Ah, Florence! Its maze of narrow cobblestone streets spell an aura of mystery. Its sweeping piazzas evoke a rich history dating back to the Renaissance. And its museums house some of the most treasured pieces of art in the world. The capital city of the Tuscan region is perfect for your next family holiday.
Family travel expert Miriam Groner takes us through the historic city with her hotel recommendations and, of course, the top attractions to see in the city with the kids.
The first to-do of any trip is finding the right accommodation. Your hotel can either make or break or your vacation, particularly when traveling with children.
Here are some kid-friendly hotels in Florence that we recommend.
The Four Seasons Hotel is located close to the Giardino della Gherardesca, the oldest and largest gardens in the city of Florence and within easy reach of most tourist attractions. Its 116 rooms are all unique and embody the beautiful Florentine style and quality craftsmanship. Its rooms are equipped with the latest technology and kid-friendly amenities.
Another option is the Westin Excelsior-- great for those with younger kids (ages 3-5). It sits on the banks of the Arno River and is close to its main attraction, the Ponte Vecchio.
Further into the heart of the city center is the Hotel Torre di Bellosguardo Florence. It sits on a hill dominating the Santo Spirito district among the other ancient villas that dot the area.
For those on a tighter budget the Berchielli Hotel Florence is a wonderful kid-friendly choice. It’s located in the center of town, is close to the main train station, and not too far from the airport. Beautifully renovated, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in the city.
Once you have sorted out your accommodation, you can move on to planning your itinerary. This is where the fun really starts!
Piazza della Signoria
The L-shaped square is the hub of Florence’s rich cultural scene and a great kid-friendly attraction. The lively and animated piazza attracts hundreds of locals and tourists who flock to the square to take in the historic architecture dating back to the 13th century. It’s a great place for a leisurely stroll with the family. Take in the free, open-air art and sculpture exhibits that dot the piazza or browse the stores peddling local products. Many fairs take place here throughout the year and the piazza is also a gateway to many other Florence attractions you’ll likely want to visit such as the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery.
With a long history dating back to 1294, the Duomo is arguably Florence’s most iconic landmark and a must see on your family vacation. The cathedral’s impressive construction and staggering proportions dominate the surrounding the cityscape and offers a glimpse into the city’s vibrant history. Want to introduce your children to art? Vasari and Zuccari’s stunning frescoes are sure to take your breath away and leave your family duly impressed. The cathedral can’t be fully appreciated without climbing its incredible cupola. The climb offers you an unmatched view of the cathedral below and the stained glass windows. It’s better suited for older children or young teens as there are over 400 stairs!
The Pitti Palace
The enormous Pitti Palace and its lush Boboli gardens are one of the most popular family-friendly attractions in Florence. Formerly the royal residence, it now houses museums and galleries that exhibit impressive collections from some of the Renaissance’s most iconic artists--think Raphael, Titian and Correggio-- as well as more modern works from the WWII period. After browsing the museums take a walk through the lush Boboli gardens, the largest green area in Florence, and welcome shade from the warm Tuscan sun in the summer months. Take in the stunning foliage, blooming flowers and fountains and grottos that dot the gardens.
The Uffizi Gallery
For art buffs--and those wanting to introduce their kids to the art world-- the Uffizi Gallery is another must-see, kid-friendly attraction in Florence. The gallery is one of the most famous museums in the world for its notable collection of Renaissance artwork and masterpieces. It’s conveniently located in the heart of the city, giving you--and the almost 2 million tourists that visit it every year-- easy access.
Vintage FIAT Tour
Do something different and uniquely Italian-- get behind the wheel of a vintage 1960s FIAT. Your kids will get a kick out of touring the Florence in an iconic, local vehicle. There are a number of companies that offer individual or group tours of the city from behind the wheel of their treasured FIAT cars. This has the double bonus of giving you easy access to the local tourist attractions, while giving you an authentic Italian experience - surely no better way to visit Florence with the kids.
Miriam Groner contributed this to MiniTime. Originally from Australia, Miriam now lives in New York City where she writes and blogs on a variety of topics.
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