70 Things To Do In Tuscany With Kids (That Parents Will Enjoy Too)!

Are you bringing your kids to Tuscany?  If not, you should be!  Do you live in Tuscany and find yourself bored doing the same things every weekend?  Tuscany is full of fun things to do with kids and visiting Tuscany with kids is easy to organize.  There are activities for all ages and interests.

This list is divided into the following categories:

  • Art & Culture
  • Food
  • History & Monuments
  • Museums
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Sports
  • Theme Parks
  • Wildlife

You can also find all the activities on the below Google Map.  After each title, in brackets, you’ll see how the activity is labeled on the Google Map. 

For example, the activity “Marble Paper in Florence” is on the Google Map as Giulio Giannini e Figlio (the name of the workshop that offers the activity. 

To see the list of activities on the Google Map, click on the icon with the arrow pointing to the square in the upper left corner of the map.

All the contact information on the Google Map is updated by Google and the individual companies/workshops/locations.  Please contact them directly if you have any questions.

*COVID-19 continues to disrupt the 2021 tourist season.  Many of the below activities have re-opened, but may have limited hours, offerings, or number of visitors allowed.  Before visiting, please check with them directly.

Contents

Art & Culture for Kids in Tuscany:

1. Marble Paper in Florence

Street View of Giulio Giannini e Figlio Shop in Florence

[Giulio Giannini e Figlio] – Have a budding artist in your family? Or maybe just a kid who loves arts and crafts?  If so, you’ll want to sign up for a paper marbling workshop at Giulio Giannini e Figlio, using techniques that date all the way back to the 8th century!  You’ll use tools that were used by the family-run business beginning in the 1800s and you’ll leave with your handmade, gorgeous, marbled paper!  The workshop takes about an hour, and it’s perfect for kids ages 5 and up.

2. Explore the Set of Twilight’s New Moon in Montepulciano

[Montepulciano] – If you or your children have read or watched Twilight, you’ll want to check out Montepulciano. No, that’s not a typo – although the town of Volterra is highlighted in the series, the scenes for the movie were filmed in nearby Montepulciano.  Whether you’re team Edward or team Jacob, you’ll enjoy wandering the small streets looking for where the scenes were filmed.  Or, try to figure out what’s missing in the Piazza Grande, where Bella rushed to save Edward (hint: it has to do with water).  Local tour companies can also show you the Twilight-themed sights.

3. Celebrate Carnevale in Viareggio

[Viareggio Carnevale] – Most visitors flock to Venice to experience Carnevale (Carnival), the celebrations that occur before Lent begins. Insiders know that Viareggio’s Carnevale is the most family-friendly in Italy, with its parades, festivals in the streets, musical events, art workshops, fireworks, and more.  Even if you’re not in Viareggio in February, you can stop by the Carnevale Museum.  No matter where you are for Carnevale in Italy, be sure to stop into any tabacchi store or toy shop to buy coriandoli (confetti) for your kids to throw – they’ll love it!  And everyone in the family should sample fritelle, little Italian-style doughnuts.  Note that in 2021, for the first time in its history, the Carnevale will run in late September and early October, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Channel Your Inner Michelangelo in the Marble Quarries in the Apuan Alps

[Carrara Marble Tour] – Prepare to be wowed by the marble quarries of the Apuan Alps. This is where Michelangelo sourced his marble for his David statue, and it may be the source of your marble kitchen counter.  Kids will love exploring one of the quarries in a 4×4 tour.  When you’re finished, visit the museum across the street from the tour to learn more about the extraction techniques, life of quarry workers, and the uses for marble – Did you know marble is an ingredient in some toothpaste (calcium carbonate, a mild abrasive)?

5. Explore a Playground Created by Artists in Pistoia

[Il Giardino Volante] – Four Italian artists created a playground of art for children in a beautiful green space in the center of Pistoia. The ‘exhibits’ are unique and can be enjoyed by the little ones – see saws that spell out ‘ARTE,’ a huge grass sphere with a slide, and more.

6. Watch Maremma Cowboys in Action

[Associazione Butteri d’Alta Maremma] – While in the land of spaghetti westerns, why not check out a cowboy show? This group of cowboys, or butteri, performs shows that demonstrate the daily life of a buttero.  While the butteri no longer work the land, they still meet and practice to carry on the tradition.  Clint Eastwood would be proud to see their legacy lives on!

