Florence Like a Local: The City's Best Family Activities
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
Florence is such an engaging city for families! Historic landmarks like the Duomo cathedral and Ponte Vecchio bridge fascinate kids. Renowned museums including the Uffizi, expose them to inspiring art. Scaling the awe-inspiring Brunelleschi Dome makes children feel like brave explorers. The sprawling Boboli Gardens invite playful picnics and discovery. Grand piazzas give little ones plenty of space to burn energy. And there's delicious pizza, pasta and gelato found on every street. With abundant treasures that ignite young minds and hearts, Florence is one of my favorite Italian cities to experience with families. The joy on children’s faces as they connect with history and culture here is truly priceless. Florence brings out the childlike wonder in visitors of all ages.
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Where to stay in Florence
Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
Charming elegant hotel dating back to the 19th century with refined rooms, a seasonal rooftop bar and an upscale restaurant.
Hotel Savoy Florence
In a prized location next to the Duomo, Florence’s grande dame is a bucket-list treat of designer interiors, world-class cuisine and exceptional service.
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Daily Buffet breakfast for two guests per bedroom
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Grand Hotel Minerva
Trendy hotel in Florence with a sun terrace and a seasonal outdoor rooftop pool.
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Things to do in Florence
Climbing Brunelleschi’s Dome
This iconic Renaissance dome should be at the top of every family's list while in Florence. Climbing up the 463 interior steps to the observation deck is a rewarding adventure with panoramic views across the entire city and surrounding countryside from the top. It's an amazing perspective on Florence's beauty and history not to be missed.
Strolling Across Ponte Vecchio
Walking over the Arno River on this charming medieval bridge lined with jewelry shops allows families to experience local Florentine life. Kids will be delighted gazing into the sparkling shop windows at the bridge's edges. Beyond the gems, the views of the river and cityscape from Ponte Vecchio are stunning.
Seeing Michelangelo's David at Galleria dell'Accademia
No trip to Florence is complete without marveling at Michelangelo's magnificent 17-foot tall marble David statue. It's incredible to admire the sheer scale and incredible attention to detail of this world-famous masterpiece in person. Prepare to be awed, especially when seeing David through the eyes of children.
Riding the Carousel in Piazza della Repubblica
This beautifully preserved antique carousel is an iconic Florence landmark, providing a historic and affordable ride option for families in an open, under-the-radar piazza. Kids will delight in riding the hand-painted wooden horses on this charming old-world merry-go-round.
Indulging in Gelato at Perchè No!
Gelato is a key part of any visit to Italy and Perchè No! serves Florence's finest. Their generous portions, creamy flavors and natural ingredients make this beloved neighborhood gelateria a must-try for families. Expect to see lines out the door!
Exploring La Specola Natural History Museum
The wax anatomical models, dinosaur skeletons and specimen collections at this insider museum will endlessly fascinate budding scientists. Though small, La Specola provides an engaging experience for kids interested in anatomy, paleontology and the natural sciences.
Picnicking in Lush Boboli Gardens
These expansive manicured grounds just behind Pitti Palace offer families plenty of open space to spread out picnics and let kids run free. After eating, kids can explore the gardens' nooks, fountains, grottos and other surprises while parents relax amid the greenery.
Swimming at Cascine Park Pool
On hot Tuscan days, this large public pool is always a big hit with families looking to cool down and have fun. Kids will enjoy diving boards, water slides and swimming laps in the 50-meter pool as parents supervise poolside.
Getting Creative at Museo dei Ragazzi
Young artists and makers will adore this children's museum tailor-made for kids. Budding painters can try decorating ceramics, while aspiring musicians learn ancient instruments. The hands-on activities spark creativity.
Crossing the Arno at Pescaia Passerella
This scenic pedestrian-only footbridge provides families with pretty, crowd-free views stretching across the Arno River. Kids will enjoy lingering in the center of the crossing to watch boats pass below and take in the ambiance.
Siena - Historic Tuscan hill town with medieval architecture, lively central Piazza del Campo and family-friendly food tours. Just over 1 hour by train or car.
Cinque Terre - Colorful cliffside villages perfect for strolling, swimming, and eating seafood. Great views along the hiking trails between towns. 2 hours by train.
Lucca - Charming walled city with historic churches, a comic museum for kids, and bike rentals to ride the city walls. 1 hour by train.
Pisa - Famous for its Leaning Tower, which families can climb for views, plus a Duomo and Baptistery. Only 50 mins by train.
Chianti - rolling hills, wineries with kid-friendly tours and activities, charming towns like Greve to explore and sample local food specialties. 1 hour drive.
Fiesole - Ancient hilltop town overlooking Florence with an archaeological park, restaurants and views. Just 15 mins by bus.
Pistoia - Quiet Tuscan town with great family activities like bear zoo, adventure park, and outdoor summer concerts. 45 mins by train.
Places to eat & drink in Florence
Gelateria della Passera - This tiny gelateria churns some of the creamiest gelato in the city with flavors like creamy pistachio and vivid lemon. Kids love the fresh cones and you'll love the reasonable prices.
All'Antico Vinaio - For affordable sandwiches packed with Tuscan meats and cheeses, this small shop near the Uffizi is a great lunch stop. Try the famous truffle sandwich!
Pizza at Gustapizza - Get piping hot thin crust pizza just like the locals at this casual spot. Kids love watching pizza being tossed in the air by the talented pizzaioli.
Essenziale - This cozy restaurant in a charming piazza offers family-style Florentine dishes like meatballs and lasagne. The outdoor seating is perfect for people-watching.
Pastry at Pasticceria Girani - Pick out chocolate-filled pastries, fruit tarts and powdery cannolis at this old-school bakery. Take treats for a picnic by the river.
Trattoria Mario - No-frills, shared tables make this a fun, budget-friendly dinner spot. Everyone in the family will love the hearty kinds of pasta served family-style. Get the famous bean soup.
Il Vegetariano - Creative veggie pizzas appeal to both kids and parents at this laid-back vegetarian eatery. Try the signature verdure pizza piled with grilled veggies.
La Prosciutteria - Kids love the Insta-worthy sandwiches stuffed with melt-in-your-mouth meats at this gourmet panini shop. The prosciutto and mozzarella is a favorite.
Gelato at Carapina - Unique flavors like champagne and ricotta honey walnut draw crowds to this trending gelateria near the Duomo.
Panini Toscani - Grab a panini or pizza fritta to go from this hole-in-the-wall and picnic along the Arno River. Super budget-friendly for families.
Need to Know
The key to experiencing Florence with kids is to live like a local - stay in neighborhoods outside the crowded city center, see sights early to avoid lines and fill your days with fun activities Italian families enjoy. Let kids pick favorite gelato stops, have picnics in local parks, join interactive tours and workshops, ride bikes around the Cascine park, watch street performances in Piazza della Signoria and experience seasonal festivals. Avoid overly touristy experiences and instead opt for things like climbing the Duomo for views, sampling market snacks, and immersing yourself in the city's culture. Planning ahead by booking tickets and kid-friendly accommodations also helps make Florence a memorable family destination.
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Italy's Best Kept Secret — Why Puglia Should Be Your Next Italian Destination.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Florence.