We took the kids to Italy and took family tours in Rome so we could all enjoy some history. The Vanamos family recently returned from a trip to Italy where we visited Rome, the Amalfi Coast, and stayed in a medieval castle carved out of the mountains atop a small village. Because November is off-season for most European destinations and the kids are out of school during the Thanksgiving holiday, we have found this time to be good for travel due to reduced airfares and crowds, discounted hotels and tours, and to minimize missed school time. We like to travel to give our 14-year old daughter and 12-year old son first-hand opportunities to experience differences in time and place. However, after a decade of dragging them around the globe and trying to take a more spontaneous approach to our activities and sightseeing, we have finally come to understand what they like – ice cream – and what they don’t – learning; as directed by Mom and Dad. In order to have an educational and fun experience in Italy for all of us, we knew we were going to have to do something different. Below, we review and recommend several high-quality tours and activities that we enjoyed during our 10 days in Italy:

A COLOSSEUM TOUR FOR KIDS

Everyone has seen the Colosseum in history books, postcards, and The Gladiator movie. The Colosseum tour that we took, offered by Rome Tours with Kids (www.rometourswithkids.com) adds the words to this awesome sight in a way that required our kids to share things that they already knew and inspired them to do some independent learning . . . read more here.

ROME’S CRYPTS, BONES, AND CATACOMBS

Rome was described to us by our guide as a lasagna – you have to dig down through all the layers to get the true flavor. On the “Crypts, Bones and Catacombs” tour, offered by Walks of Italy (www.walksofitaly.com) we got to go underground for a taste of Rome’s religious – and macabre – past . . . read more here.

THE BEST MEAL WE ATE IN ITALY WE COOKED OURSELVES

Sorrento, one of the storied cities of the Amalfi Coast, is known as a romantic honeymoon destination, a playground for the rich and famous, and for its gnocchi. We were not honeymooners nor are we rich and famous, but with the help of Quanto Basta (www.quantobasta.com) settling for the gnocchi never tasted so good. Find yourself an Italian cooking class in Sorrento!

POMPEII: RISEN FROM THE ASHES

Pompeii, the world’s largest and best preserved archeological sight, has emerged from the ashes as one of Italy’s most visited tourist destinations. Tours of Pompeii with Lello & Co. offered a Pompeii tour for kids with a unique glimpse into “a day in the life” of a Roman city, before Mt. Vesuvius covered it in burning pumice stone . . . read more here.

Family Tours in Rome