Romance, great food, a true Italian welcome, olive oil and wines, and family values have drawn visitors to Northern Italy for centuries. With beautiful views aplenty, and value for money, it’s the perfect getaway for the whole family.
In Venice, take a trip on a gondola down its world famous canals, and pass under the Rialto Bridge, or simply get lost in the maze of tiny streets. If you fancy a bird’s eye view of the town and the lagoon, head to the top of San Marco’s Basicila in Piazza San Marco, or to the top of the San Marco Campanile (don’t worry, there’s a lift for legs of all ages!), and check out the town’s rooftops and Doge’s Palace from above. For masks, costumes, and lots of good fun, head to the Venice Carnival, the city’s biggest annual event.
A trip to Northern Italy isn’t complete without a visit to Verona, home of most romantic couple of all time, Romeo and Juliet. Head to Piazza Bra for a coffee under the parasols, or check out the arena in the city centre or the castle on top of the hill. For families that enjoy adventure and theme parks, Gardaland has special events depending on the time of year (for example, Halloween, Christmas) as well as rollercoasters, parks, and an aquarium.
From Venice head to a resort around Lake Garda, where there’s plenty of water based activities to keep everyone occupied. The area around Lake Garda, like many parts of Italy, is true wine country, vineyards line the roads, wineries welcome visitors, and with hills and mountains lining the lakes, the scenery is perfect for simply gazing at. If getting out and about to see the local area is in the plan, the towns of Malcesine, Bardolino, Garda, and Brenzone offer the ideal excuse for a day out to see a traditional Italian town, and enjoy great food in local cafés.
Check out Florence if art and breathtaking buildings like the Duomo and Uffizi are your cup of tea. Florence sometimes experiences magnificent thunderstorms that cloud the sky for just 30 minutes before amazing sunlight reigns over the city. If this happens, seize the day and head into an Italian delicatessen for the best Chianti, homemade cooking, or an expresso like you’ll find nowhere else on the planet. The family is at the heart of every Italian welcome, so you can expect the kids to be spoilt rotten in these family run places.
No visit to Northern Italy is complete without the obligatory photo of the Leaning Tower of Pisa on everyone’s hands. From Florence, Pisa is just 60 miles away, less than an hour by the very regular train service. Spend half a day in Pisa, taking your own photos and laughing at everyone else as they pose, play around, and picnic near the tower.
For a fashion central day out, Milan is the place to be seen in. Browse the shops and leave strutting your stuff Milano style, a great excuse for a fashion show or inspiration for some creative costume making and fancy dress days when you are back home!
Rail travel and flights are the best methods of travelling to Northern Italy. You can get info on rail prices from Rail Europe, while Momondo.co.uk has a great page for comparing Italy flights prices.