It has been said that all roads lead to Rome. Let’s go!
A pretend visit to Italy can be a magical night. Here is an outline of how to make it happen.
Pizza – tradition states that the first pizza was made by a chef in Naples, Italy to honor the queen. He used the colors of the flag red(tomatoes), white (mozzarella), and green (basil)
Grissini – hard, long breadsticks. I thought they looked cool so I made some with the help of my kids. I used a recipe found on thekitchn.com. Press HERE for the link.
Polenta – a cornmeal based food found in Northern Italy. I used a recipe found on foodnetwork.com called Basic Polenta. Press HERE for the link. Then I looked around the internet and made two different types.
Gelato – Italian “ice cream.” We found that you can buy it at the grocery store. It was fun to taste a little. Their ice cream is less fattening than America’s!
Centerpiece – We made a simple centerpiece using a fancy glass/vase, the grissini breadsticks, and a homemade, paper Italian flag.
Wall decorations – We searched “free coloring pages Italy” and found flags, boats, pizza, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, Rialto Bridge, etc. (Sometimes you have to be very specific and type “free coloring pages colosseum.”) My kids colored them and hung them up on the wall with masking tape…even my bigger kids broke down and colored with the little ones.
Points of Interest:
Part of the fun of “visiting” a country is the research. We checked out a few books about Italy (from the JNF—junior non-fiction area). They sat in our front room for a couple weeks before we visited Italy. I would see my kids thumbing through the books and looking at/reading them. I read the books and took notes of the history, the climate, famous places, famous people, the food, the culture, etc. Here are a few key things you may want to teach… the Colosseum, cheese making, alps, Trevi Fountain, major religions, catacombs, Ponte Vecchio, the leaning tower of Pisa, Venice—built on 100 small islands, gondolas, St. Mark’s Square, Pontius Pilate, Nero, Mt. Vesuvius—and the fact it erupted in 79AD, vineyards, olive oil, Leonard Di Vinci, Ferrari, etc. Pick out what would be fun for your kids to learn.
Search the internet for a video of Italy scenery or culture. Be careful…be sure to watch it all the way through before showing it to your kids. The statues there are too revealing.
Bocce–We have made an indoor version of the game for winter nights. See our post Homemade Bean Bag Bocce
We invited other families to our house to visit Italy. I have found that inviting another family adds to the excitement.
Most of all have a great time. Let your kids help with the preparations. The more they participate the more they will love the experience…look closely at the pictures of the grissini–my helpers made them very unique!
It doesn’t have to be exact replica of Italy…just a taste. Have fun.
Books we used: —Italy (Taking Your Camera to) by Ted Park. —Countries of the World, Italy by Kristin Thoennes. —I Can Cook Italian Food by Wendy Blaxland.
(the featured picture from this post of came from pixabay.com)