We received rave reviews of this carefully planned luxury Italy family trip to Venice, Verona, and Emilia Romagna for a family of four with two children ages 6 and 12. The father is a big-time foodie, the kids love history, music, and art, and mama wanted to be sure to squeeze in some special shopping experiences.
Day 1-3: Venice
Lodging: Palazzetto Pisani is one of our favorite family-owned luxury options in Venice. Overlooking the Grand Canal, the hotel is central yet located in a quieter position accessed off of a sleepy inner canal at its private dock, which also makes arrival by private taxi very convenient. The stately decor of the hotel makes one feel as if you are living with the noble family that owns the palazzo. A decadent breakfast is served in what was once a grand receiving room, the living room area overlooking the canal is a beautiful place for an aperitivo where the kids can play the piano, and there is a small dining room with only about 6 tables and sumptuous table settings where it is possible to book a special dinner on request. The rooms with terraces are spectacular as well. Go for the terrace suite with lagoon view for the experience of it, and budget elsewhere in your trip!
Day 1: Self-guided visit to Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Square, climb the Clock Tower. Prepurchased family museum pass tickets from the Palazzo Ducale site (which is valid for the Doge’s Palace and most civic museums).
Day 2: Family treasure hunt tour and visit to the island of Murano with a glassworking art project for the kids afterwards (organized through Arte al Sole).
Day 3-5: Verona
Verona is a must-stop for families traveling to the Veneto, and a great base for a longer stay in the region.
Lodging: The Opera Relais de Charme is a nice mid-level luxury aparthotel with comfortable studio and apartment options for families, each decorated according to an opera theme. It’s central location near the ancient Arena is perfect for exploring the city’s historical center. Both one- and two-bedroom apartments are available. The 24-hour reception offers a nice service as well compared to other self-catering options.
Day 1: Shopping along Viale Mazzini and in the evening, a gala concert of George Bizet’s Carmen at the ancient Roman Arena.
Day 2: Day trip to Mantua, a fantastic Renaissance city. The kids enjoyed a chance to run around a bit at the playgrounds near Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Te.
Day 3: Exploring the sites in Verona with visits to Juliet’s balcony, Castel Vecchio, the Teatro Romano, the Gothic tombs of the Arche Scaligere, and the ancient Roman Porta Borsari. In Verona, children can understand the importance of the city in Roman antiquity as the intersection of the three major Roman roads, a highlight of visiting the Porta in particular. Dinner at the Zagat rated Ristorante Il Cenacolo.
Day 5: Padua
Lodging: A family suite with sofa bed at the Ca Mura Natura and Resort, a tranquil, central location for conveniently touring some foodie stops in the region. The country hotel is situated on a beautiful property with fruit trees and an ancient church, nice spa facilities, and next to an equestrian facility. They were very kind to organize local countryside dinner reservations and served a delicious breakfast.
Activities: Visit to the Abano Terme thermal baths, where legend has it Hercules retreated to heal and restore in the famous waters. The Amleto and Donato Sartori International Mask Museum here is a great site for kids as well.
Days 6-8: Emilia-Romagna
Time to move on to the Emilia-Romagna countryside between Modena and Bologna, the next central pitstop on this foodie and craftsmanship itinerary.
Lodging: La Corte della Barchessa was a charming farm stay in a quad room. This was a lovely working farm set amid some of Italy’s most famous food production. The agriturismo’s restaurant serves fresh farm-to-table cuisine, and the horses here are fun for the kids as well.
Day 1: A visit to the Azienda Agricola Leonardi for balsamic vinegar tasting, tour of the farm and factory, and lunch at the farm (reservation required).
Day 2: A tour of the factory and track at the Ferrari Factory in nearby Maranello.
Day 3: A prosciutto tasting tour along the “Roads of Taste” itinerary for ham and parmigiano reggiano production. Map out your options for farm visits for dairies using the family-oriented guide, and for prosciutto using this convenient downloadable guide published by the Comune of Parma. These guides allow families with kids to plot out some stops on the GPS, and then be spontaneous as you go. There are also some porcini mushroom itineraries. These routes are enchanting, dotted with farms and castles. In fact, next visit, a castle stay at the Antico Borgo di Tabiano Castello with time to tour a castle itinerary is in order!
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Turn travel days into trip days by saving time and minimizing stress with Prontopia, a new on-demand service available in Venice for door-to-door help getting you and your luggage where you need to go, while getting to know the city with tips from a local along the way. Request help from a Local for arrival, departure, or assistance during your stay. One Italiakids mamma commented on her experience, “When we arrived in Venice I really struggled navigating the kids with all the suitcases up the bridges and through the crowds… I regretted not booking Prontopia for the trip there and by using the service for the trip back… my children were overjoyed they could leisurely walk through the town as they prepared to say goodbye to Venice.” (Mia)
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