Are you planning to take a trip to Italy with your baby or toddler? If so, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by all the things you need to consider.
Which destinations are easiest to visit with a baby or toddler? Will it be easy to find baby supplies in Italy? How can I make sure my little one stays safe and happy while traveling?
Don’t worry! With a bit of planning and preparation, you can have an amazing experience exploring Italy with your family.
We spent three wonderful months traveling around Italy. Our daughter was 2 and a half years old. She was toilet-trained but she still slept in diapers for her naps and overnight.
So we will share all our best tips, together with info on what to expect and where to find supplies to help make your trip as stress-free as possible.
Let's dive into what you need to know before jetting off on your adventure!
Is Italy Baby-Friendly (Or Toddler-Friendly)?
As a mom who spent three months traveling around Italy with my toddler (and two older kids), I can confidently say yes – Italy is an amazing place for families with little kids!
Families make up a vital part of the Italian culture and kids are celebrated and embraced everywhere.
From accommodating restaurants and easy access to open spaces for them to explore, navigating the country with a young one was effortless.
We even found many local attractions providing plenty of fun activities tailored to kids, which made our stay extremely enjoyable and memorable.
Restaurants will typically gladly rearrange things to make space for the stroller and accommodate fussy toddlers with easy meals.
All this makes Italy an ideal destination for baby-friendly family vacations!
Best Time To Visit Italy With a Baby Or Toddler
Visiting Italy any time of year is sure to be a magical experience, but the best time to go and make the most of your Italian holiday is definitely in late spring (May) or early autumn (September-October).
These times are best as you'll be able to enjoy warm days for sightseeing or sunbathing along with moderate temperatures for cool evening strolls.
It is also a great time to go to avoid the crowds (which is why I recommend avoiding peak season from late June to August), which means your toddler will have more room to run around without you stressing about losing sight of him/her in the crowds.
Visiting Italy during this sweet spot between Spring and Summer is truly something special!
What To Pack To Make The Trip Easier
Traveling around Italy with a baby or toddler can be both challenging and rewarding.
It requires taking the time to plan ahead and ensuring you have all the necessary equipment like car seats, booster seats, and strollers; but it is also incredibly fulfilling to share your favorite places with your little one.
Here is some information about what I recommend you pack for your trip to ensure that you get the most out of your time in Italy.
1. A Stroller and a Baby Carrier
We often get asked whether Italy is stroller-friendly, and our answer is … it depends on which destinations you want to visit. Not all places are stroller-friendly.
Firstly you will need a stroller that has big enough wheels to handle the cobble-stone streets. You will also need one that is lightweight and easy to fold up – especially important if you plan on using public transport. And a reclining stroller is incredibly helpful so you can keep exploring during nap times.
Keep in mind that you won't be able to bring big strollers into museums, lifts, some shop aisles, or smaller restaurants, so you need something smaller.
We highly recommend the Babyzen Yoyo or BabyJogger City Mini.
Whilst a stroller is a must-have for your trip, we also highly recommend you bring a baby carrier as well. Some destinations have loads of stairs which makes it hard to use a stroller.
We will share more information about where to visit with a baby in Italy further in the post and share our thoughts on the best destinations if you wish to find stroller-friendly places to visit.
2. Car Seat or Booster Seat
A car seat is required if you are renting a car. However, if you plan on using taxis and public transport then you aren't required to have a car seat.
Whilst typically we normally encourage parents to bring their own travel car seat so they can use it on the plane, in this instance I don't advise it. In fact, it might even be illegal to use a car seat from US or Australia in Italy.
The fact is that the car seats in Italy are secured differently from what we have here in Australia, and also in the US. In Italy, their seats are secure with an anchor point, as well as two clips at the base of the seat. On top of that, the seat belt goes via a 4-point system to secure the seat.
It is great as the car seat is so much studied in comparison to Australia, but our seat from home would just not work well here.
So your best bet is to hire one when you get to Italy.
If you are traveling with an older child, you could definitely take a booster seat with you, especially if it is a booster seat for travel that just sits loosely on top of the seat to lift the child up higher.
3. Portable High Chair
You might find high chairs in restaurants in Italy, but it is most likely that you won't.
So you will need to find a different way to deal with meal times. One is to of course just feed your child in their stroller. Slightly inconvenient (plus your child might feel slightly excluded from the dinner experience) and definitely messy but totally doable.
My daughter does not enjoy being stuck in a stroller whilst we are all around the table, so this mostly just doesn't work for us.
