Advice about Visiting Italy

Parent Reviews

We took our then-7and 5 year old daughters to Italy last summer and had an amazing time. We spent a few days in Rome (did a walking food tour, a kid-friendly Colosseum tour, and just explored the city), a couple nights in Florence, and then a week in Tuscany at an agriturismo (specifically, Al Gelso Bianco). I can highly recommend all aspects of the trip since we got a great mix of city + country, activities and relaxing. Italians are incredibly warm and welcoming of children and food is obviously easy -- who doesn't love pizza, pasta, and gelato?? We even did a pasta-making class while in Tuscany which was a favorite of our girls.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Italy with small kids in July?

March 2010

We are planning to spend 3 weeks in either Tuscany or Lido/Venice, Italy in July. I have three children ages 10, 7, and 3 and wonder if the heat and humidity will make everyone pissy. If you've been there during this time of year please share your thoughts! Specifically, - is Lido (beachy island across from Venice) too hot and humid? - will kids enjoy Venice in the early morning or late afternoon when it's cooler? Is it cooler??? - is there a nice town in Tuscany that is cooler than the cities of Florence and Siena recommended for families? - anything else to recommend? thanks! colin

We were in Venice in June a couple of years ago. I thought it was impossibly hot from about 11 am until 7 pm. Our daughter didn't complain as much as we did (of course, there is gelato on every corner). Our hostess took her kids to the Lido all day long. Riding the vaporettos in the evening was very pleasant. heidi

Trip to Italy for my 40th birthday

March 2009

I would like to plan a trip to Italy in September/October for my 40th bday. I will probably only have 7-9 days. I'd appreciate any input on the cost, booking online v. travel agent, airlines (direct flights from SFO?), general tourism (places to stay, eat, visit, etc...). I won't have an extravagant budget, but am not interested in camping or hostelling either. Thank you so much for your help! Kristen

My favorites were Sicily (we spent a week there, based at two hotels, one in Taormina, with a balcony view of Mt. Etna smoking, and a B & B in W. Sicily with a fabulous owner/cook. We found that one through Karen Brown's guidebook, I think. We also loved Capri as a day trip (very expensive to stay there)and hiked out to a old villa of Caligula's a couple miles outside of town. We also loved the area of Positano on the Amalfi Coast. We stayed outside of Positano at a smaller hotel, hugging the cliffs. As boaters, we rented a motor boat one day to putter around and visit more remote bays and beaches. kl

Family friendly vacations in North Italy

Feb 2008

We have two kids, ages 1 and 4, and will be attending a wedding in September in the Veneto region. We would love recommendations of places families stayed anywhere in Northern Italy - ideally a home base from which we could explore various sights on day trips over 7-10 days. Please include any travel tips you might like to share concerning successful European travel with small children as it will be our first trip overseas with kids. Thanks so much! Heidi

Hi - just in case you were considering it, let me say that Venice itself is to be avoided - with children, it is logistically very challenging. In the Veneto, there are a lot of lovely towns - Treviso, Asolo, Vicenza - from which you could visit the Palladian villas while you kids run through the gardens, go walking in the mountains, etc. Further from the Veneto, the town of Bolzano is a little jewel, and very kid friendly - filled with parks, places to picnic, and good hiking, as well as interesting cultural options. The food isn't as good as other parts of Italy, but it is very scenic. As for a bigger city, Bologna is very interesting, and has a gigantic park with fabulous kid areas (and the food is awesome). You really have a lot of options in terms of where area to stay in, but I would suggest that you either 1) rent an apartment or a house so that you have kitchen resources, or 2) stay at an agriturismo (this is usually a renovated country house with lots of amenities, where they also grow their own food, etc.) There are many excellent agriturismi in Italy, and some are well-adapted for kids. You are sure to love it - wherever we have traveled in Italy with our son, everyone at hotels and restaurants has been extremely kind and accomodating. While there are no kid menus and very few high chairs, most restaurants and pizzerias will happily make your child a smaller portion of anything on the menu (including a mini pizza), or modify a dish to fit your needs. Berkeley Mom

Southern Italy with a 7 year old

Feb 2008

We are traveling to Rome in June for 16 days and then venturing into Southern Italy with our 7 yr old daughter. Our tentative itinerary includes Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Would love recommendations on places to visit (especially ideas on wonderful places other than the above), places to stay in the medium expense range (hotels, b, pensions, farms, etc), and things to do in the places listed or somewhere else you highly recommend. Thanks for your help! Other tips on traveling in Italy welcome! Suzanne

I visited the Cilento Park area (1/2 hour south of Paestum) last May with my sister and our two children (9 mo and 14 mo old at the time). We rented an apartment for a week, and I highly recommend the German rental agency we used:

They also have properties along the Amalfi coast (, and list hotels, B, and apartments. Their English was very good, and they were very easy to deal with.

