifiugio Sapienza (1,910 metres above sea level) and ride the cable car, where you will be able to see mounds and mounds of lava. The town of Mazzarò also has a cable car which take you to Taormina, with wonderful views of the sea. You can also head to Etna Land, The Salt Pans located between Trapani and Marsala, or one of the many castles (such as Castello Orsino in Catania and Castello Maniace in Syracuse).

Don’t Miss:

There are so many family-friendly beaches in Sicily but for something a little more off the beaten path, go to the unspoiled Torre Salsa beach and nature reserve; it’s a 6km stretch of sand with an abundance of healthy marine life, making it the ideal place for snorkelling. For the most authentic Sicilian slice (the cheesy and delicious sfincione made from focaccia bread), head to Il Covo in Catania. And for the best wine on the island, book a tour at Gambino Winery.

Where to Stay:

Book your stay at Villa Santa Rosalia, a spacious and child-friendly with private pool by the sea. Located in Western Sicily, close to the town of Mazara del Vallo and with destinations such as Palermo, Trapani and Sciacca within easy reach if you have a car.

VILLA VIRAGO

REGION: TUSCANY

The famous central region of Tuscany, known for its rolling hills, Michelangelo and Botticelli, fantastic wineries, and beautiful hill towns, is one of the most desirable Italian destinations. As well as being home to some of the world’s most recognisable Renaissance art and architecture, it’s also a wonderful natural playground for anyone who loves the outdoors. Here are some of the things you won’t want to miss whilst in Tuscany.

Attractions/Activities for Kids:

The city of Pisa is a must if you’re travelling with little ones, as they’ll just love marvelling at the weird and wonderful Leaning Tower of Pisa. The city also has many family restaurants, serving up great pizza and pasta dishes to suit even the fussiest of palates. Within this region, popular attractions for children include Pinnochio Park, Piccolo Mondo Pisa, Il Giardino dei Tarocchi Capalbio Grosseto (a fantastic sculpture park), Acqua Village Water Park and Zoo Pistoia.

Don’t Miss:

As well as Pisa, other town/city day trips to check out are Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Lucca, Volterra, Pienza and Montalcino.

Where to Stay:

Named in Tatler’s ‘101 Best Hotels’, La Bandita is a fab guesthouse for families. With mind-blowing views of the surrounding countryside, an infinity pool and spacious open-plan family suites. Rooms come with kitchenettes for convenient cooking and dining, plus cots and other baby/toddler equipment will be provided.

Umbria scenery

REGION: UMBRIA

Located next door to the famous region of Tuscany, Umbria is perhaps the lesser known sister and the less coveted destination – but just as beautiful and captivating. Named the ‘green heart’ of Italy, Umbria is the place of never ending countryside and it’s the only Italian region that does not border the sea or another country. Isolated from much of the outside world, this special region still withholds much of its old customs, maintaining a simple and traditional way of living and cooking. The perfect place for culture vultures who love spending their time outdoors…

Attractions/Activities for Kids:

Lake Trasimeno, which hugs the border of Tuscany, is a great place for relaxation, light strolls and picnics with the whole family. There’s also the breath taking Marmore Waterfall in the south of the region, or older kids can try white water rafting on the Nera or Corna rivers. In the capital of Perugia, you will find Osteria di Pinocchio, a fun themed restaurant for little ones, as well as number of castles and forts.

Don’t Miss:

If you have a car, some of the best towns to visit during your holiday in Umbria are Assisi, Spoleto, Orvieto, Todi, Gubbio, Spello, Montefalco, as well as the beautiful capital. For foodies, the local delicacies not to be missed are truffles, the fresh and delicious Panzanella salad, Porchetta pork slices (served in sandwiches or in antipasto), and the local Norcino cured meats.

Where to Stay:

We’ve found a place that you will want to return to year after year, the Villa Pian Di Cascina. A gorgeous little spot nestled in the hills outside Valfabbrica and within close reach of Perugia (30 minutes by car). Nearby, you will find a selection of shops and bars, as well as a cheese deli and pizza pub. This family holiday site combines private villas with hotel services for the most convenient stay.

LA VILLETTA - AT VILLA PIAN DI CASCINA

Hopefully, this has helped you make a decision about where you’d like to visit on your holiday to Italy, but if you have any questions please do get in touch.

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