7. Take a Ride on a Steam Train in the Val d’Orcia

[Ferrovia Asciano-Monte Antico] – A dedicated association of volunteers has brought defunct railway lines back to life. In the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Val d’Orcia, a steam train runs occasionally.  The events are posted on the website and are usually full-day excursions, including lunch and stops at interesting sites.  If you’re in Tuscany when one of the trips run, don’t hesitate to reserve it.

8. Feast on Local Specialties at a Sagra

[Parterre Park] – Sagre are the perfect way to sample local dishes and delicacies.  A sagra is a food festival focused on one dish, ingredient, or style of cooking.  Cortona has hosted a beef festival since 1959, the Sagra della Bistecca di Cortona, or the ‘Festival of Cortona Steak.’  Every August, in the public Parterre Park, volunteers grill massive quantities of the area’s famous Chianina beef for locals and visitors.  If beef’s not your thing, don’t worry – there are sagre for all interests (cherries, porcini mushrooms, ribollita, wild boar, truffles, ravioli, sausages, to name a few).  Kids will have a blast interacting with other kids and sampling the area’s famed dish.

9. Play in a Tarot Garden near Capalbio Inspired by Gaudi’s Parco Guell in Barcelona

[Tarot Garden] – Niki Saint Phalle’s incredible sculpture park (Tarot Garden in English, Giardino dei Tarocchi in Italian) is a guaranteed hit for kids! The gigantic, colorful sculptures represent the 22 trump cards of the Tarot and they’re covered in mirrors and Venetian glass – amazing!  The artist spent over 20 years building the Tarot Garden and even lived inside one of the sculptures (The Empress) while working on the project.  Adults will enjoy wandering the grounds, and kids will LOVE it, because they can touch the sculptures, climb on them, and explore them to their hearts’ content!  With free entrance to kids 6 and under, it’s an inexpensive outing for a family with small children.  After visiting the Tarot Garden, head ten minutes inland to the nearby village of Capalbio to look for another of Saint Phalle’s sculptures (and a glass of local wine for mamma and papa!).   Or, drive ten minutes in the other direction to play at the Ultima Spiaggia beach.

10. Walk Amongst the Artwork at the Chianti Sculpture Park

[Chianti Sculpture Park] – Your kids may not love shuffling through museums, but they will love running around the sculptures created by 26 artists from around the world. It’s a perfect combination of nature and art.  Bonus – there are an additional 10 sculptures in the immediate vicinity.  Make sure you check out the website to see if a concert will be on in the amphitheater during your visit.

11. Sculpt Like the Renaissance Masters at Mud Pottery

[Mud Pottery Club] While not quite as well-known for ceramics as its neighbors in Umbria, Campagnia, Puglia, and Sicily, Tuscany still has beautiful workshops and stores full of the art. We love the ceramics of Rampini (based in Radda, with another shop in Florence). Their shop is worth a visit, but it’s not much fun for kids.  If your little ones would like to create their own piece like the Renaissance masters did, bring them to Mud Pottery in the center of Florence.  The staff are excellent with children and can help them create their own masterpiece or decorate one that’s already been made.  The final product will make a wonderful, personalized souvenir.

Food for Kids in Tuscany:

12. Become an Expert at Tasting Gelato in Castellina in Chianti

Little boy eating ice cream cone

[Gelateria di Castellina] – Upon returning home, many parents ask their children which part of the trip was their favorite. It’s not uncommon for children to reply with an enthusiastic, ‘gelato!’ This cool treat can be a highlight of each day – as a special treat after a museum visit, a replacement lunch(!) or as a pick me up after a fight with a sibling.  You can never really go wrong with gelato!  Here in Italy, we eat it year-round.  Yes, you’ll see kids in the dead of winter walking down the street licking a cone.  If you’re in Chianti, stop by the Gelateria di Castellina and try the in-season flavors like ricotta and fig or blackberry.  Of course, you can’t go wrong with classics like chocolate or strawberry!  Tips from my kids:    Make sure the gelato isn’t piled high – if so, it’s probably full of vegetable fats (a no-no) and/or emulsifiers/stabilizers.  2.  Check the color of the pistachio gelato – it should be a dull green, not a vibrant green.  Likewise, banana should be a dull greyish color, not bright yellow.  The dull color means natural ingredients were probably used.  See here for a list of our favorite gelaterie in Florence.

