Take a family vacation in Italy and you’re visiting the original land of the “bambino”.
Children are welcome in all of Italy’s beautiful destinations, and your pint-sized traveler will be thrilled by the color and verve of Italy: the canals and gondoliers of Venice, the cliffs and beaches of the Sorrento Coast and Amalfi Coast, the wonderful piazzas of Rome, the ancient villages Tuscany—and gelato is everywhere.
Traveling in Italy with kids is both a trip back in time and a taste of everything that modern family-friendly Europe has to offer. Many travelers to Italy arrive at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) in Rome or Malpensa Airport (MXP) in Milan.
Italy family houses are ready for kids. Country villas have old world charm, lawns and terraces, while ‘agriturismo’ estates may offer bocce courts, pools, play areas, and even cooking lessons for children. In the cities you’ll find an array of hotels that welcome families.
The Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula in Italy has long been known as the vacation spot for the jet set — not the tot set.
But its seaside towns carved into limestone cliffs, buildings dripping with vibrant purple bougainvillea, and gorgeous vistas of the Tyrrhenian Sea make the Amalfi Coast an ideal location for a luxury family vacation. Situated on the southwestern coast of Italy, the Sorrento Coast is three and a half hours south of Rome and an hour south of Naples by car.
Since so much of a family trip to the Sorrento Coast is about relaxation, it is nice to add in a little history and learning with a stop in the ancient cities of Pompeii and/or Herculaneum on the way to or from the coast. Last summer we were fortunate to spend a week on the Sorrento and Amalfi Coast with our ten-year-old daughter, with stops in Herculaneum, Pompeii, Sorrento, Positano, and Capri.
Tips for Visiting the Amalfi Coast with Kids
When flying into Rome or Naples, there are a few options for getting to the Amalfi Coast. From Naples, you can take a hydrofoil ferry to either Sorrento or the island of Capri and then connect via ferry to other towns along the coast including Positano and Amalfi. There is also bus service between Rome or Naples and many of the towns along the Sorrento coast. Of course, renting a car is also an option, but be warned that the highway along the coast is extremely narrow and serpentines its way along sheer cliff dropoffs and hairpin turns, with busses and trucks barreling in the other direction – not for the faint of heart! Since we were coming off of five days in Rome, we hired a car and driver to take us first to Pompeii and then on to Positano.
Where to Stay
There are many small towns to explore along the coast, but since getting to many of them is easy via ferry, it is best to pick a home family friendly base and explore from there. If you want plenty of options for hotels, restaurants and shops, the more popular town of Sorrento will be a good fit. You can always do a day trip to the Island of Capri, but if you have the time, I’d highly recommend staying overnight. Capri is a very different place when the daytrippers have gone!