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Between the Medicis and a lot of Car­avag­gio, for many, Flo­rence does­n’t exact­ly scream ‘fam­i­ly fun’.  While it may not sound like Flo­rence has a lot to offer kids, it actu­al­ly does have many won­der­ful activ­i­ties for adven­tur­ous families.

Don’t get me wrong, it does require a lot of care­ful plan­ning (I’ve learned the hard way that a trip to see Michelan­gelo’s David in his birth­day suit is unlike­ly to get any­thing more than wide eyes and a lot of gig­gles). But the kids will be awed by the food, the archi­tec­ture, the art, and (espe­cial­ly) the gelato. 

Even if you’re not into all the touristy stuff, you’ll no doubt want to vis­it some of Flo­rence’s most icon­ic spots — the Duo­mo, the Uffizi, the Ponte Vec­chio. Is it pos­si­ble with lit­tle ones? Absolute­ly. It just needs to be slowed down and inter­spersed with more gela­to stops than you ever thought pos­si­ble. Let this local show you how to do it best.

 

 

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Looking for fun things to do with kids in Florence? This guide will give you all the fun spots around Florence to show your kids. Have the best family trip to Florence with this local mom's advice!

 

 

Duomo Florence

It’s worth wak­ing up ear­ly for this one… © Alessan­dra D’Almo

 

Things to See

 

 

Gelato

 

Unless you have par­tic­u­lar­ly artis­tic chil­dren in tow, the fact that Da Vin­ci and Dante lived here is unlike­ly to invoke much enthu­si­asm. Now, a fact that will get their atten­tion is that ice cream was invent­ed in Flo­rence. Flo­rence is lit­er­al­ly the cap­i­tal of gelato. 

Explor­ing the many gela­te­rias that line the streets of Flo­rence is a great way to get under the skin of the city. Some of our favorites have been Carpina and Perche No? Get the kids to make a map to find their favorites or go one step fur­ther with a gela­to-mak­ing work­shop. We love the Curi­ous Appetite’s gela­to work­shop because it’s tai­lored for fam­i­lies. Kids love mak­ing their own gela­to in a real-life gela­to lab­o­ra­to­ry and where bet­ter to learn the art behind the desert than in its birthplace? 

 

Carpina ice-cream

This choco­late ice cream at Carpina won the con­test © Alessan­dra D’Almo

 

Family-Friendly Museums

 

With so much to see, it can be tempt­ing to try and cram in as many muse­ums and gal­leries as pos­si­ble. My advice here is to keep muse­ums short and sweet. Stick to one per day (two at a push), or else you all risk pass­ing out from visu­al fatigue. Some muse­ums are incred­i­bly fam­i­ly-friend­ly. One of our favorites to vis­it with kids is the Palaz­zo Vec­chio Muse­um, which brings the home of the Medicis —  the noto­ri­ous bank­ing and polit­i­cal dynasty that ruled over Flo­rence for more than three cen­turies — to life. 

Book­ing an Eng­lish-lan­guage fam­i­ly tour is the best way to immerse your whole clan in the lives of the wealthy from hun­dreds of years ago; guides are dressed in cos­tume and pro­vide back­packs with scav­enger hunt clues to sus­tain kids’ inter­est along the way. A per­son­al high­light is a secret pas­sage that leads to a cos­tume room, where the whole fam­i­ly can dress up as 16th-cen­tu­ry aristocracy. 

For wannabe sci­en­tists, the Museo Galileo is a real treat, with ancient sci­en­tif­ic and astro­nom­i­cal instru­ments to see and play with, as well as some quirky inter­ac­tive exper­i­ments for those who fan­cy test­ing out Galileo’s the­o­ries on gravity. 

Whilst the Uffizi does offer a range of fam­i­ly-friend­ly pri­vate tours, it is a labyrinth, daunt­ing even for most adults. We found with muse­ums of this scale, it’s best to just split up with your oth­er half for a cou­ple of hours and go solo. But, if you are dead set on edu­cat­ing all the troops, share the online exhib­it with the kids ahead of vis­it­ing and agree on a hand­ful of their favorite pieces to visit. 

 

Pro Tip: Make sure you book any muse­um trips in advance online, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the sum­mer. Three-hour queues are not fam­i­ly-friend­ly or fun! 

 

 

 

Getting Outdoors

 

Green spaces are few and far between in Flo­rence but one of the biggest (and in my opin­ion the best) parks are the Boboli Gar­dens. Also known as ‘the Green Lung of Flo­rence,’ lit­tle ones love the secret paths, shell grot­tos, and hid­den enclaves. It’s a great place for a pic­nic too, with a super­mar­ket con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed just across the road. 

 

Boboli Gardens

The per­fect place to rest those limbs © Trev Morris

 

 

Anoth­er great place to pause in the cen­ter of the city is the Piaz­za del­la Repub­bli­ca, as the square always has some form of free enter­tain­ment to enjoy, from pup­pet shows to street artists, as well as an antique carousel. 

 

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Take a Class

 

It’s a good idea to inter­sperse muse­um and gallery trips with more hands-on activ­i­ties which every­one in the fam­i­ly can enjoy. Flo­rence is an artis­tic city with lots of work­shops to offer: mosaic­ing, paint­ing fres­cos, papermaking. 

