Pretty Chiavenna Palazzo Perfect for Families
When Italy typically calls to someone for vacation, the big cities are usually on the other end of the line. Rome. Venice. Florence.
But once you’ve been to at least one of those and if you were fortunate enough to have the chance to explore further, you’ll latch on to the secret of the larger regions (Think Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy) and smaller towns.
When we did a family travel trip to Italy years ago, it was Siena that stole my heart. It was unexpected. The Colosseum is impressive and Florence’s David blew me away, but it was in the smaller, quainter Siena that I felt closest to the people and the place.
The same thing happened in Chiavenna.
And though I was there without the kids this time, there was so much here that I’ll need to bring them back. In my Italy with Kids series I’ll be highlighting some of my favourites. Starting with Palazzo Vertemate Franchi.
Italy With Kids|Palazzo Vertemate Franchi
What I loved: From the outside it looks so simple. Just another country manor house, you’ll think and you’ll be wrong. The charm of this house that once belonged to the richest family in the area is that it unfolds to you slowly.
Simplicity becomes slightly more complicated once you’ve gone through the doors until it bursts with colour and detail in the rooms on its upper floors. Built in the 16th century , it’s the only building that survived a massive landslide in 1618. Its Renaissance designs make it easy to imagine what life might’ve been like here. It’s the kind of place an adult could meander all day, but it’s also so unassuming and accessible that kids will like it too. They’ll like the little things like the mustached door knockers …
and even the artwork holds interesting surprises…
There are gardens they can run in
and outdoor nooks and crannies meant to be explored.
And while they’re doing that you’ll look back over your shoulder see this view
and this one
and wonder exactly how many guards it will take to pry you from the spot.
Italy With Kids| Palazzo Vertemachi – Just the Facts
How to get here: We took the comfortable local train from Milano Centrale. The trip required a transfer in Colico and was about 2.5 hrs from Milan to Chiavenna. Make sure to grab a window seat for the incredible views. The Palazzo is about 2 km outside of town and is best accessed with assistance from the local tourism office.
Where to stay: There are a few hotels around town but your best bet will be a bed and breakfast option. Check here:
When to come: Chiavenna is on the edge of the Alps so expect cooler climes than Milan. Summer and fall are perfect for exploring on foot. The palazzo is open from March 29 – November 02 from 10 am – 12 noon and from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm. It is generally closed during the winter season but can be opened on request.
Costs: Adults: € 7,00 ; Kids, Students, Groups: € 5,00.
While you’re there: Pop over to the nearby Cascate Acqua Fraggia (waterfalls) for a picnic lunch with a view.
More information: www.palazzovertemate.it