10 things to do in Florence: Fun with kids in Italy
Florence is a wonderful place for a family holiday. The city is full of Renaissance treasures that will appeal to even the youngest, as well as captivating museums showcasing the discoveries and inventions of some of the world’s greatest minds, such as Galileo and Da Vinci. Presentations and interactive exhibits will allow you to discover the first telescopes and thermometers as well as mechanical inventions. Perhaps these incredible objects will arouse the interest of future explorers and space engineers?
The sportier will also not be left out, the city of Florence boasting vast 15th-century gardens and large outdoor pools, where it is good to swim and enjoy the sun in summer. If you’re still unsure of what to plan for your next family adventures in the Tuscan capital, be sure to read our collection of the best things to do in Florence with kids.
Things to Do in Florence
1. Dress up as a Medici at Palazzo Vecchio
Put yourself in the shoes of a Renaissance nobleman
Palazzo Vecchio is a 13th-century fortified Florentine palace that also serves as a town hall and civic museum. The palace overlooks Piazza Della Signoria and offers exciting interactive tours for families.
Your visit to the palazzo will usually cover the richly decorated rooms, where children can discover the secret passages that lead to the private rooms of the Medici family. A fun part of the tour is dressing up in extravagant Medici clothes and then striking a pose like infamous Renaissance paintings.
Where: Piazza Della Signoria, 50122 Florence FI, Italy
When: Daily 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Telephone: +39 055 276 8325
2. Discover the first telescopes at the Galileo Museum
Astronomical history for the little ones
The Museo Galileo (Galileo Museum) offers an excellent educational tour that can inspire children. It exhibits Galileo Galilei’s first inventions, his existing telescopes, and his scientific instruments dating from the 15th century. You can also discover how the world was viewed at the time, thanks to the collection of terrestrial globes.
Private tours are offered, but it is always advisable to share a little history about the great astronomer with young children before your visit. Tickets are sold from € 10 for adults, € 6 for children aged 6 to 18, and free for children fewer than 6.
Where: Piazza Dei Giudici, 1, 50122 Florence FI, Italy
When: Wednesday to Monday 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesday 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Telephone: +39 055 265311
3. Ride the ancient merry-go-round in Piazza Della Repubblica
A colorful Florentine merry-go-round
Piazza Della Repubblica is Florence’s bustling public square that houses the Naiad Fountain and an old, but functional merry-go-round. The brightly colored carousel is compact, with 20 horsepower and 2 golden carriages. You will often see the carousel spinning empty, as visitors usually just admire it.
A tour costs just € 1.50 per person, but the family photos you take there will be timeless. The benches surrounding the merry-go-round will allow you to capture the best angles.
Where: Piazza Della Repubblica, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
4. Explore the labyrinthine alleys of the Boboli Gardens
Stroll among Renaissance sculptures and fountains
The Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens) is a 15th-century garden that is part of the Pitti Palace in Florence. The lush and manicured spaces are dotted with Renaissance sculptures and ornate fountains. You can also enjoy the most beautiful Florentine horizons from the hills of the garden.
With its maze of hedges and alleys lined with cypress trees that wind through the hills, Boboli looks like a huge labyrinth garden. Tickets cost around € 10 per person, but admission is usually free on the first Sunday of the month.
Where: Piazza Dei Pitti, Florence, Italy
When: Daily 8:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Telephone: +39 055 265 1838
5. Swimming at Le Pavoniere pool
A great place to have fun under the sun
Le Pavoniere swimming pool is one of the most popular outdoor swimming pools in Florence. It is part of the monumental and historic green oasis of Parco Delle Cascine (Cascine Park). Compared to the large swimming pools in Florence, such as the municipal swimming pool in Costoli, Le Pavoniere is ideal for families.
The pools are not too deep and children can also have fun in the dry, on a playground. There is plenty of shade and a full range of facilities. Thanks to these, as well as the restaurant and cocktail bar, you can spend an entire day there. Tickets are available from € 3.
Where: Viale Della Catena, 2, 50144 Firenze FI, Italy
When: Every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Telephone: +39 334 521 0999
6. Meet Knights in Armor at the Stibbert Museum
The beautiful global arsenal of an English art collector
The Stibbert Museum presents the immense collection of armor put together by Frederick Stibbert, a collector of British art of Italian origin. The interior can make you feel overwhelmed, much like stepping into a busy toy store. The huge variety of ancient weapons and armor comes from different civilizations, from samurai to Greenwich armor: swords, protective clothing, breastplates, etc.
The magnificent Cavalcade Hall, with its life-size cavalry of armored riders on horses, is presented in an intricate frescoed interior.
Where: Via Federico Stibbert, 26, 50134 Florence FI, Italy
When: Monday to Wednesday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Friday to Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (closed Tuesday)
Telephone: +39 055 475520
7. Make prints and paper creations at Il Papiro
Beautiful handcrafted Florence papers
Il Papiro is a paper store in Florence that offers a wide range of stationery and marbled paper. Its friendly staff will be happy to demonstrate to children and even invite you to participate in its paper marbling workshops.
You will be capable of selecting your favorite colors and see how various combinations and selection of tools can develop different patterns. You will then have the choice of carrying your own masterpiece home. Il Papiro has two shops in Florence: the main one is in Via Cavour and the smaller one is just behind the Duomo.
Where: Piazza Del Duomo, 24 rouge, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
When: Daily 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Telephone: +39 055 281628
8. Learn to make pizza or gelato
Cook your own Italian classics
Participating in a cooking class can be a fun family outing in Florence. Classes allow you to learn more about traditional Italian recipes, then to practice: mixing ingredients to create delicious gelati and spreading dough to make authentic pizzas.
Led by professional chefs who instruct you through the cooking process, you can make your own personalized pizza with the yummiest selection of toppings imaginable. Once the pizza is in the oven, you will learn how to prepare this popular Italian dessert. At the last of the day, you will just have to eat a truly memorable family lunch or dinner in Florence, with your own creations.
9. Admire the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum
From fossilized skeletons to preserved animal specimens
The Museo di Storia Naturale di Firenze (Florence Natural History Museum) has six main galleries spread across the city center. The exhibition on geology and paleontology is a short walk from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Children can “walk with the dinosaurs” as it houses fossilized skeletons of dinosaurs and elephants.
The zoological exhibition at La Specola, located next to the Pitti Palace, is also interesting. It is home to taxidermy galleries filled with specimens of exotic birds and animals from around the world. There is also an assortment of detailed anatomical wax models of the human body (sensitive souls abstain).
Where: Via Giorgio la Pira, 4, 50121 Florence FI, Italy
When: Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed Wednesdays)
Telephone: +39 055 275 6444
10. Playing with machines at the Leonardo da Vinci museum
Have you ever seen 15th-century robots?
The Leonardo da Vinci Museum is a museum in Florence that presents hundreds of exhibits paying homage to the works of the Florentine “Renaissance man”. It offers to rediscover and reconstruct some of the most fascinating mechanical inventions of this genius. Children will often find it hard to believe that these creations are centuries old. We find in particular humanoid and animal automata, known as Leonardo’s Robot and Leonardo’s Mechanical Lion.
Unless otherwise noted, most of the exhibits are interactive and provide children with a hands-on approach.
Where: Via dei Servi, 66, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
When: Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Telephone: +39 055 282966