- Explore Venice’s highlights on a city-wide scavenger hunt
- Climb the leaning tower of Pisa & try Tuscan gelato
- Make the perfect pizza & learn to craft marbled paper
- Let the kids’ imaginations run wild at gladiator school
- Discover Roman history through the eyes of Percy Jackson’s adventures
|Day 1||Arrive in Rome, Travel to Venice||Venice|
|Day 2||Family-Friendly Venice Walking Tour||Venice|
|Day 3||Lion Scavenger Hunt & Carnival Mask-Making Class||Venice|
|Day 4||Murano, Burano & Torcello Excursion||Venice|
|Day 5||Family-Friendly Lido Bike Tour & Villa Pisani||Venice|
|Day 6||Venice to Florence, Family-Friendly Food Tour||Florence|
|Day 7||Treasure Hunt & Kid-Friendly Museums in Florence||Florence|
|Day 8||Family Tour of Pisa & Leaning Tower||Florence|
|Day 9||Kid-Friendly Pizza & Craft Classes in Florence||Florence|
|Day 10||Florence to Rome, Kid-Friendly Colosseum & Forum Tour||Rome|
|Day 11||Family-Friendly Vatican & Gladiator School||Rome|
|Day 12||Golf Cart Tour & Kid-Friendly Capitoline Museum||Rome|
|Day 13||Children's Museum, Pizza Making Class in Rome||Rome|
|Day 14||Family-Friendly Free Day in Rome||Rome|
|Day 15||Goodbye Italy!|
Day 1: Arrive in Rome, Travel to Venice
Welcome to Italy! Arrive in one of Rome's two international airports, then transfer to the Roma Termini Station for a ride on the high-speed train en route to Venice. Once in the city, a water taxi will transport you to the town center and your hotel.
Venice in northern Italy is famous for both industry and tourism. With nicknames like "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", and "The Floating City", it's clear that the city's myriad canals are its main draw. Stretching across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea, the city has long been a commercial and cultural hub thanks to its strategic placement. Silk, grains, spices, and art were traded through the Middle Ages, making Venice very wealthy.
Venice is well known for several artistic movements, particularly from the Renaissance period. The city's many musicians, like Antonio Vivaldi and others, played important roles in the shaping of symphonic and operatic music. Numerous artists have called Venice home, and their work continues to draw visitors worldwide.
The city is also famous for its many beautiful historic attractions, such as the Piazza San Marco and San Marco Basilica, the Grand Canal, and the ornate Doge's Palace. The Lido de Venezia is a popular luxury destination that attracts actors, critics, and other cinema industry celebrities.
Depending on when you arrive, a great introduction to the city is to take a romantic cruise down Venice's canals on a historic gondola to see stunning architecture and narrow waterways. This is not a guided tour but rather a relaxing cruise that allows you to take in the amazing city from the water.
In the evening head to the Cannaregio District, site of the former Jewish Ghetto, for a walking food tour. The area is filled with restaurants & shops offering kosher Venetian specialties, a Jewish museum, and several tourist-friendly synagogues. Eat and drink your way through regional specialties as you learn about the Jewish and Kosher influences and sample Cicchetti, creamy risottos, and sweet pastries and local wines. Buon appetito!
Day 2: Family-Friendly Venice Walking Tour
Experience Venice's highlights with a guided kid-friendly walking tour. Start at Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square), the heart of the city's cultural and administrative district. St. Mark’s Square is the perfect place to play a scavenger hunt with your kids as you familiarize yourself with the city.
Bypass the lines to tour Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), a Venetian Gothic palace built as the primary residence for the Doge of Venice in 1340. Visit the Giant's Staircases and the Golden Staircase, as well as the ornate Council Chamber. See the palace's darker side in the “bocche di leone” (“lions’ mouths”), or jails, the Armory, and the New Prisons.
Adjacent to the palace is the San Marco's Basilica, formerly the Doge's chapel. Learn about the history of its construction and the reason why St. Mark became the patron saint of Venice. The kids will love admiring the mosaics of different animals and Genesis stories, plus games and activities to learn about the history of Venice.
After the morning's 3-hour tour, grab lunch at one of the city's many cafes and re-energize before spending the afternoon exploring the city. Other afternoon options include the Ca' Pesaro Galleria Internazionale d'Arte Moderna and La Bottega dei Mascareri, both art museums.
After, enjoy a well-deserved dinner at one of Venice's many open-air restaurants and cafes.
