Looking for cool and unique things to do in Italy with kids? In this article we share 50 activities and experiences you can have in Italy with kids that are sure to make your Italian vacation one to remember!
Italy is under many respects the perfect family destination. It is beautiful, varied, welcoming and offers to kids something that is guaranteed to make their day: finger licking good pizza and gelato!
However, the country has much more than kid-friendly food to woo families visiting its ancient shores.
Here is our selection of 50 unique experiences you can only have in Italy and that you can share with kids of (almost) all ages.
Much more than gelato: 50 cool and unique things to do in Italy with kids
Take a walk in Paradise
Il Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso (‘Big Paradise National Park‘) is in Valle D’Aosta, in the North-Western corner of Italy. It is a place of great natural beauty with stunning peaks, green valleys and a variety of wildlife from little rodents to the Alpine ibex!
Go in the summer to find hikes for all ages or make it the destination for a winter sky trip. Whenever you decide to go, do the tourist thing: send a postcard home with greetings from paradise!
Go truffle hunting
Kids may not necessarily like the taste of truffles but going on a truffle hunt is an exciting activity for all ages. In Piemonte (Piedmont), the region of Turin and a very well known area for truffles, several organisations offer family friendly walks in the company of furry friends: truffle hunting dogs!
Chase cat deities in Turin’s Egyptian museum
Turin is the home of a world famous Egyptian museum with impressive mummies and educational displays. The museum offers family friendly audio guides perfect for kids: the prompt to ‘find the Egyptian cat’ around the museum is one of the most popular with archaeologists in the making!
Discover Europe’s largest aquarium in Genova
The beautiful city of Genova is home of an impressive port, a stunning old city centre and now of Europe’s largest aquarium. The Genoa aquarium has programmes for kids including special ‘behind the scene’ tours that let kids discover the aquarium labs and other areas usually not open to visitors. Check prices and ticket options here
Hike 5 terre
It is one of the most photographed corners of the whole of Italy but one that can leave the visitor disappointed if approached the wrong way. To truly enjoy Cinque Terre, take the path that connects them and embrace the hike. Not all hikes are suitable for kids but some are, with some stretches even accessible to buggies. Please note that this is a National Park and accessibility to paths is subject to changes: always check online and locally for accessibility updates.
Sip aperitivo with the ‘beautiful people’ in Milan
Aperitivo is one of those Italian habits that will follow you back home after your holiday is over. One of the best places in the whole of the country to enjoy it is Milan. Go to galleria and sip away while enjoying the parade of fashionistas strolling the streets of this elegant city.
Kids can partake too: ask for a juice for little guests and let them enjoy the complimentary crisps and small bites
Walk on water in Venice
How many people can say they walked on water? Actually, a little more than you may think if you happen to be in Venice when the high water hits. I’ll be honest, it is a bit of a pain too but it makes for gorgeous photos and it’s definitely an experience to remember. Read our family friendly itinerary around Venice for tips and ideas on what not to miss
Learn to blow glass in Murano
Take the ferry to Murano, just in front of Venice and see the pros blowing glass. Murano is famous for the gorgeous quality of its traditionally crafted glass artifacts and many shops now offer the opportunity to see the masters at work. Kids workshops are available and will allow kids to create their own glass bead masterpiece to bring home.
Make your own mask for a carnival to remember
Another crafty activity for little makers, this one to partake of one of Italy’s most colourful tradition: Venice’s carnival. Several mask ateliers in Venice offer family friendly workshops for a fun activity and a souvenir like no other!
Explore the German speaking part of Italy: South Tirol
Complex historical relationships with Austria made the North East of Italy German speaking. Head to Bolzano and then North to the Dolomites for the most peculiar cultural atmosphere – have excellent cappuccino and decadent apfel strudel for a perfect ‘mixed’ breakfast and challenge the kids to recognise which language is which!
See the bell tower in the lake
What’s a bell tower doing in the middle of a lake? Minding and underwater city, of course! Stun the kids with one of Italy’s most incredible sights in Val Venosta. The bell tower is the only visible part of a now submerged city.