I publish a newsletter about culinary travel with kids, and the current issue is about visiting a water buffalo farm (Tenuta Vannulo). We had a great time-- And of course the cheese and other products (buffalo milk gelato!) were amazing.

Be sure to get an audio guide at Pompeii. Paestum is a good visit too-- cooler than Pompeii (I think it's closer to the water)- more grass and trees and shade - good for picnics.

Happy to answer any specific questions that you have-- we had a wonderful time and I can't wait to go back. Malika

Hi - it's been 10+ years since I spent a fantastic year living in Napoli, but I would recommend the island of Ischia as a low-key, family friendly place to go. It's a lovely island; the beaches are nice (from what I remember) and the water is oh-so-swimmable. It's not as glitzy or expensive as Capri, and is a short hydrofoil trip from Naples. Check a current guidebook for detailed info. Don't forget to gorge yourselves silly on pizza in's fantastic. Have fun! signed, envious

Hi, I didn't see the original post here, but I thought I'd chime in as I lived in S. Italy for 2 years. I lived in an area on the northernmost tip of the bay of Naples called Campi Flegrei. It's a beautiful area as its less touristy than the southern part of the bay (Sorrento, Capri, etc.), but it's still gorgeous and there's lots to see and do with kids. There are beaches and castles and many ruins to explore, including underwater ruins in the submerged ancient city of Baia. During the summer, there are ferries that leave from Bacoli & Monte di Procida for the island Procida and Ischia (very short ferry rides as they're right across from these towns). I would also recommend Procida and Ischia. Procida is the smallest, most traditional and least untouched of the 3 islands (it's where Il Postino was filmed), but they still have a fair amount of tourism to have good resources, great B, great beaches. Ischia is a large, beautiful island that is wonderful for families.! It has many spas as there are natural hot springs all over the island. It gets very full during the summer with tourism, but its not as bad as Capri and the prices aren't as inflated as Capri's either. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions. Have fun! angelisa

Italian vacation next summer w/blended family

Dec 2007

My sweetheart and our combined children (five: 5, 10, 10, 12, and 13) are looking at vacation options for next summer. We had a very enjoyable jaunt to Mexico last summer, and are thinking of going a bit farther this year, to Venice, for about two weeks. Any thoughts or experiences about traveling to Venice with five children? Housing recommendations? In Mexico we rented a villa (found through BPN) that was a smashing success. A house / villa is more appealing for us with all the kids, but we are open to all ideas. Is there enough in this beautiful city to entertain and keep the interest of all the kids? Would it be better to base ourselves elsewhere and treat Venice as a side excursion? We would love any thoughts and recommendations for an Italian family holiday. Thank you. traveling family

Personally, I'd treat Venice as a side trip. Italy will be HOT in the summer, and your family would probably be happier with a villa in the countryside in Tuscany or Umbria. If you can find one with a swimming pool, they'll be even happier! Find a central location, and you can visit Venice, Assisi, Florence, Siena, etc., and have your country villa to come home to at the end of each day. David

Travel tips for Italy with a 13 year old?

April 2007

We'll be visiting Rome, Venice and the Pompeii/Amalfi area briefly at the end of June. Any suggestions for activities that would appeal to a 13-year-old who doesn't have a high tolerance for museums/galleries? Lodging suggestions also welcome... deb

First, set the mood. Rent movies about Italy before you go that would interest yr teen--there are lists on the web. Buy a good guide book, Rick Steve\x92s Italy 2007 has itineraries that can be useful concise info at yr fingertips\x97his hotel and restaurant suggestions have proved to be good. (Get The Smiles of Rome by Susan Cahill for yrself).

Second, be sure they have their own camera, particularly if it\x92s one they like and is small and easily placed in a pocket.