13. Participate in the Olive Harvest

boy and man harvesting olives from olive tree

[Farmhouse Le Ceregne Bio] – If you’re visiting Tuscany in the fall, help your kids make the connection between the olive trees that dot the Tuscan landscape and the olive oil on the dinner table. Put on your gloves and go to work picking olives for the day.  Then, make the trip to the local frantoio (oil mill) to see the olives become green, fresh oil.  Sample the new oil on a slice of grilled Tuscan bread with garlic, salt and oil (fettunta – or fetta unta, an oily slice of bread).  If you’re based in Florence, reserve an oil mill visit with Fattoria di Maiano for an up-close look at the process [Fattoria di Maiano].

14. Visit a Winery and Sip on Grape Juice at Fattoria Sant’Appiano

[Fattoria Sant’Appiano] – While in Tuscany, it would be a shame to miss out on visiting a vineyard and sampling its wines. Unfortunately, vineyard visits aren’t usually popular with children.  Pier Francesco and his family will include kids in the visit by having them participate in the tasting – with juice instead of wine.  Lunch and a tour of the property, including the cellar can be included in the visit.  Kids love running around in the green areas while parents sip on wine and take in the incredible views.  It’s best to call ahead and tell them you’d like the kids to participate with juice.

15. Go Pecorino Cheese Tasting at Caseificio Cugusi

[Caseificio Cugusi] – Parmigiano what? Pecorino, made from the milk of sheep (pecore), is Tuscany’s cheese of choice. Due to very strict health regulations, small farms are unable to have visitors enter the building to see the cheese being made.  But you can sample the delicious variety of cheeses while watching the sheep graze in the surrounding hills.  Cugusi will pack your cheeses along with sliced meats, jams, honey, and drinks into a picnic basket to be enjoyed on the property.  Not a baaaaaad way to spend the afternoon!

16. Sniff Out Elusive Truffles with a Truffle Hunting Dog in San Miniato

[Truffle in Tuscany] – Massimo, a third-generation truffle hunter, will teach you all you need to know about the area’s famous white tuber. Children adore Stella the dog and will delight in seeing her hunt for truffles in the San Miniato woodland. After the hunt, enjoy a truffle-themed meal or roll up your sleeves and join the cooking class.  A truffle hunting experience is highly recommended during a visit to Tuscany, and especially with this particular family.

History & Monuments for Kids in Tuscany:

17. Climb the Torre Grossa Bell Tower of San Gimignano

[Torre Grossa] – One of the original 72 towers in the town of San Gimignano, Torre Grossa is well worth the climb! Kids and adults will love the view at the top of the 218 steps.  Kids don’t want to climb?  A gelato ‘reward’ at the famous Dondoli Gelateria may do the trick.  We bring visiting friends and family to climb the tower and enjoy it most in the early or late part of the day when there are less bus visitors in town (San Gimignano get bu-sy!).  When you leave town, point out the towers to your kids – they’ll be proud they climbed so high!

18. Set Eyes on the True Sword in the Stone at San Galgano

[Cappella di San Galgano a Montesiepi] – You may remember Merlin’s famous line: “Whoever pulls out this sword from this stone is the true king of England!” Skip the search for the legendary sword in England and bring your kids to see the true sword in the stone in San Galgano.  Unfortunately, you won’t be able to try to pull the sword out.  It’s now enclosed in a transparent case after thieves tried to steal it.  Still, it’s quite a site, and even more so if you read about San Galgano before you see it.

19. Defend a Medieval Castle in Chianti

Boys looking at Brolio castle from a small wall

[Castello di Brolio] – We love taking visiting friends to see the Brolio Castle in Chianti. It’s a highlight for kids (the castle!) and adults (the wine!).  You can tour the inside of castle (it’s occupied by the family), but you don’t need to.  Exploring the outside is plenty of fun.  Just make sure you get the pamphlet so you can read about the history of the castle as you walk around the walls.  Our family’s favorite parts include seeing the different colors of stone used (grey from Florence, red from Siena), the slots the archers used, the place used to dump hot oil onto attackers, the artillery marks on the walls, and the huge bumblebees in the gardens.


Check out our post on
Visiting Castello di Brolio with Kids!

20. Try on Medieval Armor in Monteriggioni

[Museo Monteriggioni in Arme] – This small museum is worth a quick visit during a trip to Monteriggioni. Children will love the chance to see the replicas of medieval armor and they can try on some of it and ‘test it out.’  Note: Trying on the armor is currently suspended due to COVID-19.  Your ticket to the museum will also allow you access to walk the walls of the city.

