30+ brilliant things to do in Tuscany with kids

30+ brilliant things to do in Tuscany with kids

Table of Contents

Why visit Tuscany with kids?

Tuscany has it all – cities rich in art and history; beaches, mountains and beautiful rolling hills; great food and wine; and – most importantly – some genuinely fun places to visit for children. You can visit Tuscany with kids at any time of year – each season has its highlights. Whether it’s your first time taking a family holiday to Tuscany or if you’ve visiting Tuscany with children before, I hope this list of things to do and places to visit in Tuscany gives you plenty of ideas for your next adventure.

Front cover image: Val d’Orcia, credit minakitty15, Pixabay

Looking for other Italy family holiday ideas? Check out my guide to Italy with kids.

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Where to stay in Tuscany with kids

Tuscany is great for cities breaks, for villa and agriturismo holidays in the countryside and for seaside family trips. When you’re planning your family holiday to Tuscany, it’s worth thinking about what you want to get from your trip. Is it all about the culture or are you looking for one of those quintessential Tuscan villas?

Bear in mind that if you’re staying somewhere rural, it might take you some time to reach many of the more popular destinations in Tuscany.

Things to do in Tuscany with kids, Siena view with tower and piazza
Siena, image by Makalu from Pixabay

Do you want to stay in one place for the duration of your trip or would you consider spending a few days staying in the heart of Florence or Siena before retreating to the countryside or the beach? When we visited Tuscany with our baby son (quite some time ago now!) we spent three nights in Florence followed by a week at an agriturismo in southern Tuscany. This was a great combination and allowed us to cover quite a few of the highlights of the region.

Lucca area

Staying in a villa or agriturismo near Lucca ticks lots of boxes. You can access mountains and coast easily from here and there are direct trains from Lucca to Pisa and Florence. Lucca is one of the most child-friendly cities in Tuscany, particularly for little children.

Family holiday Italy, Piazza Anfiteatro in Lucca, credit SaverioGiusti, Pixabay
Piazza Anfiteatro in Lucca, credit SaverioGiusti, Pixabay

The Val d’Orcia

There are some good agriturismo properties and villas in this part of Tuscany. This quintessential Tuscan landscape includes the lovely towns of Montepulciano, Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia. Siena is under an hour away. You’re a long way from the coast here so if your kids need some beach time, consider spending a week here and a week on Elba or along the Maremma coast.

San Gimignano area

Another popular rural base – San Gimignano is incredibly picturesque and deservedly popular. Volterra, Siena and the Chianti villages are all within day trip distance of San Gimignano.

places to see in Tuscany for families, towers of San Gimignano
San Gimignano, photo by Mattia Bericchia on Unsplash

When we stayed near San Gimignano for a Tuscany family holiday, we did find the remote location of our farm stay meant it took us rather a long time to get anywhere. I’m not sure I’d want to spend a two week holiday here – it’s better as a two centre location combined with another part of Tuscany such as Lucca or one of the coastal destinations.

Tuscany beaches for families

In the north of Tuscany, Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi offer practical beach holidays for families – you can stay here and be within day trip distance of Pisa, Lucca and Florence.

For something more scenic and dramatic, the Baratti Gulf near Populonia is a good bet, and popular San Vincenzo a little further north is also worth considering.

The Maremma is an often overlooked area of southern Tuscany. Its coastline runs from Follonica in the north down to the border with Lazio and it’s packed with lots of lovely sandy beaches such as La Feniglia.

Island of Elba, Tuscany holidays with teenagers
Island of Elba, Tuscany

The island of Elba is a good choice as the seaside part of a two centre Tuscany family holiday. There’s a good selection of beaches, some pretty towns and rugged interior to explore.

When to visit Tuscany with kids

This very much depends on what you want to see and the type of holiday you’re after. Tuscany is a great destination at any time of year provided you know what to expect.

