Thinking about visiting Florence with kids? Wondering if this is a good idea or not?
Keep reading to find out why you absolutely should travel with your children and some of my top suggestions for a successful family vacation to Florence!
It’s the birthplace of the Montessori approach to education; promoting kids’ natural interests through collaborative play, and you will sense this kid-centred philosophy across many aspects of Italian society including cultural attractions and events, outdoor spaces and even (especially exciting for me) in restaurants!
On this page I will give you my top tips and suggestions for how to visit Florence with kids, including:
My first piece of advice - don’t feel like you have to do it all, you and your kids will get hot and tired.
Many of the locals still haven’t done all there is to ‘do’ in their own city so don’t let fear of missing out make you trigger happy with the buy now button on all the ticket websites.
Best to pick a few top attractions in advance and book tickets and time slots so you can plan accordingly.
The kids will get much more out of spending time at one or two sights than rushing around the city between Botticelli, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Galileo and Da Vinci and getting culture overload.
Remember, just walking from A to B in Florence is an attraction in itself!
The entire city is essentially an open-air museum, it’s like one huge playground.
This means that there is so much you can see and do on foot, simply by walking around.
Take, for example, the stroll between the historic food market Mercato Centrale and the infamous Boboli Gardens at the Pitti Palace.
Only a 20-minute walk, but WHAT a walk!
This route will take you past some of Florence’s most famous sights including its iconic main cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with it's dome, Piazza della Repubblica whose antique carousel merry-go-round is always popular with the little ones, and across the Arno river over the beautiful Ponte Vecchio, one of the most famous bridges in the world.
Schedule in a fresh plate of pasta on a shady terrace, or inside where there is air con, and an afternoon visit to a top gelateria in town and that’s a whole day right there - boom!
Parents can even enjoy an aperitivo or two at a decent hour, which, by the way, is a cultural must-do alongside all those must-sees.
As a mother of two curious boys, I love that all the museums in Florence are suitable for kids, if you adopt the right approach.
Before visiting, in most bookstores here you will find several city guides specifically for kids, offering bite size snippets of history and breaking down the array of tourist attractions on offer, which can sometimes appear overwhelming.
Private museums make their own rules so no single discount policy applies everywhere, but always check so you are paying the correct price for the entire family.
I’ll start with the big one: the Uffizi Gallery, one of the greatest art galleries in the world.
The Uffizi stretches all the way from Piazza della Signoria to the Arno river with over a hundred rooms of famous paintings and sculptures in 13,000 square metres of rooms.
You would need several days to see it all and the queues can be incredibly long.
It’s a must see location when visiting Florence, but for kids, our recommended approach would be to hire a tour guide to keep it brief, whisk you to the best bits and keep the experience relevant and fun for a young audience.
Tour guides will often look after the ticket booking for you too!
Martina from ilikeflorence.com offers family experiences and has written a guide for kids at the Uffizi.
The Uffizi Gallery is also perfectly manageable to visit by yourselves.
There is a section on their website with lots of information and resources for children to help them understand this wonderful museum, and you can contact them to see what tours are available for families.
When it comes to booking tickets, if you are in Florence for a few days, it would be worth considering the Passpartout 5 days ticket (€38 per adult) which combines entry to the Uffizi Gallery, the Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace over a consecutive five day period, but you must start with the Uffizi and you need to reserve a date and time for all visits.
Keep an eye on the Free Admission days when the gallery is open to the public free of charge, usually on national holidays such as Liberation Day on 25th April and Republic Day on 2nd June, but children under 18 always get free entry regardless of which day you visit.
You won’t be able to book a time slot or request priority admission on these days and you can expect lots of people… but then again it’s free entry!
This centrally located museum, round the corner from the Uffizi, is perfect for slightly older kids aged 7-8 and upwards, with an interest in science and history.
Interactive installations on the ground floor immediately transport visitors into the wonderful world of astronomy and upstairs you can find scientific instruments that Galileo used himself.
This famous scientist is the guy that discovered that the earth moves around the sun!
You can book tickets and a time slot online.
Kids under 6 and entitled to free entry but they may be a little young to fully appreciate the whole museum.
Family tickets are available to include two children under 18 for only €24.
Another must see for coming to Florence with kids is the Museo di Palazzo Davanzati, also known as the Museo della Casa Fiorentina Antica.
This museum offers an experience similar to travelling back in time, to walk inside a 16th century noble Florentine home with original furnishings, frescoed walls, playfully decorated bedrooms and medieval kitchens with cooking utensils.
A pretty engaging museum for a family trip, it is right in the center of town and a short walking distance from bars and restaurants for a refreshing drink or ice cream after exploring the different rooms.
