Eight days isn't enough time to explore all of Italy, but bring the family and hit the top highlights for an unforgettable adventure. Start in Venice for a city-wide treasure hunt and a ride on a gondola, then head to Florence for kid-friendly museums and delicious chocolate focaccia. End in Rome, where Ancient Roman ruins and the world-famous Vatican await. 

Highlights

  • Experience Ancient Rome with a kid-friendly tour of the Colosseum
  • Let the kids’ imaginations run wild at gladiator school
  • Explore Venice’s highlights on a city-wide scavenger hunt
  • Visit Florence’s kid-friendly museums & explore on a treasure hunt

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rome, Travel to Venice Venice
Day 2 Family-Friendly Venice Walking Tour Venice
Day 3 Family-Friendly Lido Bike Tour & Villa Pisani Venice
Day 4 Venice to Florence, Family-Friendly Food Tour Florence
Day 5 Treasure Hunt & Kid-Friendly Museums in Florence Florence
Day 6 Florence to Rome, Kid-Friendly Colosseum & Forum Tour Rome
Day 7 Family-Friendly Vatican & Gladiator School Rome
Day 8 Goodbye Italy!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rome, Travel to Venice

Gondola on the Grand Canal
Gondola on the Grand Canal

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

Waterfront and Doge's Palace
Waterfront and Doge's Palace

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. 

 
End the tour at the Bridge of Sighs, which features a small window onto Venice's harbor. The bridge earned its grisly name from the prisoners' sighing as they got one last glimpse of the city on their way to execution. While most visitors gather outside the bridge to look in, you'll get the best sense of history from inside the bridge, looking out from the same window as the doomed medieval prisoners. 

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: Family-Friendly Lido Bike Tour & Villa Pisani

Stables at the 18th-century Villa Pisani
Stables at the 18th-century Villa Pisani
Spend the first half of the day exploring the city by bike on a 4-hour tour of Lido. In the morning meet your guide in Tronchetto near Piazzale Roma, then take the ferry to the island of Lido. Pass by the Canale della Giudecca and enjoy the breathtaking views while your guide explains the local history, including the Venice salt-trade and other fun historical facts. 
 
Once you arrive in Lido, get on your bikes and begin your leisurely ride around the lagoon. The 9-mile (16 km) ride is suitable for all skill levels and includes visits to the old Jewish cemetery, the ancient wells in the Malamocco town center, and the Murazzi, a huge 18th-century sea fortification. At the end of your ride, return to the ferry and say farewell to your guide in Tronchetto. 


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 4: Venice to Florence, Family-Friendly Food Tour

Ponte Vecchio bridge
Ponte Vecchio bridge

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 5: Treasure Hunt & Kid-Friendly Museums in Florence

Handcrafted wooden Pinocchio toys
Handcrafted wooden Pinocchio toys

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 6: Florence to Rome, Kid-Friendly Colosseum & Forum Tour

The ancient Roman Colosseum
The ancient Roman Colosseum

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 7: Family-Friendly Vatican & Gladiator School

St. Peter's Square and the Vatican
St. Peter's Square and the Vatican

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 8: Goodbye Italy!

Little details of life in Rome
Little details of life in Rome

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!

Map

Map of Family Adventure in Italy: Venice, Florence, Rome - 8 Days
Map of Family Adventure in Italy: Venice, Florence, Rome - 8 Days