Meet Otzi the mummy
What did men look like 5000 years ago? The answer is in Bolzano, where you can visit the museum housing Otzi, a perfectly preserved mummy of a human male dating back to 3300 B.C.
Taste real ragu (and learn why you should never call it Bolognese)
‘Bolognese’ features in most kids-menu around the world so why not treat your kids to the real thing? What the English language calls ‘bolognese’ in Italy is called ragu’ (you can read here why), so the item you should look for, on menus, is not ‘spaghetti bolognese’ but ‘tagliatelle al ragu” and it is delicious!
Drive a Ferrari
Car loving kids will love a visit to the birthplace of one of the most iconic fast cars in the world. Visit the Ferrari museum and racecourse in Maranello, the home of Ferrari or drive one in Florence. The driving experience is for adults only but kids are allowed in the cars and professional photographers will take shots you can bring home.
Cycle the Po valley
The wide and long Pianura Padana (the valley created by the river Po, the longest in Italy) is perfect for cycling. Several bike trails are available and the lack of hills make it suitable for most. Kids will love the easy paths and the many animals you encounter here including flamingos and deer.
Take a Vespa tour of Chianti
Take a day tour of the beautiful Tuscan hills of Chianti with one of the most quintessential means of transport of the whole of Italy: a vespa! Older children are welcome on many vespa tours but arrangements must be made in advance as special scooters are necessary to accommodate little passengers safely. Not a fan of engines? You can also explore the area by bike.
Go caving in Frasassi
Italy’s most famous caves are in Frasassi, Marche. The Frasassi caves are open to the public and offer a few different tour options to suit experienced and less experience cavers. Some paths are suitable for kids – if nothing else, they are guaranteed to love the helmet and headlight!
Spend the night in Pisa
You may have heard the Pisa is overrated and a tourist trap but I disagree. Pisa is stunning, magical even and all it takes is to spend the night there to see the tower and Piazza dei Miracoli without tourists. Kids will love the leaning tower but budget for the very expensive gelato nearby!
Cycle along Lucca’s city wall
Have your kids ever cycled over medieval walls? They can tick this item off their list in Lucca. One of Italy’s most charming towns, Lucca is still surrounded by impressive walls, accessible both on foot and by bike (several bike rental shops exist in the city). Read here our family guide to Lucca with kids
Go horse riding on the beach in Maremma
Horse loving kids can have a truly unforgettable adventure going horse-riding in Maremma. This area of Tuscany is famous for his trails spanning from hills to woods and even the beach! Get rest along the way munching on ‘schiacciata’ and or sipping the locally produced wine.
See the real sword in the stone in San Galgano
San Galgano is a medieval abbey and one of the most scenic sites in the whole of Italy. The abbey is special for kids as it hosts a real life ‘sword in the stone’, said to have inspired the famous King Arthur’s legend.
Go back in time participating in a medieval fete
The best way to learn history is to experience it and what can be more fun that participating to a medieval fete? Several medieval towns in central Italy, such as Monteriggioni, organise yearly festivals where kids and adults alike can learn about ancient arts, cheer on their favourite knight during medieval tournaments and enjoy elaborate performances.
Pick olives in Umbria
Little monkeys will love the chance of climbing trees with a purpose while picking olives in Umbria. This is a seasonal activity (available in October) offered to visitors by many agriturismi, country homes offering lodging to tourists, and is suitable for all ages. Make sure you end your day with a delicious meal and local olive oil from the previous year harvest!
Have a picnic in the mouth of hell in Bomarzo
In the small town of Bomarzo, in central Italy, lies the ‘Park of the monsters‘. Built during the Reinassance, the park is famous for hosting gigantic sculptures representing monsters. The most famous is the so-called ‘mouth of hell’: dare your kids to enter – if they do, they’ll be surprised to find a picnic table right on the monster’s tongue!
Meet a gentle giant in Pratolino
Less disturbing but by all means as gigantic is the Giant of Pratolino, a massive statue of a giant overlooking a pond in the outskirts of Florence. The giant sit inside Villa Demidoff, a beautiful estate on the Florentine hills with also a cafe and playground for young kids.