We’ve had some fan­tas­tic expe­ri­ences at cook­ing work­shops — there’s some­thing sur­pris­ing­ly ther­a­peu­tic about rolling pas­ta and kids love the mess. Get your hands sticky with a local pro­fes­sion­al chef — we’ve had great expe­ri­ences with Flo­rence Town and MaMa Flo­rence cook­ing cours­es. You’ll also all be much more impressed with that ravi­o­li at din­ner too, once you know how long it takes to make! 

 

Pasta making Florence

Impressed with our pas­ta mak­ing skills! © Alessan­dra D’Almo

 

 

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Segway Tour

 

One of the best things about Flo­rence is that it is a rel­a­tive­ly small and com­pact city. It’s real­ly easy to nav­i­gate on foot, with­out taxis, busses, or met­ros. That said, there is noth­ing more mis­er­able than drag­ging tired, mis­er­able kids between medieval church­es and baroque palaces, then back again. When fatigue hits, a Seg­way Tour of the city is a great way to keep up the sight-see­ing momen­tum with zero impact on the pedome­ter. We loved speed­ing across the city, paus­ing briefly for expla­na­tions of the most famous sites from our licensed tour guide, before whizzing off again. A great way to com­bine sight­see­ing with adventure. 

 

Segway

Sight­see­ing with­out sore legs  © Jan Paweł Bochen

 

 

Many of these expe­ri­ences can be enjoyed with a local guide. It’s also a great way to sup­port the local econ­o­my. Find the tour you want to have with GetYourGuide.com

 

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Eating in Florence

 

It’s no secret that Ital­ians adore chil­dren. Even in a busy city like Flo­rence, the kids are unlike­ly to get away with­out a play­ful pinch on the cheek from a stranger or being fawned over by a wait­er. Find­ing good food in Flo­rence is easy but find­ing a kids’ menu at an authen­tic restau­rant is near impos­si­ble. Don’t imag­ine that this is because all the Ital­ian chil­dren are hap­pi­ly devour­ing truf­fles and von­gole, it’s because chefs are used to prepar­ing sim­ple foods and spe­cial pas­tas on request. For fussier eaters, try order­ing pas­ta al pomodoro (pas­ta in toma­to sauce) or pas­ta in bian­co (pas­ta with olive oil and parmesan).

Ital­ians are noto­ri­ous­ly late eaters and most restau­rants don’t open their doors before 7.30pm. One of our favorite places to vis­it if hunger hits at a more ‘unortho­dox’ time, is the Mer­ca­to Cen­trale, because it’s one of the few places open all day. This gas­tro­nom­ic gold­mine offers lots of dif­fer­ent dish­es and snacks at tiny stalls with a large cen­tral seat­ing area. A great option if you’ve got two tiny chil­dren throw­ing a tantrum because one wants piz­za and the oth­er wants a sandwich!

 

Mercato Centrale

All the piz­za you could ask for at Mer­ca­to Cen­trale ©Alessan­dra D’Almo

 

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Staying in Florence

 

If you’re look­ing to stay in the thick of it, the Grand Hotel Min­er­va is one of the best fam­i­ly-friend­ly options in the city. We haven’t yet stayed here, but friends of ours are always rav­ing about the rooftop pool (a rar­i­ty in the city!) and the five-star treat­ment kids get, which includes their own spe­cial check-in, a wel­come pack with spe­cial maps and a child-friend­ly trea­sure hunt. A lot of hotels in Flo­rence offer lim­it­ed size rooms, but at the Min­er­va, fam­i­lies can book con­nect­ing rooms or duplex suites which sleep up to five. 

If you’re after a lit­tle more space and want­i­ng to also do some day trips from Flo­rence, you can get a rental car, some of the best fam­i­ly-friend­ly accom­mo­da­tion can be found just out­side the city, in the rolling hills of Tus­cany. Rent a vil­la in neigh­bor­ing towns and vil­lages such as Fiesole. Agriturismo.it is a great tool for find­ing authen­tic farm­hous­es in the region, for a range of budgets. 

 

Use this inter­ac­tive map to see what’s avail­able through AirBnB or my favorite hotels on the dates you plan to be there.

 

 

 

Tuscany Countryside Florence

Could you say no to a view like this? © Charles Buchler

 

 

 

 

Getting There

 

 

There are no direct flights from Los Ange­les to Flo­rence. The eas­i­est (and most pleas­ant!) way to get there is to take a direct flight to Rome. Delta, Ali­talia, and Air France all offer direct flights, which take around 12 hours.

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, direct trains con­nect­ing Rome Ter­mi­ni Sta­tion to Flo­rence San­ta Maria Novel­la Sta­tion take around three hours or hire a car and take a road trip. The dri­ve is only around 3h30 min­utes, but make sure to stop at the beau­ti­ful hill­top towns of Orvi­eto, Mon­tepul­ciano, Cor­tona (famous from Under the Tus­can Sun), and Arez­zo en-route.

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Looking for fun things to do with kids in Florence? This guide will give you all the fun spots around Florence to show your kids. Have the best family trip to Florence with this local mom's advice!

 

Looking for fun things to do with kids in Florence? This guide will give you all the fun spots around Florence to show your kids. Have the best family trip to Florence with this local mom's advice!