Italy is unpretentious, good-natured and great for family holidays.
The country with more ancient history than anywhere else on earth wears its antiquity well so you won’t come across precious attitudes.
Even Rome is surprisingly short on ‘roped off’: apart from a few notable exceptions, exploring the city is an involving game for kids – walk the Via Appia Antica and see.
If you want beaches in the mix, the Italian Riviera kicks-off where France stops and has gorgeous Genoa for cities and Cinque Terre for fairy tale villages. On the glorious Tuscan coast little coves, lively resorts and lots of fun activities draw big crowds in summer.
And adorable Amalfi in the south is every bit as stunning and chic as its reputation, but surprisingly easy-going and seaside cute for kids. The country’s small, English speaking, trimmed with some of earth’s loveliest beaches and made for outdoor adventure and gently great fun family holidays.
There are low-cost direct flights all year round from the UK to Sicily, Sardinia and over 20 Italian cities including Florence, Venice, Turin, Naples, Milan and Rome.
Italy has 50 UNESCO World Heritage sites – the highest number in Europe and second highest worldwide.
Dolomiti Superski is fantastic and well-priced for family ski holidays.
Venice Carnival is the world’s oldest and its kids’ event programme is always thrilling and beautifully well-planned.
The Italian Lakes are just an hour’s drive from Milan.
Scala dei Turchi, one of world’s most dramatic beaches, is on the sunny west coast of Sicily.
Neighbouring Tuscany and Umbria contain Florence, Pisa, Siena, Assisi and Perugia – some of the greatest medieval and Renaissance cities in Europe.
Public transport is good in most major cities and there are few historic centres you can’t do on foot. Italy’s regions deserve to be seen in full so hiring a car is a good idea in places like Tuscany and Umbria – essential on the islands. But, if you don’t want to drive, the Italian rail service is one of the best in Europe.