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Into Italy

The Italians love children and the country’s alpine region is one of the best places to take your family. BRONWEN GORA and MADELINE HOSKIN report.

While Italy is often considered a holiday mecca for sun seekers – it’s undeniable that when their weather cools down their slopes heat up. You’re sure to find sweeping runs, children’s facilities that go above and beyond your expectations and an ever lively après-ski scene for all ages, all snuggled warmly amongst the stunning Italian Alps. For your next family vacation what better place to take your bambinos than this land praised for their food, friendliness and family-first mentality.

Just below the Swiss border near St. Moritz you’ll find Livigno, a resort that is a hub for winter adventure. It was winner of Best European Resort in the 2012 World Snow Awards – and there’s no questioning why. With snow parks, a kid’s fun park, specialised kid’s areas and high snowfall reliability, there’s an endless array of action not to be missed. Excellent ski lessons and kinderclub are available for kids three and up, and staff will surely capture your hearts with their warm smiles and Italian charm. For something different there’s the rubber dinghy slope, horse riding tours or snowmobile hire to keep you whizzing all over this white paradise in all manner of ways. It’s sure to be a holiday full of firsts – no matter your age.  

With cobbled lanes and beautiful facades, Bormio is one of Italy’s most charming (and surprisingly affordable) ski spots with plenty for every family to sink their boots into. Don’t miss the Gallo Cedrone or Gormiti Children’s Park –ample spaces with magic carpets for kids to roam freely. Parents can attempt to tag along or keep an eye from a distance at nearby restaurants. Kindergarten is available for smaller ones shying away from snow, and lessons for skiing, snowboarding, telemarking, mountaineering and snowshoeing are offered for adventurous ones of all ages. Bormio is also famous for its après-skis, however if they are little too rowdy for your valuable family time, there’s a range of quality, quieter restaurants to relax in after a big day.  

Madonna di Campiglio
Surrounded by the majestic Dolomite summits and touting itself as the pearl of its region, Madonna di Campiglio is 150km and 57 lifts of scenic, winter heaven. For kids there are kindergartens, playgrounds, ski schools and plenty of beginner slopes. There’s also a range of inflatable fun lands for kids to ski around safely. Parents that find a spare moment can enjoy the pristine intermediate and expert runs, or sneak away to the après-skis which are lively in true Italian fashion. The area is popular with locals so you are all sure to get a proper cultural immersion. Come the afternoon, you can gather your flock and ski straight to your beds, and once rested make sure you go meander the bustling town to find bowls of warm pasta and parmigiana.  

This resort has a reputation as a place for intermediates who can ski around on oodles of novice runs right below the eastern face of the Matterhorn. It’s also renowned for its many sunny days. Cervinia has loads of wide beginner ski slopes that are a joy for learners, plus the resort is high, therefore enjoying a good reputation for reliable snowIf your family are good enough skiers you can take the ski runs across the border into Switzerland and onto the ski field of Zermatt, something that will be remembered for a lifetime.  

Val di Fassa
This is a good place to go if you are still at the learning stage of either snowboarding or skiing as there is a good selection of suitable slopes among the . region’s nine ski area. Families love the funparks and playgrounds here and the ski school is geared towards looking after children and teens. Val di Fassa is unique in that there are themed routes, such as the Three Valleys tour, the Tour of Emotions and of course the famous Sella Ronda, all of which are designed to maximize views. There are a lot of activities off the slopes here too, such as an ice rink, a bowling alley and swimming pool.  

San Cassiano & Alta Badia
San Cassiano is a gorgeous little town that will delight the kids and keep mum and dad happy too, and a close hop to the Alta Badia ski area. This ski field has 130km of slopes and no less than 53 ski lifts, many of them quite short and ideal for children. The ski field is fairly benign too with not much danger of ending up on a black diamond run when you least expect it. The town of San Cassiano is small, taking about five minutes to stroll through, a welcome convenience after a day of skiing when the family is a little weary and wants to easily find a cosy place to eat – of which there are many. San Cassiano also has one of those photogenic European churches, lovely as a backdrop for holiday snaps.  

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