Discover the best attractions to visit if you’re travelling to Florence with kids.
Florence doesn’t come across as being a child friendly city. Its narrow streets, busy squares and crowded museums don’t seem like the ideal place for a family holiday, but look a bit harder and you’ll find plenty of ways to keep the youngsters entertained. Here are a few suggestions.
Enjoy the city’s museums
If you’re visiting major attractions like the Duomo or a busy museum, preparation is key. For the Uffizi make sure to buy the ticket in advance to avoid queueing and pick out which paintings you want to see (let the kids pick their favourites first too). Or go one step better and get a specialist guide that works with kids and plan the visit according to their interests.
Aside from all that art, there’re some very good child-friendly museums in Florence packed with the kind of treasures that will delight a younger audience: from exhibitions of Galileo’s discoveries at the Galileo Museum, to Leonardo’s tools at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. Or the ‘family tours’ at the Palazzo Vecchio that really make the history of the city come alive.
Ride an antique carousel and meet the ‘little piglet’
For younger kids, a stop in Piazza della Repubblica is a must. It is one of the hubs of Florentine life, and the antique carousel in the square is a fine way for young travellers to take a break from sight-seeing.
Near there, on the way to the Ponte Vecchio, you find the ‘mascotte’ of the city, the bronze statue of the“Porcellino” (piglet) at the Porcellino Market. Rub its shiny nose to attract good luck and tell them the story written by H.C. Anderson while visiting this spot in Florence (The wild boar comes to life at night and runs trough the city with an orphan child on its back.)
Escape the crowds
If you want to escape the crowds, you’ll find some safe spaces for them to run around. The best bet is Boboli Garden – a vast park right in the city centre. Or choose one of Florence’s many gardens. Take a scenic walk up the hill to Belvedere Garden or to Piazzale Michelangelo, and stop at the free Rose Garden (Giardino delle Rose) on the way up. From Piazzale Michelangelo the view is unbeatable. Bring a pair of binoculars and they’ll be able to pick out Florence’s different buildings. There’s a good spot to eat up here, and plenty of souvenir stands too.
In general the Oltrarno is a less crowded area, and more pleasant to stroll around in. The lovely Santo Spirito Square makes a nice place to stop and relax.
Climb a tower
If you don’t mind heights, take the kids to the top of the tallest tower of the city in Palazzo Vecchio (you can use your Museum ticket for this) or the Cathedral’s Dome. It’s an exhilarating climb and has a stunning view over the city. It should definitely be on your list if you’re travellng in Florence with kids.
Time to get spoilt: Best of Toy Stores
Spoil them Tuscan style at the renowned toy shop Bartolucci (main shop is in Via Condotta 12 and another shop in Borgo dei Greci) filled with wooden toys and souvenirs. King of them all is the classic puppet Pinocchio.
At Dreoni on via Cavour. An institution in Florence, this toy store doesn’t look very big from the outside but when you get inside, get ready for a labyrinth of rooms. They have everything a kid could want from board games and dolls to Lego, costumes and stuffed animals. If you have to, there’s also a Disney store in via Calzaioli.
With a new Pinocchio in hand, it’s time to hunt for Florence’s best ice-cream. Get them a cone with a range of exotic flavours, that range from Stracciatella to Pistachio.
Children’s Guide Books
‘FLORENCE – JUST ADD WATER’ This is a wonderful children’s guide book to the history, monuments and people of the city. As enjoyable for adults as it is for kids.