Another option is to have your little one on your lap and to juggle. We do this a lot as parents, but it is not the most comfortable way to enjoy a meal. And after doing this for all meals, it gets ‘old' pretty quickly.
So my recommendation is to bring a lightweight portable highchair with you.
4. Bottle Warmer & Sterilizer
Unless you opt for accommodation like Airbnb or VRBO where you can get a kitchenette, you will find that it is actually rare to have a kettle and fridge in a hotel room.
So if you plan on staying in hotels, then I recommend you bring a travel-sized bottle warmer and sterilizer with you.
You can also find a range of other handy baby travel gear that will simplify life here.
Finally, remember not to forget important items such as diapers, wipes, bottles/sippy cups, extra clothes, sunscreen, etc … all those things are essential for surviving long days out and about with a toddler!
Best Way To Travel Around In Italy With A Baby/Toddler
Now let's talk about how best to get around in Italy. My personal preference is to have a rental car. A rental car gives you so much freedom to stop when you stop to stop, to stay for as long as you want and to leave attractions when you are ready.
1. Renting A Car
If you're heading out on a road trip, renting a car is an excellent way to stay flexible and cut back on transportation costs.
The one thing I would recommend is that you include a car seat in your car hire. For example, our car seats from Australia won't work here as we only use an anchor point system in Australia.
However here in Italy, they use an anchor system, but they also have two clips to lock the seat onto at the base of the car seat.
We rented a car for 3 months and we found that the car seat wasn't too pricey. Actually, we upgraded our car to a bigger more spacious car and they gave us the car seat for free, so really can't complain.
We always do a price comparison for car rentals on Discover Cars. I also recommend you get the insurance through them as well.
As for tips? Don’t forget also to take plenty of food and snacks on board (especially if you are traveling with an infant). And, bear in mind that there may be times when taking a break is necessary – so plan for those stop-offs!
With some extra preparation, bringing babies or toddlers along will be smooth sailing!
Trains typically allow babies to ride for free without an additional ticket. Certain fast trains may have designated ‘stroller seats' so make sure you look out for those when you book your ticket.
Most trains require strollers to be folded and stored in the luggage rack. Since babies don't have a ticket, they aren't permitted to occupy an empty seat, which means you'll need to hold your baby on your lap.
Buses can get crowded in Italy. I remember once squeezing into a bus that was so fully packed that I thought the closing doors would snap my butt in half. So it can be tricky to use buses as they simply don't have much space for strollers.
While it's not legally required to fold your stroller before boarding, it may be necessary if the bus is too crowded.
Keep in mind that airport buses are typically coaches, which means you'll need to stow your stroller and luggage underneath the bus.
I find it painful to use the bus system in Italy which is why I recommend that you rent a car instead.
Where To Buy Baby Supplies In Italy
When it comes to baby supplies, Italy has plenty of options for parents traveling with a baby or toddler.
Supermarkets (supermercato) and pharmacies (farmacia) are great places to buy diapers, wipes, and other baby-related items.
As a tip, I recommend that you always stock up on your baby supplies when you are in the cities as the towns do not have a big range of baby supplies.
Baby Supplies at Supermarkets
Supermarkets typically have an aisle dedicated to baby supplies. They usually have all your basic baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, formulae, baby foods, soothers, and bottles.
We found that the supermarkets were cheaper in comparison to the Pharmacies, however, in some smaller towns, the only place we could find supplies was in the pharmacies.
The Supermarkets (Ipermercati) located outside of the city center will often have a much larger variety of baby supplies – yet another reason why a car rental in Italy is so beneficial.
Another thing to keep in mind for the Supermarkets is that you can't always rely on their opening hours (more so in smaller towns) and they are often closed for Siesta time, so don't wait till the last minute to get supplies.
Baby Supplies at Pharmacies
Pharmacies are another reliable place to source baby supplies. Definitely where we typically found supplies in smaller towns when the minimarkets didn't have what we needed. They will have diapers, formulae, baby food, wipes, etc.
For more specialized needs, there are also specialized baby stores (in the larger cities) such as Chicco and La Bottega della Gioia that offer a wide range of products from clothes and toys to car seats, cribs, and strollers.
Buying Diapers in Italy
You can buy diapers at either a supermarket (cheaper) or a pharmacy (more expensive). You will see some brands that you recognize such as Pampers and Huggies – although they might not be the exact style and quality as at home, and they are pretty pricey.