Third, look around for a really good map that is easy to read, especially ones that are more 3-D or that call out the sites for the cities you will visit (having street names on the back is important) Finding your day\x92s route or the gelato places on the map not only sparks interest but is a useful skill to hone.


(Before you go, watch Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck)

Do the Forum with a good guide book: Interesting to walk among the ruins and figure out what was there before. They do sell guide books there that show the ruin and then a plastic overlay of what it looked like in ancient times. The Colosseum: rent an audio guide (available on site) for your teen if they're interested.

Climb to the top of St. Peter\x92s Basilica dome (not for the claustrophobic).

Villa d\x92Este at Tivoli -- pack a picnic lunch (catch the bus at P. Mammolo subway stop)

Must see: Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and hang out at the Campo di Fiori.

Walk in the evening from Piazza del Popolo or Campo de Fiori to Spanish Steps, don\x92t forget to check out Bernini\x92s Four Rivers fountain.

Get a list of great gelato (ice cream) places and mark them on the map next to the main tourist sites and do lots of gelato tastings. (For example the one on the slow travel italy site, which also lists restaurants: a.htm). Hotel Duca d\x92Alba (www/ around 180 euros a night for a triple room and is well located.


(read some background material on this before you go as it will be more interesting once you get there, some fiction and nonfiction books geared for teens are available) This is a great place for kids/teens. They hand you a fairly decent guide (that is available in English) when you pay your entrance fee though you might have to remind them to do so. Still, I\x92d get another guidebook that includes descriptions of some of the sites/buildings. It was great fun to try to find the sites and read a little bit of history on each one. Don\x92t forget to see the \x93Beware the Dog\x94 mosaic.


This city was built for kids/teens\x97no traffic and lots of souvenir and mask shops.

Take a boat tour down the Grand Canal\x97cheap on vaporetto #1 and takes under an hour.

Go to the Lido, rent a small cabana w/ an umbrella (not cheap but worth it) and swim.

Feed pigeons at St. Marks Square, go up to the museum in the Basilica and from there outside on the balcony with the 4 horses.

Do the Jewish Ghetto tour.

Visit Burano (lacemaking), visit Murano (glass factory and watch the glass making\x97might need a reservation).

Give yr teen money to shop for a mask ($25-30) or masquerade ($100 incl cape and traditional 3-cornered hat). There are mask workshops though I\x92ve never tried one (Mask workshops Ca' Macana - Dorsoduro 3172 - 30123 Tel (+39) 041 2776142 - Fax (+39) 041 5203229 info[at]

Go to one of the traghetto crossings (gondola takes you across the Grand Canal instead of crossing a bridge) for a cheap gondola ride.

Mostly walk and walk and walk--can't go wrong. dorfro

I took my 13 year old (girl) to Italy last summer and I think the suggestions you've received so far are great. I second the advice that you check out - I planned my trip with this website. My daughter expressed an interest in learning some Italian ahead of time so I found her a great tutor for a few months. Although she turned out to have more interest in the sights than I'd predicted, her attention span was short and her tolerance for seeing a lot in one day was low. She really got into keeping a journal and I think recording the trip heightened her interest. We rented apartments that we found on slowtrav (rather than going to hotels) and let her stay home alone for some of each day. This was a welcome respite for everyone involved. There was a lot of bickering and complaining but within days of our return she had completely idealized the experience and cant wait to go back. anonymous

Renting a house in Italy

Dec 2006

It is my mother's 60th birthday this summer and we are hoping to rent a home somewhere in the countryside (near either Rome or Florence) for a week this June to gather and celebrate. My mom has expressed interest in being in Tuscany but says this is not mandatory. We would need at least 4 bedrooms and a place that was reasonably toddler friendly (a pool would be nice as long as the property also has an open grassy space to play). If anyone has a recommendation for such a place, or can refer me to a good rental agency to work with, it would be greatly appreciated! Cheers, Vanessa.

