Home to cultural capital Florence and blessed with rolling hills and vineyards, Tuscany is a dream destination for the whole family. Oozing style, luxury and so much culture, it’s definitely one of our favourite places to jet off to. If you’re travelling with children, there’s just as much on offer in Tuscany to keep the little ones entertained. Because this beautiful region is much more than just great wine, gastronomy, Renaissance art and Michelangelo.
It is also the perfect playground for those who love nature and the great outdoors – there’s always something waiting to be discovered beyond the front door of your villa. Plus, with the endless gardens, castles, museums and activity parks dotted across the region, there really won’t be a dull moment for children of every age. If you’ve got fussy eaters, you won’t need to worry about finding them something to eat, as when you’re in Italy you’ll always be able to find delicious pizzas and gelato!
Need inspiration for your next luxury trip to Tuscany? Here are 17 great ideas for an unforgettable holiday with the kids.
1. Enjoy a Pool Day
The best thing about a holiday in Tuscany is the chance to wind down and relax. The views, a great book, and a chilled glass of wine are all you need. Book a big family villa with a pool and you can make sure that your little monkeys will have as much fun as you – because kids just love to take a dip when the weather’s good. Our website features a number of different child/baby friendly villas with their own pools or shared pool access, including Santa Chiara Rancale, La Bandita, and Villa Bastiola. So pack the armbands, inflatables, and plenty of waterproof sun cream because they’re never going to want to get out of the pool!
2. Visit the Caves and Grottos of Tuscany
This incredible region is known for its underground cave and grotto systems, many of which are open to the public and are safe for kids to explore. Some of these caves have fascinating stalactite and stalagmite icicle formations, and some even have underground waterfalls and lakes. Making them truly magical natural wonders for children of all ages. Guided tours are also available for people of all walking abilities so this is a superb activity for the whole family. Some of the best underground systems to visit include Grotta del Vento, Grotte di Equi, Grotta del Sassocolato, Grotta Giusti, Orrido di Botri, and the Vie Cave.
3. Cycle the City walls of Lucca
Want to get the kids more active on holiday? Then why not cycle the stunning City Walls of Lucca, the famous tree-lined fortification that surrounds this city set on the Serchio River. This is a favorite family activity for many holiday makers and the 4.9 kilometre loop is safe enough for little ones. The bike path is wide, making it easy to cycle, and from 12 metres high, you’ll have the most breath-taking views as you explore on two wheels. Along the wall, you will find a café, an ice cream stall, water fountains and even a playground.
4. Spend a Day in Florence
For slightly older kids, Florence has so much to offer in terms of museums, galleries, and just simply spectacular architecture. Make sure you visit the city’s Children’s Museum at the Palazzo Vecchio, see the Piazza della Repubblica (and ride its antique carousel), take a child-friendly tour at the Galleria degli Uffizi, marvel at Il Duomo, discover medieval weapons at Museo Stibbert, and enrol in CreaKids workshops at Gucci Museo. To enjoy a culinary adventure, you can even take part in cookery classes with the whole family. The San Martino Estate is less than an hour away from Florence, and is also closer to the beach, so you can have the best of both worlds.
5. Visit Parco Avventura Il Gigante
Looking for a day of adventure? Then take the kids to Parco Avventura Il Gigante, a fun outdoor adventure course featuring rope bridges, climbing nets and zip wires. One thing is guaranteed – you will definitely help them burn some energy here! Set in the woods in the north of Florence, this high ropes course is ideal for children of all ages including teens – and it even has a low-level route with tunnel and mini zip line for kids as young as 3 years.
6. See the Emperor Castle
Just like something out of a fairytale, this imposing castle is a great place for little minds and big imaginations to run wild. The huge structure features high crenelated walls and towers, and dates all the way back to medieval times. Originally built for the emperor and King of Sicily, Frederick II, the incredible Castello Dell’Imperatore is a typical stronghold to protect from attacks. And it’s such a great place for kids to explore and learn about the past. The construction of the castle stopped after the death of King Frederick, which means that the interior was never fully finished, so there’s lots of space to run around. There is also a set of stairs that will take you to the top of the castle, giving the most wonderful views of Prato city down below. A small entrance fee applies, with reduced prices for kids below the age of 18.
7. Tour the Vineyards
Visiting the region’s vineyards and wineries may seem like an adults-only activity. But vineyards are a great place to get some fresh air, catch the striking scenery of Tuscany’s iconic hills, go for a little stroll and engage in a bit of culture. Italians love children so there are very few places where your little ones won’t be welcome. Some great family run vineyards to check out are Palazzo Vecchio, Il Loggio winery in Cortona, the Colleverde Vineyards, and Valdonica Winery & Vineyard Residence.
