Italy is one of our all-time favourite countries for summertime family travel. Apart from kid-pleasing cuisine – pasta with butter & Parmigiano-Reggiano, rainbow-hued gelato, and irresistible Italian pastries – the country’s geography is spectacular. We’ve spent the past decade exploring rural Italy from the Maremma in Southern Tuscany to the Dolomites in the country’s northeast. Within this part of the country, here are some of the best rural places to visit in Italy with kids in the summer, along with suggested activities and places to stay. This article contains three sections – Seashore for ocean lovers, Lakes focusing on the Italian Lakes, and Italy’s Dolomite Mountains. At the end of the article, you’ll find a Google Map featuring the best rural places to visit in Italy with kids, along with the nearest cities, recommended hotels, and suggested activities.
The Italian Maremma
The warm Tyrrhenian Sea (part of the Mediterranean) splashes the sun-soaked beaches of the Maremma on the western coast of Italy. The Italian Maremma is located a few hours drive north of Rome or south of Florence. If you are visiting either of these Italian cities, plan a trip to the magnificent Maremma.
Here you can explore the vast Natural Park of Maremma (Parco Maremma) with its 25 kilometres of coastline, soak up the sun and Italian lifestyle at a beach club where you reserve chairs and umbrellas for the day, and wander through one of the seaside towns like Castiglione della Pescaia.
Where to Stay – Italian Maremma
Stay at L’Andana, recognized as one of the best luxury resorts in Tuscany, located 20 km from Grosseto, Italy and a few minutes outside of Castiglione della Pescaia. L’Andana offers dining options including Michelin-starred Trattoria Enrico Bartolini, an ESPA spa, outdoor pools, and a kids club.
The major Italian Lakes (Como, Maggiore, Lugano, Garda, and Iseo) are located two hours or less by car from Milan. Each lake is different, and you can’t go wrong, in my opinion. The Italian Lakes are magical and one of the best rural places to visit in Italy with kids during the summer.
I recommend exploring the lake (or lakes) of your choosing from the water. Hire a private boat and driver, hop on a public ferry, or book a sightseeing tour. Bougainvillea-covered estates, pastel-coloured lakefront villages, and olive groves climbing the hillsides are just a few of the highlights.
After sightseeing, sip an Aperol Spritz while your kids splash around in the pool. For an unforgettable pool experience, stay at Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como, where the outdoor swimming pool floats in Lake Como.
At the Italian Lakes, the beach also beckons. At lakeside Castello del Sole Beach Resort on Lake Maggiore, soak up the sunshine at the private beach, cruise along the shore on a SUP, and share a family lunch at beachside Ristorante Spiaggia.
Where to Stay – Italian Lakes
On Lake Como, stay at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como, located only 5 km from Como. For impeccable service, extensive family offerings including Club Ragazzi kids club, and Living Circle Luxury stay at Castello del Sole Beach Resort and Spa on Lake Maggiore. Located in the Swiss part of Lake Maggiore, Castello del Sole Beach Resort and Spa isn’t technically in Italy, but it feels like it.
The Italian Dolomites
Our first Italian mountain experience with the kids inspired us to return to the Dolomites each summer. Firstly, the well-stocked alpine huts throughout the region allow for lighter daypacks. Secondly, family and stroller-friendly hiking trails cater to all ages and stages.
Finally, alpine playgrounds and themed trails keep kids smiling for miles.
Read more about why the Dolomites are one of the best rural places to visit in Italy with kids during the summer here.
Where to Stay – Italian Dolomites
There are many villages throughout the Italian Dolomites. We like to stay at Hotel Rosa Alpina in the pedestrian-friendly village of San Cassiano. This property is undergoing an extensive renovation and will reopen in 2024. Another favourite spot is Hotel La Perla in Corvara, a village in the Sellaronda hiking and biking region.
Travel Tips – Best Rural Places to Visit in Italy with Kids in the Summer
- If you are planning to visit Italy, be sure to read about the best places to visit in Italy with Kids (Urban Edition). This article includes suggested activities and places to stay in Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice.
- We travel through rural Italy in a rental car. The train is another option for part or the entire family trip through rural Italy. If you plan to travel by train, read these tips on family train travel in Europe.
- These tips for hiking and biking in the Alps will help you prepare for exploring rural Italy during the summer.
- It is often sunny in the Italian Dolomites, but this region is cooler than the Italian Lakes and Maremma. Pack layers of clothing, e.g. 1/4 zips, t-shirts, and hiking pants with removable legs. Summer temperatures average 66 degrees during the day and 50 degrees at night.
Have you traveled through rural Italy with kids in the summer? I’d love to hear about your favorite rural places to visit in Italy with kids.
Photo credits Luxe Travel Family unless otherwise noted.