You’re in Tuscany with your children? You’ll find plenty of opportunities to engage them in fun adventures and exciting new experiences (and you should definitely download and read our free e-book "Top 10 fun things under the Tuscan sun").
If you want to take your kids to a museum, to deepen their knowledge, but you’re afraid of seeing the boredom on their faces, have no fear! In Tuscany there are many museums able of capturing the attention of little ones (and entertain the whole family). Here are our choices.
When it comes to kids, this is one of the best loved museums, shown by the dozens of students who often crowd its halls. The museum hosts priceless and beautiful scientific pieces: terrestrial and celestial globes, barometers, compasses, telescopes, thermometers, astrolabes, armillary spheres… and the original instruments of the revolutionary Galileo Galilei (the two original telescopes and the objective lens with which he discovered Jupiter’s moons), which he designed and built by himself.
The objects and the extensive captions in every room allow you to learn about the challenges and questions of the past, like how to measure time by day and by night, the problem of longitude for the science of navigation or the meteorology development.
The museum houses a collection of fossils found in the Valdarno area: about 2,600 items, plant and animal fossils, belonging to the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene (i.e. between 5,332 and 2,588 million years ago). At the time, this area was covered by a lake. Later, it was inhabited by animals typical of the savanna, such as elephants, hippos and tigers. Among the most important pieces there is the skull of a “Saber-toothed tiger” (Homotherium crenatidens), the skulls of Hystrix Etruscan and the skull of the Canis etruscu, the first one of a new species. But the star and symbol of the museum is by far the Elefantone Gastone – a huge skeleton of Mammuthus meridionalis.
Pieve Santo Stefano is the “Town of Diaries”. This small village in the Tuscan Apennines is home to the unique National Diary Archive, with over 7000 diaries, memoirs, journals, autobiographies and letters, collected over the years. The Little Museum of the Diary (Piccolo Museo del Diario) was set up to show and tell the National Diary Archive in an innovative and engaging manner, like the art installation – twenty drawers set in a wooden wall – that allow visitors to hear, see and touch some of the fascinating stories. In the age of blogs and chat, bring your children to let them know how people used to keep diaries on the sheets of paper (and sometimes on something even stranger)!
As you can guess from the name, this museum is specifically designed and built for children and is practically unique in Italy. It was founded with a mission: to familiarize a younger audience (3-11 years old) with museums and works of art.
Hosted within the Santa Maria della Scala complex, the "Museo d'Arte per bambini" offer various educational activities based on archaeological, historical and contemporary subjects.
Rio Marina's "Parco Minerario dell'Isola d'Elba" is an internationally renowned scientific museum that your kids will love for sure. The visit starts in Palazzo del Burò (the mine's former administrative office), where minerals and reconstructions of mine indoors are on display, and continues with a tour in the mines. Make sure you and your family hop aboard the little red train to make your visit an unforgettable experience.
And since we know that many children love climbing, because it’s a mix of discovery and adventure, here is a list of famous towers you can climb in Tuscany.
Finally, many museums organize a series of wonderful cultural activities especially designed for children. Here you can find some information about Florence’s museums with children’s activities in English.
The original version of this article was written by Leila Firusbakht.