A visit to Tuscany is an excellent addition to any Italy travel itinerary with kids. Despite the touristy element, vacations in this region are easy to manage and there are loads of things to see and do for all ages. Family-friendly hotels are plentiful, and little tummies appreciate all the pasta and gelato.
Although there are endless wonderful cultural and historic attractions, you can’t see everything in the usual week-long trip. Five of my favorite sights that are fun for all age groups include:
Tuscany Attractions with Kids
A magical city. One of the reasons I like Lucca so much is its size. The historical center can be explored in a day and there are many visual treats within a short distance. It’s an absolute joy to explore Lucca on foot — the sense of community and unique local culture is palatable. For kids, it’s all about the walls. They surround the city and are wide enough for biking and strolling. What an absolute blast it is to explore the city from above as you are positioned above the city on the walls. You can rent pint-sized bikes and trailers at all the shops in town.
I must mention that if you are in this area, Pisa is a relative short drive away. There is not much appeal other than the tower, but school age and older kids appreciate experiencing this iconic Italian landmark first hand.
Let the eye rolling begin … yes, this is very touristy city. However, there is good reason that people from all over the world flock to San Gimignano, despite not being above to pronounce the name. It is nothing short of astounding! The medieval skyscrapers never cease to amaze me. Everyone will get a workout by climbing to the top of the open tower. The climb is not toddler-friendly. Too many unsafe steps and drops. School age and older kids will be thrilled (or whining) — a pre-climb gelato will provide the sugar rush to get everyone to the top with minimal discomfort.
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The Val D’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most stunning landscapes in Italy. Close your eyes and visualize an idealized version of Tuscany and this is what it looks like. Pienza is a highlight of this area. The views from this perfectly preserved Renaissance town are gorgeous, the village is charming, and best of all, this is home to pecorino cheese production and there are ample opportunities to sample a delicious variety of options.
A visit to nearby La Foce is worthwhile too. Not only is it one of our favorite accommodations for families, but it is an important historic estate in this region with a wonderful garden.
If you are lucky enough to be in and around Siena during the Palio, you are in for a memorable and exciting treat. Regardless, Siena is a must-see attraction any time of year. The Piazza del Campo is a stunning, immense space that attracts children from all over the world. It’s simply too open with too many pigeons —c hasing them and one another is inevitable. If you want to have one of those travel moments where your kids interact with others from around the world, this is a likely venue.
Forte Dei Marmi
Forte dei Marmi is on the Tuscan coast bordering the province of Liguria. Although Cinque Terre is a much more famous coastal attraction for tourists, Forte dei Marmi is where many Italians go for sun and sand.For me, a beach often just a beach and this one is no different. What makes this town special is the quintessential Italian resort atmosphere.Strolling, relaxing, eating, enjoying, shopping — everyone is participating in one of these activities. Kids are everywhere and the long list of beach clubs makes it easy to enjoy a beach experience hassle-free.
An intentional omission from this list is Florence. Of course, I love, love, love Florence and we’ve had fun as a family there. However, this list is about the top attractions for children, and at the end of the day, the essence of Florence is a very deep look at Renaissance art and architecture. Given the time it takes to get into the city and the crowds relative to kid-appreciation, the other venues are higher on the list for me.
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Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy
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