This is our family guide for visiting Florence with kids. In this article, you will find the best things to do with kids in Florence, our recommended family friendly hotels in the city and our best tips to make the most of a family vacation in Florence, Italy.
Florence is the quintessential citta’ d’arte, the home of poets, sculptors, architects and thinkers who shaped the Italian renaissance, language and culture for centuries to come.
But is Florence the perfect family destination? Is there much to do in Florence for kids?
When we first got an offer for a home exchange in Florence, we weren’t so sure. However, after a bit of research and the help of local friends who listed for us the best things to do in Florence with kids, we decided to give it a shot.
The result was maybe the most amazing family holiday we’ve had so far: after 2 weeks in Florence, we loved it so much we seriously considered moving there!
I have already published a good few posts about Florence, showing some the aspects that make it the perfect Italian city break with kids, but today I wrote one that I hope works as a mini guide for families with children planning on going to Florence for a culture filled family vacation.
It’s not a comprehensive guide but I would have liked to read a post like this when I was in planning mode and so I believe it’s worth writing! I hope you find it useful as reference and will bookmark it or pin it as a good list of the top things to do in Florence with kids.
Please share this post so other parents can discover this beautiful city!
Florence for kids: what to see and do
Stroll around Florence city centre
Whenever we take a city break with kids, we start with a walking tour of our destination.
I love discovering a new city on foot, I feel it is the best way to get a first sense of what the city is all about, and Florence is particularly inviting.
The city centre is compact enough to be visited without motorized transport and with about 3 hours we were able to cover enough ground to get a good idea of the main sights and attractions and the distance from one to the other.
Top tip for families with young children: in Piazza della Repubblica, right in the heart of Florence, there is a gorgeous, traditional marry go round. Kids love it but make sure you take a ride too! This is one of our favourite things to do in Florence with kids and one our kids remember fondly.
Visit family-friendly museums and attractions in Florence
When walking around Florence you are surrounded by museums and historical sites open to visitors, so our next task was to figure out which one we could visit with children without incurring in heartbreaking meltdowns. We ended up with the following list.
Top tip for families visiting Florence with kids: many museums offer family days with activities and workshops for kids. They are usually scheduled on Saturdays and often are in multiple languages: make sure you drop in while strolling around teh city to see what is available at the time of your visit
Museo dei Ragazzi a Palazzo Vecchio (children museum)
Hosted in one of Florence’s most iconic historical homes, this museum is dedicated to showing and explaining the daily life of the Medici family.
Despite the name, it is not a children museum with toys/role play but it does have family friendly tours that are interesting and engaging.
The one called ‘Court life’ teaches about life at the time of the Medici in a fun, interactive way – the idea that at the time you only had a bath once a year was a great hit with pretty much all ages and caught the kids’ attention!
Museo Galileo and Museo Leonardo
Instruments, globes, maps, telescopes, microscopes: the Galileo museum is not specifically designed for kids, but one budding scientists love. Museo Leonardo: a small museum dedicated to Leonardo’s inventions. A real treat for all ages, the kids adored the machines and they were even able to touch some of them!
this museum is not in Florence city centre but, rather, a bus ride away inside the beautiful grounds of Villa Montughi. What makes this museum really special for children is that it contains, among very many other things, full sets of armour and 2 sizes knights in full paraphernalia! it is a truly impressive sight and one kids love.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum of Florence is hosted by several buildings, all in the city centre, each devoted to a different branch of study and the natural world. Especially for little kids, the most impressive exhibitions are the ones about geology and palaeontology (with fossils and a skeleton of an elephant!) and Museo La Specola, showcasing stuffed animals and a hall of skeletons
As you can see, I have not included in this list famous museums such as Uffizi and Galleria dell Accademia. To be honest, I think these museums are amazing but unless you have an angelic child who sleeps in the buggy, it’s not fun to try and negotiate them with a toddler or a young child. They are just too big and not interactive enough. That said, I do know that periodically they offer family mornings, so it can be worth checking their websites for upcoming events.