Get dizzy in the creative giardino dei tarocchi
Find not just monsters and giants but dragons, mirrors and stunning colours in the whimsical ‘Tarot garden‘, an incredible creation somewhat reminiscent of Gaudi’s Par Guell, in the heart of Tuscany.
Take a bath in outdoors hot springs
Treat the kids to a stop in the natural ‘spa’ that are the hot springs in Tuscany, where you can bathe in hot sulfuric water even in the heart of winter. Most of the baths here are for adults only but some are open to kids: our favourite are the so called ‘Cascate del Mulino’, a free site with natural ponds and falls with water at 37 degrees C!
Spy on St Peter’s dome from Aventino
If you ever told your children not to peek through keyholes, you’ll have to eat your words in Rome. On top of Aventino, one of Rome’s 7 hills, there is a locked gate protecting the large grounds of the Institute of Maltese knights. The gardens are private but you can and should peek in from the large keyhole: its round ends frame perfectly a view over St Peter’s Dome.
Play truth or dare at the Mouth of Truth
You better not lie when you are at the mouth of truth! The mouth is a large, round stone with a face carved on it and an open mouth (if you have seen ‘A Roman Holiday’, you probably know the one I am talking about). Legend has it that if you put your hand in the mouth of this stone monster and tell a lie, it will bite your hand right off. Adults love the ‘Roman Holiday’ moment but what is priceless are the screams of the kids who find the monster equally scary and hilarious. There is usually quite a queue outside this attraction but even just from the outside, it’s one of the most fun things to do in Rome with kids!
Learn to make pizza in Rome
If you still have your hands after visiting the mouth of truth, you can put them to good use taking a pizza class in Rome. You will start with water and flour and go through the whole process of making pizza under the guidance of a real Roman ‘pizzaiolo’. The best part? You get to eat your creation too and it’s delicious.
New on the blog today (link in bio ?) a review of the pizza making class we recently took in Rome. It was organised by @rome4kidstours and we had a blast: fresh ingredients, a lot of hands on fun (as you can see) and of course a delicious meal that we could proudly say we made ourselves from scratch. This was a lovely family activity and a great way to enjoy of my kids’ favourite aspects of Italy: the ambundance of pizza ? Fancy a slice? #familytravel #familytrip #familyjaunts #familytraveltribe #bringthekids #lpkids #letthekids #childhoodunplugged #simplychildren #mytinymoments #iloveitaly #cookingclass #globetrotters #familytrip #havekidswilltravel #welivetoexplore #kidstravel #kidsofinstagram #familyjaunts #cutekidsclub #clickinmoms #pixel_kids #travelkids #TBIN
Cuddle cats on the site of Caesar’s murder
The site where Julius Cesar got murdered is now a cat sanctuary! The ancient temple now hosts cats rescued from the streets of Rome and up for adoption. You can bring home or sponsor a cat or you can just go in and cuddle the felines in what has got to be one of the most scenic catteries in the world.
Be gladiator for the day
The highlight of many kids visiting Rome is the chance of going to gladiator school for the day in the Colosseum. The Colosseum is not exceptionally interesting for kids but the dressing up and the fighting will pique their attention and makes for fun photos!
Be a giant with Leonardo’s prespective in Galleria Spada
While walking in the yard of the Spada Gallery, in Rome, you will soon find yourself in front of a long corridor framed by two rows of columns. Nothing special with it until you get one of the staff members of the gallery to walk along it and reveal its secret: the corridor is not long at all but it’s a optical illusion crafted by its clever creator Borromini (the technical name is ‘forced perspective’). The corridor looks several meters long but it’s less that 30 feet and a person walking along it will look like a giant!
Explore the smallest state in the world: Vatican city
Walking into St Peter’s square doesn’t sound very exciting to kids but they will quickly change their mind once they learn that the Vatican is the smallest state in the world (record breaking – check!) and that walking into the square counts as crossing an international border and therefore one more country they can tell they have visited!
Throw a coin into the Trevi fountain
Do you want to come back to Rome? Then you simply must throw a coin in Trevi Fountain. Bring small change if you want to avoid getting broke (kids tend to miss that you should throw one coin and not a month’s salary in the monumental fountain). The earnings from the fountain used to go to charity but rumor has it the Rome municipality now uses for essential repair works to the city: either way, the coins are so numerous the fountain needs to be periodically emptied of them to make room for more!
