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20 Unforgettable Things to Do in Florence With Kids

Updated: May 3

 


Illustration of a family vacation in Florence, Italy

 

1. Palazzo Vecchio: Uncover Renaissance Mysteries on a Family Tour

2. Uffizi Gallery Uncovered: Bringing Art to Life for Young Minds 

3. Mercato Centrale: A Foodie Playground of Tuscan Flavors

4. Boboli Gardens: A Lush Renaissance Wonderland for Families

5. Leonardo da Vinci Museum: Where Science and Art Intersect

6. Embracing La Dolce Vita: Gelato, Street Life, and Slow Living

7. Top Tuscan Hill Towns: Siena, San Gimignano & Pisa Day Trips

8. Scavenger Hunts: Cracking Codes in Florence's Historic Piazzas

9. Artisan Workshops: Crafting Memories in Leather, Marbled Paper & More

10. Cycling the Tuscan Countryside: On Two Wheels Through Vineyards

11. Experience the Pageantry: Florentine Festivals for Families

12. Pitti Palace: Unveiling the Medici Family's Illustrious Secrets

13. Galleria dell'Accademia: Michelangelo's David Up Close

14. Florentine Puppet Theater: A Magical Italian Tradition

15. The Art of Gelato Making: Delicious Family Workshops

16. Tuscan Cucina for Kids: Pizza, Pasta & Regional Cooking Classes 

17. Florence on a Budget: Discounts, Free Days & the Firenze Card

18. Escaping to the Florentine Countryside Villas & Farmstays

19. Duomo Climbs: Scaling Brunelleschi's Iconic Renaissance Dome

20. Family-Friendly Hiking and Exploring the Tuscan Hills

*Bonus Section: Budget Tips for an Affordable Florence Family Getaway 

 

Palazzo Vecchio standing on the steps of the Loggia

Section 1: Palazzo Vecchio - Uncover Renaissance Mysteries

This is always one of my favorite places to visit, there are so many things to see here. Engage the whole family on an interactive guided tour through the immense Palazzo Vecchio, highlighting intriguing Renaissance history. Once the political capital of the Medici dynasty, this massive palace contains ornate courtyards, Palazzo secret passageways, lavish chambers like the frescoed Salone dei Cinquecento, and hidden rooms like the secluded Studiolo decorated with intricate woodcarvings. Tales of power struggles, art patronage and daily Renaissance life come alive.

 

Section 2: Uffizi Gallery - Bringing Art to Life for Young Minds 

While housing some of the world's most famous artworks, the Uffizi caters to kids with innovative guided tours making this staggering gallery engaging. Kid-approved guides adeptly capture young imaginations by interweaving fascinating stories behind paintings like Botticelli's "Birth of Venus." Multi-media tours, treasure hunts and art-focused games turn browsing the masterpieces into an enriching adventure, not a lecture.

 

Mercato Centrale in Florence, Italy bustling Food Court

Section 3: Mercato Centrale - A Foodie Playground 

This vibrant indoor market is a quintessential Florentine scene - and paradise for traveling food lovers of all ages. Wander grazing on regional delicacies sold by jovial vendors, from fresh pasta and olives to succulent salamis bursting with fennel and spices. Kids' appetites stay piqued with delicious intermittent bites of breads, cheeses and decadent chocolates while taking in the lively bustle and aromas. I truly love this place for it's food and energy.

 

Section 4: Boboli Gardens - A Lush Renaissance Retreat 

Behind the Pitti Palace lies a sprawling wonderland known as the Boboli Gardens, meticulously landscaped in the 16th century. This enchanting sanctuary lets families roam along cypress-lined trails discovering surprises like grottos, sculptures, tucked-away green spaces, and striking Renaissance fountains. Kids can expend energy exploring the greenery-shrouded nooks and crannies while parents savor scenes of Florence's terracotta-tiled rooftops.

 

Jason Steven at the Leonardo DaVinci Museum in Florence

Section 5: Leonardo da Vinci Museum - Where Science Meets Art

Even the most energetic kids remain engrossed at this unique museum dedicated to the boundless creativity of the original Renaissance man himself. Through full-scale professional reconstructions and detailed models, families can examine firsthand Leonardo's visionary inventions spanning aeronautics, hydraulics, civil engineering, military science and mechanics - centuries before their time. Interactive workshops let all ages build their own machines based on da Vinci's designs. I learned so much about the Genius of Da Vinci by exploring all his inventions.

 

La Carraia in Florence Gelateria

Section 6: La Dolce Vita - Gelato, Street Scenes & Slow Living 

Take a break from the sightseeing blitz and simply soak up the sweetness of daily Florentine life. Kids delight in indulging in velvety gelato from an Old World gelateria as a reward after museum visits. Wander venturing down picturesque alleyways and stumbling into lively neighborhood piazzas, observing street artists, performers and scenes of locals going about their quotidian rituals. Pause for a rejuvenating caffè and chocolate at a comfortable cafe. 