Day 3: Lion Scavenger Hunt & Carnival Mask-Making Class
Spend the morning exploring Venice from a kid's perspective. Everywhere you look in Venice you'll see winged lions, St. Mark's symbol and the medieval Venetian's favorite travel souvenir. Many of the stone and marble figures are treasures from faraway places, brought to the city by traveling Venetians. Go for a scavenger hunt around the city to find as many lions as you can, including the stone lion in a little piazza by St. Mark's, one of the city's oldest and most well-loved.
Follow the Fondamenta left along the Grand Canal from the Doge's Palace and pass by the Arsenale (an excellent place for lion-hunting) to reach the Giardini Pubblici, a long green public park. The shaded gardens are full of sculptures, flower beds, lawns for the kids to run on, and a playground for the kids to run around. Enjoy a picnic lunch and a rest before heading on to your afternoon activity.
In the afternoon take a 2-hour mask-making class from a master artisan and learn about the history of the ancient tradition. Pick from a production class or decorating glass (eager crafters can choose both!) Make the mask from paper-mâché in the production class, then decorate, paint, or bring your own materials to craft the perfect art piece in the decorating class. Whichever option you choose, you get to keep your creation.
Day 4: Murano, Burano & Torcello Excursion
Head out for a tour of Venice's three famous neighbors—the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Begin your boat and walking tour aboard a motorboat en route to Murano, passing the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the tip of Sant'Elena and the Lido. Tour Murano, which is famous for its colorful glass-making. Visit a glass blower to learn about the process and marvel at the intricate pieces, including elaborate chandeliers.
From here continue to Burano, a picture-perfect island known for its colorful houses and elegant lacework. You'll have time to explore the island before the short boat trip to nearby Torcello to see the ancient cathedral with its fine mosaic inlays, followed by a visit to the Church of Santa Fosca.
After spending a full day enjoying the sights and sounds of the unique islands, return to Venice by boat in time for a relaxed evening in a neighborhood restaurant.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Family-Friendly Lido Bike Tour & Villa Pisani
After lunch, head outside the city to spend the afternoon at the Villa Pisani, a sprawling villa and gardens. The trompe l'oeil painting in the ballroom ceiling is a favorite with kids trying to figure out the illusion. Explore the ornate villa rooms, then head outside to the well-manicured gardens and maze. Let the kids test their navigation skills on the dozen concentric rings to try to find the tower at the center of the maze, then climb the double-spiral staircase to the top and watch others try to puzzle their way through the maze.
In the evening return to Venice for dinner and a good night's rest.
Day 6: Venice to Florence, Family-Friendly Food Tour
After breakfast head to the train station to catch a train to Florence. Florence is Tuscany's regional capital and its most populous city. Long considered a cultural capital and the "Jewel of the Renaissance", Florence is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture, including the iconic Duomo, a terracotta-tiled dome, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, which displays Michelangelo's 'David' sculpture.
Spend the day exploring the top sites, located in the medieval city center. Popular highlights include the sprawling 15th-century Pitti Palace and the world-famous Uffizi Gallery, which houses works by artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci. As a center for art, Florence has hosted many of European history's most notable figures, including Botticelli, Donatello, Dante, Boccaccio, and Niccolò Machiavelli.
In the afternoon indulge yourself on the decadence of Tuscany's culinary delights. A guided walking tour of the city led by a local is the perfect way to discover the region's history and find the best off-the-beaten-path gelato and coffee shops. Sample wares from city markets to find the best of the best. Try creamy gelatos, truffle panini, fresh-pressed Tuscan olive oil, and handmade chocolate focaccia. Finish the tour with a glass of chilled prosecco or Chianti wine for the adults, and a sweet dessert for the younger family members.
Day 7: Treasure Hunt & Kid-Friendly Museums in Florence
After a filling breakfast, head out for a morning walking tour and treasure hunt of the city's highlights. You'll meet up with a small group for 2.5 hours of games, treasure hunts, quizzes, and much more as you walk through Florence's historic center.
Walk through numerous medieval squares to see elaborate fountains, ornate palaces, and enjoy people watching. See the Piazza di Santa Croce, Piazza della Signoria, Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza Duomo, and Piazza San Lorenzo. The kids will love watching the street performances and playing tag in the open squares, and the antique carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica is a crowd favorite.
