If you are planning an Italy family vacation, Florence is an ideal place for a multi-generational gathering. The variety of culture is amazing - from monuments and museums to great culinary experiences. Florence is a city where each stone has a story to tell.
Here, the streets have names that recount ancient events and intriguing stories. Buildings have shapes that reveal life as it was centuries ago. Even corners have names here! So if you’re thinking about traveling to this Tuscan treasure trove, plan your family travels with our list of the top 10 things to do in Florence with kids.
What to Do in Florence with Kids
Visiting Florence with kids can be a great way to introduce them to art, history, culture and food. Aside from being the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany's capital provides a compact, easily walkable destination for families of all ages. Not to mention, there are loads of fun things to do and see in Florence that the entire gang will enjoy.
The hidden nooks and crannies of Florence’s historic center offer a lot of sites with “kid appeal” but you have to know where to find them. Here are some tips for visiting Florence with kids, including things to do that are uniquely Italian and that highlight Florence’s unique place in art and history, but will grab kids’ attention. And for good measure, there are other activities that are just plain fun.
1. The Duomo
When thinking about Florence, the Duomo is one of the first attractions that comes to mind. The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore is one of the world's most famous monuments, a tremendous feat of engineering from the genius of Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi. Today, the dome can be climbed via its 466 steps and provides a breathtaking view of the whole city of Florence.
Climbing the bright red dome of Santa Maria del Fiore church and the adjacent Giotto’s Bell Tower are fun for kids. Then, back at ground level, wonder at the exquisite bronze doors of the Baptistery and the colorful mosaics covering the internal dome.
Pro Travel Tips
- Reservations are now mandatory to climb the Dome. Without a time slot, you will be unable to climb it. These time slots tend to sell out weeks in advance. Visiting hours to climb up the Dome are also limited. As soon as you know your dates of travel, I recommend booking your time slot.
- While climbing the iconic dome is an experience kids will never forget is a little difficult at times due to the narrow interior passage and steep stairs so make sure kids are comfortable with the conditions.
2. Family Friendly Cooking Class
Cooking classes are a fun way to nurture your children's appreciation for Florentine cuisine. If your kids have a love for whipping things up in the kitchen, we have the perfect bonding activity for your family. Our private, hands-on pasta, pizza and gelato making class in Florence with kids is a super fun and tasty way to learn all about Italy’s most famous and traditional dishes.
Your new cooking skills will be the best souvenir you take home from your unforgettable trip to Florence with kids! With a family-friendly Italian chef as your guide, young chefs use fresh organic ingredients to create classic Italian specialties from scratch. There is no end to the fun, as after the class you will feast on your creations. This cooking class and many other kid-centric activities can be added to your Italy custom itinerary.
3. Take a Family Tour of the Accademia Gallery
Face to face with Michelangelo’s David, a 5.2-m sculpture of the biblical hero who slew Goliath. No trip to Florence is complete without a visit to the Galleria della Accademia, which houses the original masterpiece, removed after four centuries from Piazza della Signoria. You don't have to skip this famous art museum just because you have kids in tow. Instead, we offer private tours designed just for families with engaging guides catering to both school-age kids and teens.
Pro travel tip: the Galleria dell’Accademia is incredibly popular so make sure to book timed tickets in advance before you travel. The line can be quite atrocious! Better still, sign up for the Best of Florence Private Tour with Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia. This 3-hour guided tour includes a designated entry time and a commentary customized to your children's ages and interests.
4. Stop For A Mouth-Watering Ice Cream
No Italian family vacation to Florence would be complete without sampling the local world-famous gelato. Nearly everywhere in Florence, your kids will certainly spot shops selling the delicious Italian version of ice-cream. But one of the best gelato parlors in the city is Gelateria Santa Trinità, where only a triple scoop will do.
5. The Oldest Bridge in Florence
Florence's oldest, most iconic bridge (built in the middle of the 14th century) vies with the Duomo for favorite city landmark. The tiny antiques and jewelry shops lining the glorious Ponte Vecchio were once home to the city butchers and fishmongers, who use to dump the rotting leftovers into the river. Because of the smell, in 1593 Ferdinando I de' Medici decreed that they should be replaced with goldsmiths, which remain to this day.
6. Enjoy a Picnic in the Boboli Gardens
Touring the museums of the Pitti Palace may not be to every kid’s liking, but the opportunity to burn off some energy in the expansive Boboli Gardens behind the palace is likely to be a welcome one. Lawns, grottoes, and fishponds are just a few of the lovely attractions here that vie for your attention. This wonderful retreat was laid out by the Medici after they bought the Palazzo Pitti in 1549 and they were opened to the public in 1766.
After exploring the extravagant Pitti Palace, escape to this famous Medici Renaissance garden for a picnic amongst the statues, box hedges and cypress trees . The 79-acre Boboli Gardens rank among the world's finest landscaped gardens. At the summit of the Forte di Belvedere there is an open area where you can sun yourself and relax whilst enjoying the stunning views of the city and Tuscan countryside.
Pro travel tip: tickets to the Boboli Gardens are included in the entrance to the Pitti Palace.
7. The Food Market
Inspired by your lesson, you could then take a trip through the lively Mercato Centrale Florence's main food market to hunt for deliciously fresh local produce. Dating back to 1874, the indoor Mercato Centrale is an adventure for the senses offering an amazing variety of both Italian and local products. If you want to dive deeper into Florence’s culinary scene with a friendly and knowledgeable local food expert check out our Delicious Florence Street Food Tour, including food tastings and a trip to the Mercato Centrale!
