Verona for Kids

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If you are planning a holiday in Italy as a family, you've got to put Verona in your itinerary. This is our biggest and final trip for 2015. Every October, the daddy of the family will have to make a trip to Italy for an Annual General Meeting and I will join him on a European getaway biennially. We would take the chance to visit London, Switzerland, Germany and its neighbours, making our 13-hour flight worth the while. You might have heard, or you might have not, we were booked and cancelled twice in 2011 and 2013. As if we had been played, we found out we were pregnant on both occasions and were advised to stay put in Singapore lest we risk losing the babies. Alas, 5 years past since our last European escapade and I was adamant we made this trip happen regardless of the children's age.

It was more of a defiant attempt to relive our globetrotting days that I did not consider the flight hours, the time difference, the accessibility and the weather from the children's point of view. I was very optimistic and kept assuring Meyer that all these factors should not be a deterrence to our travels. We will manage and we certainly did! We survived Italy with an easy flight, beautiful photographs and jubilant kids but dog-tired jet-lagged parents *grins* who agreed that our future travels shall not exceed more than two hours in time difference. Until they are older...

Must-Knows when travelling in Italy:
  1. The roads can be small; very tight! If you are going to drive, get a tiny car like a Fiat 500 because although the autostrade (highways) are wide, you can get yourselves into tight situations on the roads. We rented a [manual drive] MPV to fit six people and it was a dinosaur in an Italian context! 
  2. They are left-hand drive so if you are not a confident driver, just take the train. However, we found it rather easy to get used to the driving even though I sometimes look for the gearbox on my left!
  3. Research on kids-friendly restaurants. Please do that for part of your planning because not every restaurant welcomes children (they welcome dogs more than kids). Not that they will send you on your way but they may not have high-chairs or a children's menu. Don't even think of plastic plates, cups or cutleries alright? They do not have it.
  4. Italians love children. They do not get to see many little Asian toddlers walking in their streets so they got really intrigued with Ewan and Faye. We were often stopped just so they can say Ciao Bella! Ciao Bello!
  5. Gypsies. As much as you could have been stopped by friendly people to play with your children stay vigilant. They could be targeting your belongings (children included). You never know who are being genuine and who are there to make a cut.
  6. Bring a Stroller or Carrier. We brought a kick-scooter to Australia and found that it worked perfectly for our little traveller. In Italy, I'd suggest a carrier or a stroller instead. With its cobbled-stoned pathways, the kick-scoot will not last a day.
  7. Raincoats and Boots! We brought along boots and raincoats for the children because we shall not let any kind of weather stop us from all that we've planned. I wasn't ready to just sit in the hotel or car watching the Italian rain pitter-patter away.
As with all my travel blogs, I shall begin by sharing our choice of accommodation. We spent six days in a four-star hotel right next to Lake Frassino, which is 30 minutes away by car from the Verona's City Center. The service and ambience are without a doubt, five-star. The peaceful lake, personable staff, palatable menus and prettily-designed rooms made our six days with them totally unforgettable.

LE ALI DEL FRASSINO sits in the heart of Lake Frassino nature reserve. A spa resort set in over 70,000 sqm of unspoilt parkland with vineyards surrounding its premise. Built in the early 1900s, this property had been beautifully restored to maintain its original character. I took the opportunity to experience different room categories because I have a weak heart for charming rooms. Blame it on occupational hazard. The hotelier in me hasn't died it seems. We were well taken care of with all our email enquiries by Annabelle before our arrival and it definitely boosted our confidence on the hotel's level of service after reading much complains on TripAdvisor.

This is our corner room in the Cascina period building with sunlight streaming in through wooden fences. Ewan chose this room where we resided for the first half of our stay with them. They have only 1 corner room facing the lake so be sure to book in advance if you do not want to be disappointed. I couldn't decide which is my favourite room because they are all so endearing!

