Ever lament the fact that traveling sort of puts you in your own private bubble? This is particularly true if you travel to a country where you don't speak the native tongue.
Young children seem to have very little problem making new friends, regardless of the language barrier. Neighborhood playgrounds are a natural setting for integrating with local families. Particularly in major cities in Italy in the late afternoon (when moms and dads come home from work and head to the parco giochi with the bambini), you're likely to find Italians who speak English.
If a foreign language leaves your family tongue-tied, check out Debbie Dubrow's article, "Five Ways to Help Your Child Interact with Locals" for some creative ways to meet and interact with local families, regardless of your linguistic abilities.
Teenagers, in particular, enjoy time away from their guardians while traveling, and one of their top interests when visiting another country is meeting other teens.
If you have tips or stories about how your teenager met up with other Italian teens, post a comment below.