Italy With a Baby or Toddler – A Mom in Italy Explains It All

Are you thinking about visiting Italy but wondering if it’s doable with a baby or toddler?

Don’t hesitate – book the tickets!  Italy is a wonderful place to travel with babies and young children. 

How do I know?  I’ve lived and traveled extensively in Italy with my babies and toddlers.  I’ve also guided family cycling, hiking and cultural trips throughout Italy, and I’ve planned countless family vacations here. 

Like anywhere you visit, travel in Italy has its pluses and minuses.  Facilities in Italy aren’t as set up for babies as they are in some other countries, but Italians love babies and toddlers and you can experience a lot here with a little one in tow!

First trip to Italy? 10th? Either way, check out our 200+ Essential Italy Travel Tips!

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Why You Should Visit Italy With a Baby or Toddler

Boy walking at beach in northern Sardegna, Italy.
Beach time in Sardegna

Italians love children!  You’ll find them helpful and kind when you’re traveling around with your kids. 

Family travel can be incredibly rewarding for young and old.  Sure, babies and toddlers probably won’t remember the trip, but their smiles and laughs are memories for the adults.

I love traveling around Italy with babies because you have to sloooow down.  You can’t zip around from place to place, checking things off your list.  You savor the little moments (like having a picnic in an olive grove), you’ll notice new things (like gorgeous wildflowers your baby found), and you’ll get to know the place you’re in a little more (like which Italian cornetti taste best at the corner café in the morning).

It’s easy to travel in Italy with a baby and you can see and do what you want.  See museums, go to the beach, go for walks in vineyards or the mountains.  Sure, you’ll need to make sure you get nap time in and you won’t be able to ride roller coasters at Gardaland, but you won’t have many limitations with a baby in tow.

Walking and active toddlers are a little more difficult, but if you pick the right places, Italy can be a blast with them as well.

Why You Shouldn’t Visit Italy With a Baby or Toddler

Elegant dinner table at a restaurant in San Miniato, Italy.  Not a great place to bring a baby or toddler during your trip to Italy.

While Italy is a very baby and toddler-friendly country, there are a few things that may make your trip to Italy more challenging:

You have a baby that follows a strict sleep schedule and doesn’t sleep well in a stroller. 

You want to do a lot of dining at Michelin star or fancy restaurants. 

You want to climb Italy’s towers.  There’s often an age minimum (although if you have a partner you can trade off).

You want to cycle in Italy.  Yes, you can use a trailer, but outside of the incredible Dolomites valley bike paths, I wouldn’t recommend cycling with a baby trailer.   The roads are too narrow and curvy and there are too many inexperienced drivers (visitors) on the roads.

You’re looking for easy things that are baby or toddler-focused.  While there are plenty of fun things to do with your baby or toddler, the activities aren’t usually focused on them.  For example, you’ll find a few children’s museums in Italy, while I see them everywhere in the US. 

When to Go to Italy With a Baby Or Toddler

The carousel in Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, Italy is fun for babies and toddlers.

The spring and fall seasons are best, especially if you want to spend time outdoors.  I recommend May, June, September, and October for Italy travel with young kids.

Trying to decide when to visit Italy? Check out our monthly guides:
Italy in January
Italy in February
Italy in May

Italy in June
Italy in October
Italy in December

Of course, winter’s a good season if you want to visit Italy’s mountains. The Dolomites are very baby and kid-friendly in the winter (and summer).

I’d avoid rainy early spring (typically March and April) as it’s a pain to wander around with an umbrella with kids. 

I’d also avoid summer if possible. Summers in Italy can be very hot, which can be unpleasant and even dangerous for a baby or toddler.

What To Do In Italy With a Baby or Toddler

Toddler playing in Piazza Pitti in Florence, Italy.