This next room is my choice, with Faye in mind because of the bird motifs above our headboard. She loves birds and wakes up smiling to these cute little feathered friends every morning! Situated in the Villa itself, we scored a very large room with a jacuzzi tub in our bathroom and a private terrace so big we could hold a 15 pax party!

The grandparents were housed in the Limonaie period building. Their room is situated below the reception with a modern touch to it. The floor is cold though because it isn't decked with wood so with young children, it could be a little dangerous especially when they fall.

Each of the 92 rooms or suites is individually decorated. Your room layout may not be the same as your neighbours' but no matter where you are, you are sure to be pampered in the comfort of your room with fine furnishings and space. At 147 (S$226) a night in its basic category, inclusive of breakfast, it is definitely "Value for Money". All the above rooms I just shared were priced at 167 (S$256) a night with unobstructive lake views. Very affordable in my opinion especially when the size of each room has not been compromised.

If you are not driving, they offer daily shuttle bus service to the main local destinations. However, its location is still most convenient for driving travellers.

Tip: Add that 20 for Lake View rooms because it is such a sight to wake up to.

Strada Santa Cristina, 13
37019 Peschiera del Garda
Verona, Italy



A GUIDE IN VERONA is a two-lady team, licensed tour guides no less, who conduct tours in Verona for travellers aged 1 to 99, individuals to families! We all know it is difficult to bring young children on group tours because they can never adhere to a strict schedule. Besides, a free-and-easy holiday puts parents more at ease. So why is it that 'A Guide in Verona' is getting a feature here in 'Verona for Kids' and scoring the top spot?

You will be so thrilled to hear that they conduct tours specially catered for children! They call it the Safari Family Tour. I was very excited to meet Valeria, our guide, and couldn't stop envisioning how much fun Faye and Ewan will have with her! I was not sure how much involvement Faye could be pulled into because she was only 16 months old but I didn't have to worry about that. Valeria has her special ways with small children and Faye was as entertained as the two older kids. Using brushes, chalks, papers, markers and blindfolds, we walked the main sites of Verona city center.

Watch this video clip on the activities Valeria had in store for the children:

She believes that experience is a source of knowledge and everything else is information. Well of course I joined in the tour because my children needs mommy around. I would like to be part of the experience as well, exploring Verona from the eyes of my children.

The Highlights:
- the children took photos with an imaginary camera
- the children painted but with water
- the children walked and learnt about trust through blindfolds
- the children learnt about history through games
- the children discovered the beauty of nature through observation
- the children took water from a fountain
- the children counted arches and statues
- the children made sketches on a tree trunk

At the end of our 90-minute Family Safari Tour, Ewan and Faye said their good-byes reluctantly. As we tracked back our steps to where we begun, my boy reminded me that we played tug-of-war under the arched corridor, he eagerly pulled my hand to find the two cobblestones his sister and him coloured and when we passed the special tree that Valeria pointed out to the children earlier in the tour, he said, "Let's pick a fan for grandma!" [the leaves on this tree are shaped like fans]

This is the best kind of tour I've ever encountered! After becoming mommy, I make the best efforts to inject fun for the children in our holidays. Even if you have only one day in Verona, you have to book a session with Valeria because you will be gifting your family a memorable experience.

Tip: Bring along a snack and a bottle of water.

Safari tours are available every Monday at 1700 hours for a small group of 12 persons at max. Adults are charged at €10 and children at €20. Children below the age of 4 joins the fun for free.

Private tours are available at a rate of €140 per family.


About the Family Safari Tour:

GARDALAND is the Disneyland of Italy! In fact, I enjoyed Gardaland more than the Disneylands I've been to. Surprise Surprise! If you are planning an Italy trip, try going North just to put Gardaland in your itinerary. Let us take very young children like mine as examples. Faye is 16 months old and Ewan is three years old. We had brought the children to Disneyland and Universal Studios before. As with every amusement park, there will bound to be a section on the map catered to children. You will have your carousels and choo choo train rides but none of them are comparable to what Gardaland offered my children.