There are plenty of other brands available such as Pee&Poo, Chicco, Coop, and Trudi. We often didn't have much choice of brand when we bought diapers in smaller towns, we just had to take the option they had available.
Overall I didn't find that any of the brands were the same quality as what we were used to in Australia, but we managed just to find them regardless.
It is pretty easy to see the sizes as you can simply select the pack of diapers by looking at the kilograms listed clearly on the packet.
Buying Baby Formulae in Italy
First of all, I always travel with as much baby formulae as I can. I know it works for my baby, I know my baby likes it, and I know it doesn't cause any issues with my baby's tummy.
However, we went to Italy for 3 months so at some point or another I knew I would run out of my home supply.
Formulae again are fairly easy to source in Italy and you can find them in Pharmacies in smaller towns. The formulae are organized into stages:
- Stage 1: from birth
- Stage 2: at 6 months
- Stage 3: at 12 months
- Stage 4: at 24 months
We tried a few different types and I'm not sure I found one that I would recommend above the rest, however, Aptamil, Neolatte, and Humana are popular choices.
Top Tip: The food comes in a box with a packet inside which is tricky to travel with. In Australia our formulae come in a tin with a lid that is really secure, so we kept our tin and topped it up with baby formulae from the packet to avoid it spilling everywhere when we moved from one destination to the next.
Buying Baby Food in Italy
It is more typical for Italians to feed their baby home-cooked meals, but you can still find loads of variety of baby food in jars or pouches. You should be able to find jars with meats, cheese, veggies, or fruits or combinations in them.
They also have an organic brand called HIPP that is marked as BIO or BIOLOGIC for parents who prefer serving organic baby food.
You can of course also give older toddlers fresh veggies, fruit, bread, biscotti, yogurt, rice cakes, crackers, and more which are all available everywhere.
Here is some important information. What happens if by any chance something happens with your baby or toddler? What happens if they suddenly get really sick?
From personal experience when things went wrong, the local doctors would not see us. They were only happy to see Italian residents.
The Pharmacies all speak English and they will always help as best they can to give you what you need. So this is a great place to start.
If something more serious is happening, you can always hop over to the hospital as well. My daughter (my teenager) lost a little speaker from headphones in her ear and we took her to the hospital to get it removed.
It was a big day as it took a long time for them to see us – but at least you have the reassurance that this option is available if anything happens.
Breastfeeding & Change Rooms
Breastfeeding in Italy is widely accepted and encouraged. Breastfeeding is also welcomed in restaurants, malls, and other places of business.
In some cities, there are designated Breastfeeding Rooms, which offer mothers a safe and comfortable place to breastfeed or express milk in private. These Breastfeeding Rooms are typically located at museums, supermarkets, and shopping malls. However, it is more typical for towns and smaller cities not to have any of these.
Diaper-changing facilities are pretty rare in Italy. On occasion, you can find them in the larger cities in museums or touristy attraction spots, but it is best not to expect that you will find one.
The best thing to do is to have a portable lightweight changing mat with you at all times and you can easily find a grassy spot to change your little one or even do it in the stroller or on the seat in the back of the car.
Restaurants and Babies or Toddlers
When it comes to taking your baby or toddler out for a meal at an Italian restaurant, there are plenty of options.
Most Italian restaurants are family-friendly and some have high chairs available for little ones. It’s always best to call ahead and ask if they do just in case.
If you're looking for food ideas, pasta with pureed vegetable sauces is often a hit. You can also ask for plain pasta and add the sauce from your own meal if you're feeling adventurous. For younger bubs starting on solids, some boiled vegetables mashed down could be a great choice.
For older toddlers, simple dishes like pizza, garlic bread, or focaccia will usually go down a treat too.
Our youngest enjoys way too many dishes of pasta and butter with the odd occasional Spaghetti Bolognaise. We found some great disposable bibs in the supermarkets, I think it was a pack of like 10 for 2 euros which really helped with the messy tomato-based sauce dishes. (And meant I had to do washing of clothes less often).
Remember to pack snacks and drinks for your little one if you're eating out. Babies and toddlers can often get impatient waiting for the food to come, so it's a good idea to have something on hand to help keep them happy while they wait.
And lastly, don't forget that Europeans eat late. Restaurants only open at 7:30 pm, so this could be an issue for those who like to have their little ones in bed by 5:30-6:00 pm.
Where To Stay In Italy: Hotels or VRBO?