You'll also visit the Loggia dei Lanzi in the corner of Piazza della Signoria, an open-air gallery of antique and Renaissance sculptures, framed by wide arches. See the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's Town Hall, and Porcellino Market—a 16th-century covered luxury goods marketplace.
One of the day's highlights is a visit to Ponte Vecchio—a 14th-century bridge, famous for the shops and buildings that line the length. A walk across the bridge is like stepping back in time, as many of the shops have been in use since the 16th century.
Stop by a small cafe or street market to pick up lunch, then make your way to the Boboli Gardens, located behind the Pitti Palace for a relaxing picnic. Enjoy the manicured garden beds and Renaissance sculpture garden while you watch the kids blow off steam on the wide grass lawns.
In the afternoon, choose from the following kid-friendly museum suggestions for a visit that will keep the whole family entertained.
- Visit the Children's Workshop and listen to audioguides written by children's book authors in Museo degli Innocenti
- Drop by a Renaissance party and try your hand at gold-leaf gilding at Museo Horne
- Learn to paint a fresco and go on a museum-wide treasure hunt at Palazzo Vecchio
- See original works by Galileo and participate in a variety of science-themed workshops at Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum for the History of Science
- Help young artists hone their drawing and observation skills with the Drawing Kit at Palazzo Strozzi
- Learn about Renaissance art and help create your own masterpiece at the interactive learning exhibits of Museo del Novecento
Day 8: Family Tour of Pisa & Leaning Tower
Head to Pisa today, located an hour and a half away on the coast, to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa (tickets included) at the Piazza dei Miracoli.
Begin the tour with a walk around Pisa's medieval walls, as well as a tour of the Cathedral to see the Romanesque masterpieces. See the 12th-century Baptistery and Monumental Cemetery, then continue to see the tower. Admire the exterior, then head inside to climb the steps to the bell tower to take in the views.
The tour concludes with an optional stop to see a typical Tuscan wine shop with a tasting of regional wines for the adults, followed by some souvenir shopping and a visit to the local Gelateria for a cone of creamy gelato for the younger travelers (and young-at-heart). Return to Florence in time for dinner.
Day 9: Kid-Friendly Pizza & Craft Classes in Florence
Today is a full day for activities and workshops. Start your day with a filling breakfast, but not too filling—you'll want to be hungry for lunchtime!
Your first activity of the day is a 4-hour family cooking lesson. Children, teenagers, and adults will love learning how to make the perfect Tuscan cuisine. Your professional chef will teach you traditional recipes using a variety of flavors and options. From pizza to handmade pasta, with both vegetarian and classic meat sauce options, there's something to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Work together to make the perfect lunch, then sit down to lunch to enjoy your hard work with the family. Buon Appetito!
After your hard-earned lunch, head to the local paper craft workshop for a 2-hour class to learn how to make authentic Florentine marbled paper. Kids will love the hands-on learning approach, and taking their treasures home at the end is the best part. You can join your kids as they learn paper crafting from skilled artisans, but parents don't have to be present—take advantage of this time and enjoy a kid-free visit to a museum or stroll through the city.
Day 10: Florence to Rome, Kid-Friendly Colosseum & Forum Tour
After a relaxing breakfast, it's time to say goodbye to Florence. Catch a high-speed train back to Rome, then check in to your hotel.
According to legend, Rome was founded by brothers Romulus and Remus in 753 B.C.E. atop Rome's Palatine Hill. The long-time center of the powerful Roman Empire, Rome boasts nearly 3,000 years of architecture, history, and culture. These days, Italy's capital is considered one of Europe's top cities thanks to its ancient monuments, incredible art masterpieces, and cosmopolitan vibe. It's a center for fashion with buzzing food culture and has a growing nightlife scene.
Visitors and locals wanting to soak in the sunshine flock to the beautiful Giardino degli Aranci, the city's vibrant orange tree gardens on Aventine Hill, or relax in the lush greenery of the Villa Borghese Gardens.
In the afternoon, dive into the history of the Roman Empire with a 3-hour kid-friendly walking tour of the Colosseum, the world's largest amphitheater (skip the line tickets included) and other highlights of Ancient Rome. Start the tour at the Arch of Constantine, then walk through the ancient amphitheater to take a trip back in time to the days of the Roman Empire. Learn about some of ancient Rome's most famous and illustrious citizens, such as Julius Caesar, Emperors Augustus and Nero, and the Flavian Emperors who built the Colosseum.