Some of our family’s favorite baby and toddler activities in Italy include:

  • Zoos
  • Aquariums
  • Farms
  • Beaches
  • Lakes
  • Parks and playgrounds
  • Children’s museums
  • Mountain walks
  • Trying new foods
  • Crawling around in a piazza
  • Watching people from an outdoor café

Where to Go in Italy With Young Kids

Mother, father, and two small sons standing in front of trulli in Alberobello, Italy.
Exploring Alberobello in Puglia

The best places to visit in Italy with little ones:

Tuscany – Stay at an agriturismo and have a relaxing countryside holiday.  You’ll find plenty of things to do in Tuscany! Swim in the pool, go wine tasting, let baby play outdoors. Pet animals on a farm. Visit beaches – we love visiting Forte dei Marmi – it’s a perfect place to spend time with small kids. Tuscan villages are also perfect stops for babies and toddlers – Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, and Cortona, to name a few.

Florence – Visit some of the world’s best museums (The Accademia, The Uffizi) with your baby in a stroller or carrier.  Toddlers will enjoy time at the playgrounds with other children and eating gelato!

Puglia – Explore the unique towns of Alberobello, Ostuni, and Martina Franca. Play at the child-friendly beaches.

Sardegna – This island has some of our favorite beaches in Italy. All around the island you’ll find gorgeous beaches with shallow, clear-blue, gentle water. Perfect for little kids. 

Dolomites – Forget the (beautiful) chaos of Italy. The Dolomites are organized and tidy. We love their family hotels, well-marked hikes, and huts with facilities for kids (play areas, delicious food, animals to pet).

Cycle the area’s valley bike paths with your baby or toddler in a trailer or hike as a family on the Alpe di Siusi.

Bonus – the Dolomites (and towns/cities in Northern Italy) have the best playgrounds in the country.

Rome – Rome is easier with a baby (vs toddler) because you can plan to see museums and explore how you’d like.  It’s a little more challenging with a toddler, but ok if they’re fine spending time in the stroller.  You won’t get bored in Rome with kids:

  • Visit the children’s museum
  • Watch the starlings in the evening
  • Let your kids run around in the piazzas and markets like Campo de’ Fiori. Babies and toddlers will love the colors and action. 
  • Ride a bike in the Villa Borghese Gardens
  • Walk or cycle on the Appian Way

Visiting in Rome in the summer?  Be careful of heat in exposed places like the Roman Forum.

Lake Garda – An excellent destination for kids of all ages. It’s an easy place to travel with little ones. Your stroller will love the flat, well-paved paths on the lake and you’ll appreciate the easy beach access and kid-focused theme parks like Legoland Water Park.  The area has some of Italy’s best baby and toddler-friendly hotels.

Sicily –  As long as you’re not traveling in the heat of summer, Sicily can be a nice place to bring a baby or toddler. Just don’t try to see everything – it’s a big island and you’ll exhaust yourself (and your baby!).

Hang out in Taormina – exploring the town, people watching on its terrace, and playing at the beach below the town.

We also love Siracusa – it’s compact and easy to visit with kids. They’ll love the market, playing at the beach, and running around in Piazza Duomo in the evening.

Italian Lakes – Besides Lake Garda, there are plenty of other places in the Italian Lakes to visit.

Both Lake Como and Lake Maggiore have beautiful villas with gardens to visit with your little ones, and toddlers love traveling on the lakes on ferries.

We love visiting Isola Bella and Stresa on Lago Maggiore and exploring the town center of Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta.

Not as convenient to visit with babies and toddlers:

Mom and toddler in Venice, Italy.  You can see the canal and palazzi in the background.
Venice can be challenging with a baby or toddler

Venice – If you need to travel with a stroller, Venice isn’t the best. You’ll need to carry your stroller up and down some of the stairs over the bridges. Also, if you have a walking toddler, you’ll need to watch him/her carefully around the canals – there are no fences or railings!

That being said, we love visiting Venice with our babies and toddlers and they love it too! They enjoy riding in the ferries, seeing the glass blowing demos, and looking at the colorful glass products in the shop windows. There are a few playgrounds and you can even go to the beach.

When we go to Venice with little ones, I bring a light umbrella stroller.

