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Where in Italy to go with kids for a first timer?

76 replies

Ihaveattached · 26/09/2021 07:39

Grateful for any advice. We've never been to Italy, but have always wanted to go.
It would be end of August next year as we are bound by school holidays. We already have a holiday booked for May half term, wont have saved up by Easter and have heard October won't be warm enough for the pool.

We have a 13yr old who loves history, food, swimming and a 6yr old who has no interest in Italy but would love swimming in the sea or a pool.

We definitely don't want to do any driving but are happy to have trips out by boat or train.

We thought of Sorrento as you can easily have trips out to Capri etc. We'd need a bed and breakfast and don't want anywhere chintzy. I know it doesn't seem important but I can't settle if I hate the decor in a hotel so the more modern the better.

We like having somewhere to have a stroll on an evening. I heard Naples is a really busy city so I'm not sure our youngest would cope with that as he has sensory issues.

We don't just want a sunbathing holiday. We want to see a bit of Italy.

Any ideas?

OP posts:

Suzysunflower · 26/09/2021 08:12

Right, Italy is incredibly diverse - north to south they are different places with different history until 1861 when the country was unified. So wherever you do you will not know 'Italy' but the region you are at most. Sardegna (Sardinia) is amazing but very very different from, say, Tuscany.

(Sardinia would be mainly a beach holiday - it is geologically different from the rest of Europe, it's a much older part that merged from the sea first) so the vegetation/ etc. is distinctive.)

Train transport is very good in (mainland) Italy and Sicily, not so good in Sardinia.

I would suggest either Tuscany or Sicily to combine sea and history. If you stay in the southern beaches of Tuscany you could even stretch to Rome for a day trip.


JaninaDuszejko · 26/09/2021 08:15

We went to Florence in October half term with the DC and had a fab time. Weather was like British summer weather at that time, we had warm days, a rainy day and cooler days. Lots of history, in October it was less busy which was nice, we took the train to Lucca for a day which was fab. No swimming though.

We stayed in an airbnb in a very old central building which was very Italian in style, tiny very modern kitchen, touches of modernity but lots of old furniture elsewhere. Much more spacious than flats we've stayed in other cities though. You'd be able to find a modern decorated flat though if that's what you want.


Geamhradh · 26/09/2021 08:17

Btw, prices in all touristy areas have been slashed this year- Covid and being closed for a long time, and this summer still only getting EU/US tourists has meant restaurants etc have cut prices.
I've been in Rome, Florence, Siena, Pisa recently (and obviously down here in Puglia) Eating out is more expensive here than any of the above. Rome was almost embarrassingly cheap.
Garda not so much so apparently. And obviously Venice still sees tourists coming a mile off and whacks the prices up.


Noeuf · 26/09/2021 08:17

@Geamhradh hello from the other thread! What a shame - dd was about four and is now 24 so a long time ago. I just remember it being split into a gorgeous old town one side and a touristy fun part the other. Maybe will leave it as a happy memory!


Geamhradh · 26/09/2021 08:22

[quote Noeuf]@Geamhradh hello from the other thread! What a shame - dd was about four and is now 24 so a long time ago. I just remember it being split into a gorgeous old town one side and a touristy fun part the other. Maybe will leave it as a happy memory![/quote]
Yes, I agree. I just remember as a child my Gran and Aunt Sylvie talking about these places and they sounded wonderful.
We went to Rimini for the day a couple of Christmases ago, and as a town, in January, it's beautiful. And had the best fresh tagliatelle (I'm that heathen who despite being in Italy doesn't like either fresh pasta or home made pasta much Grin) I've ever had.
But driving down the coast, and seeing all these "Hawaii Beach Resort and Nightclub" neon signs made me glad it was about 2degrees and not August Grin


yoshiblue · 26/09/2021 08:25

Agree about Peschiera Del Garda on Lake Garda. There are a number of nice campsites and there are excellent connections to various parts of the lake.

I'd also suggest campsites on the Venetian Coast. We were supposed to go there in 2020 then Covid hit. Some lovely high end campsite on the coast with lots of facilities, pools, beach. You can then get the boat to Venice! We were going to stay at Bella Italia, but there is a whole strip of them on that part of the coast.

I got married in the Amalfi Coast and would avoid Sorrento - hideously expensive and not really set up for kids. Tuscany is lovely but a bit boring for kids.


HarrisMcCoo · 26/09/2021 08:28

I agree with a PP. Pisa. You have train trips easily accessible from there to Florence and Lucca (Lucca was recommended to us by a member of DSs school staff).

Lots to see and do in Tuscany really for children and adults alike.


Auroreforet · 26/09/2021 08:30

Lake Garda or Tuscany.
August will be extremely hot though. I've been to Verona in June and was exhausted by the heat.

You can buy a ticket in Verona at the train station for all the sites so you only pay once. The colosseum, Juliets's house, the Cathedral and others.


PreparationPreparationPrep · 26/09/2021 08:34

How long are you planning - We did Sardinia a couple of years back with teens - beautiful place but no longer than 10 days with teens I would suggest. Boat / cycle, beach and walking . Cagliari has an interesting history stayed for 2 days on our return.


