Boys sitting on grass overlooking the back of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy.

Visiting the Boboli Gardens with Kids – A Local Family’s Tips & Advice

Are you wondering if Boboli Gardens is worth a visit while you’re in Florence with your family?

Quick Answer:  Visiting Boboli Gardens with kids is worth it if:

  • The weather is nice (not too hot and not raining)
  • You have kids that need to run around and need a break from Florence’s museums
  • You can visit without your stroller (unless you’re ok exploring a limited part of the gardens)

Maybe you’re already planning on going to the Boboli Gardens with your kids but want to make sure you make the most of your visit.

We’re a local family and we enjoy visits to Boboli Gardens with three young kids.  As a mom, I appreciate the open green space in the city, fun things for kids to look at, and the beautiful views of Florence.  I’m not a huge fan of the entrance fee (for adults), so we often visit on the first Sunday of the month, when entry is free.

Good To Know:  If you’re expecting perfectly-manicured, always green and lush gardens, and crystal clear water in fountains, look elsewhere.  The Boboli Gardens are beautiful (this was the backyard of the Medici family’s Palazzo Pitti!), but a little ‘rough around the edges.’  It’s important to know this – you’ll enjoy your visit much more with proper expectations.

Let’s take a look at:

  • The best time to visit Boboli Gardens with kids
  • Buying tickets to Boboli Gardens
  • Which entrance we recommend for visiting Boboli Gardens with children
  • Our favorite things for kids to see and do in Boboli Gardens
  • Eating in Boboli Gardens with kids
  • Boboli Gardens family logistics (strollers, diaper changes, etc).
Boys running on gravel path in Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy.  You can see large grassy area and tall trees in the background, plus a few apartment buildings in the distance.

When To Visit Boboli Gardens with Kids

Spring at Boboli Gardens – My favorite time to visit Boboli Gardens with my kids is in the spring.  Why?  The grass is green, there are some blooming flowers, and it’s not too hot yet. 

Summer at Boboli Gardens – This is my least favorite time to visit Boboli Gardens with kids because summer in Florence is hot and my kids just want to jump in the fountains.  If you have a child who loves to read or draw, you could find a shady spot in the gardens to relax.  After your visit, be sure to cool off with a gelato at the nearby Gelateria della Passera or La Sorbettiera (Santo Spirito location) – two of my favorite gelaterie in Florence!

Fall at Boboli Gardens – I also like autumn in the Boboli Gardens with kids, especially on a sunny day.  If it’s rained, some of the paths can be tough for pushing a stroller.  If your kids like to roll around (like mine do), wear clothes that can get muddy or dirty.

Winter at Boboli Gardens – Similar to the fall season, if it’s a nice day, it can be a fun outdoor break with kids.  If it’s been raining, Florence’s playgrounds are likely wet, so kids can at least run around in the Boboli Gardens.  However, don’t dress your kids in fancy clothes – mine always end up covered in dirt or mud.  Additionally, winter can feel a little dreary in the gardens, with many plants and grassy areas brown and dull (although by late winter it’s often green).

Helpful Tip:  No matter the season, I’m not a big fan of visiting the Boboli Gardens after it’s rained.  Strollers get stuck in mud or soft gravel trails, and kids end up wet and dirty (at least mine do!).

You may want to read about Tuscany in the SpringSummer FallWinter

Check out my monthly guides to visiting Florence: OctoberNovemberDecember

Tickets for a Family Visit to the Boboli Gardens

Adults need to pay, but kids are free! 

Free Entrance Days (for everyone):

  • 1st Sunday of the Month
  • April 25th (Liberation Day)
  • June 2nd (Republic Day)
  • November 4th (National Unity & Armed Forces Day)

You can buy your tickets online, or at one of the four entrances (more on those below).

