If you are used to traveling with kids, you know for sure that bringing them to an urban destination takes a lot of energy. That said, preparation and planning are the basis for an unforgettable vacation. Try to see fewer things, but in a way that captivates their interest. Florence is a must-see for anyone traveling through Italy: it is the Cradle of the Renaissance, a paradise for art lovers, a dream city filled with beautiful squares and gardens… but what about visiting it with children? This post is written to help you organize a family-friendly itinerary in Florence.
Seeing a city from the top is always a thrilling experience. There are many opportunities to do this in Florence and your kids will for sure enjoy them: one is walking up to Piazzale Michelangelo, where you’ll enjoy one of the most stunning views of Florence; another option is climbing the 463 stairs of Florence’s Duomo and taking in a superb 360° view from the top.
The Boboli Gardens, right behind Pitti Palace, in the Oltrarno distritc of Florence, is a great spot for a stroll and a picnic. It's one of the largest parks in Florence and one of the most important Italian gardens in the world, included, along with the other Tuscan Medici gardens and villas, in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This true open-air museum has fountains, caves, paths and buildings, alternate with small woods, statues and ponds. And a few secrets.
After strolling around in the central, paved streets of Florence, you can stop in Piazza della Repubblica, one of the hubs of the city centre, and take one or more rides on the antique carousel in the square. The young travellers can take a break from sightseeing and have a lot of fun.
Especially if you’re visiting Tuscany in the hot season, gelato is a refreshing and pleasant break. And did you know that ice cream was invented in Florence? It is said that Bernardo Buontalenti, a Florentine talented artist, invented a new dessert for a banquet for the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, wanting to "wow" the crowd.
Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the real gelato, following our tips to choose the best one.
When visiting Florence, your plan will most definitely include at least one museum. So, have a look at this useful post, where we've made a selection of Florentine museums that offer special activities (in English) for children and families, to offer your kids a cultural experience in an entertaining and interesting way.
If you like Tuscan cuisine, take a cooking class with your kids too. You’ll be surprised at how much children love to get their hands dirty and cook! Afterward, you'll have the pleasure of tasting what you have created together!
The “Porcellino” is a bronze sculpture and fountain that has become the mascot of the Mercato Nuovo market near the Ponte Vecchio. While strolling in the city centre, make a stop there and touch its face: a rub on its snout will ensure your return to Florence! Another common thing to do is to put a coin into the boar's gaping jaws, hoping it will fall through the underlying grating for good luck.
Dedicate a morning to the local San Lorenzo Market (or Mercato Centrale), where you can appreciate a great assortment of fresh products from the Tuscan countryside. Here you’ll find cheese, meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, and kids can taste, smell and experience a traditional Florentine market.
In case you come to Florence during summer, just know that the summer season can be really hot in town, so a nice way to cool off is at the pool. The sea is about an hour and a half away from Florence, but the city has several swimming pool options. Remember to bring a swim cap (if you don’t have one you can purchase it at the pool) and an ID. The swimming pools often have an area for bathing and sometimes a grassy area where you can refresh.
It's often said that Florence is an open air museum. What you might not know is that is also true when it comes to contemporary art. Take your kids for a walk through the streets and cobbled lanes of the historic centre to spot works of street art: from the craziest road signs in the world, to underwater art.
If Tuscany is your family holiday destination, here is a selection of locations, activities and tips that you should add to your bucket list.
Original article by Serena Puosi