Under 18's enter for free, although if you are booking online you need to add the appropriate number of free tickets to the overall booking so they know how many people will be inside at any point.
Some of the more modern, interactive museums are hugely popular with kids of all ages and, in contrast to a traditional collection like the Accademia Gallery or Uffizi, offer an immersive and tactile educational experience.
There are two interactive Leonardo da Vinci museums, located very close to each other in the Florence city center, just up the street from the Duomo.
At both the Leonardo Da Vinci museum on Via del Castellaccio and the Leonardo Interactive Museum on Via dei Servi, children can operate real mechanical replicas of Da Vinci’s inventions like the Tank, the Catapult, the Hydraulic Saw and the Printing Machine which is sure to keep the kids entertained for some time!
Da Vinci’s original drawings, examples of his mirrored writing technique and intricate maps are displayed throughout the museums.
You can book tickets online for a specific time slot so there is rarely a queue to stand in.
At both these kid friendly museums there are reduced entry fees for children and families.
Around a 10 minute walk from the Duomo through the historic city is the Galleria dell’Accademia where millions of tourists head inside every year to see the original sculpture of Michelangelo’s David.
It’s your call whether or not to include this museum on your trip as, even with a ticket, there are queues to follow and once inside the experience may not be as engaging as other museums.
While it isn't one of the most child friendly museums, Michelangelo's David is one of the most famous sculptures in the world so to be able to walk up to it is a pretty humbling and inspiring moment.
Children under 18 always have free entry.
The Italian Soccer Museum is an entertaining and alternative attraction for those budding soccer players or fans of the game.
It takes the visitor through the history of the national team and, of course, the internationally renowned city club ‘La Fiorentina’ or ‘La Viola’ (after the purple strip).
There are even world cup replicas and original pieces of kit dating back through the decades.
The shop will be difficult to leave without buying one of the stylish soccer shirts with a personalised name and number on the back, they do it for you there and then!
It is free to enter for under 5's and €5 for children 5 and up.
The Selfie Museum is an explosion of color and a whole lot of fun, taking you through a series of rooms with digital installations and bold graphics.
Be prepared to fill your camera roll and your Instagram feed!
Next door is the exhibition of Pinocchio all’Opera celebrating the magic of opera and this famous puppet and fairytale character, whose author, Carlo Collodi, spent much of his life in Tuscany.
If the kids have any energy left after dancing around the Selfie Museum then dive in here too!
There’s a great deal of excitement about the Museum of Illusions in Borgo degli Albizi in the historic centre, this is possibly one of the more impressive interactive experiences for kids where illusion meets art, physics, science, optics and history.
This is top of the list for my two boys.
Best to book tickets on-line to avoid unnecessary queues as it’s a popular one.
For dinosaur and fossil lovers the Natural History Museum on Via la Pira is a must-see with its interesting fossil collection and impressive mammoth skeletons (there’s also the skeleton of a whale!)
Entry to the Natural History museum is free for under 6's, reduced for kids between 6 and 14, and there's also a family ticket where up to 2 adults can go inside with up to 4 kids for just €13.
There are many many more but this collection should keep you busy for at least your first two trips to Florence with kids!
If you prefer to book a guided tour when visiting museums, you can choose a kid focused tour or family tour option which is designed to be interesting to the whole family.
To reach the 360 degree views of the Renaissance city center at the top you will need to climb steps, lots and lots of steps (463 for the Duomo and 414 for the Bell Tower) and you need to be okay with narrow, low-lit staircases.
This experience is recommended for slightly older kids and young kids need to be accompanied by an adult.
We wouldn’t recommend attempting the climb with babies or toddlers.
You need to book tickets and time slots in advance and make sure you turn up plenty of time before your allocated slot, as there will be a queue to enter.
Tickets are now grouped together rather than separated for individual climbs.
The Brunelleschi Pass (€30 for adults, €12 for kids aged 7-14 and free for under 7's) includes both the Duomo and Giotto’s tower along with a visit to the Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Baptistery.
It also includes entrance to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo which reveals (amongst many other things) the fascinating architectural story of how the cathedral and the famous dome was built.
What kid doesn’t get excited about a big, red, double-decker, open top bus?
There are two bus routes in Florence and you can get on or off as many times as you like on either a 24 hour, 48 hour or 72 hour ticket.
It’s a great way to get your bearings and cruise the city SITTING DOWN while taking in the main sights and feeling the sun on your face.
It’s much more value for money than a ride around the centre on a horse and cart, and after hopping off the bus the kids can always go and feed the horses some hay and have a few pictures with them in the Piazza del Duomo for free!