Two years ago we rented a beautiful house through a service called Vacanza Bella (, a company located in San Francisco that has listings throughout Italy. I recommend that you talk to the owner, Daniel, because he did a great job of steering us to a region that suited us very well, and to a house that was just perfect for our needs. Our house was one hour by train north of Rome, with a pool and plenty of space. We took day trips into Rome, but then there was a lot of explore in the area right around our house, including a town 10 minutes away with a lake for recreational swimming (the perfect antidote for kids who had seen enough cultural sights). Daniel did not recommend Tuscany for us because, while it is a wonderful area, it is very crowded with tourists in the summer. The traffic jams can be unbelievable. I have had this confirmed by friends who have gone to Tuscany in the summers Rome Lover

Vanessa: RUN to make your reservation at Sant Antonio Country Resort in Montepulciano, Tuscany (!

We stayed there for a week last April with our toddler daughter. It is beautiful, all-inclusive apartments in an unparalelled setting of a restored country estate. Central to all sightseeing highlights of Tuscany. Bathrooms quite comfortable and modern. Kitchens somewhat rustic, but with all essentials including VERY tasteful dishware, silverware, etc.

Owned by the same family that owns Avignonesi Winery, a big player in the local economy. Everyone knows and loves Nico, the multilingual, worldly and incredibly warm owner who will give advice and help on any topic. They have their own young kids and love to talk about them. The grounds and views are magical. The swimming pool should be great, too (we were there too early in the season for that.)

Finally, the price is emminently reasonable--between 700 and 900 euro for the week for an apt. that will fit between 4-6 people. Email me with any further questions kim

We rented an apartment in Positano last spring via Summer in Italy (I think it's at and were very happy with them. They even provided a travel crib

Traveling to Northern Italy

April 2006

There are some recommendations posted for places to stay in Tuscany. They are several years old and as we are preparing for a trip to Italy this summer I would really like to have any recommendations that are on the smaller B side of things. We would like more of a countryside setting and will also consider going to a small town. There is also a part of us that would like to enjoy Florence/Rome etc. so we are in a quandry as we start the planning process. There will be two adults a 1 year old. We would like any and all recommendations Thanks! Tom/Suzy Tom

We went on a trip to Italy with our 9 month old daughter two years ago. We had a conference in Pistoia, which turned out to be a very nice little Tuscan town about 30km west of Florence. If you have a car, I would recommend staying at Tenuta di Pieve a Celle (, outside of Pistoia. It's a converted farmhouse and has only five bedrooms. It's a beautiful building on beautiful grounds, the hosts are amazingly nice and treat you like family. They love kids- we found no problems staying there with our baby, even with jet- lag! They can arrange to make delicious dinners for you there, so you can put your child to bed and have a nice, drawn-out dinner downstairs. There's a pool, they make their own olive oil and pasta, the neighbors make fresh ricotta, they have drinks in the evening... how much better can it get?! Plus, you're close enough to Florence without being in the tourist chaos there and you're also near Pisa, Lucca, etc. Pistoia has a train station so you can always opt not to drive into Florence. The B is a little difficult to find, so ask for specific directions. Have a fantastic time! I'm jealous! Sarah

I just posted a great resource for travel to Italy in a response to the person asking about travel to Venice. She worked with us on our stay in Florence and Rome. Her name is Amie O'Shaughnessy and her website is She worked with a company called Windows on Tuscany for our stay in Florence and they provided us with a great apartment. Amie also helped us with our accomodations in Rome. Both were great, but we especially liked the apartment in Florence. Maya

Try this service: Under the Sun Concierge - their website is They specialize in family travel in Italy, and they have fabulous recommendations for all your travel! Have fun!

In September 2001 my husband and I went to Umbria (right next to Tuscany) and spent a wonderful week at the Villa di Piazzano, a beautiful renovated hunting lodge in the countryside right outside Cortona (the town in ''Under the Tuscan Sun''). We took car trips to many interesting hill towns (like Orvieto) but also just hung out by the pool and hiked around the beautiful countryside. We didn't have children then, but several other guests at the Villa did, as did the owners.

If you're looking for less urban experiences than Rome or Florence, I recommend Assisi (St. Francis's cathedral is amazing) and the bustling college town of Perugia.