Cinque Terre – I wouldn’t recommend Cinque Terre with a baby, but if you really want to go, it’s best to hike the trails with a baby backpack.  We’ve been with an infant and found the most enjoyable thing to do was take a boat trip along the coast and eat outside in Vernazza and play on its sandy beach.

Amalfi Coast – There are so many stairs! And, while you can go to the beach (Positano, I’m lookin’ at you), I’d save this area for a baby or toddler-free visit. It’s much more doable and fun with older kids or teens.

Matera – Like the Amalfi Coast, there are so many steps! If you want to visit Matera, bring a baby carrier. And avoid the summer if you want to head out into the Natural Park – it’s too exposed and hot.

Check out some of our guides to Italian destinations with kids:
Alpe di Siusi with Kids
Dolomites with Kids
Lucca with Kids
Montalcino with Kids
Orvieto with Kids
Sirmione (Lake Garda) with Kids
Venice with Kids

Check out some of our other guides to Italian destinations with kids:
Dolomites with Kids
Lucca with Kids
Montalcino with Kids
Orvieto with Kids
Sirmione (Lake Garda) with Kids
Venice with Kids

General Italy Baby Tips

Family walking with stroller on Via Tornabuoni in Florence, Italy during the Christmas period.

Book open-jaw flights to avoid unnecessary travel time in the car or on a train.

Bring a scarf or muslin blanket.  They’re handy for burp cloths, sleeping shades, picnic blankets, and protecting baby from dirty floors. 

Keep nap times and bedtimes similar to your home schedule.

Find restaurants with early dining times or have dinner at your accommodation.  Italians eat late, and the further south go, the later they eat.  If your family usually eats early (5:00 or 6:00 pm), you can always have a merenda (snack) or aperitivo.

Don’t be afraid to ask to go ahead in line.  Italians will usually offer, but if not, smile and ask.

Bring a stroller and baby carrier if you can.  We also sometimes use a baby backpack, especially for hikes in the Dolomites or other Italian mountain areas (but you can also use a baby carrier).

Bring a changing pad and don’t be shy about finding a place to change your baby.  Baby changing facilities are rare in Italy. In a pinch, you can use the muslin blanket I mentioned above.

Try not to run out of any essentials like diapers or baby formula.  You can’t make a late-night Target run here!  Store and pharmacy hours are limited – many close for lunch and on Sundays.  So, if you’re running low on diapers, grab some at the supermarket while you’re there.

Babies aren’t charged for museum or transport tickets.

Avoid traveling around too much.  Packing and unpacking with a baby can be tedious! 

Bring activities for a toddler during downtime at the hotel or while waiting for food at restaurants. We love Wiki Stix, coloring activities, and small books. Print and pack our printable map of Italy for kids!

Strollers in Italy

Stroller on a trail in the Dolomites in Northern Italy.  You can see the town of Fie allo Sciliar in the distance.  The grass is green on either side of the trail.

Bring a stroller with big enough wheels for Italy’s cobblestone streets. Make sure your stroller is easily foldable if you’ll be using public transport. 

Don’t bring a side-by-side double stroller.  Sidewalks are too narrow, and it won’t fit through the doorways of shops. You’ll also have trouble finding a place by a table in restaurants. 

Make sure your stroller reclines.  You’ll want your baby to be able to nap in the stroller while you’re out exploring.

What I Use In Italy: I bring a double stroller (City Select Lux with the bench seat) if we’ll be walking a lot and I know my 4-year-old may get tired.  I also use it if we’re covering a lot of ground, if I know my baby will need to sleep (it reclines and is comfortable), or if I need the storage space underneath during the day. 

Is my double stroller large/long – yes.  Does it stop me from going anywhere – no.  You can enter almost anywhere – the Colosseum, the Uffizi, in restaurants, on ferries and trains.  If a stroller isn’t allowed (like at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City), there will be a place for you to check it outside. 

