Florence is a wonderful destination for families, so full of attractions to be almost overwhelming. If you only have limited time in the city, what are the attractions you must not miss? Here is our selection of the top 10 things to do in Florence Italy with kids.
We spent a long and beautiful summer in Florence. We filled our days walking the city’s medieval streets, gaping at its wonderful art and eating more gelato any responsible parent would be happy to admit (actually, gelato is good for you and very nutritious, but that’s another story!).
However, there were 10 things our kids loved most of all and that I recommend all parents to seek out in Florence. They are a mix of kid-specific activities, cultural activities kids can enjoy and some amazing family friendly tours that are sure to make you fall in love with Florence as much as we did!
Top 10 things to do in Florence Italy with kids
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Go ‘round and round’ in Piazza della Repubblica
The highlight of our kids’ stay in Florence was riding the carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica. The carousel has been gracing this city centre square since the early 1900 and it looks straight out of the movie Mary Poppins.
The ‘giostra’ operates during the day and, in summer, in the evenings too: it is suitable for kids of all ages, including very small ones thanks to the not-so-loud music and slow movement.
The carousel is right in the centre of Florence, few minutes walk from Piazza dell Signoria and it is the perfect reward after an afternoon of shopping and museum hopping.
For us, it was an obligatory stop every day in town: if you want to make sure you don’t miss it, you can follow our footsteps and retrace our children-approved Florence city centre itinerary
Get high in Florence’s duomo
Florence’s duomo, the church of Santa Maria del Fiore, is one of the most iconic building of the whole of Florence and a must see stop on any Florence itinerary
Older kids will want to climb to the top of the dome but be warned: the climb feels quite adventurous! The passageways to go up are small tunnels created by builders for builders and were not intended for public use so you do feel like a small Indiana Jones (or whatever cultural reference kids have right now: I feel very vintage with my movie references but how can you get over the 80s?).
If you are not afraid of heights, the trek up is worth it as the view is spectacular but if you have any issues with high places or suffer from claustrophobia, this is not the place for you.
Younger kids are more likely to enjoy the 4 legged residents of piazza del duomo: the elegant horses waiting for tourists just outside the church’s main entrance! The ride on the carriages is expensive, bur cuddles are free.
However you decide to enjoy the duomo, make sure you make time to get a aperitivo and a slice of pizza in one of the many cafes’ along its sides for the best views of its distinctive polychrome marbles
Go on a treasure hunt in Florence city centre
Florence is full of stories and mysteries and what better way to discover them than a treasure hunt for kids?
We are great fun of treasure hunts since the very first one we took in Venice earlier this year and now look for them everywhere we go: the kids are entertained, you get to see the city and even adults are likely to discover secrets of the city only locals know.
Our go-to resource for tours and activity is get your guide, which allows you to easily book activities online. You can check what they have on offer here
Run around the Boboli garden
The person who introduced us to Boboli gardens was a local 7 year old who defined them as ‘marvellous’. Indeed, the word captures the magic and beauty of the Boboli gardens like no other.
Perched at the back of palazzo Pitti, the Boboli gardens are an extravaganza of pathways, hedges and statues. Kids will love the freedom to run around and explore the many nooks and crannies or this aristocratic estate.
The garden is uphill and not suitable for buggies but kids aged 5 and up will have a great day out here: picnics are not encouraged but Palazzo Pitti has a gorgeous cafeteria where you can have a snack in the most beautiful Florentine setting!
Explore a family friendly museum
Florence is full of museums but only some are equipped to entertain their smaller visitors. The best kid friendly museums at present are Palazzo Strozzi, Palazzo Vecchio, with activities aimed specifically at kids such as treasure hunts and dress up opportunities and Museo Galileo, sure to inspire budding inventors
Relax in parco delle cascine
Another garden, this one open to the public and perfect for picnics and family days out. Located immediately outside Florence city centre and a short tram ride from the main station, parco delle cascine is a vast green space with playgrounds, a swimming pool, bike lanes, etc.
It is the perfect escape from the summer heat: the swimming pool is open to the public for a small entrance fee and has a lovely café too. Just be aware that children summer camps take place here so it does get busy.
Drive a Ferrari
Arguably not a child activity as such but something my 3 and 4 year old enjoyed immensely: sitting in a Ferrari! Firenze in Ferrari is a company offering Ferrari drives in the hills around Tuscany. The drive is for adults only but before departure the whole family is welcome to sit in this mighty car and take photos and they make for the cutest souvenir!
See Florence from above in Piazzale Michelangelo
Do you know the iconic shot of Florence, with the Arno river in the foreground and the duomo on the right? That is taken from Piazzale Michelangelo, a large square overlooking the city.
The square itself is nothing more than a large esplanade, often full of cars and private buses, but the climb up is worth just for the view.
The easiest and most pleasant way to reach it climbing the steps from Oltrarno but if you have a buggy with you, I recommend you take the bus up or fold it for the duration of the climb: while not steep, the steps are annoying with wheels and impossible if pushing a buggy with a sleeping child on.
Learn to cook with a family cooking class
Italian food is amazing but Tuscan food, to me, is off the chart delicious. The best way to experience the burst of flavours that only Tuscan ingredients can give is to join a cooking class for families and learn to make pasta (from scratch!), bruschette and other Tuscan delicacy.
The best part of the class is of course the lunch that follows, when you can gorge on out creations with washing them down with local wine (and juice for the kids)
Learn to make… paper!
Papermaking is a traditional Florentine crafts and elegant marble paper creations grace the windows of many beautiful Florence city centre shops. You can buy paper and bring a booklet as souvenir to your friends back home or you can take the souvenir idea to the next level a make a booklet yourself!
Paper shops in Florence hold workshops open to participants of all ages that will teach you how marble per is made and bind and will make you bring home your own creation!
Top tips for visiting Florence with kids
- The best way to explore Florence is on foot. You can visit most of the city centre with leisurely stroll and hop on the man local buses for longer distances. Tickets for the bus can be bought in tabaccai (lit. tobacco shops but closer to what aborad would be known as a newsagent), and newspaper kiosks and need to be validated at the start of your journey. Buses are reliable and have air conditioning in summer
- The best areas to stay in Florence for families are the city centre, Oltrarno and, a little farter out, le cure.
- Our top picks for family friendly accommodation are Antica Torre Via Tornabuoni (luxury) Hotel Balestri (mid range) Hotel Duca d’Aosta (budget)
I hope you enjoyed this selection of things to do in Florence with kids! Which activity would you like to try the most?