Their carousel is 2-story high with beautifully sculptured horses and carriages. The land area for the Fantasy Kingdom (Kids Section) is so large they house more than 10 kiddy attractions plus an amazing sandpit playground and a maze! It isn't always easy to engage children as young as one year of age but Gardaland did it for Faye, and of course Ewan. We spent two whole hours at the Fantasy Kingdom (more if the adults didn't want to go for the adrenaline rides) and that's a long time considering Universal Studios could engage my children for only 30 minutes at 'Madagascar' and Disneyland 10 minutes for the carousal. Oh sure they love their Mickey and Princesses but I am talking about kiddy rides over here, not about queuing up just to take photographs with a mascot.

They ran amok as soon as they stepped foot into the Fantasy Kingdom. Smiles, Laughters and several "Let's Go Again!". The scariest ride is The Drop! While I call it 'The Drop', Gardaland named it 'Crazy Jump'. I couldn't believe it that Ewan challenged himself to go for the ride! Just six months ago, he was screaming and pleading for the Shrek roller-coaster in USS to stop. Today, he takes on these rides with a lion heart. We had so much fun on it and I was really proud to call him my son! Woo hoo! All those happy screams and laughters you are about to hear were ours!

Because we visited in October, the park was themed Halloween.

Meyer and I were eager to explore the rest of Gardaland for the spine-chlling roller-coasters. Thanks to grandparents, we stole away from the children for a bit and went screaming with delight! While queuing, we got to see the rides go several times overhead. They really didn't look quite scary and I was a tad disappointed. However, once we were on it, we had crazy fun! I screamed till my voice was lost half-way down each drop! Believe it or not, they have a roller-coaster with a vertical drop as well!

This is Oblivion - The Black Hole. Enjoy:

Tip: If you drive, park at the open space carpark opposite (not exactly opposite but slightly to the right of it) the entrance of Gardaland because it is emptier than their recommend carpark which you will be directed to by road signs.

Castelnuovo del Garda, Verona in Località Ronchi


Opens daily only from April to September and certain weekends from October to December. Be sure to check their Calendar before making plans for it:

Children under 1-metre enters for free.
More information on ticketing:

PARCO NATURA VIVA will take you a full day to tour; including spending 90 minutes at the animal-themed playground while you partake your take-away luncheons on the benches. It opened in 1969 [even before I was born!] and spans across 40-hectres of land. There are three parts to Parco Natura Viva: (1) Safari Park, (2) Extinction Park and (3) Zoo.

We drove right into the Safari Park upon arrival and it immediately reminded me of Safari World, Bangkok. Animals in the Safari are docile, like giraffes, donkeys and deers. It isn't anything like the African Safaris so do not get too excited about meeting lions walking alongside the car. We were lucky to experience a giraffe-crossing though! This cheeky little fella went up, face-pressed onto the window of the a car behind us. That family must have gotten the best video and pictures to boast about! The children were excited to animal-watch in the comfort of their vehicle but doing this a second-time round (after Bangkok), it isn't much of a novelty for the adults anymore. The Wows and Ahhhs were lesser than if it was our first trip into a drive-through Safari.

We chose to visit Parco Natura Viva because of its Extinction Park showcase. Ewan had been exposed to Dinosaurs a lot more this year and could name his T-Rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and Triceratops. With the big brother playing with Dinos at home, little Faye naturally got into the thick of roaring and clawing. Standing in front of LIFE-SIZED dinosaurs gave the children a better perspective of what these land roamers were like in the Triassic period. They are all in enclosures just like the animals in the zoo. Gotta give it up to the creative team for putting this part of the exhibit up for visits.

Their Zoo is a regular zoological garden with animals from all parts of the world: Africa, Asia, Oceania, America and Europa. These animals' living spaces are a lot bigger than what we have in Singapore. The lions and the hippopotamus live in luxury here! We saw Cassowary and Camels too! It wasn't anything out of this world but it made a nice casual walk without breaking a sweat since we were there over Autumn. The best part of the zoo is the playground [sharing in #5 on this post]. I fell in love with it as soon as I laid my eyes on it. We spent a long time here, playing with other Italian children. It was a joy watching children play. There was no discrimination nor did language pose as a barrier. They played together - as children would.

