The last flight I took with my daughter (before the world changed) was to beautiful Italy, and before our plane home from Rome had even touched down, I started plotting our return with my wishlist of places to visit in Tuscany with kids.
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Because there are so many tempting reasons to visit Tuscany on a family holiday: from Florence and Siena, which I’ve explored and love, to the historic hilltop villages, the famously gorgeous countryside with its vineyards, plenty of luxury villas in Tuscany, even the chance of beach too.
So if you’re wondering where to go in Tuscany with kids, I’ve picked my top 13 places to visit and things to do.
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You can’t visit Tuscany with kids without at least a day exploring Florence – although having first seen the city on a meltingly hot day, it’s best to avoid peak summer.
And if you think your kids are going to be bored by art galleries and architecture, there’s plenty to capture their interest. I tried a family tour of the Uffizi, which was perfect to bring the paintings to life, including titbits on the Medici family and a quiz to follow.
Or stroll the streets instead and look for street art – we wandered from Piazza della Signoria towards the Ponte Vecchio bridge, ambling along backstreets and side streets before walking across the famous bridge itself.
There are markets to stroll through, pizza by the slice to buy and gelato galore, including Florentine speciality semifreddo – Perche No, where you can also try making gelato is fantastic.
Find more tours of Florence with kids here
Don’t miss the Duomo, but team it with a ride on the traditional carousel in Piazza della Repubblica, before dressing up as the medieval Medici in the Palazzo Vecchio and rubbing the nose of the bronze boar statue, Il Porcellino, to ensure you return.
Where to stay in Florence with kids
There are villas within a short driving distance of the city, but if you want to be right in the heart of Florence, Palazzo Bartolommei is almost literally a stone’s throw from the Ponte Vecchio.
With space for 10, it also has its own balcony looking out onto Florence, and modern decor under the ancient wooden ceiling beams.
For somewhere within easy reach of the city, but where you can retreat after a day exploring, Top Villas has some gorgeous properties which are perfect for bigger families such as Villa Beltrami, with its own pool.
Quieter than Florence – unless you visit for the Palio! – Siena is made for wandering around. Home to another beautiful cathedral, even kids will love spotting the colours of the ornate ceiling and the mosaics on the floor, as well as great views from the tower.
Kids who love animals will be fascinated by the tales of Siena’s different areas or ‘contrada’, each with their own mascot, still used today for the Palio horse race.
You could set yourself a mini treasure hunt to spot as many animals as you can along the streets (fuelled by more gelato, of course), or try a walking tour of Siena to discover more about the historic rivalries and how the different areas got their names – the silkmakers are represented by a caterpillar, for example.
Everywhere you look, there are mementoes of Siena’s past – medieval toilets attached to the outside of houses in Piazza del Campo, iron rings on walls to tether horses, even the relics of Saint Catherine in the Basilica San Domenico.
There’s also a Children’s Art Museum to explore within Santa Maria della Scala, including opportunities to get hands on.
Where to stay in Siena with kids
There are some great villas around 30 minutes’ drive from Siena – the renovated farmhouse of Villa Gigliona from James Villas is ideal for a family of four.
Or consider the areas of Poggibonsi and Colle di Val d’Elsa, which make an ideal base to explore the whole area, including Florence and Volterra.
Villa Ellerone sleeps up to 24, perfect if you’re planning to escape with a group of friends or for a big family holiday (or you can also rent 7-8 rooms for smaller groups), and has its own pool.
If there’s one landmark that’ll definitely be on your kids’ wishlist, it’s the Leaning Tower of Pisa, tilting at its 4 degree angle.
Dating back to the 12th century, the bell tower has been tilting little by little since it was built, until work to stabilise it finished in 2001. You can climb the tower, although only with children over the age of 8.
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And it might be touristy but who can resist posing for a photo looking as if you’re holding it up? You can’t go onto the grass in front but stand on one of the bollards and wait for a clear shot to get the pose – or just amuse yourself looking at the shapes everyone else is pulling.
You can also head over to the cathedral for a different view, which can be quieter. But be prepared for crowds here: this is another one that’s best done in shoulder season or arrive early, to avoid standing in the sun too long.
As well as exploring the rest of the cathedral complex, you’re not far from Pisa’s botanical gardens, the Orto Botanico di Pisa, a lovely shady spot for a stroll. Or head out to see the remains of an aqueduct at Parco Don Bosco (with a playground for kids).
Where to stay in Pisa with kids
It’s best to stay somewhere outside the city, as a base to explore this part of Tuscany – pretty Villa Gioli in Fauglia is only a half-hour drive from Pisa itself, but also a good base to explore Livorno, and even Viareggio and Lucca. Sleeping up to 12 (with the option to hire four bedrooms), it has its own pool.
To be even closer, Villa Rossa from TopVillas is less than 15 minutes’ drive and sleeps up to 14.
Enclosed by its medieval city walls, Lucca is ideal with younger kids – smaller than Florence, and less visited than Pisa and Siena, its relaxed feel is perfect for strolling.
Take a walk along the walls themselves, or hire a bike, before getting some of the best views from the top of Lucca’s towers: you can climb the 14th century Torre della Ore, the town’s tallest, and Torre Guinigi, with its garden at the top.