If you prefer staying in hotels vs VRBO in Italy, you should be able to find a hotel that can offer a crib.
So unless you prefer bringing your own travel crib with you, you should be able to find hotels and accommodation rentals at VRBO or Airbnb that can offer you one.
Hotels in Italy with a Baby
If you are staying in a hotel in Italy with a baby or toddler, it's important to keep in mind the occupancy rules.
Most hotels can only accommodate a certain number of people per room, and that includes babies and toddlers. if two people will be staying in the room (even if it is just you and your baby), you'll still need to book a double room.
This can make it tricky when you book your accommodation. And is one of the reasons why I prefer to use VRBO myself.
If you do want to go the hotel route, you should be able to find a hotel that can offer a crib for your stay.
We typically book our hotels for Europe through Booking.com.
Booking A Rental Through VRBO
Another great way to make sure you have the right size room is to book with an online platform like VRBO.
VRBO offers a variety of apartments, villas, and other types of accommodation that can accommodate families of any size – including babies!
This makes it much easier for parents traveling with their little ones to find the perfect place for their stay in Italy.
Plus, VRBO offers a wide range of amenities like pools, kitchens, and more that will make your stay even more comfortable.
We also found that many people were happy to supply a baby crib (mostly free of charge – although we paid a small amount in a few rentals) and sometimes they even gave us a high chair and baby baths as well. Just ask before you book.
We personally prefer booking our rentals through VRBO as we find it cheaper, they offer more space, and often have washing machines and a kitchen area to cook and sterilize bottles.
Click here to start searching for VRBO rentals.
Best Places To Visit In Italy With A Baby Or Toddler
Okay so now that you have all that information you probably feel a lot more confident about heading to Italy with a baby or toddler. So let's talk about the best places to visit in Italy with a baby.
We basically went almost everywhere on our 3-month trip around Italy with our toddler. So can I just say that all places are doable with a little one, it's just that some places are trickier as they are not stroller friendly?
Places such as Venice, Cinque Terre, Matera, and Limone Sul Garda at Lake Garda are not stroller friendly at all. Definitely doable if you have a baby carrier and if you are prepared to carry your little one up and down many stairs.
Sicily with a Baby
Sicily is a great place to go if you are hoping to spend some days on the beach. Taormina is a great option as it has access to some great beaches together with the gorgeous town.
You will find another great beach at San Vito Lo Capo which is perfect for little kids. Other great beaches include Cefalù, Castellammare del Golfo, Sampieri, and Mondello.
Here are some helpful posts to get you started with your planning:
Tuscany with a Baby
The beautiful region of Tuscany is the best place to go with a baby, as it offers plenty of stroller-friendly destinations to explore. Florence and Lucca are both excellent choices for a home base; they provide smooth surfaces for strollers and have lots of playgrounds and restaurants which cater to young children.
Tourists can also discover quaint small towns in the Tuscany region and find plenty of attractions, such as The Leaning Tower of Pisa and The Boboli Gardens.
A visit to Capo Sant’Andrea on Elba Island is also highly recommended! With its baby-friendly travel options and facilities, Italy is sure to make for a memorable trip with your little one.
Here are some helpful posts to get you started with your planning:
Puglia with a Baby
Puglia is often an overlooked region in Italy. It is such a great destination for families. You have a great combination of family-friendly beaches and some gorgeous towns – many of which are car-free meaning your toddler can run free a bit.
You definitely will have to rent a car for Puglia.
Otranto, Alberobello, Martina Franca are all great places to visit with a little one. For beaches, try the beach of San Pietro in Bevagna, the beaches in Gallipoli and Pescoluse, Torre Vado, Torre Pali beaches.
If you are planning some beach days, I highly recommend you bring some baby water shoes along. I really love the ones that are good for both sand and water.
Here are some helpful posts to get you started with your planning:
Traveling with a baby doesn't have to be a daunting task.
Sure, expectations of hassle-free travels are no longer realistic – but that doesn't have to mean that family trips have to be put on pause.
Ultimately, don't forget to have fun and let go of any expectations of perfection – enjoy the beautiful moments that travel with a baby creates!
With proper preparation and tips, traveling with a baby won't be as daunting or stressful as you may think. Trust in yourself and your child – you will both learn something new from this incredible journey.
Whether this is your first Italian odyssey or the next chapter in loving exploration with your children – Make sure to breathe it all in and enjoy each minute!
Looking for more planning resources? You can find all of our Italy blog posts here.