There are a few magical places in the world that we’ve traveled to and for whatever reason, it felt like we just belonged there. Florence is one of those places. The tiny cobblestone streets. The art tucked into every corner. The gelato! (Ohhhh, the gelato.) When we were planning our family trip to Italy, lots of people looked at us like we were crazy to take the kids, but it ended up being an amazing place to be as a family. So I wanted to share our favorite things to do in Florence, Italy with kids!
Things to Do in Florence, Italy with Kids
Florence (Firenze if you’re fancy or Italian 😉 ) is an incredible place. It is so packed full of history, the stories and work of world-changing artists and thinkers, next-level food, and sights that truly stop you in your tracks. We did lots of research before we arrived, to make sure that we lined up some activities and outings that both the grownups and the kids would enjoy.
We were selective about the museums that we chose, because our kiddos are 4 and 2 and there’s only so much that you can expect from them. But! That being said, we did tour plenty of museums, churches, and more, and I firmly believe that if you prep your kiddos well, they’ll be able to hang and even appreciate the things they experience.
How to Prepare Your Kids for a Trip to Florence
Our secret weapon on this trip was a book for Henry and Maggie called Mission: Florence. It’s a travel book for kids, in the style of a scavenger hunt. The book positions your kiddo as a secret travel agent, hunting for clues throughout Florence’s landmarks. It actually ended up being the only travel book we used, because it includes just the right amount of history and information about each famous site.
Each night before we went to bed on the trip, we would read the section for the places we would travel the next day. Then the kids had an idea in their heads of what they would be seeing, and they became so invested and excited when we would find in real life the things they had seen pictured in the book.
Can’t recommend it enough! (Spoiler alert: there’s one for Rome, too.)
Best Things to Do in Florence with Kids
We had so many incredible experiences, but there were definitely a few things that floated to the top of our list.
Pizza + Gelato Cooking Class. We booked this through Florencetown, and it was a total highlight. The class had about 20 people total, with a handful of kids. We each made our own pizza (even Henry and Mags!) from scratch, with lots of great cooking tips from the team of chefs. We made gelato as a group while the pizza dough was resting, and the chefs gave some special attention to the kids, letting them add all of the ingredients. At the end of the night you eat what you made! The kids LOVED this experience and we did too.
Life at Court tour of Palazzo Vecchio. The Life at Court tour at the Palazzo Vecchio was perfect. A kid-friendly tour guide took us (along with a small group of other families) through the palace, explaining in language that got the kids totally jazzed. At the end of the tour the little ones get to dress up in court attire; Henry and Mags were in heaven. Let’s be real, I was too.
Boboli and Bardini Gardens. The time we spent in the gardens behind the Pitti Palace was some of my favorite. They’re manicured, Italian-style gardens, perfect for wandering and letting the kids (a little) loose. The views from both gardens looking out over Florence and at the Duomo are so special.
Carousel in Piazza della Repubblica. When the kids needed something that was truly just for them, we stopped at the Carousel. It’s a charming, beautiful carousel and rides are a euro each. The kids can run around in the piazza afterward.
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Also known as the Duomo, this building is my favorite in all of Florence. The building exterior is lots of fun to wander (especially if you have the Mission: Florence book for some fun facts and places to find), and the inside is lovely. Get in line early to get into the church in the morning and go inside to see the frecoes on the inside of the dome. We did NOT climb up to the dome or the cupola; kids under 6 aren’t allowed, and I hear it’s pretty intense.
Accademia Gallery. I didn’t want to leave Florence without seeing Michelangelo’s David, so we went for it. We prepped the kids ahead of time that the museum might take some patience. We also leaned on the Mission: Florence book for some fun scavenger hunts in the museum for the kids. The David was spectacular. This is also where we started letting Henry hold the camera a bit and take photos of the things that interested him, which was a huge help for all of us.
Best Places to Eat with Kids in Florence
We didn’t really shy away from any particular restaurant just because we had the kids with us. We always have a bag of tricks for entertaining kids while we’re eating out, and we just teach them how to hang in a restaurant situation. (You can read about our tricks in this post!)
Mattacena. A nicer, sit-down restaurant with amazing dishes to share. We ordered a few things and split them as a family. The gnocchi is next level.
Mangia Pizza. I believe I called this pizza “a religious experience” on my Instagram stories. SO. GOOD. This place is tiny, and low key. Perfect for an easy lunch or dinner.
All’Antico Vinaio. Sandwiches that will blow your mind. The lines get long but they go quickly. Grab some sandwiches for takeaway and find a pretty spot to sit and enjoy.
Mercato Centrale. This place was SO RAD. Downstairs is a market with fresh meats, fruits, pastas, spices, and lots more, all in different vendor stalls. Then upstairs is a giant cafeteria, with different stalls of food. Each stall is a little different, everything is made to order, and it’s all delicious.
Il Bottegone. This place is across from the Duomo and probably a little touristy, but yowza I had some amazing ravioli here. The soup was also next level. It’s spacious and easy to do with kiddos, but still feels like a nice dinner out.
More Tips for Italy With Kids
What struck us the most is that the locals (all throughout Italy) were so warm and welcoming to the kiddos. (When I post about the Amalfi coast I have a hysterical story about Mags falling off a chair in a fancy restaurant and what the waiters did to help!) It was comforting to know that the kids were welcomed and appreciated.
All in all, we set low expectations and took things at the kids’ pace, not being afraid to make plenty of snack stops, gelato outings, or just letting them relax in the Airbnb. That way, they were rested and in good spirits when it came time to do something that required a little more patience. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!
Stay tuned for our other city guides: Rome, Sorrento, and the Amalfi coast are on the way! xoxo
P.S. See more about traveling with kids right here!