Fun things to do in Florence with Kids

Florence with Kids

Florence skyline in the evening

Florence is an excellent destination for families traveling with kids. The city offers a range of activities that will appeal to parents and children alike. The capital of Tuscany offers a wealth of history lessons through its art and architecture. Renaissance art and symbols will appeal to budding art lovers, and the scenic parks and gardens provide the perfect setting to unwind and spend a relaxing afternoon. Here are the best things to do in Florence with kids. 

Historic Florence 

Florence is a cultural playground. The stunning piazzas, monuments, and buildings will keep people of all ages engaged, with something new to see around every corner.

The Italian Gothic style Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Florence and a memorable place to visit for families traveling with kids. The impressive basilica is topped by a magnificent dome—the source of its nickname, Il Duomo—designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. As you walk through the edifice, there are plenty to mesmerize children and adults alike, from the intricate mosaic floors to the ornate and beautiful frescoes by renowned 15th- and 16th-century artists Giorgio Vasari, Domenico di Michelino, Paolo Uccello, and Andrea del Castagno. The cathedral’s museum (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo) showcases works by artists including Michelangelo, Donatello, and Ghiberti, a great introduction to Renaissance art for everyone in the family. 

While many will make the journey up the cupola, we’d only recommend this if your family is on the more adventurous (and active) side. The climb may be too intense for those with younger children. The over 400 steps to the top are steep and narrow, the pathway can be crowded, and the lack of air conditioning can make the trek even more difficult in the hotter months. If you do decide to make the ascent—the view is superb after all—be sure to plan ahead. Go early in the morning before the larger tour groups arrive, and bring plenty of water and snacks!

A short walk from the cathedral is the Ponte Vecchio, a charming medieval bridge where you can admire the view of the river, browse through shops selling souvenirs and art, and watch street performers. Join our interactive Florence For Kids tour to participate in family-friendly activities around the city's historic center and learn about the symbols of the Renaissance.

Visiting the Porcellino (Piglet) Fountain in the Piazza del Mercato Nuovo (New Market Square) is a must for families exploring Florence with kids. The boar-shaped bronze fountain was sculpted by Baroque artist Pietro Tacca in the 17th century. According to legend, inserting a coin in the boar’s mouth brings good fortune, and rubbing the boar’s snout ensures a safe return to Florence. 

Riding the antique wooden carousel in the nearby Piazza della Repubblica is one of the most fun activities to do in Florence with kids. The Piazza is the main square in Florence and was the heart of the ancient Roman town that Julius Caesar founded and named Florentia (“the flourishing one”). The beautiful carousel was built in the early 20th century by the Picci family, who still run it today. It features twenty horses and two carriages.

The 14th-century Palazzo Davanzati marks a transition from the medieval tower house to the Renaissance Palace and provides insight into the everyday life of wealthy families during the Florentine Renaissance. Admire the beautiful paintings and rich decor throughout the palace rooms, and take a look at the collection of old ceramics and lacework. The stunning Sala dei Pappagalli (Parrot Room), with frescoes of parrots adorning the walls and the Sala dei Pavoni (Peacock Room), decorated with peacocks and other exotic birds, are sure to delight children. Symbols of luxury are the agiamenti (toilets) on each floor, an internal well hidden in the wall with a system of pulleys bringing water to all floors, and a private courtyard. 

The thirteenth century Palazzo Vecchio, which is both the town hall and a museum, is one of the most iconic buildings in Florence and an exciting place for families with kids to explore. The historic palace is built on the ruins of an ancient Roman theater dating to the first century, which you can visit on the underground level. Adults and children over the age of six can climb up the palace’s Torre di Arnolfo for a spectacular view of the city and surrounding valley. The palace’s Hall of Maps has walls lined with 16th-century maps and is home to the Mappa Mundi, a six-foot tall rotating globe. The largest room, the stunning Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred), is richly decorated with paneled ceilings, statues, and intricate wall frescoes. If you feel inspired, our Fresco Workshop, led by a local artist, is a great activity for families to learn about the fresco technique and create their own artwork. 