 

The horse races in Siena Italy

Section 7: Tuscan Hill Towns - Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa

Just beyond Florence's borders lie iconic Tuscan villages and small towns embodying the provincial charms of Italy. Arrange daytrips provide easy access to medieval Siena with its famed Piazza del Campo; San Gimignano towered skyline straight from the Renaissance; and the Leaning Tower of Pisa set amid the Cathedral Square's jaw-dropping architecture. Many tours incorporate kid-friendly activities like ceramics workshops or traditional pizza-making.

 

Section 8: Scavenger Hunts - Cracking Codes in Florence's Piazzas

Turn sightseeing into an engaging adventure by booking a guided scavenger hunt tour winding through Florence's historic piazzas and artistic treasures. From Piazza della Signoria to the Duomo, families work together to decipher clues, crack codes and solve riddles while learning about the city's statues, fountains and architectural icons in an entertaining, interactive manner. Tablets preloaded with games and augmented reality views further spark imagination.

 

Illustration of a family at an artisan craft shop in Florence

Section 9: Artisan Workshops - Leather, Marbled Paper & More

No tour of Florence is complete without delving into the city's proud artisan heritage through hands-on workshops. Families can learn traditional book binding and marbled paper making techniques, decorating their own keepsakes. Or embrace Florence's leatherwork prowess by embossing designs onto books, coasters and accessories at local bottega (workshops). Ceramic painting and mask-making ateliers also ignite kids' creativity.

 

Section 10: Cycling the Tuscan Countryside & Vineyards

Escape Florence's bustle on a family-friendly guided bike tour looping through the verdant Tuscan countryside. Gentle paths wind among serene hills, vineyards, olive groves and medieval villages frozen in time. Stops let you sample rustic farming traditions with fresh pressed olive oils, pecorino cheeses and nibbles of regional produce. The rural scenery offers striking contrasts to the city's Renaissance grandeur.

 

Parade for Calico Storico in Florence

Section 11: Experience Florentine Festivals & Pageantry

If schedules allow, time your visit to coincide with one of Florence's beloved seasonal festivals bursting with local pride and culture. In June, witness the sporting spectacle of the historic Calcio Storico - a raucous mix of soccer, rugby and combat dating to the 16th century. Or celebrate Florentine artisan traditions during the Feast of St. John in late June with special exhibits and events. 

 

Section 12: Pitti Palace - Medici Secrets & Galleria Palatina

Tour the opulent Pitti Palace, once the sovereign home of the Medici grand dukes, to peel back layers of this dynasty's mysterious rise and fall. After exploring lavish staterooms, visitors uncover the family's vast patronage legacy at the Galleria Palatina art gallery. Kids remain enthralled by guides' tales of power plays, scandals and crimes surrounding the famous banking clan's rapid ascent and eventual downfall.

 

Michelangelo statue of David in Florence

Section 13: Galleria dell'Accademia - Michelangelo's David 

No Florence itinerary is complete without paying homage to Michelangelo's sublime sculpture, David, housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia. Admire the 17-foot Renaissance masterpiece from every angle, examining the marble's life-like musculature, veins and featherlike strand of hair cascading over his forehead. Multi-media tours engage all ages in the theories behind David's intense facial expression and symbolic biblical undertones.

 

Pinocchio and the Opera Florence Italy

Photo courtesy of the Florence Art Lab


Section 14: Florentine Puppet Theater - Tales from the Piazzas

For an authentically Italian cultural performance, treat your family to a marionette puppet show at the intimate Teatro del Piccione theater in Piazza Santa Croce. Dating to the 1600s, this traditional art form brings classics like Pinocchio and fairy tales to life through intricate carved wood figurines and lavish handcrafted scenery. Kids of all ages delight in these live action fables told through Old World theatrical magic. Check out the Florence Art Lab!

 

Section 15: The Art of Gelato Making - Delicious Workshops

While in Italy, master the art of creating decadent gelato from scratch in a hands-on family workshop. Under a chef's tutelage, families learn to churn creamy bases and use quality ingredients like fruit purees, nuts, chocolate and more to craft their own custom artisanal flavors. Cap off your session with generous scoops of your edible creations, savoring your homemade handiwork. Try a gelato making class.


cooking class in Tuscany

Section 16: Tuscan Cooking Classes - Pizza, Pasta & More

Bring authentic Tuscan cuisine home by immersing your family in a chef-led cooking class designed for all ages and skill levels. Go from market to table mastering Florentine staples like crispy crostini, hearty ribollita soup, savory handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas and decadent desserts. Many classes take place in rustic farmhouses or palace kitchens for idyllic ambiance amidst terracotta and frescoed backdrops.  

