Italians love children and if you’re traveling with a baby or toddler expect people to sneak peaks inside your stroller or ask for the name, age, and vital statistics of your child. Restaurants and hotels generally welcome younger travelers and some high-end accommodations offer babysitting services for parents who want to sightsee on their own. Most parks are equipped with playgrounds and Roman and Venetian beaches provide a refreshing break from city streets. Many restaurants have children’s menus and most have high chairs. Half-size portions (mezza porzione) can also be requested for miniature appetites.
Tickets to museums, amusement parks and public transportation are discounted for children under 12 and kids under 6 can go nearly everywhere for free. Trenitalia has several offers geared towards families who can save up to 20% on high-speed rail tickets. Italo has similar deals and toddlers are expected to sit on laps unless an extra seat is reserved. Trains are roomy and give kids plenty of space to roam or watch the landscape outside. There are diaper changing facilities and Italo has a cinema car with 8 high-definition screens showing family movies in Italian.
Parents should keep the needs of children in mind and avoid too much walking under the sun. Italian tots are used to taking naps and a mid afternoon break back at the hotel can help avoid evening tantrums. Visits to museums and monuments should be interspersed with fun activities like horse riding on the Via Appia, cycling through Villa Borghese or make-believe adventures at the Explora children’s museum in Rome. Involving kids as much as possible in the journey will help leave an impression they will never forget.
>For more insights on Italy read: Moon: Rome, Florence & Venice