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What experiences were most memorable for your kids?

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Sep 25th, 2017, 04:13 PM
  #1
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What experiences were most memorable for your kids?

We’re considering our family’s first trip to Italy next June. My kids will be 11 and 14 next summer. As I’m early in our planning, I’m first wondering what locations or experiences were most memorable, fun, interesting or exciting for your children? What did you do or see that they thought was awesome? Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!
allieinnj is offline  
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Sep 25th, 2017, 05:10 PM
  #2
 
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My children are younger than yours 4.5 years old and 18 months. They love to travel. My oldest daughter loved:
-jumping off the sailboat in Greece to swim
-the chocolate museum in Bruges where there was Barbapapa made out of chocolate.
-hiking short distances in Switzerland (Mürren)
-Bicycling along the Danube in Austria
-buying a stuffed animal -a donkey- in Santorini
-eating octopus salad in Italy
-being able to speak her mother tongue in Dordogne, France
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Sep 25th, 2017, 05:28 PM
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I took my son to Italy when he was 12. His favorite things:

- Walking around the floodlit historic quarter in Florence late in the evening enjoying the street performers

- Stuffed mussels eaten in the Cinque Terre, his favorite meal of the trip

- Walking around Naples - but then he is used to urban life and liked the city's energy regardless of its grubbiness

- Venice - just walking around and exploring; shopping for glass trinkets for friends; the gondola ride - our gondolier invited him up to row!
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Sep 25th, 2017, 05:42 PM
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If you are just speaking about Italy:

1) the studious one loved Pompeii and the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome:

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/r.../389441/359975

2) the outdoorsy one loved Mount Vesuvius:
3) the youngest one loved the Vatican. He wanted to know if the Pope could go in the rooms we couldn't. Quite hilarious.

They all loved the colloseum, the gondola ride and wandering around piazza navona at night.

But what they still talk about is taking the gondola up to the Klein Matterhorn across the border in Switzerland.
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Sep 25th, 2017, 06:19 PM
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My oldest was 10 when we went to Italy. They really liked Ostia Antica because you could climb all over the place and there were so few people there and guide ropes. It felt like exploring.

They also liked climbing to the top of St. Peter's and looking out. And they liked Castel Sant'Angelo because they got to see the escape route of the Pope and again, look out and see the river this time.

With the Colosseum they all liked the guide we had because she answered their questions and made the scene came alive. We also did a short bit of the Roman Forum next door with her.

If you're interested, Daniella Hunt http://www.rome-tours.com/

If you can't get her, look for another kid-friendly guide, and I would suggest you research and pre-reserve. Don't just get a random one at the door.
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Sep 25th, 2017, 06:20 PM
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My daughter likes finding out what the local sweets are in the supermarket, and collects them to take home! At 8, she is younger than your two but has racked up a bit of overseas travel with us.

It helps to alternate between activities that are fun for them (if you want to do it, local amusement parks, zoos, etc) and activities for you (where they differ). Our trip earlier this year to Hong Kong alternated between kid days (HK Disneyland, Toy Street, Goldfish Street) and adult days (ferry rides to islands, Peak Tram, fancy afternoon tea, etc - still mostly interesting for her). From when she was really small she remembers the Singapore Duck amphibious vehicle ride on the river partly because she got a duck beak that makes a duck noise on the boat.

At 11 and 14 they are old enough to think contrastively (i.e., how is this different to home?), whereas a younger child hasn't got home firmly in their skull yet. Meals can also be memorable. From our last big trip to Europe, my daughter remembers locations by certain meals or foods. It was really cold in Lüneburg but we dipped into a café to have hot chocolate and waffles with hot cherries and whipped cream. She remembers that quite well.

We also make a memory book for holidays our daughter has been on. Might be fun for your kids to collect things for a similar book (drink coasters, menus, programs, taking their own photos). Whether they really remember certain events because of the photos or just think they do, I don't know, but it's a fun activity and a nice thing to have afterwards.

Lavandula
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Sep 25th, 2017, 07:11 PM
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My daughter loves the playground at her 12 years old. She think she is a princess and it makes her very happy.
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Sep 26th, 2017, 02:09 AM
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Sep 26th, 2017, 04:45 AM
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My kids were similar ages on their first Italy trip. They liked:

Gelato - twice a day every day! Seriously - they loved that this became such a thing, ranking the best spots, strolling after dinner in the evening with a gelato in hand.

Other Food - my picky son ate Proscuitto e Melone every day and also tried some of what others were eating. The food was both familiar (pizza) and simple (bread & cheese for breakfast!).

Climbing and counting the number of stairs at St. Peter's.

Our agritourismo in Tuscany - after a hot day in Florence (twice) it was great to come back to the pool for the afternoon, then head out later for dinner when things cooled off.

Otzi the Iceman - we still talk about the mummy in Bolzano.

Pigeons-I have fun pictures of my son with the pigeons in San Marco square and last summer my grandchildren had the same reaction to the pigeons in Paris!

Italy is wonderful for children. They will enjoy!
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Sep 26th, 2017, 07:42 AM
  #10
 
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I live in Italy, and my American granddaughter has visited us nearly every year for 12 years.

She loved Venice. Even though it was very hot and crowded (in July), she was so happy there she was skipping and hopping down the streets.

Lake Garda was one of her favorite spots. We took the cable car up to the top of Mount Baldo, and we took a longish boat ride on the lake. Probably her favorite thing there was the Gardaland amusement park, but Mount Baldo would be a close second. (There are very long waits for the cable car in the morning in the summer, so I suggest going around lunch time. (The ticket desk recommended 2 PM)- Also, don't wait until the last few cable cars down, because you'll have a wait again, although not as bad as the morning.

She absolutely loves Rome and wants to live there when she grows up. (But she's also said that of London.) We've been to Rome many times.

I've also taken my young nieces, who were 11 and 12 at the time, to Rome, so what follows is an amalgam of the experiences of all three.

The Villa Farnesina
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
Ostia Antica
The Priscilla catacomb
The Doria Pamphilj Gallery
The Barberini Gallery
The Villa Borghese Park
The park on top of the Janiculum (Gianicolo) Hill
The Palatine Hill, which is included in the ticket for the Roman Forum and Colosseum, but is inexplicably skipped by most tourists.

This year, for the first time, we took her to the Vatican Museums. We happened to be in Rome on a Friday evening, and I knew this was a good time to avoid the horrendous crowds. My granddaughter is interested in mythology, and was enthralled by the Egyptian Collection. She said, "I could spend a week in here!) It impressed her much more than the Sistine Chapel.

I'm probably forgetting some things.
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Sep 26th, 2017, 07:29 PM
  #11
 
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Following, what a great thread. We are in Italy in 2018 with our 10 and 8 year olds.
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