Italy with Teens

gelatoteens“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

One of the best trips I have ever taken was an exploration of Italy with my two teen girls. Their ability to live in the moment, truly appreciate and savor the beauty of Italy, without ridiculous expectations and preconceptions, made me incredibly proud! When planning a trip for teens make sure to give them choices by researching the cities they would like to visit, this is where learning will occur. Also key is adding in some activities and adventures. Don’t forget to leave space to just rest, relax and enjoy the beauty.

For us, our days would start early with sight seeing; taking in the beauty of a hill town such as Assisi, only to be back at our Umbrian villa in time for an afternoon swim and siesta by the heat of the day. ppoolThis tip I learned from a British couple, who had a small baby. Turns out teens and babies are similar, you only have so many fun tickets before they need their nap or things can get ugly!florencebike

I  planned a wonderful trip that included their interests; Umbrian and Tuscan towns, including the big daddy, Florence, where we stayed in the Florentine hills to escape the heat and crowds. We became “Amici delgi Uffizi” (Friends of the Uffizi) in order to gain skip-the-big-line access and come and go as we pleased in many of the city museums. Well worth the cost of 150 Euro for a family. We enjoyed a cruiser bike tour of the pedestrian area for a fun overview of the city.

We sea kayaked and hikeseakayakpd on the Tuscan island of Elba, yes, Napolean’s exiled home. Island activities are perfect for the heat of summer! I use a wonderful guide in Elba, who does an all inclusive package with hotel, meals and activities, perfect for families!  Elba, only a short hour by ferry from the Tuscan coast, is a gem of an island with incredibly clear waters reflected off the rich geologic minerals and rocks on the coasts. Elba is a refreshing and active adventure for kids.


Rome is always a favorite, as the kids get to see first hand the layers of history built upon the previous centuriesbonding. A few places that really illustrate this are the San Clementine church and the Palazzo Valentini, where the layers of ancient civilizations have been exposed through archeological excavation. A great place to start with teens who can really appreciate this by bringing their history text books to life.

happyThe grand finally was being in Rome on a Wednesday and being a part of the Papel Audience in St Peter’s Square.  A  special experience for a girl who went to Catholic school, (not me..I went along begrudgingly, as I do not appreciate mass gatherings unless there is music).  The joy and devotion of the crowd was powerfully moving, regardless of your religious nature. Pope Francis captured everyone’s heart with his smile, while kissing the heads of children’s in the audience.







The girls and I laughed, ate and explored our way through Italy for 3 weeks and we will always remember it. They told me it was “the best trip ever” and I believe it because it created some serious bonding between us! If you would like some help with a family tour of Italy, please contact me . It would be my pleasure to assist you in creating wonderful travel memories for your family. Give your kids the gift of joy through travel and in doing that, bring yourself so much more!


04/29/2014 06:08 pm | Share | 4 Comments


  1. Sierra Pond

    This trip to Italy with my Aunt Betsy was an absolutely fantastic adventure! It was my first time venturing to Europe, and I truly could not have asked for a better guide or a more enjoyable excursion throughout Italy. I fell in love with this beautiful country within hours of my arrival, and being able to share it with two of my favorite people in the world was just the cherry on top of it all. Those three weeks of eating, laughing, sightseeing, and adventuring were to me what the real joys in life look like. The large landmarks of the country that we saw were of course breathtaking and awe-inspiring, but the little details of the trip were what I think I will remember for the entirety of my life- watching the golden Tuscan sun dip below the horizon in the evenings, soaking up every last drop of olive oil from my plate at dinner, or walking up an infinite number of stairs of the bell tower of the great Duomo of Siena to name a few. Being able to share in Italian culture for three weeks was an experience for which I will be forever grateful. Italy holds a very special place in my heart now, and I hope dearly to return soon to pick up having fun where I left off.


  2. Thank you Sierra! You are such a gem of a kid because you “get’ life! I am so lucky to share this journey with you and am looking forward to many future adventures together! Love, Auntie B


  3. Betsy, Your beautiful blog entry makes me want to pack our bags! This trip is certainly on our family bucket list. Hopefully in the next few years! I will definitely need your help! Thanks for sharing this article!!!


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