Tuscany for families in winter

Tuscany is beautiful in winter. There are, of course, far fewer tourists so it’s a great time to tick off the popular sights and attractions in Tuscany. Christmas time in Tuscany is very special – the towns and cities have an understated festive feel which is far less commercialised than destinations in the UK.

giant mask float at carnival
Viareggio carnival, image by alessandro perini from Pixabay

If you fancy a half term family holiday in Tuscany, February is carnival time across Italy – coastal Viareggio puts on a particularly good display. And if there’s snow on the ground, you can head into the Apennine mountains for a day of skiing.

Winter can also be a great time to explore some of the landscapes which Tuscany is famous for. The Val d’Orcia with its winding roads and undulating hills looks particularly stunning in wintertime.

Tuscany family holiday in spring

Easter is an excellent time to visit Tuscany with kids. The weather is mild enough for al fresco lunches and it makes sightseeing far easier than it is in the hot summer months. Easter is an important period in the Italian calendar with processions and rituals taking place across the region.

Sometimes, the weather can be quite warm in Tuscany in April – I’ve swum in the sea at Easter near Pisa. Just remember that this isn’t something the Italians would dream of doing – they’ll still be in their winter coats.

Summer in Tuscany with kids

If you’re after one of those beautiful rural villas, summer is of course the best time to visit Tuscany with kids. Just bear in mind that those out of the way spots can be miles from the places you might want to visit so pick your destination carefully.

Villas near Lucca are a good bet as you’re within day-trip distance of the coast and the mountains as well as being within easy reach of Pisa and Florence. If you’re after decent beaches, it’s best to head south to the Maremma coast or spend a week on the mainland near Siena before hopping on a ferry to Elba for a week by the seaside.

Consider staying in an agriturismo when you’re holidaying in Tuscany in summer. Many of them have swimming pools to cool off in after a busy day of sightseeing. And if you pick one with a restaurant, all of the hard work is done for you.

Autumn family holidays in Tuscany

If you’re travelling with pre-schoolers you can enjoy the best of both worlds by visiting Tuscany in September. The summer crowds have departed but the weather is still excellent.

October half term is a good time for sightseeing and flights are often far cheaper at this time of year. As with spring, it should still be mild enough during the day although you might experience more rain at this time of year.

Map of things to do in Tuscany with kids

The best things to do Tuscany with kids

Visit Florence

Florence is a lovely city to wander through and many of its most famous attractions – the sculptures in Piazza della Signoria (including the copy of Michelangelo’s David), the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the Boboli Gardens – are outdoors.

Piazza del Duomo Florence
Piazza del Duomo Florence

Our kids always enjoy climbing up something – the dome of the cathedral is a good challenge. Pre-book tickets for the Uffizi Gallery to avoid the massive snaking queue – this famous gallery has so many iconic artworks. Or stay outdoors and head for the Piazzale Michelangelo for a stunning view of the city at sunset.

Spend a night in Pisa

I spent a year of university life in Pisa so it holds a special place in my heart. If you have time, spend a night in this lovely riverside city – it’s so much more enjoyable once the daytrippers have departed.

Things to do in Tuscany with kids, leaning tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, image by Mark Skillen from Pixabay

The ice cream shop next to Ponte di Mezzo on the Arno is the best place for a gelato before enjoying an evening stroll along the river. And of course, the famous Leaning Tower looks great lit up after dark.

Walk or cycle the city walls of Lucca

Cities are so much more enjoyable to explore for children if you employ a different perspective. Lucca is enclosed by stout stone walls which you can walk or cycle along. The town also has an excellent car-free piazza for lunch and there’s a fun tower – Guinigi (complete with tree at the top) – to climb for a view of the city.

Rooftops of Lucca in Tuscany for families
Lucca rooftops, photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Go skiing for a day in the Apennine Mountains

When I lived in Pisa as a student, I used to head to the nearby mountains at the weekend – I had my first experience of skiing at Abetone, around an hour north of Pistoia.

Spend a day in Siena

Tuscany has a particularly good selection of medieval towers to climb. In Siena, it’s Torre del Mangia. At over 100 metres high, the tower commands a fantastic view over Piazza del Campo and the rest of Siena.

Even if your children are fairly indifferent to architecture, they can’t fail to marvel at the city’s vast, unfinished cathedral. It’s a great destination for a debate about religion and money – and comparisons with today’s secular megalomaniac building projects.

