There are infinite things we love about family-friendly Italy, one of which is that it is perhaps Europe’s most versatile destination. Breathtaking scenery? Check. Mouthwatering local wines and cuisine? Check. Beautiful beaches and coastal towns? Check. Abundant cultural and historical sights? Check. Fantastic family stays? Check. Whether you’re craving a quick city trip, a retreat into nature, an extensive road trip or a week of relaxing at the beach, Italy has it all. And one thing is for sure, once you’ve had a taste of this fabulous country, you’ll probably want to extend your trip (or simply book another one for next year). From Rome to Milan, to Venice, Piedmont, the Amalfi Coast, and so on; there are almost too many spots to choose from. In this blog, however, we’ll tell you about the best family activities in Tuscany and Puglia.
The central Italian region of Tuscany is home to some of Europe’s most lush landscapes characterized by picturesque rural villages and endless stretches of vineyard. Tuscany is, however, also known for its history, baroque architecture, and artistic legacy, evident in larger cities, such as Siena and Florence. Here are some of the best family activities in Tuscany, both on and off the beaten track.
Up for a day trip? We’ve rounded up some of the most beautiful spots along the unique Chiantaga road (SS222), known for its breathtaking Tuscan sights and villages.
Start in Greve in Chianti, a stunning town whose structure and architectural features date back all the way to the Middle Ages. We particularly love the main square, Piazza Matteotti, with arcades and ancient-style markets. Make sure to take a peek at the astonishing Town Hall and the Church of Santa Crosa.
Continue along the Chiantaga Road to picturesque Panzano, where you’ll find an ancient castle (Panzano’s highest and oldest structure) with impressive surrounding walls. Through the castle’s single gateway, you’ll find an idyllic square on which stands the Cassero. The Oratory of Saint Euphrosynos and Parish Church of San Leolino are also well-worth a visit. In addition to impressive architecture, Panzano is also known for Vino al Vino, a wine festival, national holiday Festa della Stagion Buona, and renowned butcher Dario Cecchini and his mouthwatering Florentine beefsteak.
These stops are merely the tip of the iceberg on this enthralling route to Florence. Continue your journey and you’ll also encounter charming Castellina, Rada and Gaiole.
TRVLBEES co-founder Emma’s favorite spot along the road is Marchesi Mazzei, a fabulous culinary spot in Chianti that offers cooking lessons, a winery (and wine tours), and two fantastic restaurants, and is famous for its 600-year-old winemaking history. This country-chic gem radiates the authenticity of Tuscan flavors and scents, embodies the Italian farm experience, and incorporates fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. The best part? Mazzei is remarkably family-friendly and has a strong passion for sustainable living.
NOTE: You can easily explore this route in one day.
We wonder what rings a bell when you think of Pisa… That’s right! This beautiful Italian city nestled in the region of Tuscany is known for its famed leaning tower and makes for a perfect afternoon activity. Make sure to stop by the spectacular Piazza del Duomo to admire the ‘Cattedrale di Pisa.’
The centre of stunning Siena is not only distinguished by its medieval brick buildings, but also by its wonderful familial atmosphere. We particularly love Piazza del Campo, the city’s central square. Pick up a mouthwatering gelato from one of many surrounding shops and take some time to marvel at the Gothic town hall and the renowned Torre del Mangia. Spend the rest of the day exploring Siena’s myriad of picturesque streets.
Of course, there are abundant other great spots in the provence of Siena. The charming medieval castle of Monteriggioni presents 14 towers, has an incredibly well-preserved structure, and is located on a vast hill overlooking Cassia Road, thus boasting magnificent views.
Puglia, also known as Apuglia or ‘Italy’s sun-bleached heel,’ is known for its whitewashed architecture, magnificent coastal beauty, and opulent stays. When you’ve had your fair share of Italy’s usual crowds, Puglia is a fantastic alternative. You will love her ancient towns, extravagant churches, and all-encompassing hints of different cultures and ancestors. Continue reading for some of the best family activities in Puglia.
Enchanting UNESCO World Heritage Site Alberobello will make all of your and your little ones’ childhood dreams come true. Alberobello’s radiant, yet cozy structure, reminiscent of that of a smurf village, houses 1500 whitewashed beehive-shaped houses, made of local limestone that dates back to the 14th century. This is a truly unique sight for sore eyes and, hence, also quite popular. We recommend visiting in the morning to avoid large crowds.
NOTE: If you park in Lago Martellotta, head towards Piazza del Popolo, where the Belvedere Trulli lookout boasts a fantastic view of the whole town.
Dazzling Puglia is known for its expansive coastline and picturesque villages that hide abundant cultural sights. We recommend visiting Bari, which not only has an enticing history, but also boasts fantastic views of the Adriatic Sea. Make sure to take some time to marvel at Bari’s signature basilica, Basilica di San Nicola, and to enjoy an afternoon coffee and lemonade at idyllic Piazza Mercantile.
Up for an exciting day trip? Pack a torch and a light jacket and visit the extraordinary underground limestone caves of Grotte di Castellana, discovered in 1938.
Another favorite is the Cathedral of Otranto, built by the Normans in the 11th century. This stunning architectural site is known for its incorporation of various styles, such as Romanesque and Byzantine, as well as impressive mosaic work.