Vacations with School-Age Children

Art and Culture Camp for Kids in Italy

If you are mulling over a 2012 trip to Italy and are looking for ways to engage your kids in the experience, I highly recommend the Art al Sole day camp for international children (the program is in English).

Developed for ages 6-12 (Apprentices) and ages 13-17 (Masters), Art al Sole introduces children to a variety of art principles and practices within an array of glorious historical settings in the Italian countryside.

Shannon Venable Devon OShaughnessy Art al Sole Camp Italy

Director of Art al Sole with Devon

We participated in the Art in the Countryside program in Umbria with our 8-year-old son Devon last summer and adored the experience.

The set up is ideal for parents who want to get some downtime as classes run through the afternoon so there is time to enjoy short area excursions sans offspring. Meanwhile, kids from everywhere gather for exciting daily adventures. Our program included sheep herding and glass blowing. Each day the children learn about a new medium and communicate what they are experiencing in Italy through art.

Kids Drawing of Church in Italy

Hands-on sightseeing in Italy

Art al Sole is run by the longtime Ciao Bambino friend Shannon Venable who received her Masters Degree in Medieval and Renaissance History. The beauty is that Shannon has young kids of her who join the program and subsequently help Shannon refine the activities to make them as fun as possible for kids of all ages.

Each session is a week long during the summer and is held in Lake Maggiore, Umbria, and Tuscany. We joined the program for a week but there were several families who were signed up for 2-3 consecutive weeks as the curriculum is different in each location.

Colle San Paolo Umbria Italy

Art al Sole Umbria venue, Fontanelle at Colle San Paolo

The Umbria week is held at the Ciao Bambino Approved Colle San Paolo outside of Perugia. This family-owned historic estate is centrally located for day trips into Northern Umbria and Southern Tuscany.

One of our favorite aspects of the program was the end of the day when families gather by the pool for afternoon lounging and swimming. There’s an instant sense of community between all of the participating families — by the end of the week, we were sharing meals and trading phone numbers.

Relevant Links:

Ciao Bambino recommended Italy family hotels

52 things to know before traveling to Italy with kids

Italian beach vacations with kids

Family-friendly luxury in Florence

Kid-friendly tour guides in Italy 

Most popular family-friendly itinerary in Italy

72 hours in Rome with kids

Kid-friendly tour guide in Rome

Start a Discussion

  • dear Shannon,
    I am writing to you to see if you think Ciao Bambino ‘art at sole’ would be a good fit for me and my daughter 6 and son9 years old.
    I am looking for a situation where I could work, teach and also have my kids attend the program.
    I have run 5 years of summer programs for children at the American school in Switzerland Lugano. (TASIS). CDE program. Under Betsy Newell director.
    -and during the year I teach art full time at the birch Wathen Lenox school in manhattan on east 77 st. k-3 and 9 th grade art history. I have a good knowledge of French,Italian and Spanish as well as tons of energy. I also have expirence with younger children.
    Art & Art education degrees
    Attended schools in France, Italy,& Spain
    I look forward to your reply and any thoughts you might have.
    Many thanks,
    All the best,
    Christine W Seaman

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