I found helpful; also see Nicole

Check out talk section. Lots and lots of advice in searchable/postable format. Incredible Italy experts. I went to Italy with 15mo old and loved it. It was mostly Florence and I don't think I can answere your specific question but you'll find lots of ideas on Fodors. Fodors addict

Hi, We travelled to Italy a few years ago and stayed in an agrititurismo called Borgo Guisto for about a week. It's outside of Lucca (about 20 miles). There is a tiny town (can't remember the name) a few miles away with a few grocery stores, cafes, etc. We had a fully furnished apt with everything we needed and we really enjoyed ourselves. There's a restaraunt, pool, hiking trails, and beautiful views. It seemed to be a great place to vacation with a family; there were lots of families there. We had a car and were able to make lots of day trips to Lucca, Florence, Pisa, and this town called Barga (which we loved!) to go to museums, eat gelato, buy groceries, wine, and chocolate. Anyway, just my two cents. brj

Bike tour in Italy with baby?

July 2005

We are thinking about a 2 week trip to Italy next year with our son who will be just under 2 then. We would like to bike for part of it. I've looked up some tours, but they are ridicously expensive or don't take kids. Has anyone done this with a baby? Would you recommend a tour or doing it on your own? Any books or places to to recommend? Mama wants La Dolce Vita

Well, I've bike toured in Tuscany before I had my son, who is now 2, and I ride around Oakland and Piedmont with him now in a Burley. I don't think it would be easy to do a bike tour with a 2 year old. I certainly wouldn't spend the money to do an organized trip. You will have to have much more flexibility. I'd recommend staying in one place for a couple days and doing day trips in the area, rather than going from place to place each day. Time your rides for naps, and plan on riding for a couple of hours at most. Ride a lot with him in a trailer now (if you plan on using a trailer). My son likes to have lots of snacks in the pockets, and a few toys here and there. He will do up to two hours on a good day, especially if he naps for most of it.

Italy is super-bike friendly, particularly in the countryside. It does not compare to riding in the US, however the cities can be quite challenging.

I only am familiar with Tuscany, which has super-steep hills all over. There are flatter roads, but they are busier and not as scenic. No matter what, I'd stick to the countryside and try to avoid cities. Use the train system as much as you can to facilitate riding in the country and getting to/from different places.

We did not use tour companies because of the cost. I think we spent $3K for 3 weeks of touring on our own. That would have paid for 1 week of a tour company. The major problem was securing hotel reservations in advance, but that was also a little fun. We had no major problems on the trip and it was one of the best I've ever taken. It would be challenging with a toddler, but I've seen other Euro couples and kids doing bike tours a lot, so it is possible. Phil

I would not go biking in Italy during the summer, not with a baby anyway. Near the coast you would find a weather much like San Diego and inland it is usually ''Central Valley hot''. Weather gets more biker-friendly in September in northern/central Italy, but if you want to bike around Sicily late October/November may be your best bet. Paolo

Amalfi Coast

June 2005

Hello, We're considering a trip to the Amalfi Coast (Italy) this summer with our 2 year old. I would very much like recommendations for specific places to stay (and any sound advice on logistics of getting there). We would like to stay in a house/villa/hotel in town and also within walking distance of a beach. My husband would like to cook while we're there -- so a house or small villa sounds ideal. Also, we need to find a place where our kid can run around or play outside (no places with only a narrow balcony, for example). We'd like to go either in July or August (yes, last minute planning). Any and all suggestions about favorite places, great travel agents are most welcome. Thank you.

We went to Amalfi for a week last October with our then 1.5 year old and stayed in an apartment with a kitchen, which was handy. I found Amalfi itself to be a little too touristy for my tastes and suggest you look around at some of the smaller towns if you want to be able to find non-tourist restaurants, for example. I preferred the small town right next to it, for example, but I can't recall the name (and it's restaurants were all for tourists as well). We got our apartment through Amalfi Life ( and they were fine to work with though not cheap. There is a beach in Amalfi, but don't go there if you're looking for a particularly beachy vacation; it's mostly rocky cliffs. Feel free to contact me for further info. jen

We spent a week driving down the Amalfi Coast last year. It was very romantic for a couple. It was also frightfully expensive!! You can rent a car as we did and drive but I found the driving scary and my boyfriend did all of the driving (I just pressed the pretend brake pedal on my side!). Many of the towns are very steep and so you would need a good stroller for the toddler. Even that wouldn't work everywhere as sometimes you get from level to level on long flights of stone steps. Personally, I would recommend Sicily. It is very pretty and seemed more child friendly to me. Especially the western part was quite a bit like Napa and we staying in a lovely pensione in a tiny village, Scopello, on the edge of a nature reserve. Just lovely. kl

I'm sooooo jealous! The Amalfi coast was my all-time favorite vacation. I still think about MOVING there I loved it soo soo soo much!