Florence Museums 

While museums don’t always come to top of mind as kid-friendly venues, there are quite a few in Florence that can engage children. 

The Uffizi Gallery, located in the historic center of Florence, has a wide-ranging collection dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Built in the 16th century to accommodate the “Uffizi”, the administrative and legal offices of Florence, the gallery opened to the public as a museum in 1769. Far from boring, it has some of the greatest Renaissance art in the world. We think it’s the perfect place for a budding artist or art historian to get exposure to some of the greatest masters—Botticelli, Michelangelo, Giotto, Caravaggio, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Our Uffizi Tour for Kids is a great introduction to Renaissance art for families. 

The Natural History Museum has several engaging collections, mostly inherited from the Medici family, from botany to mineralogy to anthropology to zoology. Children will enjoy seeing a range of artifacts, including large crystals, fossils, rare plants, butterfly collections, and anatomical wax models.

Near the Piazza Duomo, the small Leonardo da Vinci Museum is dedicated to the life-size reproductions of machines invented by the famous Italian Renaissance polymath. The machines’ uses span from warfare to flight to civil engineering. Read about their history, purposes, and mechanisms. Children will enjoy operating interactive machines like the rotating crane or the Archimedean screw designed to pump water.

Located in the historic Palazzo Castellani, the Museo Galileo is dedicated to the life and works of another polymath, the Florentine astronomer, physicist, and engineer Galileo Galilei. The museum has an impressive collection of scientific instruments dating as far back as the 15th century, including early microscopes, telescopes, globes, and thermometers. 

Florence Parks and Gardens 

Families traveling to Florence with kids will probably find themselves in need of a respite from the busy, crowded streets and museums. Luckily, Florence offers plenty of options for a nice break from the hustle and bustle.

The Boboli Gardens at Palazzo Pitti are one of the best places to go to when visiting Florence with kids. The scenic park is perfect for picnics, playing ball games, and walking around. Don’t miss checking out Michelangelo's famous Atlas figures and the secret gardens with precious botanical collections. 

The nearby Giardino Torrigiani, one of Europe’s largest private gardens, is also a perfect spot to take kids. The garden still has an uncommonly wide variety of trees, especially exotic species, laid out in an English landscape style. Green-loving families can explore Boboli Gardens and Torrigiani on our Secret Gardens of Florence tour led by a horticulturist.

Families visiting Florence can also go to the Parco delle Cascine, the largest public park in the city, located on the banks of the Arno River. The park was built in the 16th century as farming and hunting grounds for the Medici family and was opened to the public in the late 18th century. Today, children can enjoy the park’s several playgrounds, a public swimming pool, tennis, archery, and football fields, and more. 

Florence Food 

Enjoying the local cuisine is one of the best things to do in Florence for any visitor, but those traveling with kids (even picky ones) should have no trouble finding plenty of family-pleasing options. What kids don’t like pasta, pizza, and gelato? 

A great place to discover the flavors of Tuscany is the Mercato Centrale, the food marketplace within the historic San Lorenzo market. Artisan traders sell fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheese, truffles, baked goods, coffee, specialty sauces, aged balsamic vinegar, and local olive oil. Enjoy a slice of wood-oven baked pizza then head to the gelato and chocolate stall to watch how artisan gelato is made from scratch. For those looking for a more interactive, educational food experience, classes are offered in English and in Italian at the Lorenzo de’ Medici cooking school located at the market.

To dive deeper into Florence’s culinary scene, explore the bakeries, cafes and restaurants in the city’s historic center with a local food expert in our Savoring Florence Food Tour. You can also learn about Florentine and Tuscan food traditions from a private chef in our From Market to Table: Cooking in Florence tour.

Want to see Florence with leading experts? Check out all of our private and small group tours here.