As the first days of Spring arrive, thoughts begin to turn to outdoor activities and new things to discover and experience with the kids. Well, at least they do for me! There is a rumor that Florence (and Italy in general) is not a good place for young children. Sure, museums can be boring, and who has time to search for “kid” activities?
While we are always searching for new things to do with the kids, we discovered that almost all of our visitors knew about sites or activities we didn’t. And we found too, that many of our friends who have lived in Florence for years didn’t know about sites and activities that we had discovered. So. We resolved to step outside of our everyday routine and become tourists in our own city. And what do you know? We found out some interesting things that we hope you will find useful as well.
Museums & Monasteries
Of course outside of this governmentally delivered information, there are things to do that are more routine – museums, churches, monasteries, etc. With two small children, we have found that the best and easiest way to keep it exciting is to make it fun from their perspective. For example, when guests are in town (as they frequently are during the spring and summer months), we often go to one of the many museums or churches in town. Not so much fun for little ones. Here’s a trick: browse through the collection online before the visit, print out a few works, and voila, a homemade scavenger hunt. For older kids, we’ll sit and chat about a piece or two while Grandma and Grandpa or Uncle John wander through the gallery on their own. There are now many museums and sites in Florence which provide unique exhibits and educational programs designed just for them, including the Institute and Museum of the History of Science, Museo Ragazzi, and Palazzo Strozzi.
In 2006 a guidebook was printed by Florence Tourism, who teamed up with the Italian division of Disney Publishing and produced a travel guide for kids like no other, to help them explore Florence and its immediate surroundings (including the nearby town of Fiesole) with their great art and intriguing history. First written in Italian, it has been since been translated into English (though not very well). Aimed at children aged 7 to 12 and based on the principles of edutainment (short for ‘educational entertainment’ or ‘entertainment-education’) the 50-page booklet aims to help young visitors embark on a travel adventure with some of Disney’s favorite characters, the Ducktown family, featuring Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Uncle Scrooge and of course their clever and ever-curious youngsters, Huey, Dewey and Louie, with whom children are encouraged to identify for the purpose of becoming savvy leaders of their family’s Florentine vacation.
The Disney guide to Florence is available free of charge from the city’s Tourist Information Centers as well as from selected offices of the Italian Tourist Board worldwide. Donald Duck and Florence
Passport of Florence for Kids
For all major exhibitions held in Palazzo Strozzi. Contains a kit where families can make a tailor made experience to the exhibition. The Passport has sites, programs and special activities for children of all age groups. Along with collecting stamps for a free exhibit on the map. A passport to Florence