Cloudy view of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy

Gelato and Galileo: 29 Fun Things to Do in Florence with Kids (2024)

Florence, Italy is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. The capital of the Tuscany region, its beautiful streets are packed with famous art galleries, sculptures, and monuments. Combine the many museums featuring renowned Renaissance artists with good food and wonderful vistas, and you end up with a lot of things to do in Florence with kids!

We visited Florence as part of our Family Year Out when our kids were 5 and 7. We spent six weeks in Italy, and over a month in Florence, and can’t wait to go back. We visited all the museum, cathedrals, and markets ourselves, loving every second of it!

In this post, we’ll cover all the best things to do in Florence, from local markets to watching a live futbol match and epic museums. We’ll also cover which tickets you need to buy in advance, where to stay in Florence, how to get around Firenze (as the Italians call it) easily, and the best places for families to eat in Florence.

You may also like our itinerary for 4 days in Rome with kids. While in Rome, check out our list of all the best places to eat in Rome with kids, and all the best hotels in Trastevere, our favorite neighborhood. Or, if visiting in the summer, book a hotel in Rome with a pool.

This article may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. All our recommendations are our own and are in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative.

At the bottom of this post,Β download a free game of Would You Rather: World EditionΒ to play on your next trip!

If you are interested in budget travel to Europe, join our free Facebook Group:Β Europe Travel with Families on a Budget.

Ready to Book Your Trip? Use our Favorite Travel Resources!

Flight Deals: Skyscanner
Rental Cars: Discover Cars
Airport Transfers: Welcome Pickups

Digital SIM Cards: Airalo eSIM
Travel Insurance: SafetyWing

What is Florence Italy Known for?

Florence, Italy is known for its art galleries- the Uffizi and the Palazzo Pitti are world-renowned. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance- the ultra-wealthy Medici family lived in Florence and commissioned many of the Renaissance masterpieces we cherish today.

The Florence Cathedral (often called simply “The Duomo”) is the center of the city. Its dome is self-supported, a marvel of engineering. When it a completed, it was the largest church on earth.

The dome of the Florence Duomo peeks above the buildings of the street

Things to Do in Florence with Kids

There is so much to do in Florence with kids! We spent one month in Florence, and still felt like there were so many things we didn’t get to! Here are our honest assessments of things to do in Florence with kids- which ones are “don’t miss” and which ones are just fun to add in if you have the time.

1. Stroll Across the Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio translates to “the old bridge” and it is very old. It was originally built in 123 AD, then rebuilt in 1345 after a flood. It is known for the shops that are cantilevered off the sides and has become one of the most famous icons of Florence.

Ponte Vecchio in Florence Italy

It is also the only bridge across the Arno that remained intact through World War II- all the other bridges were destroyed.

Stroll across the bridge to gaze in the windows of all the jewelry shops that fill the sides. Then head back across the river on the bridge just to the West, the Ponte Santa Trinita. From this vantage point, you’ll get a much better view of the Ponte Vecchio.

2. Visit the Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is world-famous and is considered to have one of the best collections of ancient and Renaissance works in the world. Housed in a former palace built as offices for the Medici family in 1560, the setting is part of the fun of this museum.

View of the Tribune room in the Uffizi gallery with three sculptures and part of the glass ceiling

When you buy a ticket to the Uffizi, you can either buy a single ticket or the PassePartout 5-day pass. There is free admission on the first Sunday of each month, but beware of the crowds! Uffizi tickets sell out ahead of time, so be sure to buy timed tickets in advance or take a guided tour to simplify the experience.

This small group tour will let you skip the hassle of tickets and lines, and make sure you see the highlights of the collection with expert commentary. After the tour is finished, you are welcome to wander the museum a bit more on your own.

Check Details: Uffizi Small Group Tour with Guide

The 5-Day Uffizi Pass

If you’ll be in town long enough, we highly recommend the 5-day pass. It includes one-time admission to the following museums over the 5 days that begin with your Uffizi visit: Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, National Archeological Museum, and Opoficio Delle Pietra Dure.

If you are interested in museums, this is a great deal. However, with five days to visit five places, we found we felt rushed to get to all of the venues and needed a break from museums after seeing all of these! We loved that it gave us a reason to visit places we might have easily skipped over for more well-known sites.

