Traveling in Italy

italy.jpgIf you are taking your family to Italy here’s some good news: Italians love children. Now the bad news: Italy is not structurally child friendly.
Old towns, narrow stairs, and nonexistent lifts are barriers that you’ll have to overcome if you want to travel around Italy. But relax, you will always find somebody willing to lift the pushchair with you (or for you, if you are lucky).
Other forms of equipment like highchairs, booster seats, changing tables, children’s menus and toy boxes are everything but ubiquitous. But Italians are flexible, and their rules made to be bent, so they might dig out a pile of pillows for your child to sit on while having dinner, or happily bring half-portions to children even though a specific menu is not available.
Changing tables are to be found in airports, Eurostar trains and a few restaurants in very touristic places…. but nowhere else! In the summer you can use an outdoor bench (nobody will frown upon an open-air nappy change), but in the winter you will have to use public restrooms. These are rarely spotless so my advice is to always have a disposable changing mat on which you can place your child directly, or (for more comfort) you can place your padded mat on top.
If you travel on Italian motorways you will stop (like millions of other holidaymakers) at the Autogrill cafés and restaurants that are scattered from north to south. The bigger ones with a Ciao! restaurant are the ones better equipped for children: you can find highchairs and even a meal-preparing kit for babies by Plasmon. During the summer this kit and any child menu will be on sale for just 2 euros. If you want to have some quiet time and enjoy your meal you should plan to stop early, around noon or even before.

Buon Viaggio!



Comments (2)

July 14, 2008

Italy is probably our favorite place to go. The weather is nice, the food is great, and the people are SO friendly! It might not be very kid-friendly, but like you said – they love kids.
Every time we’ve ever been in Italy with a baby, the waiters and waitresses in all the restaurants would just come and pick up the baby and walk around showing him off. Once, we were in Capri and we didn’t see our baby for the entire meal — the waitress was basically babysitting him so we could enjoy our food! 🙂

July 16, 2008

Thanks for the info – I always thought the leisurely pace of dining in Italy would make going to restaurants with kids a nightmare so thanks for the perspective. I researched a family trip for 13 people to Italy and it’s very easy to find family-friendly accommodations there too because they have so many villas and agri-turismo places. I used (focuses on kid-friendly accommodations) to start and then and to get more info from people that had stayed there – i was all set to go and then the trip was cancelled! Oh well maybe another year.

Leave a Comment