15 best things to do in Florence with Kids
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Having included Florence as a stop on our Italy road trip with J we explored the city in search of the best things to do in Florence with kids. Often considered one of the most beautiful cities in both Italy and the world, art and architecture dominate most visits to the historic city but there is also plenty to keep little adventurers entertained. From stunning gardens to fascinating museums, here’s our guide to the best things to do in Florence with kids!
15 Best Things to do in Florence with Kids
From the beautiful vintage carousel in the Piazza Della Republic, the fascinating museums honouring Tuscany’s greatest minds and day trips to the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside here’s our guide to the 15 best things to do in Florence with kids!
1 | The Carousel, Piazza Della Repubblica
The Piazza Della Republic is Florence’s main square. Both the Column of Abundance, marking where the Roman forum once stood, and a vintage carousel reside in the bustling piazza. The carousel dates back to the early 1900s and kids clamber for a spot on one of the carousel’s retro horses and gold carriages. At just 1 Euro a ride, enjoying Piazza Della Repubblica from one of the carousel’s 20 horses is an absolute must do when exploring Florence with kids.
Where to Stay in Florence with kids
- FH Hotel Calzaiuoli – we stayed in the FH Hotel Cazaiuoli. Most of Florence’s sights are within a 5 to 10 minute walk making it the perfect base to explore the city. With a super central location and chic, Italian style rooms, we loved using the Hotel Calzaiulli as a base for exploring Florence – click here for prices!
- Hotel Bernini Palace – Located just off Piazza Della Signoria, Hotel Bernini Palace is a quality hotel in a perfect location for exploring Florence. It has comfortable, classicly styled rooms, many with multiple beds, and a delicious breakfast – click here for prices!
- Hotel Spadai – Hotel Spadai is one of the top-rated hotels in Florence. With a great location 2 minutes from the Duomo, extremely comfortable family rooms and an affordable rate, this is one of the best budget hotels in the city center – click here for prices!
2 | Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio is a Florence icon and the medieval stone bridge spans across the beautiful Arno River. The bridge is lined with shops and stalls stocking souvenirs, jewelry and art. Our favorite time to visit is just after sunset when the music of the bridges street performers add to its magic.
Best things to do in Florence with kids tip: our favourite view of the Ponte Vecchio is from the second floor of the Uffizi Gallery.
3 | Leonardo Da Vinci Museum
One of Italy’s most famous historical residents, the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum is dedicated to his inventions and anatomical studies. Kids will love exploring the four sections: earth, water, fire and air. It’s also fun to interact with the real size, functioning models in the museum. The models represent Leonardo’s best work and include machines of war, flight and engineering. Our favorites were a revolving crane, an armored car and a wooden parachute.
4 | Boboli Gardens
Created by the Medici family, the Boboli Gardens are one of the most beautiful places in Florence. The abundance of green space is always a hit with kids. Located to the rear of the Pitti Palace, the sloped gardens house sculptures, ponds and a star-shaped fort. The gardens also offer some stunning views of the Duomo and the Florence skyline.
Best things to do in Florence with kids tip: tickets to the Boboli Gardens are included in the entrance to the Pitti Palace. The palace has some impressive paintings, sculputures and costumes as well as housing the Royal Apartments.
5 | Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest and most visited galleries in the world. It houses an incredible collection of paintings. Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Caravaggio’s Medusa are Uffizi icons. There are hundreds of other amazing works. We especially loved Giotto’s Madonna Enthrone, the Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo’s The Holy Family.
With its long corridors and large rooms, the Uffizi is relatively easy to navigate with kids. We picked out our favorite paintings before we visited as our little adventurer enjoys museums and galleries but prefers to keep visits short! This allowed us to focus on the pieces we really wanted to see rather than wander around aimlessly.
Best things to do in Florence with kids tip: the Uffizi is incredibly popular so make sure to book tickets in advance before you travel. In the absence of pre booked tickets visitors are often faced with hours of queuing before being granted entry. There’s very little information on the location of the paintings so we recommend planning your route through the museum in advance or reserving a guided tour – check prices here!
6 | The Duomo: Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The crown jewel of Florence is, without doubt, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Known as the Duomo, this beautiful cathedral actually comprises three distinct sections: the cathedral itself, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the iconic Brunelleschi’s Dome all of which can be visited with kids.
Entrance to all three of the sites is included in the Florence Duomo Museum pass which you should purchase in advance – during busy periods the dome climb slots sell out days or even weeks ahead of time. In order to secure tickets to climb the dome itself, you will need a ticket with an assigned time to climb, so make sure to check ticket availability on the official website before you visit Florence. It’s also possible to join a guided tour with fast pass entry – check prices here
Kids tickets: Tickets for kids under 6 are not available online but you can pick up from the ticket office at the back of the cathedral beside the Duomo Museum. Kids aged 6 to 11 are eligible for reduced price tickets which can be purchased online.
Brunelleschi’s Dome is one of the highlights of Florence. Its interior and exterior are equally captivating. The burnt orange dome is an iconic feature of the Florence skyline while frescoes of Vasari’s Last Judgement depicting the second coming of Christ adorn its inner shell.
The history of the dome is fascinating. In 1296, construction began on the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Wanting to incorporate a huge dome into the building, a gaping hole was left in the cathedral as no one knew how to build the dome at the time. In 1418 a contest was launched to find a viable design for the dome. Eventually, a goldsmith called Filippo Brunelleschi submitted a design incorporating two domes which were nestled inside each other. In 1420 he was granted the role of overseeing the construction of the cupola which continues to dominate the Florence skyline to this day.
