Checking out the view of Piazza del Campo from the clock tower.

Towers to Climb in Tuscany with Kids – Our Family’s Top 7

Your family has seen David striking a pose, found Galileo’s finger, and said hello to the Giants of Peccioli.  Now, it’s time to move your legs a bit and climb up to get views of Tuscany’s cities, villages, and spectacular countryside.

As a mamma living in Tuscany with three young boys, I know that tower climbs can be some of the highlights of visits to cities and villages in Italy with kids. We’ve done our share of tower climbs in Tuscany (and there are way more than seven of them!), and these are our favorites.  We’ve done all of these tower climbs (some multiple times), and I can tell you they’re all kid-approved by my bambini.

So, let’s take a look at our favorite towers to climb in Tuscany.  But first, I’ve got a few tips based on our time spent climbing towers in Italy.

Tips for Climbing Tuscan Towers with Kids

  • Have your kids count the steps!
  • Have cautious kids stay on the wall side of the steps (vs on the inside, closest to the drop off to the center of the tower)
  • Use maps (or Google Maps on your phone) to identify buildings and other points of interest from the top of the tower.
  • Use the bathroom before you climb up.
  • Wear the right shoes – sometimes there are no-slip treads on tower steps, but other times they’re smooth stone steps, which can be slippery. See my guide to Kids’ Shoes for Italy.
  • Buy your tickets in advance when possible.  No one enjoys waiting in line, especially on a hot day in Tuscany!
  • Be aware that safety features (railings, non-slip steps, etc) won’t necessarily be what you’re used to at home.  If you (or your kids) feel uncomfortable on a climb, just go back down – there are plenty of other towers and fun things to tackle in Tuscany!  To give you an example, sometimes I notice that railings have large spaces that a small child could squeeze through – which you wouldn’t find where I grew up in the US).

Our Favorite Towers to Climb in Tuscany – A Quick Look

TowerLocationReserve?
Torre del MangiaSienaNo
Torre GuinigiLuccaOn weekends & holidays
Giotto’s Bell TowerFlorenceYes
Torre GrossaSan GimignanoNo
Leaning TowerPisaYes
FortezzaMontalcinoNo
Palazzo Comunale Clock TowerMontepulcianoNo

Siena – Torre del Mangia

This is our favorite climb in Tuscany because the views of Siena and the Piazza del Campo are spectacular, and the climb up is doable for kids.  It’s not a quick climb (there are around 400 steps), but you get a nice break with a view point before you get up to the main viewpoint at the top. 

Sometimes the tower closes (usually for maintenance), and it’s not always announced, so if you want to climb, do it first thing when you get to Siena.

Helpful Tip:  Watch a video about the Palio (like this one) before you climb up – it will make looking down at the Campo more meaningful.

Good To Know:  You can leave your stroller by the entrance to the museum – just ask when you buy your tickets and they’ll show you exactly where.

Torre del Mangia – official website (buy your tickets when you get there)

Read more about Siena with Kids

Lucca – Torre Guinigi

Lucca’s Torre Guinigi isn’t the only tower you can climb in town, but it’s definitely the most recognizable.  The tower is topped with trees!  The Guinigi Tower was owned by the Guinigi family and the trees are supposedly remnants of the old kitchen garden, which was on the floor below.

When you get to the top after climbing around 230 steps, you’re shaded by the trees, and you can look out at Lucca’s rooftops and over to the other main tower – the clock tower.

There are places to stop and rest of the way up/down, and you can let others pass if you need to.

Other Climbs in Lucca: The Clock Tower (Torre delle Ore); ride bikes or walk on Lucca’s city walls

Torre Guinigi – official site (reserve your ticket on weekends or holidays; otherwise, buy your ticket when you get there)

Read more about Lucca with Kids

Florence – Giotto’s Bell Tower

Giotto’s Bell Tower (the Duomo’s bell tower) is our family’s favorite climb in Florence.  It’s a perfect way for kids to get rid of some energy, especially if you’ve been inside a museum

Once you’ve climbed the 414-ish steps of the Il Campanile di Giotto, you and your kids will be rewarded with epic views of the Florence rooftops, the Duomo, and the Tuscan countryside.

The climb up has plenty of platforms for breaks.  So, little legs have time to recover before climbing up a little more to the next platform.  Tiny windows on the way up make nice distractions, and little ones will love checking out one of the large bells and the views of the city below.  There are a couple of sections with narrow steps, so make sure your kids pay extra attention to where they place their feet.

And, don’t worry about your kids holding other people up – they can pass by at the viewing platforms.

I’ve done this climb with a four-year-old, and he loved it!

Helpful Tip:  Leave bags at the luggage storage office at the eastern end of Piazza del Duomo, #38/r. 

Good To Know:  The top of the climb is fully fenced, so it can be tough to take the ‘perfect photo.’ 

