Unique Family Experiences in Italy

by Darya Boronilo

Mamma Mia! Here we go Again!

Italy is a very versatile destination for considerable family experiences. For many adults, this country is synonymous with world-famous art, high fashion, breathtaking architecture, and gourmet experiences. But have you ever wondered how a tour of Italy might look through the eyes of a younger traveler?  

Italy is full of pleasant surprises for young children. Vivid colors await around each corner and along the narrow streets in southern towns sparking playful curiosity and discovery. Just imagine the intrigue with such things as; the incredibly huge (and heavy!) Parmigiano cheese wheels at local markets or a thrilling canal ride in a wobbly gondola. A spaghetti fork wrapping challenge is deliciously rewarding, even in failure. And those generous gelato portions that bring adults down to their level of expressed excitement.

Italy is a real kaleidoscope of extraordinary discoveries, connections, and experiences. In other words, for a family traveling with children, there are many great options for memories together. Our local guides and travel experts offer up some suggestions on how to travel to Italy with your family in the most exhilarating way: 

Kids dancing on the street

One Must Do Adventure in Italy is on Board the Historical Train

The rhythmic sound of the beautiful sounding clickity-clack is music to a child’s ear. The charcoaly puffs of smoke that sync to the beat unleash wonderment in all of us. And that’s just part of the discovery. Thanks to the Fondazione FS Italiane Treno Storico projects, these well-preserved rolling museums do more than just transport you in time. They also transport you across beautiful landscapes.

Relax comfortably seated aboard original “Centoporte” carriages from the ’30s aboard a vintage steam locomotive departing Milano Centrale for Lake Cuomo. These carriages derive their name from being similar in concept to stagecoaches. There are doors (porte) on both sides to facilitate faster boarding and disembarkation, and lots of them, just not 100 (cento). Or perhaps a diesel engine and ’50s style Corbellni coaches traversing the rolling hills and the vast expanses of vineyards of Tuscany is more to your liking. After all, it is a family adventure.  

Planning an itinerary around various festivals in picturesque little towns is an opportunity for an immersive generational experience. Moreover, you can stop for tastings, enjoy lunch in the village and spark a connection with locals during this magnificent journey. In Tuscany, one can emulate an authentic vintage lifestyle by clickily-clacking to the White Truffle Market, Porcini Mushroom Festival, or Olive Harvest. Or, as a unique way to move across the Italian landscape, you’ll find the included baggage service a plus.  

Historical Train in Tuscany

Siena an Unforgettable Experience and Treasure to Discover. 

Getting to know medieval history can be fun. And there is no better place to do that than Siena, one of Italy’s best-preserved Medieval cities. A treasure hunt is a beautiful group or family-focused activity that can be tailored to the age of the participants. Venture down mysterious alleys, under large archways, past notable monuments, and around little hidden fountains. As a team, you will have to solve a few puzzles to uncover the right clues that lead to the treasure. Finally, celebrate solving your quest with generous portions of gelato at Piazza del Campo. 

 Why do we recommend a treasure hunt, you ask? Well, the best way to discover this city is on foot amongst the late-gothic buildings that preside over the Medieval Square and the palaces that were once the homes of the most influential families in Siena. Those comfortable shoes you brought will come in handy if you want to partake in the city’s best views. Of course, a slight cardio-inducing 400 steps upward stand between you and that view.

A steady climb up the square’s famous bell tower, Torre del Mangia, is akin to achieving life’s goals. A breathtaking double-oh my moment awaits those willing to scale this imposing tower. It is true, as they say, the reward is in the undertaking, one step at a time. Once you are back on square level, it’ll be time to recharge. Seated in the shade of a café, admiring the magnificent white marble fountain built in the first quarter of the 15th century is a pleasant way to refresh oneself. It is as if this beautiful square has been frozen in time for the sole purpose of captivating you while you recover.  

Streets of Siena

An Adventure in the Roman Underground Labyrinths

Travel through early-Christian burial sites in the dark and humid tunnels. Walk through the cold corridors with martyrs’ burials. Explore paganism in a Mithraic temple, a place of worship from Roman times that remains almost intact. See ancient underground alleys and admire beautifully preserved frescoes.