For quick trips, I use a sturdy umbrella stroller (Inglesina).  The wheels are smaller, so they aren’t super comfortable on cobblestones. 

Breastfeeding in Italy

I have breastfed three babies here without any problems.

Italians are very kind and supportive of breastfeeding. 

You can breastfeed anywhere in Italy!  The downside is if you don’t feel comfortable with that – there aren’t really dedicated breastfeeding areas.

Eating in Italy With a Baby or Toddler

Display of gelato in Italy.
Gelato for lunch – why not?

Restaurants don’t typically have kids menus. Instead, let your baby have some of your food or order a mezza porzione (half portion) for your little one.

You can order simple dishes and foods:

  • pasta in bianco – plain pasta with oil or butter
  • pasta al pomodoro – pasta with a simple tomato sauce
  • pasta al pesto – pasta with pesto
  • verdure lesse – boiled vegetables
  • patatine – french fries
  • cotoletta alla milanese – breaded and fried veal cutlet 
  • gelato

Restaurants and bars will help heat up water or milk. 

Restaurant hours aren’t continuous.  The norm has been 7:30 pm as the earliest seating but restaurants are catching on that many tourists prefer to eat earlier.  Ask around and you’ll likely find a pizzeria, trattoria, or other restaurants open at 7:00 pm (or even earlier in larger cities).

Carry your own plastic cup or sippy cup and baby silverware if you prefer.  You can also ask for a cucchiaino (koo-kyeye-EE-noh) – a little spoon.

Upscale restaurants in Italy are quiet.  If your baby cries a lot, it would be courteous to save your fine dining for another trip.

If it’s a tiny restaurant, you may need to leave your stroller in a corner or storage area.

Where to Stay With a Baby in Italy

When traveling with a baby or toddler, your accommodation choice can make or break your trip!

I always recommend staying ‘in the action.’ If you’re visiting a city, stay in the center. If you’re visiting the beach, stay on or very close to the beach. Avoid unnecessary transport with little ones!

Good To Know: You can usually rent a crib or pack-n-play.  I would not recommend bringing your own travel cot unless you’ll be in one place for your entire trip.

In Italy, you’ll find a variety of accommodation, including:

  • hotels
  • apartments
  • agriturismi
  • villas
  • rifugi
  • hostels
  • masserie
  • trulli
  • B&Bs
  • convents/monasteries
  • campgrounds
  • overnight trains
  • overnight ferries

When visiting Italy with a baby or toddler, the best choices are usually:

Apartments

If you want to have a kitchen and laundry, apartments are your best bet.  Always make sure they have safety equipment like smoke alarms.  You may feel better renting from an insured accommodation provider.  For example, some hotels offer apartments along with typical hotel rooms.

Good To Know:  You need to let the hotel/apartment/agriturismo know you are traveling with a baby, even if baby will sleep in bed with you.

Agriturismi

An agriturismo (plural agriturismi) used to be a working farm holiday. Now, it’s a countryside holiday, and it’s perfect for families. Agriturismi are in a natural setting, often with outdoor play areas and swimming pools. They sometimes have farm animals you can visit, cooking classes, or other special activities.

Hotels

Hotels are easy, no-fuss options. You always have someone at the front desk if you need something, they’re insured and have safety precautions in place, they have a full staff, and often have restaurants, breakfast, and play areas.

Good To Know: Some of the best kid-friendly hotels in Italy are in the Lake Garda area and the Dolomites.

Good To Know:  Most accommodation doesn’t have bathtubs, but it’s always worth asking!  If your hotel or apartment only has a shower, you can usually wash your baby in the sink.

Transport in Italy With a Baby

Rental Car

Unless you will only be in large cities (easily connected by train), I would recommend renting a car.  You can pack all of your baby gear in your rental car, you can be more flexible with your timing, and you can stop wherever you want.   Read our Complete Guide on Renting a Car in Italy.

Car seats are required for rental cars.  You can rent one through the rental car company or bring your own.