Visiting the Uffizi

When you get to the Uffizi, go to the ticket office (on your left if you are coming from the river) to exchange your online voucher for actual tickets. Then proceed across the courtyard to the Entrance. There will probably be a line here, as you’ll need to go through security.

You’ll start your visit by walking up to the top floor and then work your way down through the building. There is a terrace cafe at the end of the top floor where you can take a break. It has wonderful views of the Palazzo Vecchio next door.

What to See in the Uffizi

The number of works in the gallery is extensive- and trying to see too much at one time can be exhausting. We like to research the top ten items the gallery is known for and then turn it into a scavenger hunt to look for those works.

view of the ceiling of the Uffizi Gallery with one painting and sculpture visible

We used this “Ten Highlights” list as our basis, but feel free to choose a larger or smaller list as you desire. We liked that images are provided, so we all knew what we were looking for.

Some of the most famous works include Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”, Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”, and Caravaggio’s “Medusa”.

If you are a Caravaggio fan, plan a trip to see his largest and only signed piece, in Valletta, Malta.

Also, keep an eye out for the original sculpture of the boar at the end of the hallway before the cafe on the top floor. The replica of this sculpture has become a famous good luck symbol of Florence.

View of Uffizi Gallery with sculpture and boar

3. Visit the Galleria Accademia

Most people visit the Galleria Accademia for one reason- to see Michelangelo’s David! You’ve seen the image plastered on everything around town (sometimes only specific body parts), and probably seen the copy standing in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, now it’s time to see the real thing!

This museum is much smaller than the Uffizi. On the ground floor, you’ll find a few rooms of paintings, a museum of musical instruments that is worth the detour, and a grand gallery showcasing David.

Long view of a gallery with Michelangelo's David at the end

Leading up to David, are four unfinished sculptures by Michelangelo that represent prisoners or slaves. Scholars believe these may have been intentionally unfinished. In any case, they give an interesting perspective into how the artist worked. You will see areas that are smooth and detailed, and others that are rough and barely tooled into the marble.

When viewing David, look for his slightly crossed eyes, and extra large hands. It is believed that the hands are out of proportion due to the shape of the marble block that other artists had cut into before Michelangelo started working with it.

After David, you will find yourself in a gift shop. From here you can go up to the first floor to see more artwork.

4. Climb the Duomo

The large green and white structure of the Duomo dominates central Florence. You will probably find yourself walking around it many times on your way to other places.

The Duomo itself is more ornate on the outside than on the inside. To enter the Duomo is free, though there is often a long line. Brunelleschi engineered the dome to be freestanding- a feat that is still admired today.

To climb the Duomo, you’ll need a ticket, best purchased in advance. There are three types of passes offered, and only the Brunelleschi Pass, the most expensive and comprehensive pass, includes climbing the dome.

The Brunelleschi Pass includes access to the Dome, the Baptistry, the Bell Tower, the Museum, and the Santa Reparata. You have three days from your timed visit to the Dome to visit any of the other locations included in the ticket.

Dome of the Duomo in Florence with kids

When you climb the Duomo, you’ll enter the church at the base on the left side, and get a quick view of the interior before heading up the narrow stairs. There are 463 steps to reach the top, so plan on getting some exercise!

Your first stop will be in a small room with statues of three holy bishops. After catching your breath, head on to stand inside the dome of the church. This narrow walkway goes halfway around the dome and gives you wonderful up-close views of the dome fresco, as well as the layout of the church below.

detail of ceiling fresco of Florence Cathedral ceiling

From the interior dome, you’ll climb even higher, winding around the dome itself until you reach the top of the cupola. From here you can see all of Florence. After you’ve taken in the views you’ll head back the way you came, with another chance to look at the interior fresco as you descend.

Once you reach the bottom, you’ll quickly be funneled outside, with no time to explore the church from the ground floor.

Travel Tip: Time your Duomo tickets for 9:45 or earlier to see the church below while it’s empty. You’ll get a great view of the floors, and then see it again with people inside on your way down.

5. Visit the Baptistry of St. John

The separate, round building just across from the main entrance to the Duomo in the same green and white striped marble, is the Baptistry of St. John. While there is often a crowd at the Gates of Paradise doors, there is not often a line to enter the Baptistry.

