Italy Travel with Teens

passport and map travel

The first time I went to Italy was in 2007 and I fell in love with the country and its people. As a second-generation Italian, I felt an immediate connection and the need to return again and again. I have been fortunate enough to return year after year, for a total of twelve visits to Bella Italia. Due to the pandemic and resulting travel restrictions, the last time I traveled abroad was three years ago when I went to the UK and Paris. The last time I went to Italy was four years ago, the longest gap between visits for me. Now I am looking ahead to returning to my favorite country.

Ever since my twin granddaughters were twelve, I have planned on taking them to Italy for their sixteenth birthday. That date has come and gone, but now I am going to make this happen, and am beginning to plan a trip for next spring, just after their high school graduation.


Italy travel with teens will be different for sure and I’m excited to share my passion for Italy with them. Since this trip is all about them, I want to be sure to arrange an itinerary, as well as fun things to do, that eighteen-year-old girls will enjoy. We’ve already sat down to brainstorm what kinds of activities they would like, or not.

Photo credit: With Locals

Both of them think a private Vespa tour in Rome is cool, the kind where each of us ride on the back of a Vespa scooter and enjoy the sights while a driver-guide manages the road. A two-hour tour includes twelve of the top sites, so I’m psyched about it too.

One granddaughter likes museums and the other, not so much, so maybe just one, and that would be the Vatican and Sistine Chapel private tour, maybe at night.

They both like shopping, so no problem in Rome, Venice, or Sorrento.

Making masks in Venice, participating in gelato-making class and pizza-making classes, and riding a gondola seem to garner big smiles and nods.

Pizza and gelato making Photo credit Viator Tours
Photo credit: Viator Tours

As animal lovers, both girls perked up when I mentioned going to Torre Argentina, the cat sanctuary in Rome. But what surprised me was when one of them said she would want to adopt a cat and bring it with her on the rest of the trip. When I explained why that was not possible, as they so often say in Italy, she didn’t understand. The other one told me that they might have to bring one of their dogs on the trip, since he is so attached to them. And they were dead serious. Obviously, we will need a few more planning conversations. Good thing this is not happening for a year!

These teens have traveled a lot, but have never traveled abroad. I know I need to allow extra time for two girls plus myself to get dressed and do hair and makeup. Of course, I have already learned to allow for down time, Wi-Fi, and social media posting. Their need to sleep is probably different than mine, and I’m aware as well, that they probably eat more than me, but food will not be a problem in Italy. Having no busy agendas, more flexible and spontaneous ones will work best. Riding the trains will be a whole new experience for them too.

I need to prepare them for some of the differences to expect, like all the walking they will be doing, and to be wary of their surroundings. I’ll let them know not to expect ice in their beverages and that unlimited refills are not free.

I’m looking forward to this adventure, and planning the trip together is half the fun.

Have you ever traveled to Italy with teens? I’d love any feedback from your own experiences, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and Ciao

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9 Responses

  1. Stefanie Newman

    Our son was 10 but our experience might not be so different. Things I thought would be interesting.. grocery shopping, archaeology museum…weren’t. Whatever interested him at home was what interested him in Italy…roller coasters (went to Gardaland), McDonald’s. That vespa tour is a great idea, (you are one cool grandma!)something they will always remember.

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks Stefanie. Yes, that’s why we are brainstorming together as we plan the trip. How cool that you took your son at a young age.

  2. char

    Oh my goodness, this will be such an awesome experience for you and your Granddaughter’s!!!
    Have a great time,

  3. Un po' di pepe

    How fun! This is something the 3 of you will always remember! I took my nipotina (niece, in my case) on a trip to Firenze in 2019. it was supposed to be for her graduation, but we went 2 years late. Lucky we did-as we wouldn’t have been able to go a year later! We also went to Lucca, the Cinque Terre and Milano. Isabella had been to Italia a few times with her family, so we didn’t go to Roma or Venezia. We had an amazing time! I wrote a blog post about our trip. it’s called ‘Viaggio con Isabella’. it may give you some ideas. We planned for lots of teenager things like cycling, biking, shopping, Blub street art scavenger hunt, and rating different bars for our morning caffe’!

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks so much, Cristina.. I will check out your post. Sounds like you and Isabella had a fun time to remember forever!How special!

    • margieinitaly

      Cristina, I just read your post and loved it! Thank you for the ideas! I would say you had planet of unforgettable experiences with your nipotina! I am psyched to take my granddaughters

  4. Karen Neary

    This sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful and fun experience for your granddaughters! One they will surely cherish and look back on with fond memories. Though I never traveled with teens in Italy, I visited Italy twice when I was a teenager.

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you so much, Karen. I’m really looking forward to it!!!

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.