I lived in Italy for nearly 20 years and every year we would go on a family holiday. Italy has everything for a family holiday – Sunshine, good food and wine, gorgeous scenery and history, art and culture in abundance.
Italy has something to offer everyone and because of that it makes the perfect family holiday destination. In fact the Italians are well aware of this and the majority will spend their family holidays in Italia; they are the champions of staycations and why wouldn’t they be? They can choose from the classic beach holiday, a holiday on the lakes, walks in the mountains, city breaks or the countryside.
I can promise you that wherever you go you will find good food and wine, amazing beauty in the architecture and art and a welcoming host as Italy is number one for being child friendly.
So let’s take a look at my top 10 family holiday destinations in Italy in no particular order,
1. The Amalfi coast – Campania
I saw the Amalfi coast from a minibus as we travelled the entire length of the country to holiday in Sicily, we stopped off along the coastline and I could have stayed there not moving another inch. The stunning colours captured my heart; deep blue sea, green steep mountains and whitewashed buildings clinging to the side. All punctuated by lemon groves, fig trees and olive groves.
The Amalfi coast is home to Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. Pompei is easily visited in a day as is the Island of Capri where you can watch for celebrities in the Piazzetta.
We visited Sardinia a few times as a family mainly the northern part but the whole island holds some fantastic treasures to be found. Stinito beach at the top of the island could be the Maldives, the water is so clear and the sand so white. Piscinas a vast wide beach on the western coast with big crashing waves and spectacular panoramas is worth a visit and in the south Costa Rei is very popular.
There are lots of Roman ruins and quaint villages where the women still dress in black and make straw souvenirs like baskets and trays.
Find out more from our past holiday to Sardegna
There is an awful lot to see and do in Sicily, the island is big and the sights are spread out, Palermo at the top, Agrigento with the ruins to the south west and Taormina and Etna to the East. Gorgeous beaches, family friendly hotels to suit all pockets and great food of course. Limoncello is the sweet digestive but if you’re feeling brave look out for the Fuoco d’Etna (Fire of Etna).
Simply Red fans look out for the red wine called Il Cantante made on Mick Hucknall’s estate.
Read about Gretta’s Palermo Street Food tour
I was lucky enough to visit Tuscany a few times, once for a wedding the memory of which will stay with me forever. I visited the Terme di Saturnia in the far south, the sulpher in the water makes it smell like somebody has very bad wind but apparently the properties held in the water are phenomenal, so brace yourself and get in.
San Gimignano, Pisa, Florence, Siena all are stunning towns and cities found in Tuscany and all worthy of a visit. The islands of Elba, Giglio and almost island Orbetello are beautiful as is Grossetto and Castiglione della Pescaia.
You must try some Tuscan wines which are amongst the best in the world.
Read Trish’s account from Mum’s Gone To Florence
5. Rimini – Marche
Rimini is on the Adriatic sea and is a long straight 9 mile beach with hotels lining the shore. Each hotel has beach huts for their clients to change, I love these beach huts, all painted differently and some with play areas for the children, beach bars and even restaurants. Rimini is party central there are nightclubs that stay open till dawn, you’ll see Ferraris and Lambourghinis driving the streets and there is an aria of festa about the town.
Don’t be put off as Rimini’s main trade is for families. Nearby you can find Fiabilandia, a theme park which is Italy’s answer to Disneyland. Italy in Miniature with a funfair and over 270 scale models of iconic Italian buildings. And also Aquafan, a water park further along the coast.
6. Cinque Terre – Liguria
Situated on the Ligurian Sea to the north west of Italy, this coast line stretches from the French border down to Tuscany and the Cinque Terre is the name of five fishing villages precariously perched on the steep rocks along the coast. The houses are all gaily painted and the villages are so pretty to walk through. You can also find coastal paths at the top to walk from one village to the next including the Via dell’Amore a 1K path that runs from Riomaggiore to Manarola.
Liguria is the home of pesto, focaccia and delicious white wines.
One of my best holidays ever was spent in Puglia which is the ‘heel’ of the boot. It is a most fascinating region that keeps on giving. I picked fresh capers on the Islands of Tremiti off the Gargano coast which is defintiely well worth a visit. I fell in love with the Trulli in Alberobello and vowed to return one day. And I had the most delicious mozzarella di buffalo in a small restaurant in Otranto, a town painted white slightly inland with stunning views over the coast. The restaurant is called Osteria del Tempo Perso.
Read more about my Puglia experience
8. Jesolo – Veneto
Easy to get to with flat beaches that are perfect for little paddlers, Jesolo is on the Adriatic sea just above Venice. It’s the perfect destination for those who want to do a day trip to Venice. If you have children in buggies this is your place as there are no steep hills to climb and there’s a lovely long stretch of shops, restaurants and boutiques that stay open till late into the evening.
9. The Lakes Garda, Como, Maggiore
All equally beautiful and offering the perfect family holiday location. A holiday on the lakes offers mountain walks, fresh water swimming, stunning towns and villages to visit and of course excellent food and wines. Plus you might bump into George Cloony.
Fresh air, rosy cheeks, long walks or short walks. all this works up a great appetite and you come home feeling revitalised. Try it.
11. Art Cities – Rome, Florence, Venice
The cities of Italy are indimenticabile – unforgettable and offer so much to visitors.
Here are a few blog posts to find out some personal experiences
Trish from Mum’s Gone to went to Venice
Rome – Mum’s Gone To Rome
Have you been to Italy? Add a link to your holiday below so together we can make an archive of family holiday destinations in Italy.