8. The Legendary Bronze Boar
March over to the Piazza del Mercato Nuovo where the Porcellino – the boar fountain stands. According to tradition, it brings luck. The beloved Porcellino has become a veritable mascot of the city and there is no Florentine child who has not rub his snout at least once!
9. The View from Piazzale Michelangelo
Renowned for its panoramic views of the city and the Arno valley, this terrace is a popular spot with locals and tourists. If you are ooking for the most popular view in Florence, you will find it hard to find a better spot, overlooking many of the cities major attractions. The sunsets are just breathtaking.
10. Explore Tuscany
When visiting Florence with kids we recommend planning a 3 or 4-day Florence itinerary. You can add a day or two if you’d like to explore other Tuscan towns, all charming and very different from the bustle of Florence. The landscape is delightful, the wine beyond description and Siena, San Gimignano, or Val d’Orcia offer a magnificent choice of picturesque towns and villages. Pisa with it Tower, Lucca with laid back streets and the rugged coast of Cinque Terre will all tempt you for another day excursion.
Visiting Florence with Kids
With everything from beautiful architecture to unrivaled art galleries, famous landmarks and the world’s best gelato, Florence is a city for kids made for family travel. Parents who love to travel know the value in exposing their kids to the city’s wonders – but sometimes making Renaissance art interesting to children isn’t an easy task. Italy is a very child-friendly country in which to travel, however, and bringing your kids to Florence can be as much of an education for you as it is for them.
You do not have to be an art historian to appreciate the Renaissance masterpieces of Florence, but having an insider guide show you the city certainly ups the wow factor, especially for kids who are learning about Michelangelo for the first time. Which brings us to the next point…
Book Family-Oriented Guided Tours
Not all guided tours are the same. When you’re looking at your tour options for Florence, be sure to look for tours that are “family-friendly.” This means guides are keenly aware of short attention spans, as well as able to help point out things young minds will find interesting. They can help put abstract historic or artistic concepts into terms children can understand, which means in the months and years after the trip your kids are more likely to remember what they saw.
Plus, when a good guide is distracting your kids, it means you have more time to look at the art, too. If you are traveling to Florence with kids, we offer private tours led by our enthusiastic local guides who are just as knowledgeable about art history as they are about engaging children. For inspiration, check this customized tour itinerary created just for families.
Top 3 Tips for Families Traveling to Florence with Kids
- With so many things to see and do, adhere to a flexible agenda. Book one must-see event and keep meals flexible. If you must, do like Italians do and take a break around 5pm for a gelato!
- Bring a good lightweight stroller (think cobblestones!) and walking shoes. Families tend to underestimate what locals mean when they say “just around the corner” and it may mean a 15 minute walk with tired children in tow.
- Prior to the holiday, read to the children about the era of the Renaissance and historical figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Medici family. They’ll take a step back in time and truly enjoy a city that has so much to offer them!
Where to Stay in Florence with kids
The capital of Tuscany is a city which is very suitable to travel to with kids but sometimes you just don't know where to start when choosing a suitable child friendly hotel. Picking out the right accommodation for your holiday is as important as choosing places to visit and things to do. To help you narrow down your options, we rounded up a short list of family friendly hotels in Florence that appeal to all ages, from toddlers and kids to teens and even grandparents.
With easy access to top attractions, hotels are selected for their amenities for families, such as proximity to restaurants and gelaterias in the neighborhood, connecting and adjoining rooms, outdoor swimming pools, breakfast included in the room rate, babysitting services, mini-fridges in rooms, and more.
Portrait Firenze - Lungarno Collection *****
Featuring panoramic views of Florence and the Arno River, this hotel offers a family friendly environment. If you are bringing along extra cargo in the form of children, this would be a good option for you. The service is exceptional and is only 30 meters from the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge. – click here for prices!
Grand Hotel Minerva ****
Grand Hotel Minerva offers luxury at mid-range rates, with well-appointed family suites and a rooftop pool. Santa Maria Novella Train Station is just 302 m away. Click here for prices!
FH Hotel Calzaiuoli ****
Offering friendly service and a central location, FH Hotel Calzaiuoli is just 2 minutes' walk from Florence Cathedral. – click here for prices!
How to get to Florence
There are no direct flights from the US to Florence. The easiest way to get there is to take a direct flight to Rome. From here, you can pick up a connecting flight to Florence Airport (FLR), which is conveniently located a few kilometers from the center. Alternatively, if you plan to spend a few days in Rome, high speed trains connecting Rome Termini Station to Florence Santa Maria Novella Station take around 95 minutes or take a private road trip with driver. The drive is only around 3h30 minutes, but make sure to stop at one of the charming hilltop towns of Orvieto, Siena or Arezzo en-route.
Need help planning a family trip to Florence with kids?
Our Vacation Planning Service can help! Whatever your family’s interests, our local travel designers can create the perfect trip with activities and experiences that cater to all age ranges. Fill out Nancy Aiello Tours’ Trip Inquiry to plan your dream trip to Florence with kids. Our Family Vacation Consulting Team will work with you to recommend and book kid-friendly tours, activities, accommodations, and more.