Update: good news! Since we first published this article, we learned about family tours of the Uffizi: you can find info and book tickets here
Marvel at some of the most beautiful Florence landmarks
You know the iconic picture of Florence, with the view over the city and the red dome on the right? Piazzale Michelangelo is where you go to take that shot!
The piazza itself is nothing more than a large parking area with a statue of the David by Michelangelo in the centre, but the view makes the visit and the uphill climb more than worth it.
A fun thing for the kids.
Piazzale Michelangelo is the starting point of a special Ferrari tour and almost every day you can find there two shiny red Ferrari shimmering in the sun.
The tour is for adults only, but it comes complete with a photoshoot in the car and the kids are welcome to join. My two, albeit tiny at the time, loved it! If you want to read about our Ferrari experience and see a super cute photo of it, click here
Ponte Vecchio is one of the iconic sites of Florence and one that kids tend to love.
The bridge’s most peculiar trait is that its sides are made of ancient houses and shops and therefore looks like a little self-contained city.
The most charming part of it is probably seen from the banks of the river, but it is worth also taking a look at the incredible jewelry shops that have their home on the bridge. If you have small children, make sure you hold their hands tight: Ponte Vecchio gets very crowded!
Parks, playgrounds and green spaces
Florence is not great in terms of inner city parks. However, if a small area to let off steam while sightseeing is what you are looking for, you can check out the small playgrounds in Piazza D’azeglio, Giardino di Borgo Allegri and Piazza dei Ciompi.
Of a different scale, a lovely big park, outside of the city centre is Parco delle Cascine. Originally a private hunting estate for the Medici family now it’s a great green space with paths for biking, jogging, or rollerblading. It has some play areas with swings and climbing frames and a swimming pool, open in summer. It is the perfect place for a full day outdoors.
Not as good for playing but amazing to visit and not to be missed are the Boboli gardens (world-famous, landscaped gardens) and il Giardino Delle rose, on the way to Piazzale Michelangelo, offering lovely views of the city.
Family friendly hotels in Florence Italy
In terms of proximity to museums and ease of transport, nothing beats accommodation in Florence city centre, but in the case of families with children, I believe it is worth considering different options such as the area of Oltrarno and, farther from the city centre, the residential area of le cure.
What to eat in Florence with kids
You read that right: I am not giving you a list of where to eat but rather a list of what you should look for, when in Florence. Honestly, it’s not about being lazy here, but food in Florence is gorgeous and a list of good restaurants would take over my whole blog!
Florence is surrounded by the rolling hills that make Tuscany famous and is the home of earthy plates: cured meats, steak, soups are signature dishes but of course, pasta and pizza are available everywhere. You might notice that once you leave the most touristy restaurant you are not often offered a kids menu.
This is pretty standard in Italy, but it’s important not to get put off by this: most of the food in traditional places is suitable for kids and we were always offered an option of a half portion for the kids (charged at half price)
For a special treat, head for gelato in Badiani: outside the city centre, reliable sources tell us is the best gelato in Florence and from what we could tell, they are right!
Or house in Florence was in the same area as Badiani and a trip to this gelateria was one of our holiday traditions. If you want to head out of the city, a lovely place with amazing food is Fattoria di Maiano, in Fiesole, a working farm with an amazing restaurant and guided tour for kids
Transport and getting around
As I mentioned, by far the best way to visit Florence is on foot. The public transport system works well and relies on buses and a tram line. Tickets must be purchased before boarding the bus (checks are random but do happen! Tickets are sold by newsagents and ‘tabaccai’, marked by ‘T’ black and white signs) and you can choose between single or multi-hop tickets, day tickets and family tickets. Info here
Another good way of visiting Florence is by bike, but be warned: the cobbles make for a very bumpy ride! if you choose this mean of transport, stick with the most central part of the city unless you are very fit: the hills get pretty steep!
So, what do you reckon: would you visit Florence with kids or have you already done so? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Please share this post so other parents can discover this beautiful city!
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