I went there BEFORE kids, but the little town is very family- friendly.

My advice is to stay in Atrani, one bend in the road over from Amalfi. You can walk from Atrani to Amalfi. Everything you need to know about Atrani is in this website:

Follow the links in this website for lodging ..... it's all owned by the same guy! Get a Family Hostel room, you can have a kitchenette in your room. I found Italy, specifically the coast, to be very affordable. I can go on and on and on and on about me if you want to hear more about how much I love it! tiffany

August 2003

We will be traveling to Spain and Italy next june with our son who will be 20 months. We are planning on visiting Marbella and Seville in Spain and are then looking at heading to Italy. I've done past traveling in Rome, Venice, Florence but have never done southern Italy. The Amalfi coast looks beautiful on the websites I've visited. I'm looking for any suggestions on places to go in that area, places to stay (ideally a villa or apt) so we can make our own food etc. We figure we'll need to rent a car but would love to hear from others who've traveled to that area and have found fun things to do etc. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. I have checked the website and didn't see anything related. Thanks! Stephanie

We drove a car along the Amalfi Coast, and LOVED it! To avoid tourists in highly publicized costal towns such as Positano, and for the most amazing views in the world, stay in Ravello, high above the coast, but a gorgeous half hour walk (with baby on backpack, might take you an hour). (You can also drive.) A few hotels, possibly some residences to rent, restaurants, lovely strolls, and a serene attitude await you in Ravello. an Italy lover

Agri Tourismo near Sienna, Italy

December 2002

A few years ago (Spring 2001) there were some recommendations posted for places to stay in Tuscany. They were billed as ''agri tourismo'' - or rural/farms that had been converted to B type places. I cannot find them in the archives, but as we are preparing for a trip to Italy this summer, I would really like to have any recommendations for such places (we will be three adults a 3 year old and a baby). We would like to be fairly close to Sienna. Thanks! Caroline

I can't recommend a specific agritourismo near Sienna, but when we went to Tuscany, we used a book called ''Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria'' and it was the best guidebook we've ever used. Lots of agritourismos recommended, with great walks and GREAT food. Debbie

In 1999 we had a wonderful vacation at an agriturismo site called Il Poggio. This was pre-baby, but I would love to return to this region with our daughter someday. This is a rural site; condo-type building around a courtyard. We stayed in a spacious one-bedroom unit with a kitchen. There is a fabulous restaurant on-site. It's right outside a very small village, San Casciano dei Bagni. It's in the Siena area. Contact info: Il Poggio Celle sul Rigo 53040, S.Casciano dei Bagni (SI). Tel. 0578/53748, 0578/53741. Fax. 0578/53587. Also check out Have a wonderful trip! Kristin

Two years ago we stayed in an old farm which has been renovated in a hotel. They serve breakfast and a light lunch near the pool. The name is Hotel Pescille and it is located in San Gimignano at approx. 20 km from Siena. The views from the hotel are beautiful and you can see the towers of San Gimignano in the distance. The hotel has a rustic atmosphere but it has all the modern amenities. Have a look at the web site and click on Hotel Pescille. Alessandra

I would recommend Castello di Tornano ( outside of the village of Gaioli in Chianti. The rooms in the tower are expensive but the weekly rates for the apartments were reasonable. Four years ago our family of four rented a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen for a week. We shopped every day in the village of Gaioli and prepared simple meals. Very friendly owners, nice dog, family friendly grounds and a refreshing pool which was built in part of the original moat. This was a good base for exploring Tuscany. It is located at the end of a dirt road way up on a hill away from traffic. A very good place to slow down and enjoy your family. Nancy

Cinque Terra

May 2007

We will be travelling to Cinque Terra in September with our daughter who will be 18 months and grandparents. We are looking for an apartment or other suitable accomodation for four adults and one child - one week for us all, one additional week for grandparents. We have heard that being in Monterroso would be most convenient (beach access) with a child. Any thoughts or recommendations on specific places to stay in Cinque Terre or Monterroso, so we can cook and have convenient and comfortable accomodations? Other more general thoughts on Cinque Terra travel with children are welcome! Traveller

