Reasons why Italy is perfect for family trips
Gretta Schifano writes about family travel as a journalist and on her award winning website Mums Do Travel. Gretta’s children are now 16 and 12 years old and here she explains why she’s always loved going to Italy for family trips.
“We’re based in the UK and we’ve visited Italy for our family holidays more than we’ve visited any other country. The reason that we go to Italy so often isn’t just because we have lovely friends and relatives there (my husband is a London-born Italian and I once worked as an English teacher in Piedmont). We choose to go to Italy because it’s the perfect place for holidays with children. Here’s why.
Italians love kids
I realise that this is a generalisation and that there must be some Italians who can’t stand kids but……Italians adore children. In my experience, children and babies are welcome everywhere in Italy from restaurants to hotels to bars to museums. I’ve even been at Italian restaurants where crying babies have been whisked off to be cooed over in the kitchen while their parents eat. At Villa Pia families with children are definitely very welcome.
Italians respect mothers
When I first became a Mum I found that sometimes I felt invisible. But I’ve never felt invisible as a Mum in Italy: mothers are hugely respected there. Once in Sicily I ate a delicious meal at a family-run agriturismo (a kind of farm restaurant). At the end of the meal the chef, a cheerful, sixty-something lady, joined us at our table. She sat down, smiled and pronounced, proudly: ‘Io sono la madre’ which means ‘I am the mother’. She was telling us that she was the centre of this family, this meal and this farm. She expected, and received, approval and compliments just for being ‘the mother’.
If you like your children to eat fresh, healthy, seasonal food then take them to Italy because that’s how Italians seem to eat most of the time anyway. If your children are fussy eaters then restaurants tend to cook everything from scratch and are happy to leave out particular ingredients and adapt dishes as required. And in Italy there will always be something delicious on offer which your children will eat – I’ve never met a child who doesn’t like pasta or pizza or home-made gelato or sorbet!
You’re never far from something of cultural or historical importance wherever you go in Italy – your children are bound to absorb something useful to their education just by being there. Entire Italian cities and swathes of countryside seem to be designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. There are ancient remains of things all over Italy and sometimes you come across them without even looking for them: I saw a Roman mosaic in a dusty pavement on a trip to Italy last year.
Geographically Italy is a varied and beautiful country. There are many different types of beaches along its coastline and there are mountainous areas from the Alps in the North to Mount Etna (Europe’s largest active volcano) in the South. Tuscany and Umbria are famous for their gentle, rolling countryside as are Lombardy and Piedmont for their spectacular lakes.”
To book your holiday at Villa Pia visit our bookings page
All images via Villa Pia, apart from ‘Italian mum’ source: Pinterest