To mix things up a bit after some time in the historic center and for time out between museums on your family vacation, there are plenty of great open spaces in and around Florence for kids to run, relax and play.
Le Cascine to the west of the city can be reached by tram (line T1) from the centre.
Taking the tram in itself is a mini adventure for the kids but please remember to validate your tickets once purchased using the machines on board.
In its 160 hectares Le Cascine has play parks, sports facilities, amusements and an outdoor swimming pool with restaurant Le Pavoniere.
One of my favourite public parks is the Parco dell’Anconella on the southeast bank of the Arno river.
A park for the locals with great play areas for kids and a decent bar for the adults!
In the summer you will see stages appear for outdoor theater productions and concerts for all the family.
Check out some of the other beautiful gardens in the city too (not just the Boboli Gardens!) like the Giardini dell’Orticultura or the Giardino delle Rose, just under the famous Piazzale Michelangelo which you can visit along with the beautiful church of San Miniato al Monte for free!
Other great pools and lidos to consider can be found a little further towards the outskirts but still close to the center.
More family friendly than Le Pavoniere in Le Cascine park (which also gets very busy) are Bellariva (with a lovely pizza restaurant and shady grass area) and Costoli near the Florence football stadium, also with plenty of shaded green space.
Entry prices are very reasonable and there are always bars or restaurants once you’re inside but you’ll need a swimming cap!
The campsite Hu Firenze Camping in Town to the southeast of the city has a great kids pool and a fantastic pizzeria restaurant but you’ll need to book as it’s a super popular spot.
If you fancy a little trip up into the hills above the city then I fully recommend the farm Fattoria di Maiano where kids can visit the animals, help pick the olives (they make award winning olive oil), visit the bees in the apiary and taste the honey and much more.
There is plenty for the adults to enjoy too including night trekking through the woods and a historic botanical garden.
If you’re looking for accommodation immersed in the peaceful Tuscan hills then check out their lovely apartments and be tempted by their rather marvellous restaurant Lo Spaccio with stunning views and an even more stunning menu!
The streets of Florence are often filled with celebrations of some kind so keep an eye out for the ones that float your boat.
Some to bear in mind when planning your trip to Florence with kids are:
February has a whole month of carnival vibes, costumes, paper confetti and tasty sweet treats in all the bakeries like Cenci and Schiacciata alla Fiorentina.
Florence’s famous chocolate festival, need I say more?
Usually takes place in February but check online for specific dates.
Usually takes place in April, with gelato tasting on every corner and where the best artisan gelato chefs in the country compete with a new invented flavor!
Usually happens the third weekend in May.
Literally translated as ‘A Florence for Kids’ this three day festival sees activities, shows, tours, readings and more for children in a variety of locations throughout the whole of the city!
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Florence with kids:
Florence is full of wonderful eateries that welcome children (some even have designated play areas for the little kids) but you won’t always find a kids menu.
If you can’t see anything suitable most places will happily make up a simple dish for the children, a favourite being pasta with tomato sauce, pesto or ragù (Bolognese sauce).
Tip: ask for pasta corta if you want to be sure to avoid spaghetti.
Bear in mind too that people eat later in Italy so many restaurants will open at 7pm.
If you need to feed your kids earlier look for the places that stay open throughout the day, or just let the kids take a nap in the afternoon before setting out again to explore Florence by night.
Buses and trams are run by the same operator and the same rule for kids applies for both.
Tickets are free for kids under 1 metre tall but they shouldn’t occupy a seat.
If in doubt, it’s worth checking as the rules can sometimes differ, and for older kids it's best to assume they need a ticket.
Children under 18 can use their parents’ Firenzecard so they don’t need to buy their own (N.B. parents need to ‘register’ their kids as part of their family when buying their card) but remember that most state museums are free for under 18's anyway.
The benefits of buying a Firenzecard really depend on each individual family, how much time they have and what they want to see.
At €85 for each card it’s a significant cost but it could translate into a significant saving if you are set on seeing a ton of museums in 72 hours (which is the time the card is valid for).
In my experience, three days in Florence with kids would be well spent visiting three or four museums, a morning in a park or garden, a walking tour or bus tour, a splash in a local pool if it’s hot and why not throw in a food experience like a gelato or pizza cooking class?
So take a look at the individual cost of the museums you plan to visit and then you'll know if the Firenzecard will save you money.
I’ll leave the closing comments to my own two (half Florentine) sons aged 8 and 10 who happily set about the task of listing their top three things to recommend to their friends if they visit Florence.
Following many squeals of delight (and pleas to include at least six things), the following list was thrust into my hand:
I wonder what their list will look like ten years from now!...