PLANNING A TRIP TO ITALY WITH KIDS

Planning a trip to Italy with kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins (aka multigenerational travel) can get complicated. And that is saying it mildly. Hotels, flights to Italy, Italian restaurants, places to visit in Italy, rental cars and travel insurance all has to be figured out. Just like planning a family wedding, spreadsheets, and massive email and text threads are sure to pile up.Take a deep breath.I've done it. Multiple times in fact, with friends and family, traveling to various locations. I have yet to use a travel agent, but sometimes it is easier to call one. But here is what you need to know when you want to plan a trip to Italy with kids and the rest of your extended family.My dad declared that he was finally ready to go to Italy. Did my sister's family and my family want to join him and my mom? Oh, and did my aunt want to come too? Not only would we have four separate family units traveling, but they would be traveling out of three different airports and flying in on two separate dates, and out on three separate dates. Confused yet? Understanding why we use a spreadsheet? We don't like to do things simply in our family.It was time to start planning, and we started the process nine months ahead of time. This is not necessary, but my father was in a panic. What if everything booked up? We needed at least four rooms, or a big rental, everywhere we went. No matter how many times I reassured him, I knew it was just better to get it booked, so we could move onto the fun part. What's the fun part? Planning our gelato tour of Italy of course!alk about your Italy Budget.We were all on a very specific budget. My parents, unlike many other boomer parents out there, were not footing the bill on this one. We knew we could not be extravagant, but we also knew none of us were going to be backpacking with kids or staying in hostels anymore.Airfare would be the kicker. The sooner we could book, the better. Our kids didn't get discounted rates any longer. No babies were going to be sitting on laps.My dad and I, the chief vacation planners on this trip, dug in.When people ask me where to go in Europe, Italy with kids is at the top of my list. The food is kid-friendly, and the people are warm and welcoming to kids of all ages. No one wants to visit a country that looks down on their children for being there. I know that I can enjoy a leisurely meal, with multiple courses, really good wine, and my kids won't go crazy. Why? Because they will be running around with all of the other children in the Piazza who's parents are doing the same thing.I remember the first time I was in Italy back in college. I was mesmerized by the little boys and girls playing football (soccer) in the square. They would run up to their mothers, take a bite of pasta and run back to their friends. The adults continued to converse, arms waving as they spoke animatedly with one another. This was a scene I knew well from my own upbringing, my father coming from a large Irish Catholic family. Holidays were never a quiet, subdued occasion.When I had my own boys, and we headed to Europe for the first time together, I wasn’t surprised when the grandmothers walked up to me, lecturing me in Italian that my infant was too hot, too cold, needed a hat, or was just too cute that she had to hold him. Italy is a communal culture. Even though I barely knew what each grandmother was saying, the intent was clear. Grandma knew better than me, and she was going to let me know that. I smiled, fixed my son to her liking and she moved on. I then removed the layers once she was out of site. You don’t piss off an Italian Nona!