This week Explore My City takes us to Florence with Daisy Diaz
Though it’s renowned all over the world as a tourist destination, Florence doesn’t exactly have the most kid-friendly reputation. It’s best known for its artistic heritage, so many parents often can’t get past the haunting visions of their toddlers crying inside stuffy state museums. But there’s more to the Renaissance capital than meets the eye––and plenty of it is perfect for your little ones.
No stay in this Tuscan paradise is ever long enough, but if you only have 24 hours in Florence, here are some fabulously family-friendly places to check out.
Palazzo Strozzi is Florence’s largest and most famous temporary exhibition space. We know what some of you might be thinking: “My kids can’t handle museums.” “Dragging little ones through dozens of rooms? No thank you.” Shake those thoughts because they don’t apply at Palazzo Strozzi. The exhibitions always feature fun, interactive kids’ activities, detailed explanations in English and experiential learning elements.
For example, earlier this year, the Power and Pathos exhibition on Hellenistic sculpture offered kids the chance to do detective work. Before visiting the exhibition, kids could decide to pretend to be an archaeologist, forger, or collector, working to solve an exciting ‘missing statue mystery.’ Activities like this are always part of any given exhibition, and are sure to keep your kids on their toes!
Baby Bottega is Florence’s ultimate hub for families. Specializing in interior design, the store takes inspiration from traditional Italian artisans and the imaginations of children, while also maintaining an international focus. Stop in for impeccably designed toys and décor items, Florence travel tips, or creative inspiration for your next family craft project. The shop offers free shipping worldwide and plenty of practical solutions for your on-the-ground stay in Florence, too: if you’re looking for a cobblestone-conquering stroller, this is the place!
Once you’ve spent a few hours walking through Florence’s cobblestone streets, we’d say you’ve earned a sweet treat. No child (or parent, for that matter) will be able to resist a lip-smacking serving of gelato. Think of it as a history lesson: gelato has Florentine origins going back to Caterina de’ Medici!
A stone’s throw from the Ponte Vecchio yet somehow never crowded, Piazza della Passera is one of the most charming squares in Florence and is home to one of our favorite dessert spots: Gelateria della Passera. Flavors range from the simple to the showstopping—and prices start at just 1 euro for a generous cup. Savor your gelato on one of the benches in the square and take in the lively atmosphere of the piazza.
La Cucina del Garga
Family is everything at La Cucina del Garga, a historic Florentine restaurant in the heart of the San Lorenzo district. The food is sophisticated enough to please Mom’s and Dad’s discerning palates, but the head chef has two small children of his own and has thought of everything to make your dining-with-kids experience easier. Even children with picky palates will go crazy for delicious specialities like the tagliatelle del magnifico. White tablecloths waiting to be mosaicked with markers are just one of the genius touches at this colorful, endlessly cool place. Head here for a relaxing dinner or a long, leisurely lunch.
Gardens of Florence
Dotted with grottoes and sculptures and dripping with Medici grandeur at every turn, the Boboli Gardens are undoubtedly the most famous ones in Florence. Let your children wind their way through the same zig-zagging, lavish pathways that were used as the Medici’s playground. The smaller rose garden in the San Niccolo’ neighborhood is another favorite, offering free entry: with over one thousand roses in bloom, it makes a great spot to take in a view of Florence, relax and read to the kids or play a quick round of Hide and Seek.
Thanks to Daisy for giving us a fabulous insight into her hometown of Florence – certainly more than just Museums!
Baby Bottega is a beautiful children’s concept store on the corner of via il Prato in Florence, Italy, carrying handmade and original items from hundreds of international labels. Owned by American expat Daisy Diaz, who has lived in Florence for over a decade, the store’s motto is ‘Amore+Design.’ The Baby Bottega team is all about merging four of our biggest passions: family, fabulous design, functionality and Florence.
Want more ideas on where to take your kids around the world? Don’t forget to check the rest of our #exploremycity guest series, written by residents and expats who know their cities – and what kids want – best.
Images © Baby Bottega