Florence with children: what to do and where to eat with children
The top places and fun things to do with the little ones, and much more
Dinosaur bones, sparkling suits of armor, court stories, beautiful parks and thousands of interesting things to explore. Florence is a family-friendly destination. Here are the top places to see and entertainment to share with your children but that you will love as well.
WHAT TO DO: ATTRACTIONS AND MUSEUMS NOT TO BE MISSED
Our tour starts at Palazzo Vecchio, where the Children’s Museum was established in 2000. The building itself, which looks much more like a castle than an elegant place of dwelling, gives free rein to children’s imagination, but the many activities that can be enjoyed there are the reason why the museum is a popular attraction for families. Such as the tours designed for children from the age of 4, guided by historical figures such as Duchessa Eleonora, donna Lisabetta and Cosimo I de’ Medici, who describe the life at court and its sumptuousness during the Renaissance and tell fun stories, tales of plots and conspiracies and secret passages. Short but extremely immersive and fascinating performances which your kids will talk about for days. But also intersting workshops, such as those for children from eight years old up, who can have fun creating little frescoes. And the turtle telling about the Duke’s passion for this animal, including a hunt for all the turtles portrayed in the Palazzo.
There are also thematic tours designed for children aged 10 years up. The Museum extends beyond Palazzo Vecchio with guided visits across the city, such as the fun Porcellino tour, the tour of medieval Florence and the one devoted to Dante Alighieri, and also activities in other museums, including Museo Novecento, with Marino Marini’s magical horse and painting and animation workshops,the Complex of Santa Maria Novella, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the Gino Bartali Cycling Museum and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, a very interactive experience, with the extraordinary machines designed by Leonardo and interesting workshops such as the mirror writing workshop. The Galileo Galilei Museum features over 1,000 objects, including astronomical instruments, optical illusions, chemistry and science exhibits, in addition to a number of educational programs for families.
There are also special tours of the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Strozzi with its beautiful temporary exhibitions and experimental workshops, designed to engage visitors of all ages. Among the museums that will leave your children speechless are the Museum of Geology and Palaeontology, featuring fascinating stones and many fossils, including that of a blue whale and huge mastodons, the Archaelogical Museum, one of Italy’s oldest and largest, which houses sarcophagi and ancient finds and, in the Montughi Hill, the Stibbert Museum, with its magnificent armors from all over the world, including menacing Japanese arms and the Cavalcade Room, in addition to a magnificent park that leads to the garden of Villa Fabbricotti with its little temples, sculptures and giant trees.
Speaking of parks, Florence is home to some magnificent green areas, from the vast Boboli Gardens, where children can play hide-and-seek for hours, to the Horticulture Garden, with its fairy tale-esque charm and the ‘Dragon’ of the Orti del Parnaso, the garden’s highest and most panoramic location.
In the countryside but not far from downtown Florence, in the sweet hills of Fiesole, is Fattoria di Maiano. Here children can meet the farm’s animals- chickens, goats, horses, cows, donkeys, geese and even ostriches in the wild state- or visit the Botanic Garden and the estate’s oil mill, learning all about the plants and process that lead to the making of the famous Tuscan olive oil. Suitable for children are also the safari tours on off-road vehicles, during which they will most likely come upon wild animals such as foxes, roe deer, porcupines and wild boars.
WHERE TO EAT
And now a brief digression on food, considering that our little ones can be hard to please when it comes to eating out. At Fattoria di Maiano we suggest you do not miss the opportunity to try their delicious products at Ristorante Lo Spaccio. As you go back to downtown Florence, stop at Mama’s Bakery (34 Via della Chiesa) for its colorful cupcakes and panini, or at the lively Central Market of San Lorenzo with its many specialties, or enjoy a hamburger at Lungarno 23 (23 Lungarno Torrigiani), a restaurant whose atmosphere and service will please the little ones, or the kids menu of Hard Rock Cafe (1 Via dei Brunelleschi), where kids can pretend to be little rock stars; go to Santarosa Bistrot (Lungarno di Santa Rosa), nestled in a green area within the San Frediano walls and, last but not least, for the dish that everyone will love, kids and adults alike, head to Berberè (1 Piazza dei Nerli and 7 Via dei Benci), with their delicious pizzas served cut into 8 slices, ideal for sharing with the whole family.