I scream, you scream, we all scream for – Gelato! Now that gelateria’s have seemingly overtaken every street in Italy, no trip to Italy is complete without the mix of flavours just bursting in your mouth. My sister would spend summers with her four kids here told me it was her biggest budget item for travel. At $3 that cool cone can add up! So now that summer’s just around the corner, here are our best gelato tips and more for visiting Italy with kids to make your experience even more memorable.
1. Apps/ There are now Find-a-Gelateria near me Apps like www.appgelato.it available out there, although I would say that you don’t have to look too far. But, how do you know what you’re getting? Try to avoid the puffy mounds of gelato – they’re made from powders. For the more traditional (less creamy) flavours, stick with the traditional gelaterias. But now, flavours are coming in all different taste sensations, so be creative – Our very own
or RomeWise.com for eats & treats wherever you may find yourselves!
At Arte al Sole, we go one better and let kids make their very own gelato, or visit cool gelato making factories in Rome, Florence and Lucca/Viareggio! It’s a great birthday party idea, or simply to give kids a break from hordes of tourists and the heat! We offer Pizza&Gelato / Pasta&Gelato / or just plain gelato as you like it!
Pictured: A Camper in Florence pours in the strawberry mix for gelato. Inquire at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. What to do with kids? Call us biased, but to make Italy come to life, it’s important that kids understand the historical context and reasons why where they’re standing is so outrageous. A Family Tour that puts things in this perspective is great, as long as it’s geared to the ages of the kids. This is why we offer private family tours and not group ones – and then combine the art to seal the knowledge, bring it to life. Young children might not understand the full concept of civilisations, but get that a great stone lion on your front perch was a symbol of greatness. We like to take families into lesser-known jewels in Florence, Rome & Venice. Out of the crowds, the kids get to pick and choose the things they like, rather than go with the (serious) flow of tourists. It’s for this reason that friends consistently say they prefer Ostia Antica to Pompeii (we offer tours to Ostia). But when you’re not on tour, families often ask, "what else is there to do?" In a word, Stroll.
Hit the parks, the trails, enjoy a garden, climb the Palatine Hill, walk to a cool spot in the gardens of the Venice Biennale or the Lido or follow the Arno River to a spot with street food vendors. A fellow traveler recently mentioned how her kids loved the non-Catholic cemetery in Rome, with its myriad paths winding amidst the beautifully sculpted graves (and the cats!). For years, I’ve hosted friends & family whose kids dreamed of simply hopping a tram to go clear round the city. Those hop on / hop off buses are fun to just ride around in, too.
Kids don’t have or need bucket lists – and neither do you. So wander just to see what you can see. Take a beach day. Watch a soccer match. Relax. Young kids will have more fun chasing pigeons than being dragged through yet another packed museum.
3. Meals / It’s now a lot easier to eat when you’re hungry (or rather, when your kids are) because Italy’s new generation of restaurateurs have freed up the kitchens to run nearly all day long. If you do eat early, you can often catch some of the evening fun, like music in a piazza, or a light show in Trajan’s Forum, or a theatrical show in English. Check local expat directories like Wanted in Rome or InRomeNow.com or the Florentine for what’s on…there’s a whole lot of culture going on.
And to get to those cultural hot spots at the right time?
Don’t forget the Prontopia.com app!
It connects you to locals who can find the right things at the right time… In Venice, where it’s hard to find a street or place, a friendly local can save a lot of time trying to find just the right place. Kids will love a pizza-by-the-slice at any one of the many Alice locales speckled around towns [pssst! The name stands for ‘sardine’, not Alice…!] Or try to find those luscious rice balls – arancini with amazing fillings inside!
For a quiet family meal in Rome, book a table in the lovely garden just off the Circus Maximus – at our partner hotel,
It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty of Italy, without the crowds. Or, in Florence try a hotel rooftop terrace or in the Oltrarno (across the Arno) area where families can stay at the Palazzo San Niccolò or Palazzo Belfiore! The Rinascente Dept stores in both places offer incredible views from their rooftops, too for a perfect aperitivo hour.
For Free Guides to Rome and other cities curated by Arte al Sole & Prontopia Founder, Shannon, Check out their Facebook Pages or…go here to discover insider tips on ✅ Arriving in Rome ✅ What To Eat ✅ Activities to do ✅ Travelling with kids