Once you enter (using your Brunelleschi Pass), you’ll find an octagonal room with a golden mosaic on the roof, featuring a large image of Jesus Christ.

Golden mosaic ceiling of Florence Baptistry

Marvel at the mosaic marble floor with its intricate designs, and the zodiac panel. Don’t miss Donatello’s Tomb of Antipope John the XXIII, his gilt figure gazing out to the viewer.

The gilded bronze doors which Michelangelo dubbed “the Gate of Paradise” are actually best seen from outside the Baptistry when they are closed.

Exterior of Florence Duomo Baptistry with golden Gates of Paradise doors, closed

6. See Giotto’s Bell Tower

Part of the Brunelleschi Pass, you’ll want to climb Giotto’s Bell Tower on a different day than the Duomo, as it includes 398 narrow steps to reach the top.

You’ll stop at each of the three levels with windows before reaching the top for views across the city. From here you’ll have a lovely view of where you stood on the top of the Duomo as well.

If you happen to time your visit to coincide with the ringing of the bell, you can view the edge of the swinging bell from the third level, though it is quite loud.

7. Explore the Pitti Palace

The Pitti Palace is a part of the larger Uffizi Gallery. This palace, on the opposite side of the Arno River, was once the main residence of the Medici Family, who acquired it from the Pitti family who built it, thus the name.

The Pitti Palace is divided into four sections. As you enter the palace, you’ll find the Treasury of the Duke on the left. We suggest leaving this section for last, it contains items like cabinets, ivory figurines, and fine dishware.

Collection of golden plates in the Treasury of the Dukes, Pitti Palace

The main entrance with a ticket-checking booth is to your right. Here you’ll proceed up to the first floor for the Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments. In this section of the museum, you’ll find room after room that is highly decorated and filled with precious works of art.

You’ll start with the Sala Bianca, an all-white room used for events, then move into rooms filled with artwork.

Chandeliers of Sala Bianca in Pitti Palace, Florence

There is little signage, so it’s a bit hard to know what to focus on. If you look carefully, you’ll find Raphaels and a few Titians. We enjoyed wandering through the lavish spaces but didn’t learn as much as we have in museums with more consistent signage.

One floor up from the Palatine Gallery is the Gallery of Modern Art. Modern here seems to mean “not ancient”, as many works are from the 1800s or earlier.

On this same floor is the Museum of Costume and Fashion, which we were excited to see, but was closed for a three-year renovation. The good news is it is now open! This astonishing collection includes items from the 1700s like the funeral clothes of the Medicis, to Chanel flapper dresses from the 1920s to Madonna’s black corset by Jean Paul Gaultier.

We highly recommend taking a guided tour of the Pitti Palace, as it’s the only way to really know what you are seeing. This tour will make sure that you don’t miss works by greats like Titian and Reubens while telling you stories about the powerful Medici family who ruled Florence during the Renaissance.

Check Details: Guided Tour of Pitti Palace Palantina Gallery

8. Meander through the Boboli Gardens

Behind the Pitti Palace are the Boboli Gardens, stretching over 111 acres. There is a separate admission ticket for the gardens, though both the gardens and the palace are included in your Uffizi 5-Day Pass.

Once you climb the ramp up to the gardens you’ll find a map that allows you to plan your visit. From this base point, you also have wonderful views of Florence and the Duomo.

The garden rises sharply uphill toward the Statue of Abundance, and then sharply downhill toward the Fountain of the Ocean.

View from Boboli Gardens looking back to the Pitti Palace

9. Visit the National Archeological Museum

This museum is not on our “top highlights list”, but fun to check out if you have the Uffizi 5-day pass. It begins with Roman artifacts, then items from Etruscan tombs. Both of these were a bit difficult as English translations were slim.

However, the gem of this museum is the Egyptian Museum. Head upstairs to this section to really start your visit. The items on view are extremely high quality, including several mummies and gorgeous sarcophagi, as well as a two-person hunting chariot that is the only one of its kind.

Egyptian chariot at the National Archeological museum, Florence Italy

All of the labels in this part of the museum are translated into English, so you won’t wonder what you are looking at.

