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Ultimate Guide to Italy with a toddler

Ultimate Guide to Italy with a toddler

Are you thinking about visiting Italy with a toddler? Let us tell you that Italy with toddlers is a great idea. It is one of our favourite places in the world to visit with children at this age and we have been lucky enough to have traveled around it extensively. In this guide we will tell you where to go in Italy with a toddler, where to stay and the best things to do. 

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Travelling to Italy with toddlers tips and tricks 

What to Pack for Italy with toddlers

The most important thing when packing for Italy with toddlers is to pack for the weather. That means if you are visiting in summer packing lightweight and breathable fabric while you will need more layers for other seasons. 

And we always recommend having enough supplies of things such as diapers, baby formula and other baby care essentials to last you your first couple of days while you work out where to buy all these things in Italy 

Where to Buy Baby and toddler supplies in Italy 

Baby Supplies in Rome / Traveling to Italy with a toddler

Baby Supplies in Rome / Traveling to Italy with a toddler

When we went to Italy with our baby the first time with a baby we were surprised about where best to buy baby supplies in Italy. 

There are two main places to buy baby and toddler supplies in Italy:

  • Supermarkets
  • Pharmacies (or farmacie as it is spelt in Italian).

And we actually have had better and more consistent luck in finding the products we want in the pharmacies more so than in the supermarkets. However you will normally end up paying slightly more at the pharmacies as opposed to the supermarkets but we found this a cost worth paying.

You will normally find a good range of baby formula, including ready made formula bottles which we find really handy in taking out for our toddler for long days out, baby foods such as pouches and we also found they had the best range and most sizes of diapers.

We would however recommend bringing enough diapers to last you a couple of days just to give yourself time to orientate yourself and find your nearest pharmacy or supermarket. 

Can I Use a Stroller in Italy?

Using a Stroller in Italy / Using a stroller in Rome

Using a Stroller in Italy / Using a stroller in Rome

Is Italy stroller friendly? The answer to that is yes and no. One of the best things about visiting Italy is how old it is. But as such the streets were not built for strollers. 

Now whenever I recommend the best stroller for cruise ships or the best stroller for Disneyland I usually recommend using a lightweight umbrella stroller. But for Italy I would say that the opposite is true. Cobbles and Italian streets can really play havoc on your stroller.

Having a stroller with better wheels, better suspension and being more robust will make for a more comfortable ride for your toddler and your stroller is more likely to last the entire vacation.

Should I take a carrier to Italy?

In answer should you take a carrier to Italy with toddlers, I would say if you have one it is probably worth while taking.  One of the best things about visiting Italy is visiting all of the ancient sites such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to name but a few.  

While in many of these places you will be able to take strollers around at least part of the site, it can be difficult to manoeuvre a stroller so we recommend taking a stroller as well as a carrier.

Baby Change Facilities in Italy

One of the things that we found surprising when we went on our first trip to Italy was the lack of baby changing facilities outside of the big tourist attractions. My Roman friend Valeria had warned me about this and had drawn me a handy little map of the places she knew which would be easy to change a baby but they were few and far between. And I would also aside from inside the major tourist attractions the cleanliness and standards of the restrooms were questionable. 

However saying that whenever I have asked a cafe or restaurant owner about changing facilities they have always gone out of the way to make room for me to change the baby or the toddler. 

But I would also advise you to prepare for changes on the go. Have a good travel changing mat with you and get used to changing with limited spaces. With toddlers I would also advise using pull ups rather than tab nappies as these are much easy to pull on and off when you don’t have a changing table. 

How to Put Together an Italy with toddlers Itinerary

When you are looking to put together an Italy with toddlers itinerary I would say plan your time wisely. Italy is an amazing country and you could easily spend your whole time in one location. However there are lots of transport options in Italy, both public and private that make it easy to move around or do day trips from. 

Depending on where you decide to base yourself I would advise either staying in one location and taking some day trips on public transport or otherwise picking two locations and exploring those in depth. 

When traveling with a toddler for a week in Italy I would say either pick one location and do a day trip or pick two locations. I would only start to add in more destinations for an Italy with toddlers itinerary if you have a longer time to spend traveling. 

Best Way to Travel Around Italy with toddlers

The best way to get around Italy with toddlers will really depend on where you are going.

Traveling on Trains in Italy

Trains are a great way of traveling around Italy especially if you are traveling long distances between cities i.e. Rome and Naples to name but a couple. 

IF you are traveling with a toddler on a train in Italy then the good news is that they will travel for free. But the bad news is that they won’t be guaranteed their own city and on a busy train they will be expected to sit in your lap. If you needed them to have their own seat you would need to buy them a ticket. 

Also it is worth noting that on Italian trains you can not take the stroller with you to your seat. All strollers on Italian trains must be folder and put in a luggage rack so it doesn’t cause an obstruction.

Traveling in Cars in Italy

I would only advise hiring a car in Italy if you are traveling outside of the cities. Rome is a beautiful city but is an absolute nightmare to drive around. 

If you decide to hire a car in Italy when traveling with a toddler you will need to bring a car seat with you or hire one with your hire car. We prefer to bring our own with us as we know where it has been and the standard but you will be able to get one from the big hire companies at the airport.

Where to Eat in Italy with toddlers

Where to Eat in Italy with toddlers

Where to Eat in Italy with toddlers

Not all stereotypes are true but the Italian love of babies and families is one that definitely is. We found that whatever restaurant we took our little one to a restaurant in Italy we were welcomed with open arms. But what do you need to know about eating out with toddlers in Italy?