8. Ride the Cabinovia at Monte Capanne
The stunning island of Elba is a part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park set on the Tyrrhenian Sea, and is known for its glorious beaches. So if you’re after some sun, sea and sandcastles (don’t forget to bring buckets and spades), then an island trip to Elba will be worth the ferry journey from Piombino. The island’s highest mountain is Monte Capanne, and a cable car will take you all the way to the top – children will love the ride and the views are pretty impressive too. Whilst June, July and August are great for getting a tan, May and September are a lot cooler which makes it ideal for young children. You can also fly over from Florence or Pisa if your family tend to get sea sick.
9. Learn about cheese making in Cugusi
For a fun, tasty and educational activity that appeals to the whole family, head to Cugusi, the famous cheese-making area around Pienza. Stop off at the Cugusi Dairy, where adults can stock up on the famous local Pecorino cheese and kids can learn all about the fascinating cheese making process, including a little meet and greet with the animals. They will love it!
10. See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Not only is the Leaning Tower of Pisa an iconic landmark of Italy, and one that children would have learned about at school, but it’s also a fascinating sight for those seeing it for the first time. The unique structure makes an exciting photo opportunity and kids will love walking around the Piazza del Duomo and the beautiful grounds of the cathedral. Nearby, there are also lots of places to grab a slice or treat the whole family to some authentic Italian gelato. A must try dessert in Pisa is Torta con i Bischeri, a delicious chocolate based tart that will appeal to all ages.
11. Enjoy a Splash at Piccolo Mondo Park
This popular amusement park located near Pisa, so you can finish up your trip to the Leaning Tower with a splash at Piccolo Mondo. The park boasts the highest water slide in the whole of Tuscany and there are plenty of other fun rides and attractions too. Such as a large pool area, a kids’ playground, go karting, a 5D cinema, a pirate’s beach, and a fantasy world. The park is open during the summer months (from May to October) as well as the winter season (November to April).
12. See the Animals at Zoological Garden of Pistoia
Animals can always put a smile on your children’s faces, so this is definitely the place to go if you need to turn some frowns upside down. The zoo gardens of Pistoia are a great day out for all, and with 7 hectares and over 400 different species to explore, there won’t be a single dull moment. Animals include lions, tigers, bears, elephants, giraffes, zebras, meerkats, lemurs, alligators, pythons, flamingos, the Aldabra giant tortoise, peacocks, leopard geckos and more.
13. Explore The Tarot Garden
The Tarot Garden, also known as Il Giardino dei Tarocchi, is located in Pescia Fiorentina, in the province of Grosseto and features some of the most spectacular works of art by French artist, Niki de Saint Phalle. Inspired by his visit to Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona, Niki de Saint Phalle began the construction of the Tarot Garden in 1979. Walk through the sculpture garden and explore the colourful mosaic designs – a total of 22 impressive steel and concrete figures covered with glass, mirrors and ceramic. Located in Capalbio and is open throughout April to October.
14. See the Famous Whale Skeleton
Meet Annie, the world famous skeleton and loved by children everywhere. Located at Museo di Storia Naturale del Mediterraneo in Livorno, this huge skeleton whale measures over 19 metres and is always a show-stopping display for curious minds. Annie was a finback whale which spent her days around the Livorno Coast, so she’s a local! Making a trip to this museum highly educational and a truly immersive experience for those wanting to learn more about the region and its natural past. There are other exhibits from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods – and it’s a fantastic day out for kids and adults alike.
15. Lago di Vagli Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
To get back in touch with nature, you simply cannot miss the area of Lago di Vagli Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. This lakeside location is perfect for walking and nature trails, and rich in beautiful wildlife, the kids will be seriously engaged. The manmade lake is also unique because of its flooded village, an area that was evacuated in order to produce hydroelectricity. Residents of the village were rehoused nearby, whilst the remains can still be seen as the water recedes. Tourists like to wander around the village remains and take photos, and there’s also an old legend of village hauntings in this ‘Paese Fantasma’ (ghost town). Boats can be hired from the village of Vagli Sotto and directions will be given on how to find the hidden village.
16. Make Pizza at Fattoria Barbialla Nuova
There’s nothing more rewarding than making your own lunch, and your little ones will love creating their own pizza at the Fattoria Barbialla Nuova in Montaione. Just an hour outside the city of Florence, this retreat is the perfect place to get away from it all. And there are a number of cookery classes on offer (such as sourdough bread making and an in depth class on classic Italian cooking), plus there are plenty of other experiences to enjoy such as truffle hunting, guided walks, cycling tours and much more.
17. Day Trip to Cortona
Cortona, located in the province of Arezzo, is a quintessentially Tuscan town with some beautiful historical gems; including the Basilica, a mountain hermitage complex dating back to 1211, the 15th Century Church of San Niccolò, the Diocesan Museum, and the marvelous Etruscan tombs located at the bottom of the hill. As well as having so many sights and attractions to explore, the town is also wonderful for walking around and just relaxing. This holiday house is only a short drive from Cortona and overlooks the village of San Giovanni Del Pantano. For kids, there’s a big playground and public garden so you will find a great area to relax and wind down after a few hours of sightseeing.