If you prefer to let an expert reveal the city to you, check out this guided walking tour of Lucca for kids.
Don’t miss Piazza dell’anfiteatro, originally a Roman amphitheatre that’s now lined with cafes (and room for kids to run around). And in summer, you’ll find festivals and music to entertain too, even a chance to hear some Puccini in his home town
If you’re driving to Lucca, don’t try to head within the walls as you risk a fine: there is parking on the outskirts or it’s a short train ride from Pisa (and just over 90 minutes by train from Florence)
Where to stay in Lucca with kids
Only 10 minutes’ drive from Lucca, six-bed Orfea has its own infinity pool and is only half an hour from the beach, while Villa Arianna – a former manor house – is another lovely family base, 4km from the city.
The Campannori area is also a lovely option, close enough to Lucca to explore but with the chance to stay in a villa, so you have your own space and a pool to lounge by.
Villa Chiodo is a lovely old stone building with wood beamed ceilings, plus a huge kitchen, stylish bathrooms and great views.
The best hilltop towns in Tuscany with kids
Away from the cities, you can’t visit Tuscany with kids without seeing at least one of the picturesque hilltop towns. How many you squeeze in depends on your kids’ love of wandering through the little streets and the views of the countryside.
Volterra is one of my favourites – and if you have older kids who love the Twilight books, it’s unmissable. Make a stop at Dolceria del Corso, the town’s oldest pastry shop for cakes and treats, including bite-size doughnuts, before strolling off to discover Roman history, Etruscan tombs, crafts made with local alabaster marble and viewpoints galore.
Not far away is San Gimignano, one of the most famous Tuscan hilltop towns with its 15 towers, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Tuscany – both are driving distance from Siena, Florence and Pisa.
Further east towards Arezzo, you’ll find Cortona and Montepulciano – the first known as the location where the bestselling book Under The Tuscan Sun was set. Montepulciano rivals San Gimignano for the ‘most beautiful’ title (not to mention being famous for its wine).
Or south of Siena, Montalcino is another great option for those who love food and wine.
The beach in Tuscany with kids
The seaside might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Tuscany, but if your family holiday isn’t complete without a beach, you won’t be short of choice.
If you’re staying around Volterra or Livorno, it’s even possible to drive to Piombino to take the ferry across to the island of Elba – a long day, but a memorable one, and the long sandy beach at Marino di Campo is perfect with kids.
Not far from Lucca, Viareggio also has a fabulous sandy beach – the northern end around Forte dei Marmi is packed with stylish beach clubs and places to see and be seen rather than making sandcastles, but you’ll find ‘spiaggia libera’ or free beach at Viareggio.
Head further south towards Maremma and you’ll find the beaches most popular with Tuscan families – follow in their lead and rent a villa by the beach.
More things to do in Tuscany with kids
Vineyards in Tuscany with kids
Visiting a vineyard might be on most parents’ wishlists for a family holiday in Tuscany, but what about the kids? Happily as Italians love children, everywhere is family-friendly, and many will provide grape juice for them to try at the tasting sessions.
Many are also set on farms, so there’s a chance to spot animals between sips: Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona even has wolves along with its Brunello di Montalcino vintages.
You need to make reservations for tastings at any vineyards, so it’s easy to check in advance – or consider a tour guide who can recommend the best options with children.
Family attractions in Tuscany
If wandering medieval streets and historic towns loses its appeal for your kids after a few days, there are some great family attractions to visit in Tuscany with kids as well.
Head into the trees – Parco Avventura Il Gigante, north of Florence, has a high ropes course in the trees, as well as easier routes for younger kids.
Or if you’re staying near the coast, you could visit a waterpark in Tuscany. Acqua Village in Cecina, just sound of Livorno, has flumes, pools and other splashy fun – plus a sister waterpark in Follonica, not far from Piombino.
Explore a castle – there are some majestic fortresses and fairytale castles dotted across Tuscany. Some have become libraries and museums, others are still intact, but it’s a great place for kids to let their imaginations run widl.
One of the most impressive is the Castello Dell’Imperatore – the emperor’s castle in Prato, built for the King of Sicily, Frederick II. Take the stairs to the viewpoint at the top and debate how you’d have finished this grand fortress if you were in charge – building work stopped on the emperor’s death so it was never completed.
Gaze at the stars – out in the heart of the countryside, there’s plenty of inspiration to stare up to the heavens. But if you want to know more about what you’re seeing, head to the Planetarium at the Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica in Florence, which you can visit on Sunday afternoons.
Visit an unusual theme park – the author of the Adventures of Pinocchio was born in Collodi in Tuscany, so it’s unmissable for anyone who loves the stories, especially the Parco di Pinocchio theme park, with a sculpture trail, rides that are perfect for younger kids, and puppets.
PIN FOR LATER: WHERE TO GO IN TUSCANY WITH KIDS
Disclosure: Compiled in collaboration with Kinglike Concierge villas. This post also contains affiliate links – any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a small commission. All opinions and love of gelato are my own
Images: Pisa/Lucca/beach/vineyard/castle courtesy Depositphotos, villa images courtesy Kinglike Concierge, all others copyright MummyTravelsLIKED THIS? SIGN UP FOR MY EMAIL NEWSLETTER