Do restaurants in Italy have High Chairs?

Now the first thing you need to know about eating out in Italy is that not many Italian restaurants will have high chairs. You may find them in some of the more tourist restaurants however these aren’t the places we advise eating at. 

If you are planning on eating out with toddlers in Italy we recommend that you either travel with a portable high chair or get your toddler used to eating on a chair before you travel. 

However it is worth noting that although there isn’t always a high chair provision in restaurants it isn’t because toddlers aren’t welcome. We have never been to a restaurant in Italy where our toddler hasn’t been immediately welcomed and warmly received. 

Do restaurants in Italy have children’s menu?

It may surprise you to know that many restaurants in Italy do not have children’s menus. However I have always found that restaurants are happy to either

  • provide a small plate so your toddler can eat from your plate
  • cook smaller portions for smaller appetites

And let’s face it, unlike other cuisines you don’t really need a children’s menus as what child does not enjoy pizza, pasta and gelato. 

Where to go in Italy with a toddler?

Now you know how to plan your Italy vacation with toddlers, and what to bring with you 

Rome with a toddler

Rome with a baby / Rome with a toddler

Rome with a baby / Rome with a toddler

Rome was the first Italian city we visited with a toddler. It’s a place that we had visited numerous times as a couple which we felt made it easier for us to navigate with a  toddler. 

Rome is a pretty easy place to travel around with a toddler and despite what you may have heard we actually found it relatively easy to wander around Rome with a stroller. Now if you are visiting Rome with a toddler and aren’t constrained to school holidays then we recommend visiting Rome in the shoulder seasons of Autumn and Spring as your toddler will find the weather much easier to come with that Rome in summer. 

We visited many Roman attractions with our little one including the Colosseum, The Forum, Vatican City and more. But our favourite place to visit with toddlers in Rome is the Villa Borghese Park.  

For a complete guide to visiting Rome with a toddler check out our in-depth and detailed post. 

Venice with a toddler

Italy with a toddler / Venice with a toddler

Italy with a toddler / Venice with a toddler

You may thing that the famous and beautiful canals of Venice make the city impossible with toddlers. I wouldn’t say it is impossible but the canals do certainly add an extra challenge to your travel. 

The canals mean lots of bridges which are in many cases stepped rather than ramped which makes it challenging to get around Venice with a stroller. It isn’t impossible but it can be more difficult than in some other Italian cities. for this reason we recommend you think about bringing a combination of stroller and carriers. And a lightweight stroller is obviously a better choice for the bridges where you will either need to carry it up the stairs or to fold it up. 

On top of that there is of course the inherent water challenge. We therefore recommend anyone visiting Venice with toddlers taking a carrier and some toddler backpack reins for safety around the water. 

If you plan on spending more than a day in Venice with toddler we recommend staying in an off canal location to help mitigate the risks.

Some of the best things to do in Venice with toddlers including chasing the pigeons in St MArks Square, visiting the famous bookshop where the books are piled high into steps and of course having a ride in one of the famous Venice gondolas. 

For more information on visiting Venice with toddlers check out our detailed and dedicated post. 

Puglia with a toddler

Puglia with toddlers

Puglia with toddlers

Puglia is one of my favourite places in the while of Italy, not just with toddlers but full stop. Puglia for those that don’t know is in the region in the heel of Italy and is great with toddlers because it has some of the best beaches in the whole of Italy, great food and has some great car free areas such as the beautiful Alberobello.

For an in-depth guide on Puglia with a toddler check out this post. 

Italian Lakes with toddlers

The Italian Lakes with toddlers is a a great choice for toddlers. Both the Lake Garda and the Lake Como region both have toddler friendly towns that are easy to access with a stroller.

This area also has a great choice of family accommodations with several Eurocamp parks available in the region. We also love this area as the pace of life is much slower than in the cities and you can explore easily by foot or by bike with a toddler. 

For an in-depth guide on the Italian lakes with toddlers check out this post. 

Tuscany with toddlers

We love visiting Tuscany, Tuscany is always a good idea. We love staying out in the countryside when we visit Tuscany and there are lots of family friendly accommodations with pools and some great family friendly farm stays. 

Visiting Siena and Florence with toddlers is another great idea but we prefer staying outside and heading to these cities for a day trip. Just be sure to bring a robust stroller with you as the cobbled stones streets in Florence and Siena will ruin a lightweight and cheap travel stroller. 

For more information check out the below guides:

  • Florence with toddlers
  • Siena with toddlers
  • Tuscany with toddlers

Amalfi Coast with Toddlers

The Amalfi Coast is beautiful but not necessarily the easiest place to visit with toddlers because not many of the Amalfi towns are stroller friendly. And while the beaches are beautiful many are stony and require lifts to go down to them. 

However saying the you shouldn’t be deterred from visiting the Amalfi Coast with toddlers. Do check out our dedicated guides below:

Cinque Terre with Toddlers

Another place that is top of many people’s Italy bucket list is Cinque Terre. The reason Cinque Terre is beautiful because of all the cliff tops which obviously are a big hazard especially with toddlers. However if you do decide to visit Cinque Terre with toddlers be sure to take a carrier with you as stroller aren’t easy at Cinque Terre.

Both of my toddlers hated being in the carrier which always put us off visiting Cinque Terre. However if your toddlers are ok in the carrier it will be easier. 

Have you visited Italy with toddlers? Where did you go? And if you have any other tips be sure to add them in the comments below as we would love to hear how it was for you.