Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in Florence

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Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in Florence

Even the youngest visitors can enjoy the sophisticated Renaissance city of Florence. Its picture-perfect setting on the Arno River, villas dotting the hillsides in the distance, certainly casts a romantic spell, but don’t be quick to dismiss Florence as a family-friendly destination. Beyond the gelato and the pizza, kids will find all sorts of adventures that will bring Florence to life before their eyes. They’ll learn about medieval life at the Palazzo Vecchio, dance to the music of street performers on the Ponte Vecchio and climb hundreds of stairs for a bird’s-eye view of the city from a marvelous cathedral tower. There are parks and gardens to run around in and an antique carousel to ride. Enlightening and educational, Florence is fit for families.
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1. Palazzo Vecchio
Also known as the Palazzo delle Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio is a top family-friendly museum in Florence. Within this inspired children’s museum, kids can go back to the time of the Medici family, who once lived here, and see how the upper echelon of Florentine society lived at the time. There are English-language family tours with costumed guides, plus pupper shows, children’s maps for the museum and scavenger hunts, all to keep the littlest minds piqued and bring Florence to life. There’s even a tour option leading to a secret costume room, where kids can dress up in historic clothing. Kids six and over are invited, with their grown-ups, to visit the museum’s tower for a great view of the city.
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2. Learn to Cook Florentine Food
As soon as you tell your kids you’re going to Italy, one of the first things they’ll likely say is, “Yay! Pizza!” And while, yes, you’ll be able to satiate their desires with plenty of pizza, there’s also pasta, gnocchi and gelato to try. If you have a budding chef on your hands, sign up for a small-group cooking class. Take a trip with a cooking class, or on your own, to the Mercato Centrale, Florence’s largest food market, for fresh produce, flowers and more.
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3. Uffizi Gallery
While the Uffizi Gallery doesn’t immediately scream “family-friendly,” there are special tours and activities for younger children and teenagers. You can expect trivia, scavenger hunts and more – enough to capture their attention while you marvel at the gallery’s masterpieces, from Botticelli’s Birth of Venus to Michelangelo’s Holy Family.
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4. Ride the Carousel
Take a spin on the antique carousel in Piazza della Repubblica. Stick around to enjoy street musicians and other busker performances, to shop in the boutiques around the square and to enjoy a coffee and a Florentine pastry at one of the many cafes. The Bartolucci toy workshop is nearby, full of wooden toys and Pinocchio souvenirs.
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5. Play in Boboli Gardens
Set behind the Pitti Palace, the lush Medici Renaissance grounds of Boboli Gardens are tailor made for running off steam. Pack a picnic and relax while the kids play hide and seek behind box hedges and statues, climb trees and run along winding pathways. After lunch, take a family stroll to the top of the gardens for incredible views of Florence. The Boboli Gardens are located in the Oltrarno district, which is a family-friendly destination in its own right. It’s less touristy and crowded than the center of Florence and has a wonderful restaurants and gelato shops.
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6. Climb the Famous Duomo
The Gothic Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral) will stop any kid (or adult) in her tracks. Tell them they climb Brunelleschi’s famous dome – which remains the largest masonry and brick dome ever built – and you’ll blow their little minds. With a ticket, older kids can tackle the 463 steps to the cupola to look out over the Florentine cityscape. If you’ve purchased tickets, you will also have access to the Baptistry, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Cathedral Museum and the underground archeological site of Santa Reparata.
 
Want to climb more? Ascend the 414 steps to the top floor of Giotto’s Bell Tower. It’s the only floor of the three that is open-air and affords 360-degree views.
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7. Hang Out with Knights
The Stibbert Museum is a short bus ride from the historical center of Florence and an excellent stop for kiddos interested in knights and armor. The main hall is the most impressive section of this 19th-century villa-turned-museum, with its horses and knights in armor, as well as arms and armor from eastern and western civilizations. Admire the frescoed walls, artwork and a variety of antiques, all originally belonging to the villa’s owner, Frederick Stibbert.
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8. Stroll Across a Medieval Bridge
Grab a gelato and stroll across the iconic Ponte Vecchio. There are boutiques and stalls lining the bridge, so it might be a fun spot to pick up a souvenir or two. Just after sunset, street performers come out to play music, making this a magical time for a bridge crossing.
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9. Learn Something New at the Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo Museums
Older kids, in particular, will relish the chance to get into the genius mind of Leonardo Da Vinci at his namesake museum, just down the street from the Duomo. They can explore four sections dedicated to earth, water, fire and air, respectively, and interact with life-size, functioning models that represent Da Vinci’s various civil engineering, military and flying designs.
 
Over at the Galileo Museum, take a gander at more than a thousand scientific tools and instruments from the 16th to 18th centuries. Galileo Galilei’s specially designed and crafted tools are here, as well as the scientific collections of the Medici and Lorraine families. There are often children’s activities on the weekends.
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10. Wish for Good Luck at the Fontana Del Porcellino
Place a coin and slide it down in the boar’s mouth at this famous fountain. When the coin falls into the grate, it is said you’ll be blessed with good luck. If you rub the boar’s snout, it is said you will return to Florence someday. Point out to the kids that the bronze snout is so shiny from all the rubbing! The Fontana Del Porcellino is near the Ponte Vecchio.

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