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8 days in Italy with 2 children - itinerary help

We will be in Italy for 8 days in the 2nd week of of April with our 8 and 10 year old. We will be flying in and out of Rome from NYC. This trip is to celebrate my son's birthday so we want to do things that would interest a child- he is studying about Roman history and Julius Ceasar, so we definitely want to spend a few days in Rome and see the sights. Probably 3 days. Looking for suggestions of other places we can go/visit in April that will be interesting to the kids.

My husband and I spent 3 weeks in Italy for our honeymoon (and loved every minute of it) and have been to Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome, and ideally would love to see something new in addition to Rome during this trip.

We'd be open to going north or south (not sure whether the Amalfi coast will be recommended in early April though), so would love to hear some ideas and suggestions for the other 4-5 days. Open to touristy or off the beaten path suggestions.

Thanks so much!

Posted by
12843 posts

Consider Ostia Antica while you're in Rome. And I think I've read of people biking along the Appian Way, though I have not done that.

Orvieto is a very pretty town with a hilltop historic district accessed via a little funicular (rack railway?). I think there are some sights there to appeal to children as well as to adults. Rick highlights Orvieto in his guidebook and I'm sure it's covered in any guidebook to Italy. The town is about 75 minutes from Rome by train. Some of the trains are regionals, so you don't have to worry that the fare will be high if you buy last-minute tickets. Orvieto gets foreign tourists (maybe not so many in April) but also lots of Italian visitors. It might be less busy if you chose a weekday, but no guarantees.

Posted by
815 posts

You could consider staying a couple of days in Sorrento and visiting Pompeii as a day trip.

For perhaps the best gelato in Rome, check out Old Bridge. The gelateria is located across the street from where people line up to get into the Vatican Museum.

Posted by
380 posts

Obviously the Forum and Colleseum are can't miss for your son. I also think the view from the top of Victor Emanuel is underrated. Great views of the forum and Rome. For you son if he loves history Florence might be a good option. The Amalfi coast is more beauty than history while Florence is the essence of the Renaissance and it is beautiful. I think like a postcard.

Posted by
38 posts

Thank you all for the suggestions. Writing them all down. Definitely need to think hard about history vs nature. Great point and such a hard call! So much to see and do with such little time!

Would Florence and Cinque Terre together work as a circuit (in April) or be too much from Rome? Especially with the fast train from Rome to Florence. If we weren't looking to do too much in Florence except show the kids some of the highlights (we've spent 5 days in Florence on a previous trip and loved it). And all the trains to Cinque Terre go through Florence.

I'd posted on another thread about Amalfi Coast as well, and gotten some great responses, and just trying to get some opinions about a trip North instead before taking a stand at the itinerary!

All your help and support in have been so helpful. Thanks again!

Posted by
88 posts

We travel a fair amount with our kids and my advice is try not to move too much. You could even spend the whole week in Rome and take day trips. Or do Rome and Florence with an open jaw plane ticket. Other advice ? Think about a vacation allowance with a sliding scale based on behavior. We did this for them to buy souvenirs and desserts. It worked great. Oh and obviously. PACK Light!!

Posted by
1049 posts

I would not attempt Cinque Terre. It is a long train ride, approx. 3 1/2 - 4 hrs. Florence is about 1 1/2 hrs.
I know there is a park at Borghese gallery (have not been there) but many people recommend it for children.

Posted by
390 posts

I would say 8 days is normally good for 2 locations, especially with a family to move that takes time and energy. If you want to do something new, maybe a generally well connected town in Tuscany (or maybe Orvieto as others have suggested?) where you can either stay and explore the town, or take day trips as you see fit. It would be nice to show your son 2 sides of Italy, big bustling Rome, and small countryside town. No matter how you do it, it’s normally best to land, go to the farthest location from your outbound flight and then spend your last time in Rome to fly out.

Posted by
2653 posts

Since you son's interest is Roman history, I suspect you'll want to focus on locations that have Roman sights rather than sights from another period, such as the Renaissance. With younger children, you'll likely cover less ground than usual and so will want to allow extra time in each location. I suggest spending the first couple of days in Rome, then going to Naples area (e.g. Sorrento) for a few days and then returning to Rome for the last 2 nights. While it would be more efficient to go directly to Naples area upon arrival and then return to Rome for the rest of your stay, that might be too much arrival day travel for children. There's a lot of Roman history in Rome and around Naples, so you'll have no problem filling 8 days. Not sure whether they'd enjoy climbing Vesuvius (or if weather in April will cooperate), but it's an option. Ostia Antica and Hadrian's Villa are possible excursions from central Rome. They might also enjoy seeing a hill town, in which case Orvieto is an easy day trip. The funicular trip up to town and one of the underground sights might interest them more than the beautiful cathedral. For a fun non-Roman history activity, you could rents bikes and ride around Rome's big Villa Borghese park on a nice afternoon. Not sure whether they'd be intrigued or be scared by the human bones in the Cappuccian Crypts.