If you travel by Autostrada (main toll roads), you can visit roadside stops without exiting.  You’ll love the Autogrill, an all-in-one place that has gas, toilets, restaurants, bars, and markets.  The bathrooms are well-maintained and clean. It’s a perfect place to change a baby or let a potty-training toddler go to the bathroom. 

Need to rent a car? I recommend checking out consolidators like DiscoverCars.com and AutoEurope.com for a round-up of the best deals from Italy’s principal rental car companies.

Public Transport

Mother and toddler on train in Italy.

Italian Trains With a Baby

You don’t need to book a seat for a baby or toddler.

Strollers need to be folded up and placed in the luggage area, or a designated area for strollers.

If you’re able to manage your luggage, trains can be a lot of fun for toddlers.

Italian Buses With a Baby

You don’t need to book a seat for a baby or toddler.

On city buses, you can bring your stroller onto the bus. On long-distance buses or buses to/from the airport, you’ll need to fold up and store your stroller underneath the bus with the luggage.

Italian Ferries With a Baby

You must have your baby’s passport to board the ferry. If you are bringing your car, remember to bring anything you’ll need for the journey with you when you leave the parking level. You won’t be able to return to your car during the trip.

If you’re traveling on an overnight ferry, book a cabin.

The larger ferries have play areas for kids.

Health and Safety In Italy With Babies and Toddlers

Baby in a carrier picking an apple in Italy.

Car seats – If you bring your own, make sure it’s approved by European standards.  Italian law says that young kids must be in a car seat.  Read more about car seats in Italy.

Allergies – Have a printed allergy card, especially for food allergies. For allergies to medicines, make sure you have your doctor give you the name of the ingredient(s) as brands are often different here.

Stay hydrated – If you need water refills, many Italian cities have free public water fountains with potable water. 

Pool safety – Pool fences are not required by law. Pools may or may not have lifeguards.

Safety barriers – You won’t always find railings, safety barriers, or safety warnings. For example, there may be a steep drop-off at an archaeological site. Always watch your little ones closely.

Germs and touching – Italians love touching babies and little kids – on the cheek, on the arm, on the forehead.  If this bothers you, just put up a barrier like your hand or a stroller shade.  I find that sometimes the person will get offended, but I’d rather offend someone than have their germs on my baby’s cheek.  Note:  COVID has eased this a bit, but it still happens.

Slippery floors – If you have a walker, bring non-slip socks or slippers for indoor floors.  Wall-to-wall carpet doesn’t exist here. 

Crosswalks – Legally, drivers in Italy must stop to let pedestrians cross at crosswalks, but that is rarely the case.  Instead, you’ll need to look both ways and wait for the drivers to stop before you make your way into the road.

Buying Baby Products and Supplies in Italy

Where to Buy Diapers in Italy

You can buy diapers in Italy at the pharmacy (farmacia) or grocery store (supermercato). Diapers at grocery stores are less expensive but pharmacies are often more conveniently located. 

You will find well-known brands like Pampers and Huggies (although they aren’t necessarily the exact diaper style of your home country), grocery store brands (Coop, for example), or lesser-known Italian brands (like Trudi). 

Of diapers available in stores (vs online), I prefer Pampers Progressi.  I’ve used them for all three of my children.  They’re thin, rarely leak, and hold a lot of urine. 

I have experimented with ‘natural’ diapers here and love Lilydoo but they’re only available online.  I haven’t found any natural diapers from stores that have worked well for us.

Good To Know:  Grocery stores in Italy carry baby food, body products (like lotion and shampoo), diapers, and wipes.

Where to Buy Baby Formula in Italy

If you can, I highly recommend you bring your baby’s preferred formula from home. 

Even though we have formula here in Italy, it’s different than what your baby is used to. Your baby may have tummy issues from the change or reject it because of the taste.

If you need to buy formula here, I would recommend stopping in a pharmacy to discuss your baby’s age and needs with the pharmacist. 

