As the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany was once the home of outstanding artists, scientists, and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo, and Botticelli. Influenced by earlier Tuscan thinkers such as Dante Allighieri and Petrach, and under the patronage of powerful Tuscan benefactors the Medicis, these thinkers helped turned the region into the cultural powerhouse that it remains to this day.
Indeed, with its medieval cities, fascinating museums, gorgeous vineyards, and charming villas, Tuscany remains famous as a travel destination par excellence. For families who love combining travel fun with educational opportunities, it doesn’t get much better than a trip to the region.
Here are just 10 great sites to visit with the whole family in Tuscany, and why a trip here can create memories for a lifetime.
1. Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Home to some of the most beautiful Renaissance artworks in all of Europe, the Uffizi is justly considered one of the world’s great museums. The building was commissioned by a powerful member of the Medici family in the 16th century, and its extensive list of works for display includes pieces by Michelangelo, Caravaggio, da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, and Titian.
2. Leaning Tower of Pisa
As one of Tuscany’s most distinctive landmarks, the Leaning Tower will provide families with a great way to learn about Italian history and architecture. No trip to Italy would be complete without a family photo taken at this historic place!
3. Museo Galileo, Florence
If your kids love learning about science, they’ll love a trip to the Museo Galileo in Florence. One of the most revolutionary figures in science history, Galileo’s ideas cemented the humanistic drive of Renaissance culture and changed the way that human beings pictured the universe around them.
4. Villas in Tuscany
While a stay in Florence has its marvels and unique way of living, many travelers now opt to experience Tuscan country life firsthand by staying in a local villa. By spending time at a Tuscan villa, families can experience the wonders of the Italian countryside in true style. Whether we’re relaxing with a glass of wine from a local vineyard or simply taking in hilltop views with our families, a stay in a villa in Tuscany can be a truly remarkable experience.
5. Family Cooking Class, Florence
Tuscany is justly famous for its world-class cuisine, and families who love to cook together will greatly enjoy taking a cooking class for all ages in the region’s beautiful capital. A great way to show off new cooking skills to friends back at home, a Tuscan cooking class is a fun (and delicious!) way for the whole family to learn more about the wonders of Italian culture.
6. The Medieval City of Siena
For families who like to take their travel experiences with a bit of history thrown in for good measure, it doesn’t get much better than a day trip to the city of Siena. Still defined by its medieval fortifications and timeless architecture, Siena offers families a chance to see what Tuscan life was like in a bygone age.
7. Leonardo da Vinci Museum, Florence
While he is primarily known as the painter of such works as the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper,” Leonardo da Vinci was also a keen inventor who envisioned underwater boats and flying machines hundreds of years before the invention of either the submarine or the airplane. Da Vinci’s inventions seem to spring to life at this wonderful museum; here, kids can learn more about what made da Vinci a great artist and the quintessential Renaissance man.
8. Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence
As the current home of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of the biblical hero David, the Galleria dell’Accademia remains one of Tuscany’s premiere destinations for travelers. Set in one of Florence’s most beautiful districts, the Galleria offers families the chance to enjoy some of the greatest works of art from the Renaissance. Afterwards, families can bask in the ambience of the location’s nearby cafes, parks, and restaurants in true Florentine fashion.
9. Palazzo Vecchio, Florence
Dominating one of Florence’s central squares and providing visitors with a glimpse into Tuscany’s proud heritage as a once-great Medieval power center, the Palazzo Vecchio traces its origins to a period of history when poets like Dante Alighieri strolled the city’s streets. Nearby gelato stands can also provide families with a fun treat as they journey through the city’s ancient streets.
10. Pinocchio Park, Collodi
While most of us are familiar with Pinocchio due to the Disney film of the same name, the character actually has his roots in Tuscan culture. First published in 1883, “The Adventures of Pinocchio” was a book that revolutionized Italian literature. Now based in the Tuscan town from which the book’s author took his pen name, Pinocchio Park offers families a great chance to experience the world of the character firsthand.
For these reasons, a trip to Tuscany can be one of the greatest experiences a family can have together. Whether we’re learning more about great Renaissance thinkers like Galileo or Leonardo da Vinci or simply basking in the glory of the Tuscan countryside, there is nothing quite like a visit to one of Italy’s most charming regions. Truly, that is travel at its best!