Read my guide to the best towers to climb in Italy

Go wine tasting

You don’t need to go to Chianti for wine tasting. And you don’t need to wait until you’re child-free for this sort of day out. My favourite Tuscan wine region is around Montepulciano – home to the exceptional Vino Nobile. The town itself is a tiny medieval masterpiece – ideal for an easy walk and ice cream combo if you’re looking for a pretty village to explore without exhausting the kids.

Montepulciano italy family holiday
Pretty Montepulciano in Tuscany, credit Bischoff49 Pixabay

We’ve taken our kids to lots of vineyards over the years. The owners are always really accommodating and take us all on a tour of the wine cellars and explain the production process.

Experience exile on Elba

Napoleon famously spent time in exile on the Tuscan island of Elba – not a bad location for a year out of the limelight. It’s a fun daytrip or a holiday destination in its own right. Made up of undulating hills, rocky and sandy coast and dotted with pretty villages, it’s a great spot for a beach holiday.

Island of Elba in Italy for families
Island of Elba in Tuscany, image by Daniele Fiaschi

Learn to cook in Tuscany with kids

Join a family-friendly cooking class where you and your kids can learn to make traditional Italian dishes together. Tuscany is known for its steaks and hearty soups but if you’re keen for the kids to learn the basics – pasta, pizza and bread – there’s a cookery course out there that will cover whatever you want to learn.

Enjoy the music at Pistoia Blues

The only thing I clearly remember from my trip to Pistoia Blues some 25 years ago, is a group of Italian men lining their little mirrors up on a wall at the campsite so they could have a wet shave – only in Italy do men take their grooming so seriously.

Pistoia Blues attracts music acts from around the world – Damien Rice played there is 2023 – and it’s a great festival to visit with your teens. Or, you could drop the kids off (with a very small tent if you’ve flown to Italy) and pick them up a couple of days later whilst you go off and do your own thing elsewhere.

Try some classical music at Torre del Lago

The annual Puccini festival takes place at an open air theatre in Torre del Lago, just south of Viareggio during July and August. Puccino’s operas are crowd pleasers which some children might tolerate – La Bohème, Tosca, Madam Butterfly.

Visit Pinocchio Park in Collodi near Lucca

This theme park dedicated to the wooden boy Pinocchio is located in Collodi, half an hour east of Lucca. There are themed gardens and puppet shows – ideal for little ones.

Montecatini Terme

If your teens need some me-time post GCSEs or A Levels, the thermal baths of Montecatini Terme are a great destination for a bit of therapeutic downtime.

Take the funicular railway to tiny Montecatini Alto

When my children were little, it was easy to keep them happy with rather simple pursuits – and the funicular railway which takes visitors up to the village of Montecatini Alto is a perfect example. A ride on the train, admire the view and enjoy an ice cream.

Pistoia Zoo

Enjoy a traditional day at the zoo, the one in Pistoia is known for its conservation efforts and has a decent range of animals including lions and tigers and bears (oh my!).

Zip through the treetops at Il Gigante

If you’re looking for a high ropes adventure in Tuscany, Il Gigante (just north of Florence) has all the usual thrills including zipwires and tree climbing.

Take in a Tuscan festival with kids

Italy has the most amazing variety of festivals, particularly during the summertime. Check adverts or ask around to see what’s happening near to where you’re staying. There’s always a local delicacy being celebrated or an ancient saint being honoured. Just remember that 15th of August is Ferragosto when many places close and the whole of Italy takes the day off to celebrate.

Take budding engineers to the Leonardo Interactive Museum in Florence

The Leonardo Interactive Museum explores the inventions and works of this Renaissance genius, providing an interactive and educational experience for children. Models of his inventions hang from the ceiling and there are opportunities for kids to try to build some of his creations. Thankfully there are explanations in English. There are two Leonardo museums in Florence – both in the historic city centre, this one is on Via dei Servi.

And for future physicists – visit the Museo Galileo Institute and Museum of the History of Science

Older children with an interest in astronomy and the history of science might appreciate the Galileo Institute – it’s worth booking onto a guided tour to get the most out of a visit here.