Tip: I would strongly suggest packing your lunch boxes though because the cafe next to the playground doesn't sell palatable food. Burgers and Fries but of low quality.

Loc. Figara, 40
37012 Bussolengo
Verona, Italy



SIRMIONE CASTLE on Lake Garda welcomes you into town of Sirmione with a footbridge that brings you right in, by walking straight into a castle itself. Its first impression was Stately.

There are many castles in Italy and I've chosen the Sirmione Castle to bring Ewan for a medieval castle visit. My 3 year old is extremely intrigued with castles and dragons (not so much of dungeons) but to pique his curiosity, I had to keep the visit short. Otherwise, I'd end up with a bored tot! Therefore, this castle would be most appropriate for a visit because it takes only 30 minutes to tour. I was, however, surprised to find a long flight of steps that we needed to climb to reach the top of the 9-foot tower! I reckon there were approximately 150 steps?

Of course I wanted to climb it without having to carry Ewan so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best! We sang songs, counted the steps and raced each other to the top. What can I say? Never belittle little children. I shouldn't have underestimated his ability to make it to the top on his own. We panted by the time we reached the top but it was all well worth the effort. He can now announce with pride that he had climbed up a tower of a 13th century castle!

Once you are done with the castle, spend some relaxing time strolling through its city. You'll find souvenir shops, restaurants and a beach to laze on. There are also boat tours you can hop onto to have a view of Sirmione from the waters. Spend half a day here and you'll bag away with many beautiful pictures.

Tip: Also known as Scaliger Castle if you cannot find it on your GPS. Alternatively, head straight to Sirmione City Centre and there you'll find the majestic castle.

Sermon City Centre, Lake Garda
Verona, Italy


PLAYGROUNDS, never underestimate their power over children. Whether it is a single swing or a fortress of never-ending fun, they seem to draw children to them like bees to honey. My son has his eyes fixated to bright primary colours and can point out a playground even when we drive at 100km/hr.


And so, I strongly suggest you do some research on playgrounds wherever you are heading because it'll bring a lot of joy to the whole family. I made a friend on Instagram (@franzonimary) and she writes at Playground Around The Corner (mostly in Italian though). She inspired me to look out for Playgrounds in Italy and if you are ever lost (playground-lost), download her app to look for playgrounds in your vicinity!

Playground at Parco Natura Viva
Inside the Zoo

This is the brightly-coloured animal-themed playground that got me all excited. I'd rather skip my lunch just to play (and photograph) with the children. The best thing about this playground is that it's situated next to a cafe so the adults can enjoy a cuppa while watching the children go wild in the zoo's playground!

Playground at Franfiacorta Outlet Village
Address: Via del Borgo 46, 25050 Rodengo Saiano, Italy

We stumbled upon this playground when the children's grandma shoved us the address to this outlet village for a day's shopping. I must say I was slightly reluctant to go because shopping was the last on my list. I must thank her for finding such an amazing place though! Both adults and children took away a whole lot of fun from this trip. The Franfiacorta Outlet Village has 156 stores in its premise and you will find brands like Crocs, CK Underwear, Guess, Nike and Sisley here. While the rest went shopping, I spent time with the children running across bridges and going down slides! Did I mention that there's Wifi available in the Village as well?

We did not get to check out the rest of the family attractions in Verona because they were either too common or over-aged for our children. Nevertheless, here's sharing more places you can go as a family while in Verona. 

Situated right next to Gardaland,
you can spend a full day here splitting half-and-half between
Sea Life Aquarium and Gardaland. 

Here, you will lose yourselves in Movieland Park and Caneva AquaPark
with a Medieval Times show that will send you back in time.

Our little Travel companions 
October 2015 - Ewan at 3 years old and Faye at 16 months old 
Click on our Travel tab to read all about our tips and tricks
including our Lake Como for Kids post!!

