In October, we'll have four kids with us in Florence, ages 10, 8 (boy), 5 and 3. I'm seeking suggestions for good things to do with them. They are good travelers, haven't been to Florence, and live, right now, in Naples.
They might like the Galileo Museum I'd think most kids would think it's cool to see his finger (yes, it IS his finger LOL).
My son enjoyed the Palazzo Vecchio tower. He's not a "kid" anymore, but it's a pretty cool site and not as tough as the Dome climb.
We enjoyed Piazza della Signoria, in the evenings there were musicians to listen to. The Loggia right by the Uffizi there in the square has cool statues to look at. Have them search for the "Savaronolla Plaque" in the square. It marks the Bonfire of the Vanities he had during the Renaissance, and where he himself was burned, after being found guilty of heresy. It's a large, bronze plaque (like a drain cover) that is in front of the Fountain of Neptune. If you climb the Palazzo Vecchio tower, you'll see the cell where he was kept. It's an interesting story the kids might enjoy hearing about. Google it, there's a Youtube video about him, I believe.
There's also another smaller tower in the San Nicholas area of Florence that they might enjoy. As you walk there from the Pazza della Signoria, they'll enjoy the "Comman Man" statue, that looks like he's stepping off the edge down into the river. I have a photo of it here
I have the Rick Steves book on Florence and Tuscany, here are some activities he recommends:
- Climbing the Dome (trust me - DO NOT attempt this with kids unless they are pretty athletic!)
- Palazzio Vecchio has a children's museum that requires reservations. (I didn't know this!) www.palazzovecchio-familymuseum.it
- The Galalileo museum - but Rick warns that some of the museum's displays on childbirth may be inappropriate.
- The Museum of Precious Stones
- Uffizi Courtyard - lots of neat statues to look at - and this is FREE!
- Piazzale Michelangelo - but I think kids would be bored. It is a cool view of the city from there, though.
- A carousel is in Piazza della Republica. It's pretty cool.
Melany has already listed the main museums to head to with kids ;-) (thank you!)
The Palazzo Vecchio museum in particular is great at offering visits by theme and with a guide in costume, dressed as Vasari for example and asking kids to look for characters or animals in the rooms to make it fun, sort of like a treasure hunt. So definitely look into that one at the link above.
The Galileo museum is definitely another one, because several of the exhibits can be touched and played with so it makes it more interactive.
I'd also second the Palazzo Vecchio tower for the two older kids (under 6 are not allowed up there) since it has fewer steps that the dome... I'd also not recommend the dome for kids, it is quite a hike up there and the part that goes up the dome is quite narrow and steep.
Palazzo Vecchio has a bookstore that has a great section on books for kids visiting Florence. In particular, there are several that make visiting Florence into a treasure hunt and ask them to look for items along buildings and statues... so like Melany suggested with the Savonarola plaque in Piazza della Signoria, you can make walking around the city fun by searching and looking for specific things.
Then there is the Stibbert museum with a large unusual collection for the Renaissance city:
armor of all kinds, not just European. Might be particularly interesting for your boy! There are also lots of costumes.
In addition to the other tips above, there are several outdoor parks if they need some time outdoors to use up some energy: Le Cascine, the Horticulture garden with playground and right above a colored glass fountain in the shape of a dragon! from there you have a very good view of Florence too! (via vittoria emanuele, 4)
Hope they are useful! Every kid is different, I'd love to hear what you do end up doing and trying out, what they like the best and maybe any other ideas of what would have been helpful.
I'm thinking of writing a whole article specifically for kids in Florence and gathering more ideas of what to do with kids in Tuscany to share from the very beginning... so any tips and suggestions you can also share will be more than helpful to us too!
Hi Lourdes, doing an article on children in Florence is a great idea. I do have some suggestions now: the children I'm asking about have been to Florence with their parents once already. They did one of the Taste of Florence food tours and had a great time, even the littlest one. Also, if we're at the Pitti Palace/Boboli Gardens, I want to take them across the street to a carnival mask-makers shop (especially for the oldest girl). It is Firenze of Papier Mache, Piazza Pitti 10. Tiny little shop; lovely masks (I have a golden leaf mask). Last, I am going to be absolutely sure to bring them to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Via Cavour 1, to see the Chapel of the Kings and the wonderful fresco of the Procession of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli. This is one of my own favorite places in Florence, and I want them to see the beautiful, living faces of the Kings and their retinues, all the birds and animals and plants!
Thank you for the additional ideas - I had forgotten about the Gozzoli frescoes but you're right, they're awesome and would be great for kids to look at and search for all of the exotic animals portrayed all over the walls!
The masks shop is also a great idea, I'm taking notes!