Explore romantic Volterra

I have happy memories of visiting Volterra when I was a student. It is in a fantastic position overlooking the countryside – the views at sunset are lovely. You can bribe the kids with a promise of ascending the tower in the Palazzo dei Priori for a perfect bird’s eye view of the city.

places to visit in Tuscany with children, view of countryside from Volterra
Views from Volterra

Take the kids to a water park in Tuscany

There are a several good water parks in Tuscany including Acqua Village Cecina and Acqua Village Follonica. Both offer the usual thrills and spills of slides, waves and waterfalls.

Museum of Natural History in Florence

I’m not sure how this compares to London’s natural history museum, but if your kids are into dinosaurs and you fancy a day inside a museum (perhaps to avoid a scorching hot August day) there are fossils and stuffed animals to marvel at in the Natural History Museum of Florence. I’d rather be outdoors admiring the architecture but I know dinos are a big deal for many little people.

Explore the Grotta del Vento in Garfagnana

Another good choice if you want to escape the summer heat, the Grotta del Vento has an extensive network of caves and tunnels running deep into the mountains of Garfagnana in northern Tuscany.

Livorno aquarium

This isn’t a big aquarium so I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit it – there’s a bigger one at Genoa if you want to hop on a train to head north. However, if you’re staying nearby and want to see turtles and rays – along with a visit to the reptile house – it’s an attraction worth considering.

Climb a mountain in Tuscany with kids

Although the mountains in Tuscany aren’t in the same league as the Dolomites, they are still incredibly scenic and offer some more achievable summits for kids to conquer. In the north of Tuscany is the Apennine range while the south has the dormant volcano Monte Amiata.

Explore the town of Pitigliano

The buildings of Pitigliano rise straight out of the rocky tufa on which this southern Tuscan town sits. Children will enjoy exploring the narrow rocky pathways and tunnels around the town – excavated by the Etruscans.

Tuscany medieval hilltop village, Pitigliano
Pitigliano photo by Elias on Unsplash

Enjoy the rollercoasters at Cavallino Matto amusement park

Located in Donoratico on the coast between Cecina and San Vincenzo, there’s a decent variety of rides, attractions, and shows suitable for all age groups at this amusement park.

Visit an open air museum overlooking the sea

At the Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia you can visit the remains of an Etruscan city – complete with impressive sea views.

Populonia tower with sea in distance
Populonia image by M W from Pixabay

Count the towers at San Gimigano – or see the town in miniature at the museum

Although San Gimignano is packed with tourists, it is for good reason. It’s small enough to wander through with kids without them loosing interest. You can take the children to the San Gimignano 1300 museum where the town, as it was in the 14th century, is recreated in miniature.

Soak in the hot springs at Saturnia

The Cascate del Mulino di Saturnia in southern Tuscany are a series of thermal pools which are popular with tourists and locals alike. They are always open and are free to visit – so they can get very busy.

People in the thermal hot springs of Saturnia
Saturnia, image by nirolfix from Pixabay

Take in the views from Cortona

This hilltop town near the border of Umbria has fantastic views across the countryside to Lake Trasimeno.

Play at kings and queens in the medieval fortress of Monteriggioni

This tiny walled village, located just north of Siena, is perfect for kids to indulge their inner knight, king or queen. Despite dating back to the 13th century, Monteriggioni is incredibly well preserved and makes for a really fun day out with little children.

Explore the Maremma coastline around Monte Argentario

The rocky coastline surrounding the island of Monte Argentario is perfect for diving, snorkelling or simply sitting on a boat in the sunshine. Porto Ercole has plenty of boat tours available.

Monte Argentario coastline
Monte Argentario, image by maurizio maurizio from Pixabay

Discover Tuscan villages off the beaten track

If you’re visiting Tuscany in the summer and you want to escape the crowds, there are plenty of little places which attract far fewer visitors than some of the more well known Tuscan towns. Try medieval Suvereto with its crumbling castle; Massa Marittima and its glorious cathedral square; or sea views at Montescudaio.


Have you visited Tuscany with kids? Let me know what your favourite places were in the comments below.

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