Adventures by Disney’s Italy itinerary covers the most popular destinations in Italy for families: Rome, Tuscany, and Venice. We recommend this itinerary to Ciao Bambino clients as the perfect first trip to Italy with kids of all ages, although, given the Disney Difference and all of the special elements Adventures by Disney trips include like VIP tours, this itinerary will please well-traveled Italy enthusiasts too.
Each day is action-packed and the overall trip includes a good balance of structured time, free time, sightseeing, and hands-on activities. The itinerary maximizes what you can see in nine days given the distance covered. Disney is excellent at surprises that delight kids and their parents; every stop offers something unexpected. And similar to what we experienced with Adventures by Disney Scotland, the appearance of Mickey and other Disney characters is limited, ensuring the focus is on an authentic taste of the destination.
As my Rome Photo Tour demonstrates, the itinerary includes Rome’s main highlights. You can spend weeks in this city and not see it all, but this trip includes enough diversity that participants get a strong sense of what makes Rome special and unique in the world.
The Disney approach in Rome is exactly what we recommend to our clients at Ciao Bambino; the tour is kicked off with a guided walk around the most popular landmarks including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Campo dei Fiori, and Piazza Navona. I won’t spoil it, but there’s a special crowd-pleasing surprise en route …
Once the highlights are covered, a deep dive is taken to explore the key attractions: the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and St. Peter’s Basilica, including an extraordinary VIP after-hours private tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. The tour of the Colosseum also includes exclusive access to areas not open to the public.
Every stop includes a local guide expert, in addition to the Disney guides that travel with the group at all times. The guide in Rome was amazing and truly brought history to life for all of us with a compelling mix of stories and facts. There is ample time allocated for on-your-own exploring, shopping, and dining.
The Adventures by Disney hotel used in Rome for this trip is the new five-star Gran Melia Rome with beautiful guest rooms and an outdoor pool set in an expansive garden — a welcome amenity for families visiting over the warm summer months.
The Adventures by Disney Italy itinerary includes a taste of Tuscany and its regional capital city, Florence. En route, the tour stops at Orvieto, a gorgeous hilltop town in Umbria with one of the most beautiful cathedral facade’s in Europe, followed by home-made lunch and swimming in a stunning garden at Gli Ulivi. It’s the perfect introduction to life in Italy’s glorious countryside.
Home-base for these few days is Hotel Borgo di Cortefreda, which has a lovely pool and grassy area where kids can play overlooking the town of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa. Although the guest rooms here aren’t as high end as the other guest rooms on the trip in Rome and Venice, the staff at Borgo di Cortefreda is outgoing and wonderful, and this location is ideal for easy highway access without dealing with the endless winding roads that are plentiful in this region.
After sightseeing-intensive Rome, the first morning in Tuscany spent at Fattoria Poggio Alloro, a family-run farm and winery, is a trip highlight. The darling award-winning cookbook author and chef, Sarah Fioroni, teaches the group to make pasta from scratch. Sarah is charming, and the class is engaging for all ages as everyone gets their hands dirty making pasta the original Italian way.
Class is followed by a tour of the working farm, wine tasting for the parents, and a delicious lunch overlooking San Gimignano.
The Tuscany itinerary includes a full day in Florence that mixes guided time with free time. The guided time starts at the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece David, a stroll through town, and then an afternoon VIP tour of Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s historic town hall filled with secret passageways.
Florence is small and families can experience highlights in a single day, although the one omission is a tour of the Uffizi, but there’s just not enough time to include this in the guided part of the Disney itinerary. Moreover, it’s a museum that is not ideally suited for young children.
We spent our free time shopping and ended our evening with dinner a Caffè Cibrèo, run by celebrity chef and cookbook author Fabio Picchi. Our meal was fantastic … one of the things I appreciate about the Adventures by Disney Italy structure is the good amount of time to have dinner at a restaurant you choose.
We took Italy’s bullet train, the Frecciarossa, from Florence to Venice. Like all transfers in this itinerary, it was seamless. There’s great joy in not dealing with luggage at any point in time on a nine-day itinerary. What a luxury!
The arrival in Venice with Adventures by Disney is spectacular as it begins with a private gondola ride through the city, followed by a guided walking tour that includes a tour with limited waiting (in our case, no waiting) inside the astounding Saint Mark’s Basilica. There is no better way to engage kids in the thrill of Venice than to start a visit this way …
Home-base in Venice is the elegant Hotel Luna Baglioni, located just steps from St. Mark’s Square.
Disney’s Venice itinerary includes an excellent tour of the Doge’s Palace and another trip highlight, a two-hour mask making session where families try their hand at this historic Venetian craft. Like all the stops on the trip, Venice includes ample free time for shopping and on-your-own dining. The final night of the trip is a festive affair where everyone wears the masks they created in class.
What a trip! We loved every minute of this Disney adventure through Italy. I learned that there’s a good reason why this itinerary through the heart of italy is one of Adventures by Disney’s most popular trips. It’s a fun, educational, and stress-free vacation-of-a-lifetime for families.
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Editor’s Note: Adventures by Disney invited Ciao Bambino on a media trip to experience their new itinerary. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy
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This is a challenging time for our clients given the uncertainty around the spread of coronavirus, particularly for those with near-term travel plans in impacted areas. We’re working with our suppliers on being flexible with their booking conditions, and enabling families to postpone travel to a later date without a penalty, when possible. Likewise, given the unpredictability around destinations that may be impacted in the future, we’re helping clients planning new trips and understand ways that they can protect themselves until the situation improves. We are ready to help our clients work through questions and concerns.