Giuliana Rancic is best known as a television host on E!, but she wears many hats, including devoted mother to her almost seven year-old son, Duke.
Born in Naples, Italy, she moved to America as a little girl. Recently, Giuliana and her husband Bill shared some of their favorite family vacation tips as they prepared to board the United Airlines inaugural flight from Newark to Naples. They were bringing their son to her birthplace for the very first time and her parents were along for this multi-generational heritage journey.
Italy is one of the most kid-friendly cultures in the world and Naples is particularly beautiful and historic. I left Naples and moved to America when I was around the same age that Duke is now. In many ways, the city hasn’t changed since I was a little girl.
It’s a long way to Italy, but United’s new flight makes the prospect of the trip less stressful. It’s the only nonstop flight to Naples from the U.S. The comfort of getting on one plane, with no connecting flights, won us over.
My parents both come from large families and many of our relatives still live in Naples. I have 40 first cousins! We’ve shared family stories with Duke ever since he was a baby. We want him to have as many authentic Italian experiences as possible on this trip. My Uncle Enzo is a hairdresser and Duke is looking forward to going to his salon and having his haircut.
We speak to Duke in Italian. We’ve kept some Neapolitan traditions in our home, like the elaborate Christmas Nativity scenes that Naples is famous for. We’ve also exposed Duke to Neapolitan music. The a cappella group Neri per Caso is a family favorite.
Food is amazing in Italy and Duke has been exposed to the cuisine since he was a baby. My mother is a fabulous cook and we own several restaurants in Chicago and Washington, D.C. In fact, some of her recipes are featured on our menu at RPM Italian in both cities.
Duke travels with us frequently. We believe in experiential travel that delves into local culture. We always plan a scavenger hunt in each new city as a fun way to get him acquainted with a destination.
We love to visit cities that are good for walking. It’s great to be out of the car and exposed to local street life. Plus, there’s less temptation to use a screen when you’re on foot.
Let your kids be part in the vacation planning process. If they participate in the decisions from the start, they’ll take ownership and be more invested in the trip.
As told to Allison Tibaldi