Best things to do in Florence with kids tip: there are two ways to view the Last Judgement frescoes: it can be viewed from the inside of the Cathedral or, for a close up, by climbing the dome. The climb also allows access to the outdoor terrace with panoramic views of Florence.
Climbing Brunelleschi’s Dome with kids
It is a challenging 463 steps to the roof terrace of the Duomo. The climb is steep at times and the space confined so make sure kids are comfortable with the conditions. Strollers are not allowed so make sure to bring a carrier for younger kids who cannot climb themselves.
Giotto’s Bell Tower
Part of the Duomo complex, Giotto’s Bell Tower has one of the best views of the Duomo in Florence. It also boasts stunning views across the city. There are three floors in the bell tower: it is a 414 step climb to the top floor, an open-air section. There are 360-degree views of the center of Florence and the views are incredible.
Best things to do in Florence with kids tip: the bells of Giotto’s tower ring six times each day and it was incredible to experience the thunderous sounds of the ringing of the bells as we climbed the tower. If your kids are sensitive to loud noises, it might be best to avoid climbing at certain times: the morning bells ring at 9am, 11:30am and 12pm while the afternoon bells ring one hour and after sunset and as the sun sets.
7 | Fontana Del Porcellino
With its shiny, polished snout the Fontana Del Porcellino is one of the iconic images of Florence. Legend has it that visitors to Florence should place a coin in the piglet’s mouth, letting it fall into the grate of good luck and to rub his snout to return to Florence. The constant rubbing of the snout has ensured the bronze remains shiny!
9 | Florence Street Art
Florence is renowned for its art galleries but we also loved the street art dotted throughout the city. After the formality of Florence’s museums and galleries, kids will have fun spotting the quirky street art pieces. Our favourite was the I love Florence mural which we stumbled upon close to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella.
10 | Palazzo Vecchio
Florence’s Town Hall, located on a corner of Piazza della Signoria, is a symbol of the city. Palazzo Vecchio offers a Life at Court program which is a great tour for kids: once the residence of Duke Cosimo I de Medici, his wife Eleonora de Toledo and their 11 sons. the stories are intriguing and participants have the opportunity to dress up in 16th Century costumes and play with the prince’s toys.
Along with Boboli Gardens, Palazzo Vecchio features in Dan Brown’s best selling book, Inferno.
Best things to do in Florence with kids tip: don’t miss the incredible sculptures of Adam and Eve and a copy of Michelangelo’s David which reside at the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio.
11 | Piazza Michelangelo
A short climb from the Arno River, Piazza Michelangelo is easily one of our favourite places in Florence. The large elevated piazza south of the Arno river offers incredible panoramic views across Florence: there are postcard-perfect views of the Florence skyline and the Duomo. At sunset, there is a fantastic ambience at Piazza Michelangelo and it’s the perfect place to watch a stunning sunset with a bottle of wine and enjoy some family time.
Best things to do in Florence with kids tip: We recommend taking the route via Porta San Miniato on the way up and when you’re finished walk down to the river via the Gate of Saint Nicolas for a stroll along the river. Porta San Miniato is one of the historic old gates into Florence.
12 | Galileo Museum
A scientific genius, the discoveries of Pisa born Galileo are honoured in the Galileo Museum. There are some incredible items on display in the museum: our favourite was the telescopes used by Galileo to observe the moons of the planet Jupiter. The museum is a lovely detour from the traditional Florence sights and kids will love the opportunity to bring science to life within its walls.
13 | Italian Food
Italy is famous for its gelato, pizza and pasta and most kids are happy to indulge in all three! We loved sharing delicious pizzas and mouthwatering pasta bowls before ending our evening with a smooth, creamy gelato and choosing between the endless flavours! Our favourites included:
- My Sugar: an artisan gelateria with modern flavours and vegan options
- Mercato Centrale: a two-floor food market in Florence’s San Lorenzo Market. The top floor has amazing dining options.
- Le Botteghe di Leonardo: another gelato gem with great dairy and sugar-free options.
A cookery class is another kid-pleasing activity in Florence and it’s a fantastic way to learn how to cook Tuscan food and recreate it at home. Some tours combine the cookery class with a tour of the Mercato Central showcasing the best places to eat in the market – check prices here!
Day Trips from Florence
Florence is perfectly located for day trips in the region. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an obvious hit with kids as are the lush green open spaces of beautiful Val D’Orcia and Chianti. The charming medieval towns of San Gimignano and Siena are also lovely escapes.
14 | Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a certain highlight of an Italy trip with kids! The tower tilts almost 4 degrees and is a magnet for visitors pulling silly poses with the tower in the background. The tower is located in the walled Piazza dei Miracoli and sits alongside the other great Pisa sights which include the Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistry and the Monumental Cemetery.
Best things to do in Florence with kids tip: Pisa is less than an hour from Florence by train making it an easy half day trip from Florence.
15 | Explore Tuscany
Tuscany is renowned for its incredible art, delicious food and wine, and the stunning landscape. As well as Florence and Pisa we also loved the Tuscan favourites of the medieval towns of San Gimignano and Siena and the wine regions of Chianti and Val D’Orcia.
Best things to do in Florence tips; We spent a day exploring each of these towns but, if time is limited, there are some day trips which provide a great introduction to the region — check prices here!
For more Italy family travel
- Check out our guide on things to do in Rome with toddlers
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