During our visit both the “Coin Cabinet” and the “Medici and Lorraine Gemstone” sections were closed.

10. Learn an Art at the Opoficio delle Pietra Dure

Another museum that we visited based solely on our Uffizi tickets, we recommend this museum highly. Pietra Dure means “hard stones” and is the process of cutting pieces of stones to create a puzzle-like image that is inlaid on a table or other item.

Up Close of a Pietre Dure image of a lady in a dress holding flowers

We recommend starting your visit backward- head upstairs to the back of the balcony to watch the video explaining this art form in detail. Our kids watched the short video twice, and we all had a much better appreciation for the works in the museum. Upstairs you’ll also find work benches and tools used in the craft.

In the main floor section of the museum, you’ll find examples of Pietra Dure. Look for a large vase in the middle of the room that is unfinished- you’ll see the holes where additional stone would have been fit into the piece.

This is not a large museum, we spent about one hour in total including watching the short video and checking out the gift shop.

11. Be Awed by the Palazzo Vecchio

The Palazzo Vecchio was the town hall of Florence, built on the most important town square- the Piazza della Signoria. Today, its tower is visible from much of the city, and it’s known for the replica of Michelangelo’s David that stands outside (and where the original once stood).

Exterior of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy

You can easily buy tickets on-site- you’ll need to decide whether to pay extra to climb the tower for views over the city. After buying your tickets, proceed back out to the courtyard and up the grand staircase that you passed when coming in.

This will take you to the famous room in the palace, called the Hall of the Five Hundred. It was built in the 15th century to hold the Maggiore Consiglio, Florence’s legislative body.

This lavish room is still used today for many events in the city. On the day we visited, it was hosting a graduation ceremony, but we were still able to view the room.

View from above the Room of 500 in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence Italy

On the second floor, you’ll find most of the apartments in the palace, including a lot of frescos, and painted wooden ceilings. As you move from one wing of the palace to the other, you’ll pass through the balcony above the Hall of the Five Hundred, giving you another view of this wonderful space.

12. Rub the Fontana del Porcellino

The Fontana del Porcellino is a bronze statue of a boar. This statue is a copy of a sculpture by Pietro Tacca done in 1633. That sculpture was a copy of an ancient Roman culture you can see in the Uffizi.

Legend says that rubbing the boar’s snout ensures you will return to Florence. Place a coin in his mouth and watch it drop into the grate below for good luck. Of course, if the coin misses, you can always try again!

Kids have a great time placing the coins- we found there were a handful of coins outside the grate that they could use to “try for luck” several times.

The statue is fairly low to the ground so easy for kids to approach. You’ll find the famous boar on the south side of the open market in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo.

child putting a coin in the mouth of Fontana del Porcellino in Florence

13. Ride the Carousel in Piazza della Repubblica

The carousel in Piazza della Repubblica is hard to miss! Standing in the middle of this vast piazza, it is an eye-catcher. The horses are decorated with flashy pieces of mirror, and sport feathered headdresses and real horse-hair tails.

Our kids loved riding the carousel- and we found it often virtually empty. Rides are only 1.50 euros, and credit cards are accepted. Also worth noting is that the carousel is quiet- there is no jingly tune that accompanies the horses.

Carousel Horses, Piazza della Repubblica, Firenze

14. Visit the Capelle Medicee

The Medici Chapels include the Salon of Princes and the New Sacristy. You’ll first enter the Crypt, where you’ll find some reliquaries. After climbing the stairs, you’ll enter the Salon of Princes.

This room was created as a lavish mausoleum for the Medici Family and includes lots of different colors of marble. You’ll find beautiful examples of Pietre Dure (inlaid stone), as well as the tombs of some of the most famous of the Medici family. The golden octagonal ceiling is the highlight of this room.

Golden octagonal ceiling of the Chapel of Princes, Medici Chapel

Next, you’ll enter the New Sacristy, designed by Michelangelo. This room holds the most Michelangelo sculptures of any location in Florence. However, several of them are unfinished. It makes for a strange viewing experience, as the bodies are fully defined, but some of the heads are blocky and awkward.