 

Section 17: Florence on a Budget - Discounts, Free Days & Firenze Card 

With some pre-planning, experiencing Florence's world-class museums and sights is possible without breaking the bank. Many civic museums offer free entry on the first Sunday of each month, while others offer discounted kid and family rates. The Firenze Card bundled city pass grants admission to top attractions at significant savings over buying individual tickets. Overall, the city rewards those traveling at a relaxed, local pace.

 

Section 18: Escaping to Countryside Villas & Farmstays

For a truly immersive Tuscan experience, consider staying just outside Florence's city center at a family-friendly villa, agriturismo (farm stay), or countryside estate. Not only do these lodgings provide more space and amenities suited for families, but they allow you to unwind in tranquil vineyard, olive grove or hilltown settings. Many offer hands-on activities like grape harvesting, cheese-making demos, and cooking classes connecting you to rural traditions.


Looking above the Duomo in Florence watching the people on top of the Dome

Section 19: Duomo Climbs - Scale Brunelleschi's Renaissance Dome

Get hearts racing by booking a guided climb up the famed Duomo's towering Renaissance dome, an architectural wonder engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 1400s. Ascend the 463 steps snaking through dimly lit stairwells, pausing at outdoor terraces to enjoy aerial views over Florence's terracotta rooftops. At the summit, be rewarded with a panoramic perspective of the entire city from this iconic Gothic cathedral's apex.   

 

Illustration of hiking in Florence

Section 20: Family Hiking in the Tuscan Hills

For an invigorating break from urban sightseeing, lace up your shoes for a scenic family hike through the cypress-dotted hills hugging Florence. Well-marked trails loop through idyllic olive groves, vineyards, and past Medieval villages where modern life stands still. Kids can expel energy trekking past historic villas, farmhouses and historic Renaissance gardens. Many routes culminate at panoramic lookouts with jaw-dropping vistas of the entire Florence skyline.

 

Between unwinding at countryside estates, getting hands-on with cooking and artisan workshops, immersing in festivals, and making thrilling climbs and sweet treats, this 20-part guide ensures no shortage of memory-making activities in Florence for the whole family. With the right mix of tours, attractions and local experiences, the renaissance city makes for an unforgettable Italian Family vacation.

 

Bonus Section: Budget Tips for an Affordable Florence Family Getaway

 

The discount card Firenze card in Florence

Sightseeing in Florence can quickly add up for families, but savvy planning unlocks exceptional value. One smart investment is the Firenze Card - this city pass bundles discounted admission to top attractions like the Uffizi, Accademia Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio and more. Available in 72-hour or 5-day increments, it saves significantly over purchasing individual tickets.

 

I like to fill up on picnic supplies by shopping at Florence's vibrant outdoor markets like Mercato Centrale, Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio or the Mercato delle Pulci flea market. Browsing colorful produce stands and street food stalls is an affordable cultural immersion itself. 

 

Savoy Hotel in Florence

Accommodation can be a major expense, so consider renting a family-friendly apartment or agriturismo (farmstay) on the outskirts instead of central hotels. Not only do you get more space to spread out, but self-catering by shopping neighborhood grocery stores allows delicious yet economical meals. When I'm travelling with friends or family we most of the time get an apartment rental from Airbnb or Booking site etc. That way we can maximize our time and we love to cook together.

 

Many museums offer free entry on the first Sunday of each month or have youth/family discounts and promotions - so always inquire about current deals. And don't overlook the free fun like people-watching on lively piazzas.

 

Captivating Florence with teenagers in the Renaissance City

While the artistic and historical treasures of Florence may not initially captivate teenagers, the city offers a wealth of experiences tailored to pique their interests. Embark on a guided scavenger hunt, cracking codes and solving riddles while exploring iconic piazzas and artistic marvels. Thrill-seekers can scale the towering Duomo, ascending the 463 steps of Brunelleschi's architectural marvel for unparalleled panoramic views. Immerse yourselves in the vibrant street art scene on a graffiti tour, unveiling the city's underground creative pulse. For hands-on adventures, engage teens in artisan workshops like leatherworking, marble paper making, or ceramics, allowing them to craft personalized keepsakes. Indulge their culinary curiosities with gelato-making classes or pizza and pasta cooking sessions, ensuring a delicious souvenir of their Florentine journey.


View of Florence Italy from the Hill looking down

Finally, forgo pricey taxis and transit tickets by experiencing Florence on foot or by renting bicycles for an eco-friendly way to sightsee at your own pace. With thoughtful timing and research, amazing Florence adventures await families of any budget. Also, check out my article on getting around in Florence.


Here are some website links to important destinations in Florence:

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