These underground labyrinths hold century-old secrets, magnificently decorated tombs, and newly discovered historical facts. Like the ancient practice of exorcism, whose origin dates back to the 12th century. The procedure involving various chants commanding the name of a higher power was carried out in a Roman catacomb and later became an integrated part of many cultural and religious belief systems.  

A stimulating activity for curious people of all ages. And an enlightening eerie experience that can be shared at school or the office! 

Underground labyrinth

Working Italian Craftsmen and Artisans Fan Creativity in Florence 

The artistic family member in your home sometimes needs inspiration. The opportunity to travel and observe engaging Italian craftsmen and artisans is a great way to stoke creativity within them. The benefit of meeting Italian artisans is that their craft has been mastered through generations. Whether you visit the workshops of glassblowers, ceramists, painters, sculptors, or leather workers, these activities are sometimes like discovering a whole new world, especially for the youngest traveler. 

Florence is a city famous for its artisans and designers. These renowned jewelers, ceramists, and leatherworkers eagerly await to share their stories and artisanal passion, which benefits the entire group. There is some inspiration for the family artist and gift ideas for loved ones back home. Or perhaps you might find yourself in need of a lovely Italian leather travel bag! 

 If your travels also take you to Venice, be search to investigate the easily accessible Murano island. It is a beautiful town with bright streets and multicolored houses. But more importantly, it is also where the country’s most famous glassblowers have been creating masterpieces for centuries. It will genuinely spark one’s imagination.  

Artist creating colorful painting

Venice Italy Travel Tips:

Become the main character of Carnival and live life to the fullest.

Speaking of Venice, kids get particularly excited about a trip to Venice. Gliding across the waterways in a water taxi, eating authentic pasta dishes, or enjoying a slice of pizza sitting on steps next to the water. They could also spend the afternoon crafting their carnival masks or feeding the pigeons at Piazza San Marco.  

One excellent time to visit Venice is during those February school breaks, during the Carnevale di Venezia, a festival of elaborate masks and bright costumes, often made by highly sought-after designers. It is one of Italy’s most brilliantly enjoyable and vivid events. During this time, the city is immersed in a cheerful atmosphere of nonstop celebration, street performances, and open-air concerts. Most experiences are exceptionally kid friendly. While adults will admire sophisticated garments, children here will have the chance to meet their favorite movie heroes. 

Mom & Kid in gondola during Venice Carnival

Come and Participate in Full Regalia! 

Want to kick it up a notch? Come and participaate in full regalia! Numerous ateliers of the city provide historical costume rental services. And with so many costumes, Venice feels like one substantial, never-ending theatre performance. The stage is set. Are you and your travel companions ready to join in?  

Recently, the purpose of traveling has changed. Many people see it now not just as a source of fun but rather as a transformational experience. Apart from having a fun time together and building memories, a family trip to Italy can complement your children’s educational future. When returning home, you might be surprised at your child’s desire to create long-lasting, memorable connections.

Perhaps your child will get inspired to learn one more foreign language, dive into history books, and decide to become an artist, an architect, or a Michelin star chef! Or want to build the Lego Colosseum, Leaning tower of Pisa, or Trevi Fountain as a visual reminder of that time you all traveled to Italy as a family and the memories you shared. As a wise person once told us, you have about 18 summers with them to create connections and memorable shared experiences. Make them count.  

Kids playing in Venice
If your kids are a bit older, check out Italy with your teenage family. Or, what else can you do as a family experience while traveling through Italy; join one of our small group tours or spend a perfect gourmet day in Palermo.

Why See Italy?

When you think of traveling to Italy, what comes to mind? The Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the canals of Venice, one of the many Unesco World Heritage sites?

While these are all iconic tourist destinations, they only scratch the surface of what this wonderful country offers. To truly experience Italy like a local, you must go off the beaten path and explore its lesser-known regions.

That’s where we come in! We know it’s hard to find a travel partner that doesn’t just feel like another retail experience. Above all, you want authentic travel experiences!

See Italy is one of Italy’s premium travel luxury brands that specializes in providing an authentic Italian experience. We work with local guides and tour operators who know the country inside out. We can show you hidden gems that most tourists never get to see.

So if you want to travel to Italy like a savvy insider, subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow us on social media for top tips from our travel experts. Collaborate with us on achieving your travel dreams to Venice!

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