Where to Buy Baby Baby Food in Italy

You can buy jarred baby food (or pouches) at the pharmacy or grocery store (less expensive).  You can find a variety of foods including:

  • Meats (beef, veal, turkey, chicken, lamb, pork, horse, rabbit, fish)
  • Cheeses (mixed cheeses, ricotta)
  • Vegetables (beans, green beans, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, potatoes, peas)
  • Fruits (apples, pears, bananas, prunes, berries)
  • Combinations (for example, beef with zucchini, ricotta with carrots and peas)

The main baby food brands are Mellin and Plasmon.

If you’re weaning your baby, know that traditionally, the first food for babies is a vegetable soup with olive oil and parmigiano (parmesan cheese).  You can’t order this off of a menu in Italy, but you can order boiled vegetables, mash them with a fork, and add olive oil and parmigiano.

Italy sells organic baby food – it’s marked as bio or biologic. HIPP is a brand you’ll find in many places, along with grocery stores’ organic brands.

Puffs and baby ‘snacks’ are just entering the Italian market.  You’ll mainly find baby cookies (biscotti) made by the brands Mellin and Plasmon. 

Where To Buy Baby Medicine in Italy

You can buy medicines for your baby in the pharmacy. 

If you have medicine you know your baby prefers, bring it from home.  I actually bring baby Tylenol from the United States because my kids seem to like it better.

If you end up needing to buy medicine while you’re here, you can bring your prescription or the generic name to the pharmacist.  Or, you can describe your baby’s symptoms, and often the pharmacist can give you something. 

Good To Know:  Pharmacies in Italy have a baby section with diapers, wipes, baby toys, pacifiers, baby shampoo, etc.   

Where To Buy Baby & Toddler Clothing in Italy

You can easily spend your mortgage payment on kids’ clothing in Italy.  Italians love to dress well and love to dress their kids well. 

If you love adorable kids’ clothing, you’re in the right place.  All major Italian cities and most towns have baby clothing boutiques with trendy, high-quality, beautiful products.

If you’re looking for less-expensive duds, check out chains like:

  • H&M
  • Zara
  • Primark

You can also find clothing at:

  • Chicco (baby store)
  • Prenatal (baby store)
  • Benetton Kids
  • Rinascente (department store)
  • Coin (department store)
  • OVS (chain with Target-quality clothing)

Packing List – Babies and Toddlers in Italy

Woman with baby in carrier at the Uffizi in Florence, Italy.
Baby carriers come in handy in Italy

Packing for a baby or toddler can be stressful. It feels like you need to bring everything! Luckily, you can buy all basics here in Italy, but we don’t necessarily have the same brands. So, if your baby or toddler prefers certain body products, medicines, etc, it’s best to bring them from home.

For more details about what to bring to Italy for your little ones, check out our Packing List for Italy with a Baby or Toddler.

  • Stroller – see above
  • Baby carrier – we use an Ergobaby Omni 360.
  • Baby clothes for the season
  • Swimsuit or swim diapers
  • Breastfeeding supplies
  • Formula-feeding supplies
  • Medication
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Nail clippers
  • Body soap
  • A little bit of laundry soap
  • Portable high chair – I don’t carry one with me, but I know other moms who do
  • Bag with a zipper to carry diapers and baby supplies while you’re out.  I have used a diaper bag in the past but currently use a small Fjallraven backpack.
  • Carseat – if you’ll be renting a car, bring your own or rent one with your car
  • Comfort objects – it could be a blanket, a nightlight, or a special stuffed toy
  • Baby-proofing equipment for accommodation
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Passport
  • Copy of Birth Certificate

Italy With a Baby – Helpful Words & Phrases

Child running at a playground in Sardegna, Italy.
ItalianEnglish
pannolinidiapers
lattemilk
scaldareto heat up
caldohot
freddocold
posto privatoprivate location
allattareto breastfeed
dormireto sleep
pisolinonap
merendasnack
ha famehe/she is hungry
lo/la devo cambiareI need to change him/her
dov’è…?where is…?
il bagnothe bathroom

FAQ