Florence with toddlers: travel guide to Florence for families with small children

Things to do in Florence with kids : a trip to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy the spectacular view

Full family guide for visiting Florence with toddlers. Find out toddler friendly things to do in Florence Italy and our tips for visiting Florence with toddlers. Updated 2020.

Florence is the quintessential city of art, the home of poets, sculptors, architects and thinkers who shaped the Italian Renaissance, language and culture for centuries to come.

Therefore, if you are planning a trip to Italy with small kids, you may be wondering if Florence is toddler friendly: can a city so famous for culture have a kid-friendly side?

When we visited Florence with our children we were delighted to discover that indeed Florence is a very family friendly destinations. It has lovely kids attractions, kid friendly food, nice parks and a wonderful city center perfect for family sightseeing.

However, visiting Florence with toddlers can also get you into some challenges and family travel tips from people who have been there can be handy.  

These are our top tips for visiting Florence with toddlers and our favorite toddler friendly things to do in Florence!

Planning a trip to Italy with kids? Then consider joining my FREE Facebook group ‘Travel Italy with kids’ HERE, where we can chat all things about family travel in Italy!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Is Florence toddler friendly?

Florence is a nice city to visit with a toddler. However, it also poses some challenges. This is what we loved and what we found harder with very small kids.

Florence is not stroller friendly

Florence is not a stroller friendly city.

Many streets in the older part of town do not have pavements and this means you find yourself manoeuvring your baby stroller and pushchair around parked cars and you have super careful with traffic and potential hazards.

To minimise discomfort, I recommend you get a compact stroller that you can easily fold and carry whenever our for sightseeing.

You can find my favorite strollers for travel here and compact double strollers for travel here.

Not all public toilets have baby changing stations

Changing diapers on the go is always a little bit of a headache and Florence is no exception. Not all Florence museums are equipped with changing stations and not all public toilers are toddler friendly.

You can find a map with public toilets in Florence with changing stations here.

It is also good to know that, by law, all food establishments such as cafes and restaurants must grant access to facilities, even without a purchase.

I highly recommend you get hold of a portable changing mat so you have your own, clean mat and equipment whenever needed.

You can find my favorite diaper bags for travel here and also my toddler travel essentials list here.

Florence gets very hot in summer

Florence gets very hot in summer. With little kids, this means you have to plan your days to avoid being out at the hottest time of the day and you may have to adjust nap and bed time to allow for longer evenings out.

You can find our tips for dealing with hot summers in Italy with toddlers here.

Florence has lovely parks and playgrounds

One a more positive side, Florence has lovely parks that make it a nice place for a day out and about with toddlers.

Some we loved are:

Parco delle Cascine, a large park with tons of space, playgrounds and even a family friendly pool for hot summer days.

Boboli Gardens, a large, monumental park that is great for little kids to run around (no playground, this is a monumental garden and not a public park)

Playground in le Cure, a lovely small park in the residential area of Le Cure, lovely for families with young kids

Small playgrounds in Florence city center are in Piazza D’azeglio, Giardino di Borgo Allegri and Piazza dei Ciompi.

Sightseeing in Florence with toddlers is easy

One of the things I love the most about Florence as a family destination is how easy it is to mix sightseeing and a child-friendly stop.

Florence city center is compact, walkable and has such a concentrated number of beautiful landmarks, palazzi and attractions, all you need to do is to take a stroll and your eyes will fill with beauty.

This means that you don’t have to come up with complicated plans or itieneraries to see the best of Florence with a toddler in town, unless you want to!

The only case when I recommend you follow an itinerary is if you only have one day in Florence with kids. In that case, I recommend you check out our family itinerary of Florence city center for small kids here.

Best things to do in Florence with toddlers

Stroll around Florence city center

Florence city center is where you find most of Florence most famous attractions: it 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.

To give you an idea of distances, you can see Florence’s main sites such as  Santa Maria Novella, Florence Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio in one afternoon!

Piazza della Signoria and Piazza del Duomo are lovely for kids to run around while the parents take in the sights!

Good to know: since you will be walking a lot in Florence, good shoes are a must! You can find our favorite style of shoes for traveling in Italy here.

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.

Toddlers love it but make sure you take a ride too!

This is one of our favorite things to do in Florence with a toddler and the carousel is a bit of a city icon, so it is most definitely a worthy stop. The square is wonderful and car free too, perfect for little ones.

Merry go round in Florence: best thing to do in Florence with toddlers

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!

Marvel at Florence Duomo’s colorful marbles

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 toddlers are likely to be mesmerised by one of its most distinctive traits: its facade of multi coloured marbles!

