The numerous kid-friendly attractions in Tuscany make it the ideal spot for family vacations in this European paradise.
By Miriam Groner
Tuscany countryside in Italy (Flickr: Ivan Borisov)
Tuscany, the birthplace of the Renaissance – with its lush vineyards, breathtaking landscapes, vibrant art scene & rich history- attracts over 1 million tourists every year, and for good reason. But it’s not just the perfect place for adults looking for a romantic getaway. The numerous kid-friendly attractions in Tuscany make it the ideal spot for family vacations in this European paradise.
Here are our top five must sees when you’re visiting Tuscany with the kids:
Situated in central Italy, Tuscany’s western border hugs the coastline of the sparkling blue Tyrrhenian Sea, offering spectacular views and easy access to its archipelago of seven islands. The largest island – Elba – offers a slew of kid-friendly seaside activities. Elba’s Spiaggia di Biodola beach, with its crystal clear waters, is perfect for a family of swimmers or snorkellers. Nearby walking trails offer a close up view of the local fauna and postcard-perfect views. For a family-friendly hotel, consider the Hotel Biodola, just steps away from the beach and well equipped with all the necessary amenities.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Flickr: McPig)
Further inland, the landscape changes to vast countryside with captivating mountain chains, fertile plains and medieval hilltop fortresses dotting the landscape. Head to the city of Pisa to see the extraordinary architecture of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa firsthand. Your kids will get a kick out of the dramatically leaning building and will love telling their friends about it when they return home. Explore the array of historic castles and forts in the surrounding area or head to the nearby Piccolo Mondo amusement park that boasts the tallest slide in Tuscany! Staying the night? Consider one of Pisa’s lovely hotels. We recommend the Hotel San Ranieri for a family-friendly option.
Florence, Italy (Flickr: Steve)
Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is a World Heritage Site and was voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With its vibrant art scene and striking architecture, there is so much to do and see here on a family vacation. The notable Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace are popular family destinations. For families with young kids, The Palazzo Vecchio, or ‘Old Palace’, a massive Romanesque fortress-palace, is a wonderful attraction with exhibitions geared to both adults and children. The storytelling room and numerous shows staged throughout the palace promise to please all ages. Situated in the heart of Florence, the Hotel Degli Orafi is in the ideal location. It’s stunning views of the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio will have you glued to the picture windows.
Visiting Tuscany with the kids just got way better. You may not know this but the story of Pinocchio has its roots in a small town in Tuscany. The Florentine writer who invented the story hailed from a small town close to Pistoia. Now Collodi hosts the Pinocchio Park, a sculpture garden that brings the story of Pinocchio alive. Fun for kids and adults alike! The zoo in nearby Pistoia is also a great way to meet the native animals. Stay at the nearby Villa Giorgia – Albergo in Collina and take in the stunning views of the surrounding hillsides.
Lucca, Italy (Flickr: heipei)
Heading west from Florence, make Lucca your next stop. Lucca sits on fertile plains on the Serchio river. For many, walking the streets and exploring the myriad of historic churches and stunning architecture is an activity enough. If you’re looking for more, consider renting bikes (or walking!) around the famous city walls. Then dive into the narrow laneways to explore further. If you have older (or adventurous!) children, visit the Clock Tower in the center of town and walk up the steps to get a birds-eye view of this beautiful Tuscan paradise. Looking to stay overnight? Consider the Alla Corte Degli Angeli – a charming family-friendly hotel in the center of town.
Tuscany’s abundant culture, diverse natural wonders, postcard views and family-friendly attractions make it a must-see for all ages. Happy traveling!
Miriam Groner contributed this to MiniTime.