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  1. I love the walking tour that catered specifically to children! So important, because the kids would go mad with boredom on the other kinds of walking tours, I think. Oh and the safari with dinosaurs is awesome! We loved the safari in Bangkok that you recommended, and will be sure to check this one out if we ever do go to Verona. We still haven't worked up the courage to go on a long flight, even though we only have one kid in tow!

    1. Haha actually Adeline. A long flight which entails a 6 hour time difference is not really worth the go. We had to deal with jet-lags (our own and the kids) and weather and food and everything! But the kids were really good flyers because they slept half the way. We would most likely stick to a max of 2 hour time difference in future. It's definitely a of more manageable in terms of over-tired parents :)

  2. I love how the guides were very child friendly. It makes the kiddos feel a part of the trip. I always love the detail you put into your posts. I don't think we will end up in Europe any time soon, but this sure is a post will bookmark!

    1. Thanks Shermeen. The details kill me lor. Travel posts always make me super tired after writing but feeling so accomplished. Oh the guided tour was so good! Totally thinking if I should do this in Singapore too!

  3. Not sure if we will ever have a chance to travel to Italy or even Europe in the near future... but it looks like a lovely and romantic place to be. I hope can travel with my hubby around the world when my kids are older.

    1. Yes Phoebe. Sometimes we all need some time alone with the husband. My hubs went to check the meaning of a HOLIDAY and told me that holidaying with kids isn't his kind of holiday. hahaha It's too tiring!

  4. The tour by Valeria looks great, and it's cheaper than I expected! And I totally love safaris.. What a fun trip!

    1. Yup! Not too pricey which is great! Makes it doable for most families on a tour in Verona.

  5. I love reading your travelogues. Very well planned itineraries with many nuggets of useful information for families. I've always thought that Italy are not suitable for kids but hey, you've changed our perception! Thanks for infecting us with your love for travel :)

    1. My pleasure Angie! I've never thought Verona could be this fun as well. I will be working on Lake Como's post soon and that isn't as exciting for children =P

  6. I would LOVE to bring the kids to Italy! There's so much to see and do, so much history!

    The tour guide looks awesome - love the way she interacted with your family.

    1. Oh but they really aren't very children-friendly in certain regions with regards to eating and I didn't quite like that! And ya! The tour guide's really good with them =)

  7. Wow, so cool! I've never been to Europe. Hoping to go there someday with my family! I'm so amused that they welcome dogs more than children! Lol

    1. haha It's true! I think must families eat at home because food outside is expensive. In European countries, children sleep by 7pm too so, it's not often you get a noisy table filled with children.

  8. So many child-friendly tips thank you! I shall have to consult you when I finally plan our Europe trip with Lil Pumpkin. I used to like long flights as a kid but now I dread them.. getting too old to sit on the plane too long hahahaha

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    1. I really do not like long flights as a kid. It can be a 13 hour flight and I won't be able to sleep a wink. I don't know why, maybe the air? I remember the airplanes in the past had smoking and non-smoking cabins! I'm getting better at flying as I age hahaha please do make a trip with Lil Pumpkin! Maybe next year end!

  9. Gorgeous gorgeous pics and bookmarking all these tips! So much work went into planning all these family friendly places. Now I kinda feel guilty for bringing Bubba just shopping! Yikes!! And I totally feel you on being dog-tired parents. Felt the same way when we came back from our Italy trip!

    1. haha I did only 2 hours of shopping in Venice but well, I knew what I wanted before I went so it was speed shopping so that we don't have everyone waiting for me for too long. In and out, swiped and go. I loved your Italy pictures too! Looks like a lot of fun really.

  10. So envious of the two kiddos! They looked like they had so much fun and I loveeee all the gorgeous pictures!! We haven't been to Europe before at all, but looking at these pictures, I think imma bug the husband to bring us there soon heheh.

    1. Ahhh hold your horses! It's not a very easy trip although it looks all so fun! We were so very tired after the trip!


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