On one tomb you’ll find Dusk (male) and Dawn (female), on the other tomb you’ll find Day (male) and Night (female).

Michelangelo's half finished sculptures in the Medici Chapel

The chapels don’t take long to visit, you can easily pair this with a visit to the Basilica of San Lorenzo, and the Central Market, which is right around the corner.

15. Visit the Basilica of San Lorenzo

This basilica was designed by Brunelleschi and houses some important works of art. Your ticket includes entrance to the basilica, the cloisters, and the museum in the basement (accessed from the cloisters).

This is considered one of the first Renaissance buildings and includes the tomb of Cosimo the Elder in the basement. You’ll also find two gilded bronze pulpits by Donatello. In the museum, you’ll find Donatello’s tomb, as well as curiosities that range from taxidermy flamingos to a giant mastodon tooth originally discovered in Kentucky.

Interior of the Basilica of San Lorenze showing columns and the painted dome

You can also combine this with a ticket to the upper library, designed by Michelangelo if it is open. The library has much shorter hours than the basilica, it is only open on weekdays, and closes at 1:30. We weren’t able to visit the library, as it was closed for the full month of September.

We didn’t realize that this was a different ticket than the Capelle Medicee, which is part of the same complex. If you have to choose, we suggest you prioritize the Medici Chapel.

16. Visit Michelangelo’s Tomb at the Basilica of Santa Croce

This church, built in 1294 sits on a lovely piazza with a famous statue of Dante out front. Once you enter, you’ll find a large church with several famous tombs, from all sections of Florentine life. The tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and even a symbolic tomb for Dante are in this church.

Tomb of Galileo, Santa Croce, Florence
Tomb of Galileo by Giovanni Battista Foggini in Santa Croce

There is a painted wooden ceiling, beautiful stained glass windows, and priceless works of art such as frescos by Giotto, and several works by Donatello. Be sure to grab a map as you enter, which lists where the more important works are located.

As you face the altar, head to your right to see the sacristy and a series of artworks that includes the famous Crucifix from 1288 that was damaged in the floods of November 1966. After images of it covered in mud circulated, it became of symbol of the flood.

After visiting the main church, exit into the cloisters and visit the Pazzi Chapel designed by Brunelleschi.

Crucific and stained glass windows of interior altar of Santa Croce, Flrenze

17. Wander the Giardino Bardini

The Giardino Bardini at the Villa Bardini is a great place to escape the crowds. Relatively quiet even on the busiest tourist days, this 10-acre garden has three sections you can easily wander your way through. There is an Italian garden, an English garden, and what is known as an Agricultural Park which is famous for its wisteria pergola. The wisteria is in bloom from mid-April to mid-May, which attracts the largest crowds here.

Dogs are not allowed, and there is a steep slope to the gardens. There is a fee for admission to the garden, 10 euros in 2022, and children under 18 enter free.

18. See the Views from Piazzale Michelangelo

Steep, narrow streets with views of the old city walls lead you up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. This piazza is not much to look at. It is named for a monument to Michelangelo that stands in an empty parking lot, with a few souvenir carts set up around it.

The charm here is not from the piazza itself but from the panoramic views of Florence that lie below you. Spend some time gazing down at the city, then take a seat on the wide marble stairs to soak in the view.

If you have time, walk above the Piazzale to Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte. The marble terrace here is more picturesque than the Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s quieter here, and you’ll have wonderful views of the city and the old walls below you.

It doesn’t offer the panoramic views of the more popular viewpoint, but we preferred it. After taking a few moments here, continue downhill to Piazzale Michelangelo.

View of the city of Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo

19. Wander Through the Rose Garden

As you leave the Piazzale Michelangelo, head downhill, then make a left down some stone steps to wander through the Rose Garden. Open to the public at no charge, you’ll find winding paths leading downhill, filled with sculptures and flowers. There is also a small cafe if you’d like a drink or a snack. Viale Giuseppe Poggi 2.

Pink roses with a blue trim wall behind, Rose Garden in Florence Italy

20. Browse and Eat at the Mercato Centrale

Head to the Central Market, also to check out all the gourmet delicacies. You can buy wedges of cheese, sauces, wines, meats, produce, and more. On the ground floor, there are a few places (often with long lines) for takeaway sandwiches or pasta. There are also a few sit-down places to eat, some of which can be expensive.

