Tuscany is a great choice for families looking for a fun and relaxing break. There are plenty of attractions here for kids – big and small, young and teens – enough to fill every day of your holiday in Tuscany.
Get their adrenaline going with the thrills and spills of white-water rafting or shooting down the region’s highest slide. Take them to meet the wilder residents of Tuscany at one of Italy’s top nature parks. Help them learn to make ice cream and get crafty at a top museum. Explore cool caverns together beneath Tuscany’s mountains or take a boat out to see the village drowned in a lake. Climb trees, do picnics in the forest, cycle down the rolling hills, swim, play tennis, visit an acquarium. And introduce them to Pinocchio or Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The region is a quietly child-friendly destination and, with savvy planning, families can revel in a wonderful choice of creative, educational, culinary and old-fashioned fun things to see, do and experience.
1. Fascinating museums in Florence
Fascinating museums – some interactive, others with creative workshops and tours for children – make Florence a favourite for families with children who are school age and older. For the under fives, gentle riverside ambles, vintage carousels, fantastic gelaterie (ice-cream shops) and a vast choice of dining options add appeal.
Some examples: Palazzo Vecchio is the seat of the municipality and a wonderful museum open to the public. Here, the Mus.e Association organises daily activities for families for children of different ages, starting from 4 years old (activities are held in Italian, English, French, Spanish).
At the museum's information desk, you can also rent a "Kit for Families" (recommended for children 6 years and above) for your self-guided visit. The kit offers a map and other tools that will make visiting the museum even on your own really fun (the kit is in Italian, French and English).
The Leonardo da Vinci Museum is obviously completely dedicated to this genius who wasn't just a painter. The small but interesting museum is located in the center of Florence, just down a street off from the Duomo. The museum has reconstructions of various civil engineering, military and flying projects designed by the genius of the Renaissance, some of which were found in his famous Leonardo's Codex.
Several machines in the museum are interactive and this is certainly the part that kids love the most, even the younger ones which can experience directly the operation of these reproductions. Next to each machine you will find a detailed description which allows you to understand its use and eventually explain it to your children (or maybe even the opposite!).
2. Amusement parks
Tuscany has its share of family-focused attractions, including theme parks, zoos, and water parks.
- Discover the world of Pinocchio, who was created by a Tuscan writer, at Pinocchio Park in Collodi.
- Ride a roller coaster at Cavallino Matto amusement park.
- See animals from near and far at the Giardino Zoologico or the Zoo at Poppi.
- Zip down waterslides and play in pools at one of two Acqua Village water parks in the region.
Being in Tuscany with kids can be a great excuse to hang out with local families at kid-centric attractions.
The Cavallino Matto is the largest amusement park in Tuscany, open from March to October of each year. The park, the name of which means "The Crazy Little Horse" in Italian, is situated on 60,000 square metres of pine forest near the Marina di Castagneto Carduccio, a beach on the Tyrrhenian Sea and includes rides and dining facilities.
The park currently operates five roller coasters, "Freestyle", "Project 1", "Speedy Gonzales", "Topozorro" and "Wild Mine". Other attractions include the Baia dei Bucanieri, a ride that opened in 2007 that features water cannons for the passengers, and "Safari Adventure", a safari ride featuring animatronic animals. Shows include the 3D cinema "Movie Stars Theatre" as well as live performances by acrobats and orchestras.
3. Take walks on the wild side
This spectacular regional park incorporates the Uccellina Mountain Range, marshy plains and 20km of unspoiled coast. Access is limited to 12 signed walking trails ranging in length from 2.5km to 13km; the most popular are the easy 7km 'Le Torri' and the demanding 7.8km uphill hike to San Rabano Abbey and the Torre Uccellina. From mid-June to mid-September you can only visit on a guided tour because of possible bushfires; call ahead to check times.
Within the park, you can follow itineraries on foot, on horseback, on donkey, on mountain bike, at night and historical and cultural trails that take you to both religious sites and to the old watchtowers that kept watch for pirates... and let's not forget its pristine beaches!
The park can be visited on foot as well as by bike, canoe, horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage, this last one offering anyone bound to a wheelchair the opportunity to ride in the carriage.
4. Food and drink
Appeasing most children's natural love of gelato, pizza and pasta is simple in Tuscany, a region that couldn't be easier when it comes to family dining.
Children are warmly welcomed in restaurants, especially in casual trattoria and osteria – often family owned, and with overwhelmingly friendly and indulgent waiting staff and a menu featuring simple pasta dishes as well as more elaborate items.
If you really cannot find anything on the menu that your child will eat – many restaurants have a "menù bambini" (children's menu) – ask for a plate of pasta with butter or olive oil and Parmesan.
5. A day at the beach
Drive the coast and you’ll discover thriving ports and beach towns fringed by sand and dotted with Tuscany’s iconic umbrella trees.
Castiglione della Pescaia, Marina di Grosseto, Portoferraio, and Bibbona are just a few of the many beach-town favorites here.
Italian beach culture—in which you pay for a chair and an umbrella that are already in place and often get access to bathrooms and showers as well—is super kid-friendly.
Looking for something a bit more adventurous? Board a ferry to one of the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Elba is the largest and best known, but smaller islands including Giglio and Giannutri offer the chance to vacation like a true Italian.
6. Festivals and events
Year-round festivals and celebrations offer endless reasons to visit Tuscany with kids.
Jousts, tournaments, and horse (and donkey) races all over Tuscany pay tribute to the region’s rich history. Food festivals celebrate chocolate, cherries, pasta, and other kid-pleasing local favorites. In late January and early February, Carnevale celebrations erupt everywhere—and some even include events specifically for kids. The warmer months bring more festivities, including the Notte dei Pirati pirate festival in Porto Ercole in May, and the Luminaria in Pisa in June.
You will see, Tuscany is the best travel destination when the whole family is on holiday: it is a mix of art, countryside nature, entertainment all the while being educational and relaxing.
Try and you will see for yourself: everybody will be happy!