HarrisMcCoo · 26/09/2021 08:39

We were at a wedding in the South a few years ago now, near Crotone. Very, very beautiful. But not at all touristy. We stayed at a winery (wedding reception was held here) and Melissa, right on the Ionian coast.

I have also been to Naples, Battipaglia, Salerno in the south.

Lovely place to go driving around. We hired a car.


CaitCaityCaitlin · 26/09/2021 08:40

Another vote for Lake Garda! Loads of outdoorsy options, easy reach of several cities as mentioned by PPs and we found that it had a more relaxed vibe than some other areas in Italy we have been to (we loved all of them as adults but Garda was easier for the kids).

We were there in August (it was the year there was a heatwave across Europe) and it was very hot but a lovely breeze comes down from the mountains and along the lake shore.


DaphneduM · 26/09/2021 08:46

Another vote for Lake Garda - we took our daughter there for several years. Loads to do, and a lovely relaxed vibe with beautiful scenery.
Malcesine and Riva are great.


Ihaveattached · 26/09/2021 08:48

Thanks everyone. It's looking like Lake Garda would be the most suitable as we can visit other places from there. Also looking at Tuscany. We always booked DIY before covid but I know it gives you more protection to book a package.
Willing to fly from anywhere in the UK really. It will be for a week.

OP posts:

cloudsareback · 26/09/2021 08:59


We stayed on a camp site north of Venice (drove from U.K. visiting Bavaria on the way) highly recommend. Several pools, kids activities, sports, accommodation on site ranged from a hotel to yurts with everything in between (we had a mobile home). Site was a mix of British, German, Belgians and Dutch and most the kids spoke good English at the kids club and the staff were multi lingual. Had a teen programme too of water sports etc. Dad trip to Venice was hot! (August) but good, we drove part way and took a train

Gogohm - would you mind sharing the name of the campsite?

whiteroseredrose · 26/09/2021 08:59

I've not been but friends had a fabulous time in Lake Garda. They were on a posh campsite right by the lake. I'm fairly sure they did a day trip to Verona too.

I have been planning Sicily as it has a huge variety of things to do but it would be roasting in August.

Wouldn't recommend Lido de Jesolo. We went in the 80s and it was like hot Blackpool even then.


kristplankook · 26/09/2021 09:01

Another Lake Garda vote.

We stayed in Limone.


TheTurn0fTheScrew · 26/09/2021 09:13

you could stay in Lido di Ostia and day trip Rome, or in Rome and day trip Ostia for the beach. Really cheap trains as all within the metropolitan Rome network. Frequent services. You're also near to the scavi at Ostia Antica - think Pompeii but IMO better for DC as much more compact.


HarrisMcCoo · 26/09/2021 09:14

Also we were in Strongoli (tiny village) and Ceraudo winery.


idontevenknowanyonecalledblurb · 26/09/2021 09:42

We went to Florence with two year old. We booked a hotel with a rooftop pool and he had a ball for a week- eating too much pizza and gelato and seeing the sights ( even though he did sleep through Pisa!)


rasberryandlime · 26/09/2021 10:58

100% lake Garda. We have been 4 times including with our toddlers and loved it.
Riva del Garda is our favourite place for kids - lovely huge traffic free area next to the lake with water sport hire, parks etc and lots to do.
This is however at the north or the lake so downside is further from the airport and attractions such as Garda land (traffic along the lake can be busier).

We have also stayed in Bardolino which was great, closer to attractions such as hard land but not as many open green areas along the lake as lake Garda.

If you fancy a day trip you can do Verona etc but also lots of boat trips available across the lake - eg to Malcesine cable car, Limone etc


AdriannaP · 26/09/2021 12:15

You won’t get lots of package deals for Italy - it’s not developed in that way like Spain or Greece. For Lake Garda best fly to Verona - Easyjet and BA fly from Gatwick for example. Bergamo could also work or Venice airport but Verona is super close. The airport is very small too so you will be out in no time.


Cotswoldmama · 26/09/2021 12:28

Another vote for lake Garda I went at that age, we swam in the lake everyday and camped right by a lake it was amazing. There was also a theme park called Gardaland!


Geamhradh · 26/09/2021 12:33

Tui do great packages to Italy. Both Lakes and Costa Amalfitana and Sorrentina. When i was looking at Garda this summer, a week booking direct with the hotel would have cost more just for the hotel with b&b only, than going with Tui half board, flights included from the UK.
I often look at the hotels Tui use to help me decide and narrow it down, as they are pretty transparent and you know what you're getting.
I've even considered (as I'll be in the UK end of August next year) booking with Tui then just not taking the return flight back to the UK but getting the train down.


titchy · 26/09/2021 12:38

Another vote for Lido de Jessolo. Hotels have their own section of beach with sun loungers, no traffic in evening and plenty of bars and restaurants to sit and play cards at. Easy day trip to Venice (do two trips!) and Aqua land for kids.


titchy · 26/09/2021 12:40

Ah seen that Garda is looking likely. In that case make sure you do a day trip to Venice! Stunning if you've never been before.

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