What We Do:  I typically bring our kids on the free 1st Sundays, but if we need to buy tickets, I don’t buy them in advance.  You never know what will happen with kids (change of plans, someone doesn’t feel good, etc.), and the Boboli Gardens aren’t a must-see like the David at the Accademia.  I wait in line and purchase our tickets at one of the quieter entrances.

If you’re set on going to the Boboli Gardens and want to reserve your entrance, book online on the official website.

At the time of writing, regular entrance is 10€, plus 3€ for a reservation.  Kids (under 18) are free, but you must pay the 3€ if you want reservations for the.

Best Boboli Gardens Entrances with Kids

There are four main entrances to the Boboli Gardens:

Pitti Palace – Conveniently located in the center of Florence at Palazzo Pitti, but it’s the most crowded

Porta Romana – Easiest entry point if you’re driving to Florence because you can park at the Porta Romana parking lot; not crowded

Forte Belvedere – Conveniently located near the Bardini Garden (included in the price of your ticket)

Annalena (via Romana) – About ½ way between the Porta Romana and Pitti Palace entrances.   

What We Do:  With kids, I like to do point A to point B, versus walking a loop.  I think it makes things more interesting for the kids and they like to have a goal.  We typically enter at the Porta Romana entrance and leave at the Palazzo Pitti entrance. 

Hand touching tree bark that looks like a camouflage print in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy.
‘Camouflage’ tree bark near the Porta Romana entrance

Map of the Boboli Gardens – Entrances & Things to See

Our Basic Itinerary for the Boboli Gardens with Kids

Boys looking out at the Fountain of the Ocean in Boboli Gardens.  There is a small gate with columns on either side, topped with statues.
Fountain of the Ocean

We typically walk from one end of the garden to the other.  This route isn’t stroller friendly, but I find my 2-year-old is happy to walk a lot of it (and I carry him the rest of the time).

  1. Enter at Porta Romana (quiet entrance, rarely a line).
  2. Next, check out the parakeets and the Fountain of the Ocean. 
  3. Walk up the Viottolone (tree-lined hill).  We like to walk through the ‘little tunnel’ of to the right of the wide gravel path. 
  4. Partway up the Viottolone, go to the right to find the large, white marble discs.  This is a good stop if your kids are tired going up the hill, and my boys love these two discs!
  5. Make it to the top and celebrate your climb!
  6. Check out the ‘big face’ statue and the views of Florence.
  7. Tell your kids to stop rolling down the hillside in front of the Pegasus statue.
  8. From here, assess the mood.  We like to find the old ice houses, go to the amphitheater, walk up to the Fountain of Neptune, see the Buontalenti Grotto, and have a picnic or snack in the picnic area.
  9. Walk out of the gardens at the Palazzo Pitti exit and say hello to Morgante riding the tortoise on your way out.

What To See in the Boboli Gardens with Kids

I’ve mentioned our basic itinerary above.  Here’s a list of what we see on it, as well as some other fun things to see in Boboli Gardens with kids:

  • The Grotta del Buontalenti (aka Grotta Grande), featuring Michelangelo’s Prisoners / Slaves (replicas – the originals are in the Accademia Gallery)
  • The parrots in the trees of the Prato delle Colonne.  Also look at the trunks of the trees – the layered bark looks like camouflage.
  • Views of Florence from the lawn above the Pegasus statue and from the gravel walkway above the Fountain of the Artichoke (look right to see the city peeking from inbetween buildings)
  • The Egyptian obelisk in the amphitheater – have your kids find the turtles
  • The Limonaia (Lemon House) – my kids like to walk in the labyrinth in front (it’s not really a labyrinth)
  • The huge face sculpture (Tindaro Screpolato)
  • The old ice houses
  • In the amphitheater, have your kids find their favorite sculpture.
  • The photo-friendly, cypress-lined Viottolone (steep grade)
  • The Neptune Fountain – Heads Up:  Don’t jump into the fountain.  It’s not allowed, and my 5-year old told me he saw a shark.
  • Statue of Morgante riding a tortoise
  • Ducks in the fountains

Good To Know:  Your ticket to the Boboli Gardens also includes entry to the Bardini Garden (just 5 minutes walking from the Forte Belvedere entrance.  The Bardini Garden (aka Giardino Bardini) has lovely views, and if you’re visiting in the spring, kids (and adults) will love walking in the wisteria tunnels!

