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Mar 14, 2014 10:56 AM

Eastern Italian Riviera in April with 15 month old

I will be traveling to the Italian Riveria in April (during Easter) with my husband and our 15th month old son (along with my brother, sister-in-law and mother). We will be staying in Santa Margherita Ligure and visiting the towns between Portofino and the Cinque Terre. While my husband and I have traveled many times to Italy, this will be our first trip to this region and my son's first trip to Europe. We live in Manhattan and take my son out to eat frequently. He is very well behaved and eats everything that my husband and I eat (no children's meals or separate food for him) so we have no issues going out to lunch with him or for early dinners (around 5:30). When we are away, I am hoping to find chow-worthy eats and restaurants that will not frown upon us if we come with my son. I have bought a copy of David Downie's book for the region which is very helpful, but I am hoping that this board can point out which restaurants will be child-friendly restaurants for lunch. And also to advise if there are even any worthy restaurants for dinner that are open early (or how early to restaurants open for dinner there?). Of course with the time change, my son's bed time may be later and there will be some days that my mother will baby-sit my son so that my husband and I can go out for a later dinner. Our dinners will primarily be in Santa Margherita LIgure but lunches will be in the other towns.

Also, since we will be there over Easter, is it a correct assumption that many places will be closed on Easter Sunday? Would this affect any of the surrounding days?


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  1. If you do a search using the search box above right, for Liguria, you will see my reports from a visit to the region in the fall of 2012, as well as reports by others.Luchin in Chiavari is definitely child friendly. When we went to La Brinca for Sunday lunch, there were a couple of multi-generational Italian families with babies there. It is very special but you sould expect the meal to be leisurely, and you will need a car to to arrange a taxi to get there (it cost us $30 from Chiavari). I dont think they are open for lunch on weekdays, however.

    Early restaurant dinners may not be realistic, but you can certainly have a light meal during the evening passagiata in this area..

    The fact is that kids change month by month at this age - I well remember travelling with kids at 15 months, 18 months, 2-1/2, 16, 22....You will have to hang loose in your expectations, for patience with Italian dining styles.

    1. My wife and I just returned from our yearly visit to Santa Margherita Ligure two weeks ago. It was carnival time for the kids with lots of candy and confetti all over the boardwalk. This is one of our favorite places in Italy and we spend time at Hotel Metropole every year. We were half-board, because we were too tired after our 6+ hours of hiking through the hills of the Portofino National Park to walk back downtown to a restaurant. The dining room had several families with young children, while the town was packed with children. We’ve eaten at a place downtown where the couple had their own children at the restaurant with a separate playroom. Our hotel seems to be designed for bringing children, because it has a well developed swimming area in the bay with a snack bar besides a pool. Santa Margherita Ligure strikes me as a kids friendly place. However, the earliest dinner I’ve seen started at 7:00.

      1. One thing you should note is that the Monday following Easter is also a holiday. As a general rule, restaurants are likely to be open for Easter dinner (around 1:00 or so) but likely to be closed Sunday evening and Monday.

        1. Thank you for your responses. I certainly want to go to Luchin for lunch. I have also received recommendations for Da Vittorio in Recco and I notice that it is open 7 days a week and I was hoping that this may be a good spot for lunch on Easter. Is anyone familiar if it is open then?