Travel with Children
Children are welcomed anywhere, anytime in Florence. Families frequently go out with young children in the evenings. However, it’s not the easiest city to visit with very young children: green spaces and playgrounds are scarce, crowded cobbled streets make pushchairs (strollers) a challenge, and visiting museums requires meticulous advance planning.
Museums & Monuments
For bigger kids (six years and older), museums and monuments in Florence offer a fantastic range of things to see and do.
- Palazzo Vecchio Scale new Florentine heights with an energy-burning hike up the palace's Torre d'Arnolfo.
- Duomo Climb up Giotto's campanile (bell tower) and into Brunelleschi's awe-inspiring dome.
- Museo di Storia Naturale – Zoologia La Specola Older children will enjoy the squeamish collection of human anatomy wax models at Florence's 18th-century natural history museum.
- Museo Galileo Post-Uffizi, appease disgruntled kids with a visit to Florence's state-of-the-art science museum – it's right next door.
- Museo Stibbert Knights in shining armour and other dashing, antique collectables.
Parks & Playgrounds
Once you know where to find the parks and playgrounds, the city suddenly becomes more manageable for those with tots in tow.
Playgrounds The best for those for under six years are near the duomo on Piazza Massimo d'Azeglio and across the river on Lungarno Santa Rosa and Piazza Torquato Tasso.
Piazza della Repubblica The vintage carousel on this car-free, cafe-framed square in the historic centre never stops turning and is enchanting for all ages.
Gairdino di Boboli Fantastic statues, hidden paths, secret alleys, shell-decorated grottoes and bags of open green space to run around in.
Parco della Cascine Open-air swimming pool and toddler-friendly playgrounds; a grassy footpath snakes along the banks of the Arno to the park from the city centre.
Tours & Workshops
Florence, being the arty city it is, encourages children to discover its astonishing artistic heritage with engaging themed tours and workshops for children aged from four years upwards.
Museums Some imaginative and compelling family tours and hands-on art ateliers are organised by Firenze Musei at Palazzo Vecchio, Museo Novecento and Basilica di Santa Maria Novella. Palazzo Strozzi organises monthly family weekend activities, and out of town in Fiesole, the Museo Primo Conti hosts occasional art workshops for children.
Private tours For a private tour with children, contact professional licensed guide Molly Mcllwrath (www.letterartemente.com), who leads family tours and organises creative art workshops for kids, which parents can also participate in. Her hands-on workshops range from calligraphy and frescoes to the art of mosaics, bookmaking and sketching. Many of Molly's city tours wind up in a local artisan workshop in the Oltrarno.
Group tours Small-group family tours are run by Context Travel (www.contexttravel.com), including a two-hour 'Exploring Symbols & Legends of Florence' tour, a 2½-hour crash tour of the Uffizi and a two-hour 'Daily Life in the Renaissance for Kids' tour taking in Palazzo Davanzati and the wonderful Chiesa e Museo di Orsanmichele.
Is there any easier way to win a child's heart than with a sweet and creamy gelato or slice of pizza? Consider a pizza, pasta or other type of Italian cookery course for your child – almost every cooking school runs classes for kids.
- Curious Appetite Variety of foodie tours, including gelato-making workshops.
- MaMa Florence Pizza, pasta and cake ateliers for kids in an Oltrarno cooking school.
- Freya's Florence Tours Pizza-making classes and scavenger hunts are among the family-friendly repertoire of licensed Australian tour guide Freya, a savvy mum herself.
- Florence Town Gelato classes or pizza-making with a professional pizzaiolo for all the family.
Need to Know
- Babysitting Pricier hotels can organise babysitters.
- Museums Most sights offer audio guides, great for children over eight years.
- Discovering the city Teems of locally published books in English help children discover Florence – museum bookshops in Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi have huge selections.
- Getting around Streets are crowded and cobbled with narrow pavements – ditch the pushchair (stroller) for a backpack carrier.
Kids with EU passports aged under 18 receive free entry into many museums. Otherwise, children aged under 18 years generally pay half the adult admission fee; children aged under five are usually free.