Go tunnel exploring in Rome’s catacombs
Channel the kids’ inner Indiana Jones exploring one of the oldest and longest burial underground tunnels in the world. Rome’s catacombs expand for hundreds of kilometers under the modern city: while safe to visit, make sure the kids (and you!) never leave the side of your guide as you will get lost
Watch the water games of Villa D’Este
The elaborate fountains of Villa D’Este are a real treat for kids: plan to spend a day here and let them marvel at the water games of the estate’s numerous fountains
Visit the dying town of Civita di Bagnoregio
Have you ever visited a ghost town? You can in Civita di Bagnoregio, one of Italy’s most scenic towns. Civita is built on a massive and crumbling rock of tufo and is connected to the rest of the land by a long bridge. The town is constantly threatened by erosion and now has a population that counts 12 people in winter and about 100 in summer!
Eat pizza as it should be in Naples
Do you prefer Roman or Neapolitan pizza? Join the heated debate having a taste of both! Naples is were pizza was born: order ‘margherita’ or ‘napoletana’ for the purest taste.
Watch the paper air balloon race in Ventotene
In September, the stunning island of Ventotene host a very special event: the festival of its patron Saint, Santa Candida, celebrated with music, events and the traditional paper balloon race
See how emperors lived in Villa Jovis
Forget being the king of the castle: in Capri, you can be an emperor in the stunning ruins of Villa Jovis, where emperor Tiberius used to live. Be careful if visiting with toddlers as part of the visit is along uneven paths and the villa is quite high up on a cliff: don’t be scared but do hold hands.
Turn objects into silver in the Blue Grotto
The blue grotto in Capri is famous for its stunning blue colour that makes you feel like you are suspended high in the heavens. What is even more fun for kids though is that objects here are hit by light and water in such a peculiar way they look made of silver!
See how time stands still in Pompei
What would it feel like to step into a time machine and walk along ancient streets? No guesswork is required with a visit to Pompeii where the time stands still after the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 77 A.D. The visit is interesting by the remains of the locals now cast in volcanic ashes can be disturbing: plan wisely.
Marvel at the Greek temples of Paestum
What are Greek ruins doing in Italy? Learn the history of ancient Greece and its Southern Italian colonies in one of the most beautiful archaeological site in Italy: Paestum. Close to beautiful beaches, Paestum is a great afternoon visit to complement a day on the coast
Spend the night in a trullo
Even before they entered the Unesco World Heritage site list ‘trulli’ have sparked the imagination of kids. Whitewashed houses with a pointy roof, trulli are unique to Puglia, in the South of Italy. The best way to experience them? Spending the night! Many are now converted to tourist accommodation and can host families.
Sleep inside a rock in Matera
Not on a rock or under a rock but inside a rock: treat your kids (and yourself) to one of the most peculiar night stays in Italy in the heart of Matera’s rocks!
Discover how chocolate is made in Modica
Mix educations and pleasure with a visit to Modica’s chocolate factory where chocolate is made with a special technique said to date back to Aztec’s time. Modica is a gorgeous Sicilian town very easy to enjoy with kids and famous not just for chocolate but for its amazing architecture, unique to this part of Italy.
Hike the tallest volcano in Europe
Daredevil kids will love climbing the tallest volcano in Europe while it is still active! The volcano on question is the Etna, in the Eastern part of Sicily. The easiest are to visit with kids is the lower crater while the higher one poses more challenges: protect yourself and the kids from sun and dehydration with sun hats and lots of water: it can get really hot here.
Become archaeologist for a day discovering Sardinia’s nuraghi
Mix bathing in Sardinia’s crystal clear waters with archaeological exploration visiting an ancient nuraghi. These ancient constructions are unique to Sardinia and tell the story of a mysterious population dating back to the bronze age.
Eat real gelato
I know I started off saying there is more to Italy than gelato, but how could I not include it in such a list? Make sure you choose real gelato (gelato artigianale) for a taste of the real thing
I hope you enjoyed my guide to 50 unique things to do in Italy with kids! How many of them are on your Italy bucket list?
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