What is there in FLorence for kids? During a stroll in Florence city centre we stumble into Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence's duomo and it mesmerizing marbles. Those and the horse carriages outside where a great hit with the children
Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

The marbles are incredible to see and their patterns it so geometrical, when you look at them you may think they are dancing for you you!

Older kids are likely to want to climb to the top of the dome or bell tower, both accessible, however, with a toddler you may prefer to stay at ground level. When we went, the horse and carriages in the square kept them occupied while one of them went in.

If you want to see what the tour and climb involves, you can check specs and get priority entrance with skip the line here

Explore Biblioteca delle Oblate (library): the best toddler friendly activity for a rainy day in Florence

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

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.

The things our toddlers loved the most about Ponte Vecchio however was not the bridge but the river animals you can spot from it!

The river Arno has many river rats that are easy to spot from the banks, from a safe distance.

While this may sound disgusting, river rats are rather cute to spot as they are more like beavers that actual rats – while keeping your distance is paramount (and easy), you are likely to get squeals of delight from your little one when they spot them!

FLorence for kids; Ponte Vecchio and its shops overlooking the water
Ponte vecchio from the river banks

Marvel at the magical Boboli Gardens

The Boboli gardens are world famous and one of the best attractions in Florence for small children.

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.

For toddlers, 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!

Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo
Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

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!

Family-friendly museums in Florence that are good rainy day activities for toddlers 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!

Even for toddlers, this can be a nice place thanks to the fun family friendly atmosphere of the place.

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, perfect for inquisitive toddlers!

Stibbert Museum

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!) which can be fun for little kids

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. Despite the challenges for strollers, this is the best area if you want to reach everywhere on foot and have a large choice of shops and restaurants on your doorstep

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 and your family area of choice when staying more than a couple of days in Florence

Some family-friendly hotels in Florence you might like are (the following are affiliate links) Antica Torre Via Tornabuoni (luxury) Hotel Balestri (mid-range) Hotel Duca d’Aosta (budget).

You can find more hotels and a more detailed overview of the best neighborhoods to stay in Florence here.

Good to know: if you want to bring your own crib instead of relying on that of the hotel, you can find our favorite travel cribs for toddlers here.

Eating out in Florence with toddlers

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 told us it serves the best ice cream in Florence and after having a teste, we believe 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

Good to know: not all restaurants are equipped with high chairs so I highly recommend you bring your own. You can find our selection of the best portable high chairs for travel here.

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. Please be advised that you need a car seat in private cars in Florence. I recommend you bring your own: you can find our favorite car seats for toddler travel here and the car seats bags to keep them clean here.

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. Find more tips for traveling Italy with toddlers here. Safe travels!

This post has been updated in December 2020

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11 thoughts on “Florence with toddlers: travel guide to Florence for families with small children

  1. Keri (Baby Globetrotters) says:

    Wow, what a great detailed guide for families in Florence. Its one of those difficult places to be sure kids will have a good time as you immediately think museums and lines in the summer but you’ve clearly done your research and there’s loads of family-friendly things to do.

  2. Amy says:

    You had me at Florence! We’ve also done it kid free and it was equally amazing seen in a different light. It is also one of our favorite cities and I dream of “seriously considering moving there” 🙂 Our family loved Piazza Michelangelo, and we did that Ferrari drive, it is a must on your next visit!

  3. elaine massey says:

    Marta, you and Amy make the decisions tough about what all to see and do and where to stay in Italy. This will be great for us “big kids” and my 14-yr. old son. Thanks.

  4. Kevin Wagar says:

    Great write up! My wife and I were discussing taking our kids to Italy as we hadn’t been since before we had them. This makes a strong case for including Florence in the plans!

  5. Marianne @ Mum on the Move says:

    Always a good sign of a good holiday when you consider moving there at the end of the trip! I often find myself looking up the cost of buying a holiday home in a holiday destination when we get back (I still haven’t bought one yet… if only I were a multimillionaire!) Florence looks beautiful anyway 🙂

  6. Nicole says:

    This information is definitely getting bookmarked! I loved Florence when we went there pre-kids, but so looking forward to taking them there one day. Thanks for letting me daydream for a little bit 🙂

  7. Natalie says:

    Wonderful guide! Love all your tips. Kids love all things travel and it is fun to revisit the information on art and artists giving your trip an even deeper level. I have a reading list for kids – how to learn all about Italy and all that is wonderful about it!

    • Marta says:

      Thank you so much Natalie! I find travelling with children so rewarding: through their eyes, everything becomes new and interesting again!

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