The popular imagination frames Tuscany as a wonderland of wineries, villas, and quaint hilltop towns. And you know who doesn’t care about wineries, villas, and quaint hilltop towns? Ninety-five percent of kids. But there’s more to Tuscany, and much of it is kid-friendly.
Don’t Miss: Tuscany with Kids
Most Italians dote on children, and there are plenty of fun things to do in Tuscany with kids, making the region a welcoming destination for traveling families who want to embrace the more relaxed side of Italy.
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.
Tuscany claims a significant stretch of Ligurian Sea coastline along its western edge. 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.
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.
Visiting Tuscany with kids offers an abundance of ways to bring learning to life. Get hands-on with re-creations of Da Vinci’s machines at the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in Florence. Learn about Galileo’s instruments of discovery at the Galileo Museum, also in Florence. Head to the Paleontological Museum in Montevarchi for a treasure trove of Pliocene and Pleistocene fossils, including saber-toothed tigers and a mammoth. And in Siena, find the Museo d’Arte per Bambini, an art museum geared specifically to children within a larger arts complex.
Cities and Towns
For most kids from North America, the cities and towns of Tuscany are as novel as a trip to the moon. With city walls to explore, piazzas to play in, and ancient narrow lanes to discover, there’s excitement—and often gelato—around every corner. Try Lucca for its kid-friendly historical center, Pisa for its tower photo op, Siena for the chance to play in its massive central piazza with kids from around the world, or any of the hundreds of smaller cities and towns.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 13 Tips That Take (Some of) the Stress Out of Flying with Kids
- Why You Need to Make Your Own Family Travel First Aid Kit
- How to Enjoy (and Not Just Survive) a Family Road Trip
Christine Sarkis recently spent a month in Tuscany with kids. Follow her on Twitter @ChristineSarkis and Instagram @postcartography for more advice about making every vacation the best vacation.
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