Tuscany with children is always a good idea. This area of Italy is incredibly diverse. You can find beautiful landscapes for mountain biking, sea for swimming and sandy beaches for building castles. Cities such as Florence, Siena, Pisa or Lucca are a must. The Italians are incredibly child-friendly and I don’t even need to mention the food – and the ice cream!
Those were reasons enough for us to spend our family holiday right there – via Peschiera, Lake Garda we went to Montecatini val di Cecina. We discovered a very pretty country house for our stay. This was quite convenient in terms of transportation – one hour away from all the places worth seeing and the sea – but really in the middle of nowhere. On the second day of our holiday we discovered that we had nothing to eat. If you have little children, you know that something like this can end in a catastrophe. We got in the car to search for food and found Volterra.
Interestingly, Volterra is not the most famous holiday destination in the region. The city is majestically located on a ridge and offers a fantastic view on the surrounding area. For the Twilight fans out there: it is also home of the Volturi, the royal family of vampires! The typical architecture of the area dominates the look: many winding streets and terracotta-coloured walls.
Due to the large number of tourists in Volterra there are some cute jewelry and decoration shops – Volterra is also considered the alabaster capital of Tuscany. Not to forget about the delicious antipasti: we bought high-quality olive oil, truffles, wild boar salami and pecorino with herb crust.
I highly recommend the Osteria dei Poeti, if you are searching for an excellent dinner. It is located in a small side street, aside from the tourist hustle. Since we were welcomed very warmly and had a fabolous time, we even went there twice. Be sure to try the duck breast with thyme and lavender honey and the rabbit with lemon mayonnaise and sauteed zucchini – absolute madness! The next day we went to:
This city has so much to offer. We spent two days there and only managed to see our absolute “must visits”: the Cathedral, Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery and Santa Croce. In between, we devoted ourselves extensively to the “dolce far niente”: eat, drink, relax.
My tips for Florence with children
Take enough water with you
If you are travelling in Italy in the middle of summer: the daily temperature of 40°C can be easily exceeded. Make sure you have enough water for you and the kids to drink. The best thing to do is to go back to the accommodation at noon and go back to the streets in the later afternoon.
Use the early morning hours
In Florence (as well as in all Italian cities in general) there is a lot going on in summer; thousands of people are crowding through the narrow streets. This makes walking with strollers not necessarily easy. Take advantage of the morning hours of the day for your sightseeing – this shouldn’t be a problem with small children 🙂 In Florence and Pisa we started at half past eight, getting coffee and hot chocolate and strolling through the deserted streets. It is also incredibly nice to see how the city changes in the morning light; a delicate, reddish light shines over everything. Another advantage: it’s not very hot at this time.
Book your tickets in advance
If you want to go into the cathedral, museums, etc., you must book your tickets in advance. The waiting time to get in is incredibly long, no child (and only a few adults) has patience for hours of waiting.
Search for smaller restaurants
Florence is in general quite expensive. Look for smaller places to eat, aside from tourist routes. Especially on the south bank of river Arno there are some cute restaurants that are not so expensive (but still not cheap!). If possible, also try to make a reservation by phone. I can recommend:
Tamerò Pastabar, Piazza Santo Spirito: nice little pasta restaurant with a few tables outside, right in front of the church. Especially recommended are the Culurgiones: a special Sardinian pasta type filled with shrimp and black cabbage.
Borderline – excellent steakhouse. Seriously, I had one of the best steaks of my life here. Very courteous staff, child-friendly – the people here really know what they’re doing.
Gelateria La Carraia – the best ice cream in Florence. I could almost say life-changing 🙂 Ignore the waiting time, it’s worth it! Tip: take a walk after dinner, so you can even enjoy the sunset on the bridge.
Do you still have tips for Tuscany or especially Florence with children? Since we definitely want to come back, I would be very curious to hear what you can recommend!