More Climbs: Torre Arnolfo (attached to Palazzo Vecchio; kids must be ages 6+); Piazzale Michelangelo (it’s a walk up to the piazza, but it’s doable for kids)

Read more about
Climbing Giotto’s Bell Tower
Piazzale Michelangelo with Kids
Things to Do in Florence with Kids
Florence with Kids – Complete Guide

Giotto’s Bell Tower – official website (you need to reserve your climb time)

San Gimignano – Torre Grossa

Magical San Gimignano is known as Tuscany’s Medieval Manhattan, and you can see why as you approach the village from afar.  Towers dominate the town’s skyline, and the number of them today (14) are much fewer than the original 70+. 

There are about 200 steps to get to the top of the tower and it’s a fantastic viewpoint for checking out the other towers of San Gimignano.  Help your kids imagine what life would be like living in one of the towers…

Your ticket to climb the tower also includes the town hall museum.  My kids like looking at some of the portraits (there are a couple that change depending on which side you’re looking from) and the weapons (rifle, crossbow, war helmet, and dagger).

Helpful Tip:  San Gimignano get really crowded with tour bus groups.  If possible, arrive in San Gimignano and make the tower climb the first thing you do in town.  Most visitors get distracted by all of the shops on the way to the main piazza (where the Torre Grossa is located).

Good To Know:  San Gimignano is home to some of the best gelato in Tuscany – at Gelateria Dondoli, just around the corner from the Torre Grossa.

San Gimignano Tourist Info – official website (buy your tickets on site)

Pisa – Leaning Tower

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most iconic monuments in all of Italy, so it only makes sense that your kids would want to climb it. 

You can feel the lean of the tower as you climb up, and you can even see the uneven wear on the stone steps.

There are 273 steps, and when you get to the ‘top’… keep climbing, because you’re not really at the top.  Enjoy the views of the Campo dei Miracoli, and take some time after your climb to explore the other monuments like the Baptistry and the Camposanto. 

Good To Know:  Kids must turn 8 years old dearing the calendar year to be able to climb the tower (make sure you have ID for your child, just in case you’re asked). 

Here’s a video of my son and I climbing down the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Read more about
Pisa with Kids
Climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa with Kids
Leaning Tower of Pisa Facts

Leaning Tower of Pisa – official website (you need to reserve your climb time)

Montalcino – Fortezza

The climb up to the top of Montalcino’s fortezza (fortress) is a favorite of my sons because you climb up and then you can walk all the way around the walls of the fortress.  The countryside views are gorgeous!

When you’re done, you can walk back down to the enoteca and mamma and/or papà can try some vino while kids play in the huge inner courtyard. 

Good To Know:  Montalcino’s playground is on the other side of the village – just walk down the village’s main drag to reach it.

Read more about Montalcino with Kids

Enoteca La Fortezza – official website (buy your ticket inside the wine shop)

Montepulciano – Palazzo Comunale Clock Tower

Montepulciano’s town hall has a clock tower that’s easy to climb, and you can walk a little on the tower walls to find your favorite viewpoint.  We like looking down on the Piazza Grande (famous for its Twilight film scenes), especially during the holiday season when the Christmas Market is set up.  The Tuscan countryside is at its best, including the UNESCO World Heritage Val d’Orcia.

Good To Know:  You may want to avoid this one with toddlers or kids who aren’t confident with heights.  The stairs are narrow, there are a couple of dark spots, and the wooden railings have large spaces (I wouldn’t bring my 3-year-old on this climb because I’d be too stressed the entire way up and down).

Good To Know:  Montepulciano gets really quiet in the winter and early spring, so the tower may be closed (even if it’s supposed to be open).

Montepulciano town hall – official website (buy your ticket inside)

Read my guide to Montepulciano with Kids

More Places to Get Great Views with Your Kids

Boy in grey sweatshirt looking at view of top of buildings in Florence, Italy. He's sitting on a blue chair at a white table. You can see part of the Duomo dome and Piazza della Repubblica.
Checking out Florence from up high at Angel rooftop bar in Florence

Not really up for a tower climb, but still want to see gorgeous Tuscan views?  You could try:

  • Your hotel – many hotels have rooftop terraces with prime city or countryside views
  • A viewpoint above the city or village (for example, Montefioralle above Greve in Chianti or Boboli Gardens above Florence)
  • Restaurants with a view – like Oltre il Giardino in Panzano
  • Rooftop aperitivo – Italian cities have seen an explosion of new rooftop bars, and many are kid-friendly (especially in the early part of the evening) and are a great place to get a snack with your kids
  • Castles – like Castello di Brolio, in Chianti

More info you may find helpful for your Tuscany travel with your kids
Our Top 10 Tuscany Activities for Families
70+ Things to do in Tuscany with Kids
Tuscany without a Car
Tips for Renting a Car in Tuscany

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