You can also pick up Tarallini- bread bites often served with cocktails, and panforte, a sweet specialty of Tuscany. We left with a hunk of pecorino cheese, sliced salami, and fig jam, for dinner. Many vendors will offer to vacuum seal purchases if you’re not planning to eat them right away.

Cheese for sale in the Central Market in Florence

For lunch, head upstairs to the food court. The sides are lined with places to buy food, with tables in the middle. From prosciutto platters with melon and cheese to dumplings or pasta, there’s a lot to choose from. We shared a pizza (after we watched them stretch the dough), and delicious handmade pasta.

A great stop for larger groups as the tables are big, and everyone can choose what they like. Piazza del Mercato Centrale, via dell’Ariento.

21. Take a Food Tour of Florence

If you are interested in the specialties of Florence, and the cuisine of Tuscany, consider taking a Food Tour of Florence. This walking tour covers local delicacies in three neighborhoods, including the market area.

We love that they have an 11:00 lunch option that is terrific for families.

Check Details: Walking Food Tour of Florence

22. Watch a Fiorentina Soccer Match

Watching a live soccer match in Italy is something your family will not forget! The local club is Fiorentina- you’ll see their purple jerseys in stands around town. Seeing a match was definitely a highlight of our time in Florence, the kids had a blast.

The Florentine soccer club plays matches from the end of August, through the end of May. Most matches are on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm, though the schedule may vary.

Tickets for each game go on sale a few days before the match- they seem to load tickets as soon as the previous match has finished. Tickets through the team website are much cheaper than sites that sell the full season’s schedule ahead of time.

Tickets start at 14 euros per person, and in many categories, kids under 14 years are a flat 5 euros. There are typical stadium snacks on sale- popcorn, hot dogs, beer, and soda.

soccer stadium with two teams lining up for the start of the game

The Fiorentina colors are purple and white. If you want to get some team gear before the game, there is a Viola store downtown (via del Corso 58r) and a Fiorentina Store just outside the stadium (via Goffredo Mameli 2). There were also carts set up on Viale Manfredo Fanti selling t-shirts, scarves, and other team merchandise.

We had so much fun at this game- we sat in the Maratona section, off to one side, in row 2, and our seats were fantastic. The third or fourth row would be a little better for seeing the near sidelines, but the stadium has good sight lines.

The end sections (Curva Fiesole) are the more rowdy sections with flag waving and chanting and a lot of shirtless fans. The Maratona section is great for families.

23. Take a Cooking Class for Families

A cooking class is a great way to get to know more about Tuscan food and get your kids excited about Italian food and cooking in general.

We spent an afternoon with Carlotta of Cooking with Carlotta making gnocchi and tiramisu. The kids were so excited about this experience! During our travels in Italy, they’ve seen various people make pasta in restaurant windows and were thrilled to get to try it themselves.

Child making pasta dough during class with Cooking with Carlotta
Making Gnocchi Dough with Cooking with Carlotta

We chose Carlotta because she has a reputation for working with kids and families. She was patient with the kids and broke it down into steps they could easily handle. Of course, we finished by eating dinner together- enjoying the pasta and tiramisu we had just made. If you have older kids, you could do more dishes, and learn to make several types of pasta.

Check Details: Family Cooking with Carlotta

24. Taste Test Gelato

Taste testing various gelaterias is essential when in Florence! Some people prefer to stick to one flavor (stracciatella perhaps?), while others go straight for the signature flavor of the shop. Whatever your methods, finding your favorites is great fun!

We used this list from TimeOut and added the gelaterias to our Google Maps, then whenever we were close to one of the marked shops, we’d detour to give it a try.

Cone with two flavors of gelato and a cookie from Cantina del Gelato in Florence

Our family’s favorite gelato in Florence: Cantina del Gelato

Just past the Ponte Vecchio, try their signature flavor: Gusto della Cantina. This hazelnut gelato with Nutella chocolate and hazelnut crunch is delightful. Via de Bardi 31.

25. Explore Oltrarno

Across the river from central Florence is Oltrarno- a district centered around three piazzas: Piazza Santo Spirito, Piazza del Carmine, and Piazza Della Passera.

