Take your young ones on the experience of a lifetime as you travel through Italy. You'll start in Venice, where you'll explore on a slew of scavenger hunts. Follow it with Florence, where you'll learn to craft your own gelato, before you make your way through the markets and museums of Rome while engaging in interactive activities. The activities throughout this trip are specially designed for families with kids aged 5-12, allowing you to experience many of Italy's highlights while keeping the little ones entertained.

Highlights

  • Follow Marco Polo's footsteps through the canals of Venice
  • Go on a scavenger hunt through the glass-blowing island of Murano
  • Learn how to make your own flavors in a Florentine gelato workshop
  • Sample your way through Rome's Campo de Fiori market

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Venice, Walking Tour in Marco Polo's Footsteps, Private Gondola Ride Venice
Day 2 Venetian Mask Painting & Family Scavenger Hunt in the Doge’s Palace Venice
Day 3 Venetian Islands Boat Tour & Murano Scavenger Hunt Venice
Day 4 Venice to Florence Florence
Day 5 Parks of Florence, Afternoon Gelato-Making Class Florence
Day 6 Florence to Rome, Family-Friendly Rome by Golf Cart Rome
Day 7 Treasure Hunt in the Colosseum & Roman Forum Rome
Day 8 Mosaic & Fresco Workshop, Vatican Highlights Treasure Hunt Rome
Day 9 Family Food Tour & Pizza-Making Class, Parks & Hills of Rome Rome
Day 10 Depart Rome  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Venice, Walking Tour in Marco Polo's Footsteps, Private Gondola Ride

 Venetian views

Welcome to Italy! Your trip starts with a private water taxi ride directly to your hotel.

Once you've settled in, get oriented on a walking tour following in Marco Polo's footsteps. This two-hour tour also includes a scavenger hunt designed for ages 5-12 but will keep the whole family engaged as you're introduced to the main sights of the Floating City. Follow riddles and history games through the neighborhoods of Cannaregio and Castello as you learn about Venice's past.

Follow the walk with a ride in a Venetian gondola, one of the most classic Venetian experiences. Enjoy being paddled along the dramatic Grand Canal as well as the smaller side routes into the secret back canals of the city.

Day 2: Venetian Mask Painting & Family Scavenger Hunt in the Doge’s Palace

Paint your own Venetian mask

Carnival masks are one of the most recognizable symbols of Venice in all their shapes, colors, and styles. Venetian artisans still use ancient techniques to craft these papier-mache artworks for theater companies and masquerade balls. Learn some of their arts with a mask-making workshop in a specialty atelier, where you can either start from scratch or decorate a pre-made mask to add your own touch.

Take your newly made artwork on a scavenger hunt through the Doge's Palace, the seat of Venetian government for more than 1,000 years. Follow a trail of riddles to figure out why the famous Giacomo Casanova was once imprisoned here. You'll make your way through some of the most famous rooms of the Palace and the Renaissance artworks on their walls, as well as down to the prisons and the Bridge of Sighs as children solve puzzles and adults learn about the political organization and justice system of Venice of old.

Day 3: Venetian Islands Boat Tour & Murano Scavenger Hunt

Colorful hand-blown Murano glass
Colorful hand-blown Murano glass

A full-day boat tour is the best way to explore the Venetian Lagoon and its best-known islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

You'll start in Murano, home of famed glassblowing. Pint-sized travelers can explore this art style via scavenger hunt to solve the mystery of a secret glass formula. Meanwhile, the whole family can enjoy watching a master glassblower at work and visits to the Glass Museum, a collection ranging from the 14th to 19th century, and the ancient Church of Santa Maria and San Donato.

Hop over to Burano, best known for its multicolored houses and elegant lace. Sample one of the bussolai specialty cookies before continuing on to Torcello. Now the island is nearly deserted, but it was once a cradle of Venetian civilization. You'll find some excellent restaurants as well as some of the lagoon's most ancient monuments, now surrounded by vegetation, including Santa Maria Assunta, the first cathedral in Venice, and the church of Santa Fosca.

Day 4: Venice to Florence

Dome of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore
Dome of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

Travel from Venice to Florence via high-speed train, a trip of just over two hours.

You’ll find some of the world’s most recognizable art and architecture in Florence, from Michelangelo’s "David" and Botticelli’s "Birth of Venus" to the 1,000-year-old Ponte Vecchio medieval bridge. But the charms of Florence aren’t just found in its museums. The city center itself is a sight not to be missed, and as the capital of Tuscany, it sits as the center of what many think of as the sleepy, sun-drenched countryside lifestyle. Check out the many parks and gardens, including the Iris Garden that holds 250 endangered species; rambling markets; and celebrate the city’s status as the capital of gelato with as many scoops as you can handle.

If you're looking for something more hands-on, visit the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, which is as interactive as the man himself would want, or consider the celestial spheres at the Museo Galileo, where you can peer through ancient telescopes.

Day 5: Parks of Florence, Afternoon Gelato-Making Class

Isolotto in the Boboli Gardens
Isolotto in the Boboli Gardens
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Enjoy your free morning or afternoon at the beautiful parks in Florence surrounded by the Tuscan countryside. Take your time to buy some delicious local snacks from one of the markets in the center and then head for a leisurely walk through open parks and gardens. Most of the larger gardens are on the south side of the Arno River including the Boboli Gardens and the Giardino delle Rose (Rose Garden), known as a beautiful sunset spot.

Discover nature and art inside this historic city and enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets. The parks are places to find tranquility and spend quality time admiring the architecture and landscape designs inspired by Renaissance Florence. Pause for a picnic, or parents can enjoy a coffee or an aperitivo depending on your timing. 

