Children are always made welcome in Italy, and the large slice of rural heaven between Rome and Naples known as Ciociaria (pronounce it Cho-cha-ree-a) is good for families looking for outdoor activities in an unspoilt region with beautful weather.
It’s a short drive from Picinisco into the mountains, where the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo offers sightings of deer, chamois, eagles and sometimes wild boar, wolves and bears. Guides to take you around the park can be hired quite cheaply and it’s a good place to get an introduction into the local wildlife. Here, there’s also the deli-come-café, La Betulla, where the park ranger it’s run by will give you an education on the wildlife while you snack.
Apart from the beaches, there are plenty of public swimming pools in the area and horseriding is available at Ponte Melfa and Borgo Castellano.
Don’t miss: At the heart of the National park is Pescasseroli, a mountain town, with great food at A Cavut and a superb bakery, Al Vecchio Forno. In Val Comino, the whole family will love the lively Pan’Unto in Sant’Ella Fiumerapido, which offers delicious gourmet pizzas and where all food is cooked on a big open grill for you to watch.
Where to stay: There’s great family accommodation in the beautiful little hilltop village of Picinisco. Sotto le Stelle (‘under the stars’) is a complex of modern buildings built into exquisite ancient townhouses opening on to the piazza, where there are beautiful views of the valley.
A week at Sotto le Stelle is approximately £1,650 for a family of four.
Travel time: Flights from London are 3 hours and 30 minutes. It’s then 2 hours by car to Picinisco.