Italy With Kids

I look in fear at the Lufthansa landing page and repeat my mantra: the joy on our one-year-old’s face when she ate her first Italian ragù, the joy on her face, the joy on her sauce-slathered face. The text is in bold: flights confirmed. What have I done?

When I found these flights for our next family trip to Italy, I was so excited. They weren’t as direct (Calgary-Rome is the GOAT) nor cheap (wow, a 2-year-old really ups your travel budget, don’t they?) as last time, but whatever! Booking them would mean we were officially going and I could start planning our family trip to Italy. But the moment I clicked that book button, the terror flooded in. Wait, how do you deal with two babies on a plane? How will we fit all their equipment into those tiny Italian car rentals? How are we going to eat out in restaurants with two conflicting nap and meal schedules?

I’m the person who yells from the mountaintops to travel with your kids, no matter the age. But even I felt my gut clench after the flights were finalized. It’s scary! I have absolutely blissful memories of our first trip to Italy with my 14-month-old. She had a time at Da Enzo in Rome chomping on their incredible polpette (meatballs). She had her first sugary carb sharing a cornetto alla crema (croissant stuffed with pastry cream) with me at breakfast at a classic Italian bar. She delighted servers in Salento—the area at the very heel of Italy, in Puglia—when she too tasted their succulent octopus. If you couldn’t tell, our family is very food motivated. But I also have photos of her squealing in the air as I throw her above me in front of the Colosseum. Photos of her playing in the grass in the centre of a 2nd-century BCE Samnite theatre in Molise. Videos of her chasing lizards in hill towns overlooking the Golfo di Velia on the Cilento coast of Campania.

Travelling to Italy with young children is challenging, but it is so, so worth it. Here are some tips and reassurances to put your mind at ease (if you’d like more, book a conversation with me!):

01. It’ll be what it’ll be and then it’ll be done.

Repeat my flight mantra: “it’ll be what it’ll be and then it’ll be done.” I’ll keep it real. The flights can be tough, but it is one discrete chunk of time, and then it’s over. Kid’s crying? Yep, kids cry! Anyone who judges you for that hasn’t understood the social contract of being in a society. Distract with toys, snacks, and screen time. (I also have a sneaky nap trick for lap-held infants we can talk about!) But most of all, know that this too shall pass… and then you’ll be in Italy!

02. Shift your mindset.

This is not going to be like your other trips to Italy, so shift your mindset now. Unless you have a very particular child, at a particular age, you will not be spending hours pondering paintings in museums. You will not be able (or want!) to brave queues. You may not be able to drink as much wine as usual. Your pace of travel will be slower. BUT! It will still be good. Your slow pace will let you connect more with daily life. You’ll see Italy through the eyes of your child, and be amazed at what they are amazed at. You’ll still eat, see beautiful landscapes, stroll innumerable evocative lanes, and likely even see a painting or two… quickly.

03. Italians will interact with you so much more.

Italians love children, especially young ones, and will interact with you so much more because of them. You will get serotonin boosts from them complimenting your child constantly. “Che guanciotte!” What adorable big cheeks! “Quanto sei bella!” How beautiful you are! A child is the easiest way to break the ice, and soon you’ll be chatting away, getting tips on the best nearby places to visit, dishes to sample, and maybe, if you’re lucky, an invite to lunch at their house.


I take my own advice and take a deep breath. Yes, things are about to get more interesting. We’re levelling up and taking two children to Italy—one 2-year-old and one 7-month-old—but I know when one is napping in the stroller and the other is eating her now-adored cornetto at a seaside bar in Liguria, it’ll be worth it.

All this to say, hit that book button! You all will survive, and collect some beautiful and hilarious memories along the way.

Designing Original Paths Through Italy for Thoughtful Travellers

Get In Touch

It’s casual, it’s easy, and there are no strings attached. What are you waiting for?