We went to the Cinque Terra with our 18 month year old last summer. I can't speak directly to places to stay in the Cinqe Terra, but can speak to other aspects of traveling in the area with a small child. We stayed outside of the Cinque Terra (in Santa Margherita Ligure), which was nice because we took the train to the Santa Margherita Ligure, which our son loved. You can also take a boat, which I hear is wonderful. If I could do it again, I'd stay in Montecatini, which is also nearby and accessible by train but has a wonderful children's park (it's also less touristy and has more of an ''old Italy'' feeling). My one piece of advise is to NOT hike the Cinque Terra with your child. We took our son on the train, and the first, short paved hike with a stroller, and then he left with his grandparents while we completed the hike. But even having him on the first, shorter leg of the hike was a bit much (it's not really stroller-friendly since there are stairs). Such a beautiful place, though--enjoy your trip! stephanie


June 2005

My husband and I are considering a trip to Italy with our baby, currently 5 mos. old. We have just started researching areas, and would appreciate any advice from someone who has been there recently, especially if you've been with kids. Ideally, we would like to rent a charming standalone place, where we can relax, cook for ourselves and that we can use as a base to explore. We have been to Tuscany before and would consider that region, but are also intrigued by the Ligurian Coast and the Italian Alps. We would appreciate opinions about any of those places, recommendations for accomodation, time of year that is best to travel there, and/or advice about travelling there with a baby.

If you are in Tuscany/Umbria, there's a wonderful, kid-friendly town near the western coast of the Mediterranean that'd be worth a visit. It's called Masa Maritima ( or was it Massa?). Anyway, it's an old city with a gorgeous city square full of 2-3 bistros with outdoor seating. The evenings are cool and long and everyone brings their kids in for dinner. The kids run around and the folks just sit and enjoy the food/local. Daytime trips can include drives to the beach, to a turtle rescue place called Carapax which is nearby, to Elba, to Roselle (ruins) and to Volterra ( Walled Etruscan City with a great museum, ruins, city center great for walking). Have fun, JM

We traveled to Italy when my daughter was 11 months and my son was 4. We rented a villa in Greve and it was perfect. I did not bring a stroller and kept my 11 month old in a Baby Bjorn. We were able to drive all over the region with our rented car and rented car seats. We then took a train to Austria and everything was just so easy. Also, people there are VERY child friendly and extra nice to children. I have also traveled to the Dolomites and surrounding area (Belluno, Stresa, Agordo, Como, etc.). Everything is so easy to reach by train and you should have no problems with your baby. However, if you plan to take the train, purchase your 1st class seat in advance rather than go coach. Don't over pack and bring too much stuff. There are plenty of stores near by to buy diapers and other baby necessities. Have a great trip!

August 2002

We are looking to rent an apartment, house or villa in or around Montalcino, Italy in Southern Tuscany for 1 month next summer. Approximately mid-June to mid-July. We will need 2-3 bedrooms, a kitchen, air conditioning and a place safe for a 1-year old. Other amenities would be nice, but those are our basic requirements. Has anyone stayed at or heard of such a place? We are just beginning our search. Please contact: Lisa

I rented a villa last fall through the following website: You deal directly with the owners/managers of the property rather than going through an agency. I was really happy with our rental -- and the prices were great. We paid about $1100 for a 4 bedroom/3 bathroom villa in Tuscany with a swimming pool for 1 week in October (tail end of high season).

There are a number of rental agencies with good websites. But you'll see that their prices are about double what I paid. Here a few that I bookmarked: 

Have a great time. Hae Yuon

May 2005

We're heading to Verona in July with our then 6 month old. Hubby will be at conference during the day a few days, we'll have additional days to play together. Thoughts on where to stay (maybe B type lodging)? Must see/do thing in Verona/region? How good is public transport? How easily will non-italian speakers get along? Thanks! wandering momma

Expect it to be HOT and HUMID. If you are an opera fan there are world class operas there held in their Roman forum in the summer evenings that are a must. When you go it's cheap and most people bring a picnic dinner ( especially in the cheapest seats) so I think babies would be welcome- though I remember a poster saying that dogs weren't welcome! Anyway, in Italy opera isn't so hoity-toity as it is here. If it gets hot, a day or weekend trip to Lake Como would be well worth it. Ciao JM