Then, discover the delicious craft of gelato-making with a workshop in the heart of historic Florence. In the ambiance of an authentic family-run gelateria and gelato-making school, you’ll learn the ins and outs of producing that perfect scoop of creamy goodness with the help of a true professional. Historians can trace the concept of gelato back thousands of years, but it evolved into the creamy goodness we all know and love over time. The key to a great Italian gelato is respecting tradition while still understanding how to be innovative. These are the secrets you will learn from professional gelato makers. Identify the differences between gelato and ice cream, learn about the ingredients used, and practice the special process that makes gelato so creamy and delicious. 

Once you know the basics, you’ll create your own gelato, choosing various flavors and high-quality ingredients. Your teachers will provide everything you need, including gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives. This hands-on, family-friendly experience is great fun and an excellent way to dive deeper into the culture of Florence, one of Italy’s favorite gelato destinations.

Day 6: Florence to Rome, Family-Friendly Rome by Golf Cart

Golf cart cruising

Travel from Florence to Rome today via high-speed train, a journey of just under two hours.

Once you arrive, enjoy a family-friendly and private driving tour of Rome on a comfortable golf cart that lets you zip through the city. Kids love exploring Rome’s highlights in an easy and fun way! Allow yourself to soak in the city’s incredible landmarks and hidden gems as you relax and enjoy the ride. 

The tour starts at the centrally located Piazza della Repubblica. On your tour, you’ll visit Santa Maria Maggiore with its gorgeous portico and ride down charming cobblestone streets to the amazing daily flower market at Campo de' Fiori. Your guide will share the history of Rome with you while visiting the big sites, like the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Circus Maximus, to name a few. 

You’ll also explore beyond the main highlights and zip off the beaten path. Zig-zag through the beautiful residential streets of Palatine Hill to reach the keyhole, one of the city’s secret spots. Stop at Largo Argentina, the spot where Julius Caesar was famously assassinated, before winding your way down to the Piramide Cestia. Pass through the Testaccio neighborhood and stop at the Mouth of Truth. Watch as visitors slip their hand into the statue’s mouth and learn the curious story behind this unique Roman legend.

Day 7: Treasure Hunt in the Colosseum & Roman Forum

Explore the Colosseum with a treasure hunt
The main attraction today is a treasure hunt through the Colosseum and Roman Forum. With the help of a treasure map and guide, kids from 5-12 can explore these famous architectural sites and bring history to life. You can even add 3D virtual reconstruction goggles to see the ruins as they once were.
If you want to keep going, there's no shortage of archaeological sites in the Eternal City. Families in Rome can visit the Colosseum, the Vatican and its museums, as well as various smaller archaeological sites from ancient Rome on your own. Take a peek at the Pantheon, one of Rome's best-preserved sites, originally built as a temple to all of the gods (hence its name) in 27 BCE, the smaller Theater of Marcellus that resembles a petite and less violent Colosseum, or the columns of the now-dry Baths of Caracalla.

Day 8: Mosaic & Fresco Workshop, Vatican Highlights Treasure Hunt

Adventurer at work

Get hands-on today with a fresco or mosaic-making workshop. Both of these art forms can be spotted throughout the city, and you can choose which type of workshop you'd like to visit to learn about the craft and create your own.

Next, go see the original artists' work with a treasure hunt through the Vatican designed for 5- to 12-year-olds. Spot both highlights and hidden gems of the vast collection, with stops tailored to your family's interests. Everyone can enjoy the tricky Momo's Staircase, old gold horse carriages and vintage automobiles, and Pinecone and Octagonal Courtyards. Make your way through the Gallery of Maps and into the famed Sistine Chapel.

Once you've marveled at the ceiling, you'll continue into St. Peter's Basilica, the world's largest church, and its masterpieces like Bernini’s Baldacchino, an altar made entirely of bronze, and Michelangelo's "Pietà".

Day 9: Family Food Tour & Pizza-Making Class, Parks & Hills of Rome

Market stalls

In this family-friendly tour of Rome’s food culture, you’ll first enjoy the city’s markets and then learn how to make traditional pizza on your own. Kids and families love this tour, as the fun experience offers lifetime memories and skills. You’ll visit the most beautiful and ancient market of Rome, the Campo de' Fiori, where you will learn about local cuisine and taste typical Italian products.

As you make your way to the market, your guide will explain the history of its neighborhood, so feel free to ask questions along the way. Upon arrival, you’ll make your way through the stalls and enjoy tasting different goods and learning about the authenticity of the raw materials.

After the market tour, you’ll start your pizza-making class at a restaurant in the heart of Rome. You’ll start by creating your dough from scratch, learning about tomato sauce, and then choosing toppings from fresh ingredients. Once you’ve completed your masterpiece, bake your pizza and enjoy it for lunch (with a glass of wine for the parents).

Spend your afternoon amid the parks and gardens throughout the city, taking your pick between green spots at the Villa Borghese, Villa Pamphili, Villa Torlonia, or the Gianicolo Hill. Children can frolic on the grass while you relax and admire the architectural details of the villas. Stop at a market en route to turn it into a picnic, then linger into the evening to take in the sunset.

Day 10: Depart Rome

Colosseum
Head to the airport to return home or onward to your next adventure.

Map

Map of Family-Friendly Highlights of Italy: Venice, Florence & Rome - 10 Days
Map of Family-Friendly Highlights of Italy: Venice, Florence & Rome - 10 Days