Often compared to Trastevere in Rome, here you’ll find the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, as well as many cafes, gelaterias, and shops. Spend some time wandering the narrow streets, popping into stores, and having a pastry or gelato.

Beautiful streets of Oltrarno in Florence Italy

Be sure to stop at the Basilica di Santo Spirito. While entry to the basilica is free, for 2 euros, you can see Michelangelo’s Crucifix, a small sculpture on a wooden cross, one of his earlier works. This small entry fee also grants you access to the cloisters and the New Refectory where you’ll find some lovely old frescos which were hidden to protect them during Napoleon’s occupation. Children under 10 enter for free.

26. Visit a Local Market

You’ll find a handicraft market in Piazza della Santissima Annunziata on the first weekend of each month (Sept through Dec) that includes pottery, baked goods, wooden crafts, and more.

On Thursday mornings you’ll find a flower market in the Piazza della Repubblica which includes potted plants.

On the second Sunday of each month, Piazza Santo Spirito hosts a vintage flea market. On the third Sunday, it hosts an Artisan market that includes organically farmed goods, handmade crafts, and naturally dyed fabrics.

27. Leonardo da Vinci Interactive Museum

This interactive museum is targeted at ages 7-8 and includes full-scale models of some of Leonardo’s most famous inventions. Tickets can only be bought online, though you can most likely buy them the morning you plan to visit. It is worth noting that both our 5-year-old and almost 8-year-old enjoyed their visit. There were also several adults building alongside them.

Note: There are two Leonardo da Vinci Museums in Florence, only meters apart. We chose the museum specifically geared for kids.

The museum is mostly filled with models with cranks, levers, and pulleys. There is also a small section with paintings and a copy of the Mona Lisa.

The kids loved touching everything at this museum! They spent most of their time there building things. They didn’t get to all of it before getting hungry and tired and wanted to go back a second time. Via Dei Servi 66r.

Our kids building at interactive exhibit in Leonardo Museum in Florence Italy

28. Explore the Museo Galileo

This museum dedicated to the famous scientist sits right next to the Uffizi Gallery. Here you’ll find some of Galileo’s original scientific instruments, as well as an interactive area for kids.

Travel Tip: Visit Pisa to learn more about Galileo including seeing where he was baptized.

Don’t miss the monumental sundial that stands in the plaza right outside the museum. Piazza Dei Giudici 1.

29. Take Day Trips to See More of Tuscany

Using Florence as a home base, there are several easy day trips from Florence you can take to see a bit more of Tuscany.

Siena, known for its gothic Duomo di Siena, and summer-time “Palio” horse race, is only 1 1/2 hours by train. Venice, with its unique canals, is just over two hours away. We debated about visiting Venice, check out why we fell in love with this crazy city!

Gondola on the Venice Canals

Bonus: Wine Windows

As you walk around Florence, you’ll notice small, round-topped windows built into the walls. These were installed during the plague so that food and drink could be served with little contact between the maker and the buyer.

While many of these are now sealed over, some are still functioning wine windows! After a long day of viewing another masterpiece of Renaissance art, order a glass of wine to be served through the small portal.

Holding a wine glass in front of a wine window in Florence Italy

In most cases, you’ll then take it round to the tables of the main restaurant, but it’s a bit of fun we haven’t seen anywhere else!

Our favorite is at Babae, which also has great brunch. Reach inside to ring a bell for service, order your wine, and then wait to have it passed to you through the small window. via Santo Spirito 21R.

Is Florence Worth Visiting with Kids?

Yes, Florence is worth visiting with kids. From the picturesque Ponte Vecchio to major works of Renaissance art, there’s a lot for kids to see and do. They’ll also love strolling the lovely streets and tasting different flavors of gelato- which was invented in Florence.

Also, there are a lot of wonderful day trips from Florence to consider- we spent a month in Florence and couldn’t get to all of them! Florence is a fantastic base to reach other cities easily by train.

How Many Days Do I Need to Explore Florence with Kids?

There’s a lot to do in Florence. We recommend at least three days to see the top sites, and a week to see a good chunk of our suggested “things to do” if you are willing to pack in at least two things per day.

