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Escape the Crowds in This Beautiful Corner of Italy

by Barbara Rogers

Nov 22, 2022

Lignano Sabbiadoro © Mdworschak | Dreamstime.com


Family travelers eager to see the treasures of Florence, Venice and Rome often overlook the less-visited corners of Italy. Away from the big cities and crowds, traveling families can experience the real Italy, taking part in local life instead of being surrounded by other tourists.


Northeast of Venice and bordered by Austria and Slovenia, the Friuli Venezia Giulia is perhaps best known as home of the sparkling white wine, Prosecco. But its rolling hills of vineyards are not the only attraction: Families will find charming small towns, beautiful beaches, Roman ruins and Alpine slopes.


Only two hours from Venice by train or car, Trieste looks more like an Austrian city (which it once was). A hilltop fortress and romantic seaside castle will please the kids. Small boats fill its short canal, and there’s even a Roman amphitheater to explore. Not far from the city, you can tour some of the world’s largest caves.


Along the coast between Venice and Trieste are long, sand beaches and the charming seaside town of Grado, with its canals and thermal spa. At nearby Aquileia, kids will love spotting the animals and birds in the intricate, Roman mosaic floors of the ninth-century basilica.


Lignano Sabbiadoro features a long, wide beach, and its zoo park and water park are great entertainment for young children. The peninsula is a great place for bicycling.


Inland, the small city of Udine sits in the middle of wine country, where you’ll find lovely agrotourism farms that welcome families. The walls of the castle in Udine surround a spacious park, and its Palazzo Arciviscovile boasts magnificent frescoes by Tiepolo.


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