Forewarned is forearmed, right? If you travel with family, especially a young family, it’s always wise to familiarise yourselves with a destination before you set foot in a plane, train or automobile.
The first thing to note is that Italy is a very family-friendly country. Whether you pick one of our villas in Tuscany with pool, a villa rental with chef or any other from our portfolio of Italian villas for rent, you will have a great time. Tuscany, Umbria, Rome, Venice, Verona… all these are great places to see as a family.
There are some local rules for kids you need to be aware of, obviously. Plus there’s a slew of benefits and discounts your children can enjoy, which is why we prepared this short factfile.
Discounts, discounts, discounts
There’s almost always a sizable discount for kids to get into a sight or museum. No single rule applies everywhere, but:
- Italian state museums (names begin with Museo Nazionale di…) are free to those ages 18 and under. This includes the Uffizi and Accademia in Florence.
- City-owned (aka “civic” or “municipal”) museums are free often free to minors, too. This includes all in Florence (e.g. Palazzo Vecchio). In Rome, civic museums like the Capitoline are (strictly speaking) only free to children aged 6 and under, but up to two under-18s go free with an adult paying full price. In Siena, free admission applies to under-11s only.
- Private museums make their own rules. Your kids could go free, pay full price, or anything in-between.
- It’s worth carrying ID (at least a photocopy) if your child looks “borderline” for any of the above.
On trains, children under 4 travel free. Those ages 4 to 11 need a child ticket. The rest pay full fare. If you are booking high-speed train travel ahead of time, look out for family offers on both Trenitalia and Italo rail services.
Trenitalia offer Bimbi Gratis: when at least one adult travels and pays full price, accompanying kids under 15 go free. Italo Famiglia is similar (for under-14s, however). In practice, if you are booking ahead, it’s often cheaper just to book everyone at the advanced fare than to pay a “full” fare for every adult.
Buses make their own rules; ask on board if you are unsure. Florence city buses are free for kids under 1-metre tall. You can also buy a Daily Family pass valid for a family of 4 travelling together all day (€6 at time of writing).
Things to bear in mind
Only very rarely will you see a kids’ menu in a restaurant. However, you can ask for just about any simple Italian dish you can think of and most places will try to deliver it. Pasta al pomodoro or al ragù (aka “bolognese”), a simple grilled veal escalope, and so on. Most places have those staples in the fridge.
If you have slightly older kids, who like to shop, wander, or just generally feel a bit “liberated”, it’s definitely worth looking at our list of Italian villas near villages.
There’s luxe-ish outlet The Mall about a half-hour by car outside Florence, very handy for most of our villas near Florence. Maremà just outside Grosseto is handy for many of our Maremma and Tuscany coast villas.
… and a few rules
Children under 150 cm must travel in an appropriate car seat. You should inform your rental company ahead of arrival, to make sure they supply one. They must. Note, however, that locals rarely follow this rule. It’s unlikely you’ll be pulled up on it, especially for a child who’s almost 150 cm. But technically, you can be. (And everyone must wear seat belts, of course.)
You must be 8 years old at the end of the current year to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Great if you were born on December 31; not so much if your birthday is January 1.) And everyone pays full price, no child discounts. Under-18s must climb with an adult.