Full family guide for visiting Florence with kids. Find out 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.
However, Florence is also a great family destination and a city to add to any Italy itinerary.
We discovered Florence’s family friendly side on a long summer vacation there.
Over the course of several weeks, we discovered all the best things to do in Florence as a family, from sightseeing to playgrounds and loved each and every one of them.
This is our full family guide to Florence for families!
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Best things to do in Florence with kids
Stroll around Florence city center
Florence city center is a delight to discover on foot and easy to enjoy also for kids.
The city center is compact enough to be visited at a leisurely pace and there are plenty of opportunities for kids to stop and play and several things to see that will pique their attention.
Our full itinerary, with child-friendly stops, is here: to give you an idea of distances, you can see Florence’s main sites such as Santa Maria Novella, il Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, the Uffizi Galleri and Ponte Vecchio in one afternoon!
Go to the merry go round in Piazza della Repubblica
In Piazza della Repubblica, right in the heart of the city, there is a gorgeous, traditional merry go round.
Kids love it but make sure you take a ride too!
This is one of our favorite things to do in Florence with a toddler but it is such a charming spot, older children are sure to love it too.
Run around Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Piazza Santa Maria Novella is one of the most famous in Florence and a wonderful spot for kids.
Here you have the charming church that gives the name to the piazza, vast space to run around and gelato shops!
Older kids may also like the Officina Profumo Santa Maria Novella, a historical perfume/pharmacy shop dating back to 1200!
This is not a place to play but it wonderful to see, has beautiful children products and glorious smells.
Visit the duomo and climb its bell tower
Maybe the most distinctive and famous of all Florence attractions is Florence’s duomo, the church of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The church overlooks a wonderful square and has several elements that will capture the attention of kids.
The first one is its colors: the church is made of colorful marbles that look a little like a rainbow!
It also has a large dome and there is a fun fact about it: it is so big, architect Brunelleschi had to add the heavy top spire to keep it closed, otherwise it would open like flower petals!
But the best thing for kids to do in Florence’s duomo is to climb to the top of the bell tower. This is best done with older kids but the views are stunning.
Explore Biblioteca delle Oblate (library)
Not far from the duomo it is worth seeking out the Biblioteca delle Oblate.
This is a library and a great spot for kids thanks to a large children section (age 0-14 years old) with books, games and activities.
This is a wonderful spot to know if visiting Florence with a toddler too and for a rainy day
Marvel at Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio
Piazza della Signoria is one of the most iconic of Florence and a pleasure to visit with kids.
The square is beautiful and traffic-free and has the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, which is gorgeous (see also below, in child-friendly museums) and also the fountain of Nettuno which always makes an impression!
Walk across the river on Ponte Vecchio
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 view of it is the banks of the Arno 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!
Marvel at the magical Boboli Gardens
The Boboli gardens are world famous and one of the best attractions in Florence for kids.
They are the gardens of beautiful Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) and they are enchanting: they are not really gardens to run around but rather to admire for their many sculptures, pathways books and crannies.
With kids, of without, they are a Florence must see!
Catch a view from Piazzale Michelangelo
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 center, but the views over Florence make the visit and the uphill climb more than worth it.
Piazzale Michelangelo is also 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 kids are welcome to join. For little car lovers, even just seeing the cars can be a real treat!
Take a family-friendly tour or class
If you are looking for a structured family-friendly activity in Florence, you have several good options.
- Florence walking tour for families with treasure hunt
- Uffizi gallery private tour for families
- Florence cooking experience for families
Family-friendly museums in Florence
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 the city to see what is available at the time of your visit.
In our experience, these are the most family-friendly museums in Florence.
Museo dei Ragazzi a Palazzo Vecchio (children museum)
Hosted in one of Florence’s most iconic landmarks, 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 center 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 armors 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 has impressive exhibitions about geology and paleontology (with fossils and a skeleton of an elephant!) and its unusual Museo La Specola, showcases stuffed animals and a hall of skeletons
Florence is not great in terms of inner-city playgrounds.
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.
Family-friendly hotels in Florence Italy
Florence has a large number of good, family-friendly hotels. The best areas to stay in Florence with kids are:
City center: this is the most convenient area for sightseeing
Oltrarno: on the other side of the river, this is is a beautiful area, still convenient yet detached enough from the city center to be quiet and local in feel
Le cure: farther away from the city center, in a great position if you want to mix a stay in Florence with day trips to Tuscany, this is a lovely residential area perfect for families
Where to eat in Florence with kids
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.
A wonderful place to eat in Florence with children is Mercato Centrale and also the historical Mercato San Lorenzo. These markets are very different in style but a great spot for families as they offer a huge variety of food that will be sure to please children and adults alike!
If you prefer a more standard sit down meal in a restaurant, you will be happy to hear most places are happy to cater to kids.
You might notice that once you leave the most touristy restaurant you are not often offered a kids menu. However, most restaurants are happy to prepare a simple meal for children and serve smaller portions if asked.
For a special treat, head for gelato in Badiani: outside the city center, reliable sources tell us is the best gelato in Florence and from what we could tell, they are right!
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
How to get around Florence
Arriving by train: Florence train station is beside Santa Maria Novella, right in Florence city center. Taxis top just outside the station and so do trams and buses
If you arrive by plane, you can take the stress away by booking a private transfer to your hotel
Once in Florence, the best way to get around is on foot. If you have very young children, I recommend you bring both a stroller and a carrier
If you need to use public transport, you need to get tickets before boarding at vending machines or in tabaccai shops (marked by a large white T over back background)
I hope you found this family guide to Florence with kids useful. Safe travels!
This post was originally published in 2016 and has not been fully updated. September 2019