Everything you need to know about visiting Italy with a baby or toddler
Italians adore children and they are welcome almost everywhere. It is not unusual for Italians to take an interest in your little one and waiters will generally be attentive and keep your child entertained while you eat. There are so many different types of vacation that you can have in Italy that you may have trouble deciding where to go; you could opt for a city break, a beach holiday, a lake holiday or you could stay in the stunning Tuscan countryside. If you are travelling to Italy with a younger baby you will be able to visit all the major monuments and museums but a toddler may not have the patience for this and you may want to travel to Lake Garda, Tuscany or Amalfi for a quieter, more toddler centred vacation.
Baby & Toddler Essentials in Italy
You will be able to get most of what you need in Italy but you might consider bringing your child’s formula as even brand names available in the UK and Ireland may taste different when purchased in Italy. Most restaurants offer high chairs but a lot of Italians eat with younger children on their laps so the high chair you get may be more suited to an older child. Baby changing areas can be found in malls, department stores and in some restaurants in the main cities but are lacking in many of the towns and villages so a fold away changing mat is also a must have.
For more see… Baby & Toddler Essentials
When to go
The best months to travel to Italy with a baby or toddler are from April to June and September to October. However, May and June see the highest hotel prices, particularly in Rome. July and August can get unbearably hot and the country tends to go on vacation in August so many family-run hotels, restaurants, and shops are closed (except for the beaches, and islands, where most Italians go). For an average temperature chart click here.
You can fly to Italy from most major airports in the UK and Ireland. Flight time tends to be between 2 and 3 hours to all major Italian airports when flying direct. For tips on the various airlines including weight allowances and policies concerning babies and toddlers click here and for tips on getting airline travel with a baby or toddler click here.
You can take internal flights between all major cities. Trains are more popular than buses for travel around Italy. Italiarail offers both traditional seating and sleeping compartments. For long journeys you can opt to take a night train. Usually trains are accessible with a stroller but you will need to stow it at the front of your carriage. Many of the bigger stations around Italy have elevators but you may still find yourself carrying your stroller up and down steps from time to time.
Coaches can also be used for getting around Italy (the train will be a lot faster and more comfortable though). The main coach company operating in Italy is Eurolines and you can book tickets online. On long distance trips you can stow your stroller under the bus.
Driving in Italy with a baby or kids
Once you arrive you will need to remember to drive on your right. Remember to pre book a car seat if possible or else bring your own on the flight. A GPS is also an invaluable tool. Driving in Italy can be a nerve wrecking experience and drivers tend to be a little more aggressive than in the UK and Ireland. On some of the dual carriageways you might find that there is no hard shoulder. Speed limits vary in Italy. On the motorway you can travel at 130 km per hour when it is dry or 110km per hour when it is wet. On other roads the speed limit it 90 km per hour when it is dry and 80 km per hour when it is wet. On an urban highway you can travel at 70 km per hour and In built up areas such as towns and cities the speed limit is 50 km per hour.
A rear facing car seat must be used for babies under 9 lbs. Where a child is under 36 lbs, a car seat with a harness must be used (rear or front facing) and where a child is over 36 lbs a booster seat must be used.
Many restaurants in Italy do not have high chairs or booster seats and even when they do they tend to be the ones with the single bar across the front which are only suitable for older toddlers. When travelling there, remember to take a fold away high chair or travel booster seat. Children’s menus are not common either and you might ask for a half portion of an adult meal. You will be spoiled for choice for food in Italy and will find pasta, pizza, meats, cheeses and desserts that will make your mouth water! The food differs by region and for a gastronomical tour of the country, click here or see our regional sections for more information.