Family holidays in Tuscany are all about sandy beaches, quirky museums, some mysterious castles and glorious parks where children can run free.
Go Medieval in Tuscany
Medieval towns in Tuscany can be like historical amusement parks for children. Take the small walled town of Monteriggioni for example, an atmospheric Medieval town complete with towers where video game Assassin’s Creed is set. Walking along the perfectly preserved ramparts can set off any child’s imagination, and at the Armoury Museum they can even experience being a knight for a day. Check out the Summer Medieval festival for some full immersion Medieval fun.
Another mighty medieval town is San Gimignano. Its famous towers are still standing after eight centuries and it has a Torture Museumthat’s not for the faint hearted. For something less gruesome, visit San Gimignano 300 with faithful reproductions of the Medieval town that can entertain kids and adults alike. And don’t forget Volterra and Montepulciano, the ideal stop for fans of the Twilight saga. Vampire geeks can visit the town where the books are set and see the square where some of the scenes from “New Moon” were filmed.
Fun with history in Florence
For more history-inspired entertainment, make a visit to Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Tours like “Secret passages” or the one held in costume are a great way to bring the city’s history to life. Florence is full of child-friendly museums which are a great way to give them a break from all that art. But if what they need is a bit of action, an afternoon spent in the vast, and safe, Boboli Gardens make a ideal spot for a little hide-and-seek.
Places to stretch your legs aren’t lacking in Tuscany. If what you’re looking for is open spaces and nature, a great day’s excursion from Florence is the Pratolino Demidoff Park, easily reachable via public transport. Or you could venture into one of the great Parks and Gardens of the region. Lucca is a relaxed destination and perfect if you’re travelling with young kids. Compact and traffic free, the city centre is surrounded by a massive wall that is really a park in itself – a green oasis great for cycling or running around.
A few kilometers from Lucca you’ll find the Orecchiella Natural Park. It has a small and well kept zoo, plenty of space to relax and play, and a few places to grab a bite. Further north, in the Garfagnana area (a bit out of the way but worth the trip for more Medieval excitement) is the Archeopark Verrucole Castle, kept alive by a team of young enthusiasts that organise guided tours and occasionally historical re-enactments. It’s near San Romano in Garfagnana. There’s a steep walk to get there and no refreshment points, so bring your own food and drinks.
For the adventurous kids, a day spent exploring a cave could be a nice respite from all the culture. The best caves in Tuscany are the Antro del Corchia and the Grotta del Vento, both in the Apuan Alps in the province of Lucca. These are fascinating places filled with stalactites and little lakes perfect for fertile imaginations.
Climb one of the Medieval towers
Another totally Tuscan activity that might appeal to older kids is climbing a tower. Here you’re spoilt for choice, from the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa to Giotto’s Bell tower at Florence’s Cathedral. Alternatively take them to the top of Siena or San Gimignano’s towers and they’ll feel like they’re at the top of the world.
Special Summer destinations for family holidays in Tuscany
The kids will thank you for taking them to Maremma in Tuscany. With clean, safe beaches, lots of space, and pine groves offering refreshing shade, this could be the ultimate family-friendly summer destination. This is especially the case if you travel out of season, avoiding the busy times when Italians take their holiday (second half of July and August).
In the Maremma you’ll find the best beaches in Tuscany. Some are free, some are resorts, and some have lovely child-friendly opportunities for excursions. There’s the Sculpture Park of Capalbio, filled with colours and weird looking figures that children can interact with. There are adventure parks, and the fairy tale town of Pitigliano with its old stone streets and intriguing networks of passageways hollowed out of the tufa, “The Vie Cave”.
Some love Versilia, the northern coast of Tuscany, as it’s busier and livelier. The sea is less clear here as a result of the currents. The beaches are big and can be pricier in up-market resorts like Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi. (Think comfortable deck chairs, cabins and bars). It’s an ideal destination for children as these places are often choc-a-block with things to do along the avenues, with a colourful parade of ice-cream shops and games.
Join a sagra (local fair)
For a true taste of Tuscany, how about a bit of fun and food cooked up by the locals? These fairs form an important part of Tuscan life. You can sample the delicacies and leave the children to run around and play together; they are a perfect chance for your kids to make some Italian friends.
If you’d like to share ideas from your family holidays in Tuscany, we’d love to hear from you.