If you are interested in art, and visiting museums you can easily spend a month or more here. We generally limit ourselves to one planned activity per day- whether that’s a museum or a tourist site, and then spend the second half of the day walking around and stopping anywhere that interests us, from stationery stores to local markets.

Planning a Trip to Florence

When planning a trip to Florence, keep in mind you will need to prebook tickets to three of the major sites: the Uffizi, the Galleria Academia, and climbing the Duomo (just entering the Duomo does not require a ticket).

For all other major sites in Florence, you should be able to buy tickets on-site without extensive lines.

When purchasing a ticket to the Uffizi, you can choose between a single ticket and a 5-day pass. If you have the time, the 5-day pass includes one-time admission to Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, the National Archeological Museum, and Opoficio Delle Pietra Dure.

When purchasing tickets to the Duomo, you can choose from three pass options, but only the Brunelleschi Pass includes access to the Dome of the Duomo.

Up close view of side of Duomo with crowds below in Florence Italy

This ticket also includes the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Opera del Duomo Museum, and the ancient Basilica of Santa Reparata. You have three days to visit all of the above sites.

Since you will probably not want to climb the dome of the Duomo and the Bell Tower on the same day, make sure you book this ticket when you have three consecutive days available. Free to kids under 6 years old.

Where to Eat in Florence

There’s so much good food in this city that invented gelato! We wrote a separate post on our favorite places to eat in Florence, which skews toward Oltrarno since that is where we stayed.

These are a few places that we enjoyed eating in Florence when we visited as a family, that won’t break the budget.

Where to Stay in Florence

When you choose where to stay in Florence, we recommend two options. The first is to stay close to the action- most of the tourist sites in central Florence are within a five-minute walk of each other.

If you stay in central Florence, you’ll be an easy walk to all of the sites, and all of the shopping in the center. You’ll also find that many of the restaurants and cafes are geared toward tourists and have less of an authentic experience.

This hotel includes a hot breakfast and is right in the middle of the action. To make it even more unique, it’s located in a medieval tower house that once belonged to a noble family. Quadruple rooms are great for families, and air conditioning is provided.

Recommended Central Florence Hotel: Albergo Firenze

Alternatively, you can stay in Oltrarno, across the river from Central Florence, close to either Santo Spirito or Plaza del Carmine. We stayed just off Plaza del Carmine and found the cafes and piazzas to be much more local. We could stop at a bakery, or take the kids to a playground and not feel surrounded by tourists.

However, we did find ourselves making the same walk into the tourist zone over and over again to visit all the museums and churches on our list of things to do in Florence.

This suite in Santo Spirito includes air conditioning and family rooms that include a seating area so you can spread out a bit. This suite is also an easy walk to the Santa Maria Novella train station, making it easy to take day trips.

Recommended Oltrarno Hotel: La Torre del Cestello Family Suite

Getting Around Florence

Florence is a very walkable city. There is no Uber or other ride-sharing service in Florence, so you’ll need to rely on public transportation, or metered taxis.

If you are venturing to the outer edges of the tourist area, you may want to take the bus or the tram.

Taking the bus or tram in Florence is easy. You buy paper tickets in advance at a Tabac, or sometimes even a cafe. The same tickets work for both modes of transport. Look for the sticker on the door that says “Autolinee Toscane” to indicate that they are a seller.

Each ticket is 1.50 euros. If you buy a carnet of 10 tickets, the price drops to 1.40 euros. Kids over one meter tall must pay full fare. Make sure to validate your ticket in the small yellow box on the bus or tram. It will stamp a time and date on your ticket. If the box is not printing properly- let the driver know. When this happens to us, I take a picture of the error message on the box which includes the date and time.

There You Have It: Things to Do in Florence, Italy

All the amazing things to do in Florence with kids! From riding a carousel to watching a soccer match to seeing tons of Renaissance art, there’s so much to do in this beautiful Tuscan city. It is an excellent place for a family vacation, or a longer stay. We spent a month exploring and still didn’t get to all there is to do in Florence.

Headed to Rome next? Don’t forget to schedule a day at the Vatican, it’s fantastic for kids! We’ve also rounded up the best golf cart tours of Rome, and the best Rome catacombs tours!

Similar Posts