A Day In Florence With Kids
Good wine, delicious food, out of this world museums and stunning architecture can all be used to describe Florence Italy. But what about good for family travel and kids? Planning a day trip to Florence for my family after having lived there for a year (many moons ago), took a bit of creative thinking. What could we do in Florence that would captivate the adults as well as my almost eight year old daughter? How do you take this artistic and history rich city and see it on one day?
Our answer was to explore the city on foot, with no museums, and with great food.
A No-Museum One Day Itinerary for Florence with Kids
One day in Florence is not a long time, so we created an itinerary that would allow us to wander, enjoy, and take in the city.
San Lorenzo Market
Our day started at the San Lorenzo Market. This market is best seen in the morning, when the vendors still have full displays and assortments of fresh produce from the Tuscan countryside. There are booths filled with more assortments of cheese than you ever knew existed, butchers, and fish sellers. Children will love tasting, and foodie oriented adults will be on cloud nine with the smells that abound.
Giotto’s Bell Tower/Campanile
From San Lorenzo we made our way through the crowded outdoor market that is known for leather goods and towards the Duomo or main basilica in Florence. Especially in the summer months, lines in Florence, like many other European countries, are packed with tourists. On a hot summer day, the last thing you want to do is stand in a long line with kids in tow.
So instead of going inside the Basilica (which is stunning), we opted to see Florence from the sky by climbing the narrow steps of Giotto’s bell tower, also known as a campanile. Children are actually the best suited family members to make the climb up the 414 steps as it curves going higher and higher. The steep and narrow climb is worth it once you reach the top as the entire city unfolds before you.
Lunch in Santa Croce
Exploring the city a bit on foot took us toward the Santa Croce neighborhood to eat lunch at Osteria Dei Pazzi. There are many great restaurants in Florence, but this one, owned by a former teacher of mine from my days as a student, will always rank highest for the ambiance and the quality of every homemade bite that you will eat.
Osteria dei Pazzi (Via dei Lavatoi, 1, 50122 Florence, +39 055 2344880) is centrally located near the Teatro Verdi and the Church of Santa Croce. Paolo Paroli, the face behind the Osteria is known to sing and whistles as you eat, and you will feel like there is an Italian nonna (or grandmother) doing the cooking. Our favorites during this lunch were a delicious jam, tagliatella ai funghi and the ravioli stuffed with ricotta agrumi that made our mouths water.
Piazza Della Repubblica
After a long lunch, we headed towards the Piazza delle Repubblica (one of the largest squares in Florence) for a special kid-friendly treat. During the summer months there is a merry go round that children will enjoy riding as a break from walking and exploring.
Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti
To end the day, we crossed the Arno River going over the Ponte Vecchio, heading towards the Palazzo Pitti. The Palazzo has an extensive art collection and often houses special exhibits, but is also home to the beautifully manicured Boboli Gardens (Giardini di Boboli). The Pitti Palace was the home of the Medici family during the 16th century, and the gardens were considered lavish for their time. Children will appreciate the ability to run amidst the beauty, and adults will excite in the variety of sculptures, greenery, and vistas of the city.
Of course, stopping for gelato, at any point during the day (or multiple times depending on your appetite) will give every member of the family something to smile about.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, Hilton Florence Metropole offers a complimentary 20 minute shuttle to all of Florence’s famous attractions.
Know Before You Go
- Feeding the pigeons in Piazza San Marco was banned in 2008.
- Florence is most famously recognized as the birthplace of the Renaissance. The symbol of the city is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which is full of history and beauty.
- One of the most famous viewpoints in Venice is the Bridge of Sighs.