Planning a holiday in Italy with kids? I’ve come across the most marvellous-sounding child friendly villa in Umbria and am dying to book a family holiday there! Villa Pia, which comes highly recommended for kids by the likes of Mumsnet, TripAdvisor and Baby Friendly Boltholes, is just near the border between Umbria and Tuscany, about an hour North of Perugia airport.
Originally a 15th century country house, Villa Pia has been refurbished with families in mind. And no, I don’t mean that they’ve put a sign outside saying “Children Welcome” – I mean that they actually seem to know what parents are looking for in a stress-free and fun family holiday.
Keeping the children happy and entertained
To be fair, most children will be pretty happy just running around and exploring Villa Pia’s 5 acres of private land, but if you’re looking for a bit more to fuel their imagination and keep them busy, there is a courtyard with small climbing frames, slides, and ride-on toys. There is also a trampoline and a sand pit, and for older children there are tennis courts. There are also childrens’ cookery classes and art clubs.
You’ll be glad to know that there is also an indoor play area so you can get the kids out of the midday sun without them going stir-crazy.
As you’d expect, there is a pool (yay!) – the added bonus being that they try and keep the water a little warmer for the littler ones.
If you want to plan some days out in Umbria or Tuscany, Perugia and Florence are not too far at all – Florence is about a 90 minute drive, assuming you are happy to drive like a local. In my experience 90 minutes each way in the car is too much with young children – they just fall asleep in the car and then end up awake forever in the evening… If your kids are like mine, you should instead check out the nearby 10th century castle at Lippiano, and local medieval towns of Anghiari, Monterchi, and Sansepolcro. They will be quieter and less touristy than Florence, and are said to be among the prettiest and most interesting in the region.
Family meals, baby food and pasta
We’ve been to Italy several times with the children and by far the most stressful part was keeping them fed and watered – it always seemed that whenever we were hungry everything was shut, and dinner served several hours after our kids usual bedtimes. I love how Villa Pia caters for the more typical UK family schedule – there is a meal served for the children at 6 pm – result!!
Families can help themselves to fruit, yoghurt, milk and bread throughout the day, and both breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style (no hanging around waiting for service!)… in other words, no “hangry” children to contend with. It’s amazing how such a simple little touch like being able to feed the kids when they’re hungry has the potential to completely improve your day.
At mealtimes, Villa Pia serves all-natural homemade food and can cater for nut-free, gluten-free or whatever other requirements you have. They also serve freshly made baby purees and cereal, and rumour has it that pasta is always one of the dinner options – something that would make my fussy little Danger Boy very happy indeed.
Family Rooms and Essentials
In most hotel rooms, we’ve ended having to bundle the kids into a double bed and surround it with pillows to cushion their landing when they inevitably fall out. Villa Pia’s 17 Family Rooms actually seem to be designed with real families in mind – instead of two double beds, they have a double bed and two single beds, plus room for a cot or your travelcot. If your kids are the falling out type, they’ll even provide bedrails. And if you have semi-potty-trained children but have forgotten the travel potty at home, they’ll supply a potty for the room.
For the grown-ups!
The kids are sorted… but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a relaxing, indulgent holiday as adults too. Aside from being able to lounge around by the pool in the stunning Umbrian countryside, there are beauty treatments, pilates classes, wine tasting sessions, cookery courses and an English-speaking babysitter!
What do you think? If you’ve been to Villa Pia or if you can recommend local days out in the area we would love to hear from you!
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I received compensation from Villa Pia via Mothers & Shakers for taking the time to write this article about their family friendly facilities. The views expressed in this article are my own and are based on my own personal experience travelling with my two young children (6 and 8 at the time of writing).