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March 28, 2010

Italy’s Best Shares Vision for Elite Kids Program

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Rome, Italy – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine

Vast historical and artistic heritage, excellent food, a warm welcome and a temperate climate – these are only some of the many reasons to visit Italy, for families and even more so for children. It often happens however, that on ‘family’ trips, the younger members find museums and long historical walks trying and are unable to appreciate the beauty of what they are seeing. Nevertheless, a cultural tour (in Rome and elsewhere in Italy) can be designed with children or teenagers in mind, mixing entertainment with education and making the holiday a true pleasure for the entire family, according to high-end tour operator Italy’s Best.

Where to start?

What better place than the symbol of Rome famous throughout the world – the Coliseum? Here kids can visit the arena and become gladiators for a day, with a practical course in real hand to hand combat, learning the tricks and skills of these historic warriors of antiquity.

What could be better than football, the most popular sport in Italy? Your kids can take on children their own age in a 45-minute game of five-a-side football and see who comes out the winner. Of course, after physical activity refreshments are in order. One of the tastiest foods Italy has to offer is ice cream. The whole family can visit one of the oldest and most famous ice-cream parlors in Rome where ice cream is produced with only natural ingredients by master confectioners, taste a range of different flavors and even have fun preparing the ice-cream with their own hands!

Delicious food is one of Italy’s hallmarks, and besides ice-cream, parents and children will have the chance to take part in interesting cooking lessons in authentic local kitchens, learning to cook pizza, pasta and typical local cakes.

Culture for Kids

Rome also offers the visitor a multiplicity of artwork. To see such marvels will stimulate the imagination of the very young to put on paper their own creative ideas with the help of real lessons in drawing and painting. Famous Roman artists will introduce young Leonardos and Michelangelos to the world of art and provide techniques and secrets to inspire their creativity. The most enthusiastic can even learn the ancient art of mosaic, with valuable advice from Maria Teresa, or how to make ceramics. In fact not far from Rome, in Orvieto, families can watch a practical demonstration of how to create a pottery vase by an Umbrian master craftsmen and then try their hand themselves. Molding clay to create your very own design is an incredible experience for the young and not so young!

For a direct impact with Italian history and culture, the most interesting possibility for kids is to experience the lives of their Italian peers. Thus a visit to a local school will show visitors how Italian schools work, and introduce them to the study programs and methods used. Kids will be able to meet local students and interact with them, exchanging information and sensations.

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In the same way, kids can spend happy hours in the traffic school, learning how to manage driving through the labyrinth of cars, scooters and buses invading city streets every day. Children drive scaled down cars in a special miniature ‘real life’ park. Future drivers, supervised by expert teachers, can learn the rules for perfect driving, in a fully secure and fun environment.

Classic Tours Too

As well as this series of activities dedicated to the youngest family members, classic tours to major monuments in Rome will be geared to the requirements of all the family. Vatican City offers kids the Egyptian Museum, the Carriage Museum, the Sistine Chapel and the long staircase leading to the Dome of St Peters Basilica. Then there is the mystery of the secret rooms in the Castel Sant’Angelo, the dark corridors in the Catacombs and the experience of putting your hand into the Mouth of Truth (legend has it that the Mouth will cut off the hand of anyone not telling the truth).

There is also Villa Borghese, where families can picnic, visit the Explora Museum (entirely dedicated to kids) the Piazza di Siena racecourse and the Zoo or downtown the Time Elevator Show and 3D Rewind which illustrate in a fun way the most significant moments of the exciting history of Rome. Also fun for families is a ride in the go-karts or the biggest Roman amusement park, Luna Park, a visit of the city by skateboard or the experience of the canon shot at midday on the Janiculum Hill with a splendid view over the city and a puppet show or the thrilling experience of rafting on the Nera river at the foot of the Marmore falls.

Then, not far from Rome, the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany await discovery. Families can observe at first hand the production of cheese, olive oil and wine. Imagine watching the Siena horse race from a window in one of the palaces overlooking the track and then visiting one of the famous contrade, or admiring the marvels of Tuscany from above in a hot air balloon, or traveling over the hills on the seat of a bicycle or the saddle of a horse, with every activity planned with the interests of the entire family in mind.

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