Eating at the Boboli Gardens with Kids

There is now a designated picnic area in Boboli Gardens (woohoo!), so I recommend bringing snacks or a picnic lunch for your visit.

The picnic area is located in the grassy area between the Madama Grotto and the Fountain of Ganymede.

There aren’t any picnic benches – it’s just a grassy area.  So, bring a scarf or light picnic blanket to sit on.  I usually bring 1-2 thin muslin baby blankets.

There is also a small café on the grounds (Kaffeehaus), but it’s not always open (at the time of writing, it was still closed for restoration and the staff didn’t know when it would reopen).

Good To Know: You can’t enter Boboli Gardens with sugary drinks, soda, or wine.  But, we’ve always been allowed to bring in soft juice boxes for kids.

Good To Know:  Boboli Gardens has a café, Kaffeehaus, but it’s often closed (including at the time of writing), so don’t depend on it – make sure you have snacks with you.  You can stop by one of Florence’s city grocery stores or markets before your visit.

Boboli Gardens Logistics for a Family Visit

Boboli Gardens are not stroller friendly.  Yes, it’s possible to push a stroller around a few of the paths, but the gardens are hilly, there are a lot of steps, and most of the paths are gravel (and it’s not fun pushing a stroller through gravel).  Bring a baby carrier or plan on carrying your little ones some of the time.

There are a few bathrooms on the grounds of Boboli Gardens, but the best for families are to the right of the amphitheater (if Pitti Palace is behind you).  There are changing tables and you can push your stroller easily down the ramp to the bathrooms.

Diapers can be changed in the toilets near the amphitheater.  I also bring a portable changing pad because the gardens are large and you may not be able to reach the toilets quickly.

Have your kids wear sneakers or close-toed shoes.  There are a lot of gravel paths and no one wants to spend all day picking rocks from their kids’ sandals.

Boys walking on wide gravel path.  There are manicured tall bushes on either side and some grassy areas.
Close-toed shoes recommended!

Don’t forget sunscreen.  Even if you just plan on spending an hour in the gardens, you’ll likely be there longer.

Bring a small blanket or something to sit on.  You’ll use it in the picnic area or in other grassy areas if you just want to sit and take a break (you will).  I bring a thin muslin blanket from Aden & Anais (super handy for travel with kids).

Have an idea of your route (check out our map above) and take breaks when needed.

Boys laying on gravel path in Boboli Gardens.  The path is lined with bushes and trees.  There is another boy on the path ahead of them.
Two of my boys, taking a break on an uphill

You may want to read about
Things to Do in Florence with Kids

Boboli Gardens with Kids FAQ

Where are the Boboli Gardens in Florence and are they difficult to get to with kids?

The Boboli Gardens (aka Boboli Garden, Giardini di Boboli) are at the back of the Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti), south of the Florence historic center.  They are on the south side of the Arno River, less than 5 minutes (walking) from the Ponte Vecchio, and just under 15 minutes (walking) from the Duomo. 
The Boboli Gardens are easily reached with a stroller and kids are fine on the walk because they get to cross over the Ponte Vecchio.

Are the Boboli Gardens the best place for kids to run around in Florence? 

We also have playgrounds in Florence, and some have room for running and playing sports like soccer and basketball. Florence also has the huge Cascine Park, just west of the historic center. It has walking paths, a couple of small playgrounds, and plenty of grassy areas for running around. 

Are there other kid-friendly gardens in Florence?

Yes! Read about the Best Gardens in Florence.

Boys running on dirt path past statue.  Tall bushes behind the statue.
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