Continue to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. From here, walk along the ancient Roman street Via Sacra to see the Temples of Vesta, Antonino, and Faustina. See the ancient Basilica Julia and Aemilia and experience the grandeur of the Roman Empire.
The kids will love exploring Rome's history on this educator-designed tour, and the booklets with puzzles, riddles, and a treasure hunt will keep them engaged throughout the whole tour.
Day 11: Family-Friendly Vatican & Gladiator School
Today you will visit the Vatican City museums and Sistine Chapel on an exclusive 3-hour tour designed to be fun for the children but interesting enough to keep the whole family engaged. Start at the Vatican, where you'll visit the Pio Clementio Museum, Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries, and Gallery of the Geographical Maps.
Continue to see the magnificent Raphael's Rooms, ending in the breathtaking Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Experience the magic of Renaissance art as you learn about the secret details and untold stories of the masterpieces.
Enjoy lunch in the city center, but don't get too full—the afternoon will be an active one!
Head to the Gladiator School of Rome Museum, located on Appian Way near the Colosseum, where the kids will go through a 2-hour full gladiator training. Instructors from the Historic Reenactment Group of Rome lead the class, which starts with a lesson on clothing and battle gear and ends with a full tournament with a prize for the winner. Kids will love getting dressed up, learning ancient battle strategies, and testing their speed in an agility course. After the class, explore the museum to learn more about life in ancient Rome.
Day 12: Golf Cart Tour & Kid-Friendly Capitoline Museum
Start your morning with a 3-hour golf-cart tour of the city center. Though golf carts might seem out of place in Rome, their small size makes them perfect for navigating the narrow winding city streets. Explore Rome's beautiful historic district, stopping to see famous palaces, monuments, churches, and fountains. Stops include Aventine Hill, Piazza Colonna, and the Trevi Fountain.
In the afternoon join a tour of the Capitoline Museum and Piazza del Campidoglio to explore the world of Percy Jackson and his demigod friends. The tour begins in the center of the square, next to the statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, and continues around the trapezoid-shaped square. The kids will love exploring the area and following a treasure hunt to find unique architectural details and statues. The tour is a perfect combination of fun and excitement for the kids while educating them about one of the most advanced and progressive civilizations in history.
After the tour, wander a bit outside of the city center to find the perfect family-run pizza restaurant and share a pie with the whole family.
Day 13: Children's Museum, Pizza Making Class in Rome
Spend the morning letting the kids' imaginations run wild in the Explora Children's Museum, located a stone's throw from the Piazza del Popolo. Younger children will love the playground-like aspect of the museum, as everything is hands-on. The imitation supermarket and water exhibit are popular with little ones. Older kids will get a bit more in-depth education with science exhibits as they explore everything from sustainable fishing to computer programming. In order to reduce traffic, the museum requires advance booking for a specific 2-hour time slot—the perfect length of time to enjoy everything.
Once you're done at the museum, feed the hungry family with a 2.5-hour pizza and gelato-making class (there will be time to grab a snack before you dive into cooking).
The whole family will love learning how to make the perfect Italian pizza, with a chef to guide you. Use traditional recipes to create the perfect pizza for each family member, with options to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Work together to make the perfect dinner, then sit down to enjoy your hard work with the family. Buon Appetito!
Day 14: Family-Friendly Free Day in Rome
Today is a free day to explore Rome with the kids. Pick from the following suggestions to make the most of your time in the city, then head out for a full day of fun!
- Explore the trap doors, secret passageways, and hidden rooms in the Castel Sant’Angelo National Museum (featured in the movie Angels and Demons!)
- Enjoy nature and let the kids run off steam in the Villa Borghese Gardens, which houses the famous Galleria Borghese
- Spend a few hours looking at artwork in the Galleria Nazionale D'Arte Antica, housed in the 17th-century Palazzo Barberini
- Go for a sunny afternoon stroll and have a picnic in the massive Villa Doria Pamphili estate, Rome's largest landscaped park
- Take in the exotic plants and unique landscaping of the Botanical Garden in Trastevere, overlooking the 17th-century Palazzo Corsini
- Climb Aventine Hill to the Orange Garden for views of the city
- Spend the day at Hydromania and Zoomarine Water & Amusement Parks
Day 15: Goodbye Italy!
Time to say goodbye to the country of love! After one last cappuccino over breakfast, head to the airport for your connecting flight home. Safe travels!