It was our second time to Tuscany and this time round we decided to bring our kids with us. Tuscany is one of my favourite spots in the entire Italy. It is full of cascading cobblestone streets, most beautiful rolling green hills and delicious spots to have amazing pasta or gelato. What to not love about it?
Tuscany can be very often seen as getaway without kids. However this Italian region has so much on offer to keep your little ones entertained. It is not all about great wine, Renaissance and art.
Ollie and I have already been to Tuscany and it was our second trip, this time with our little family. It was totally different experience to the one we did 5 years ago. Last time we wondered around all the art galleries and museums, so we weren’t bothered to do it again this time round. We just truly enjoyed strolling around Florence and driving through the countryside.
In order to truly see the best of Tuscany, you will definitely need a car. There are so many beautiful spots along the way that you will just want to stop and enjoy or snap a photo of.
Here is our TOP 10 THINGS to DO in TUSCANY AND FLORENCE:
1. ROAD TRIP AROUND TUSCANY
This was definitely one of my favourite parts of the trip. Driving through Chianti versus San Gimignano was one of the most scenic roads we had a pleasure to drive through. It will be love at first sight. You will constantly say ‘wow’ while seeing the typical Tuscan landscapes with many vineyards on the hills. Just be aware that there are lots of windy roads in Tuscany, so if your kids suffer car sickness be prepared.
2. HAVE A PICNIC ON THE TUSCAN HILL
This is definitely a must to do while road tripping in Tuscany. Enjoying a lovely picnic full of Italian best food is something not to miss. Our biggest issue, we didn’t do enough research. I was sure there will be plenty of spots to just stop somewhere with spectacular view. We didn’t expect that wherever we saw the perfect spot it would be actually a vineyard. At the end, Ollie just went off roading and we ended up on someone’s property full of We just hoped no-one will kick us out (at the end of the day, Italians are one of the most friendly people in the world). Make sure to clean your rubbish afterwards too.
3. EAT BEST ICE-CREAM IN THE WORLD IN SAN GIMIGNANO
San Gimignano is a perfect alternative to touristy and crowded Florence. It is famed for its amazing skyline which is dominated by fifteen medieval towers. This beautifully preserved town has as well one of the best ice-cream in the world. This is a must to do with kids in Tuscany.
4. STAY AT RELAIS VILLA OLMO
If you are looking for an authentic Tuscan retreat, Relais Villa Olmo is a place for you. Nestled in the heart of the Florentine countryside, it is perfect spot to spend family time away from busy Florence. The ambiance is peaceful and provides the perfect respite after a day of touring around Tuscany. We felt like we had our own moment of “Under the Tuscan Sun” in our lovely villa.
We stayed in the villa where we had 2 bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen with living room and two bathrooms to our disposition. Definitely a massive bonus during summer time is garden with BBQ and private pool. We couldn’t pick better option for the stay with kids in Tuscany.
Every morning, we have been waking up to the most stunning views over the Tuscan hills and vineyards. Then we would head straight over for the most delicious buffet breakfast which offered homemade products (freshly baked bread) or typical Italian delicatessens.
It offers as well a free shuttle to and from Florence at the scheduled times. https://www.relaisvillaolmo.com/en/
5. VISIT PIAZZALE MICHAELANGELO
Our favourite spot in entire Florence. This city seen from above is a singular experience. You just want to sit there (not sure if you can while travelling with 2 toddlers) and enjoy that moment of wonder. No matter what time of the day, what weather (rainy or sunny day), you will find that Piazzale Michelangelo truly offers the most stupendous lookout over Florence.
NOTE: As we travelled by car, we visited it first thing in the morning. There is a small free parking on the square, so you can leave your car for 30mins-1h, but probably no longer.
6. STROLL THROUGH THE FLORENCE
Ollie and I have visited this city over 5 yrs ago. It was perfect couple getaway as we enjoyed strolling through the little narrow streets, climbing to the top of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore first thing in the morning and viewing all the art galleries and museums. This time around we haven’t been bothered with visiting all top locations. We truly enjoyed just strolling around the city and take it all in. It was totally different experience and so much needed while travelling with kids. Make sure not to miss Basilica di Santa Croce. Piazza Santa Croce is a hive of local activity and you can also take in the views of the gorgeous basilica at the same time. It wasn’t as busy as other parts of the Florence, so the kids could freely run around the square.
7. OBSERVE PEOPLE ON THE PONTE VECCHIO
One of the most iconic landmarks in Florence. It gets very busy during a day so make sure to visit it first thing in the morning.
8. DO PIZZA AND GELATO COURSE WITH FLORENCE TOWN
It was my kids’ favourite part of the entire trip in Tuscany. Of course, in Italy ice cream and pizza aren’t junk food. The Italians use only the freshest ingredients and make everything from scratch – no soggy pizza bases from the supermarket deep-freeze.
Florence Town taught us the proper art of making pizza from scratch. We learned how to make a real Italian dough. Then the girls decided on the toppings. Lily in particular was listening throughly whole the course and was super proud of herself when she demolished her pizza and received a certificate.
After making pizza, we learned how to make a proper gelato. The chef provided us with an extensive introduction on how to select the best raw ingredients, how the natural colours developed and what are the differences between traditional ice-cream and gelato.
It was truly amazing and fun experience which I can’t recommend enough to do with your kids. Believe me they will love it.
More info here: https://www.florencetown.com/
9. VISIT CATHEDRAL OF SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE (CLIMB TO THE TOP)
Florence’s cathedral stands tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome with the baptistery right across. It is the most iconic building in the entire Florence. If you don’t fancy to climb to the viewpoints (highly recommended to do it first thing in the morning), you can actually access the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza del Duomo totally for free.
10. RIDE PIAZZA DELLA REPUBBLICA’S ANTIQUE CAROUSEL
It was another hit with my kids. If there is an antique carousel it needs to be checked. After strolling through the city, this spot is perfect to break the day and do something more fun for the kids.
If you feel that you still didn’t have enough, we highly recommend visiting Siena for a day. It is another beautiful gem in Tuscany and must to see while you are visiting this Italian region.
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