Want to know more about Monteriggioni and its Armor Museum?
Check out our post on
Visiting Monteriggioni
!

21. Hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa

[Leaning Tower of Pisa] – You’ve seen the photos of everyone ‘holding up’ the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and your children will want to take one of their own. Alternatives include making it into an ice cream cone, pushing the tower over, holding it between your fingers, and giving it a hug.  Once you’ve taken your photo, sit back and watch everyone else taking their photos – it’s entertaining!  If it’s important for you to have a nice photo without a ton of other people in it, try to visit early in the morning.  The area can get very crowded!  Are your kids interested in the view from the top?  There are 251 steps to climb to the highest point, but only children 8 and older can climb.

22. Choose Your Favorite Contrada and Learn about the Palio in Siena

[Piazza del Campo] – Twice a year, the city’s stunning Piazza del Campo (yes, that Piazza del Campo, from James Bond’s Quantum of Solace) is filled to the brim with Senesi and visitors watching the Palio horse race. The day of the Palio is overwhelming for most kids, but the excitement can be felt year-round.  Kids love finding the flags, sculptures and plaques that represent each of the contrade (neighborhoods) – caterpillars, wolves, geese, eagles, snails, owls, dragons, giraffes, porcupines, unicorns, rams, shells, waves, panthers, forests, turtles, and towers.

23. Picture Yourself as the Star of a Roman Spectacle in Volterra

[Roman Theatre] – Not heading to Rome on this trip? No problem!  Take a trip to Volterra to see its Roman theater and baths.  You’re also lucky enough to witness the unearthing of a Roman Amphitheatre, which was only discovered in 2015!

24. Imagine Life in a Medieval Castle in Vicopisano

[Rocca di Vicopisano] – Climb the stairs of the tower and imagine what life was like living here in the Middle Ages. Kids will love seeing the weapons and armor.  The guides bring the experience to life and are extremely passionate about the site.  It’s only open on the weekends, so plan accordingly.

25. See Etruscan Tombs at the Underground Museum in Chiusi

[Museo Civico La Citta Sotteraneo] – First visit the small museum above ground. Then, take the guided tour underground.  Explore the network of tunnels and see Etruscan tombs.  It’s a quick visit and kids will love the underground aspect.  Check to make sure you’ll have an English-speaking guide.

Museums (Indoor & Outdoor) for Kids in Tuscany:

26. Choose Your Favorite Medieval Torture Device in Volterra

[Volterra Museum of Torture] – Am I the only parent whose kids love looking at the pictures of guillotines and axes in the pictorial history books? If yours do too, they’ll appreciate Volterra’s small museum of torture devices, both original and recreated (headcrusher, anyone?).  This one’s best kept for the older children.  If you’re not stopping by Volterra, you can find other torture museums in Lucca, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, and Siena.

27. Find the Vespa of Your Dreams at the Piaggio Museum

[Museo Piaggio] – Travel back in time to the 1940s and see the beginnings of the Vespa. Vintage and modern models are on display, and young and old alike will appreciate the beautiful displays.  Good luck leaving here without purchasing a miniature model Vespa in the small shop.

28. Learn About the Renaissance Man, Leonardo da Vinci in His Hometown

[Leonardo da Vinci Museum] – While there are other museums dedicated to him, this small museum is located in his hometown of Vinci. There are multiple locations included in the ticket, including his home, the museum with his science and engineering models and exhibits, and a museum that displays reproductions of his artwork.  The locations utilize technology in the displays, apps to experience the exhibits, and a hologram.  Exhibits are explained in multiple languages, but unfortunately, aren’t interactive (kids want to make the models move!).  We loved reading ‘Who Was Leonardo da Vinci’ before visiting.  If you can’t make it out to Vinci, there is a small da Vinci museum in the center of Florence.

29. Examine Etruscan Artifacts in Castellina in Chianti

[Archaeological Museum of Chianti] – This tiny museum in the center of Castellina in Chianti has some interesting artifacts that help children understand what daily life was like in Chianti during Etruscan times. There are also summer workshops available for the kids.  Don’t leave without climbing the tower and taking in the spectacular view!

30. Discover a Lesser-Known Type of Tuscan Art in Follonica

[MAGMA Museum of Cast Iron] – Most visitors to Tuscany want to see paintings and sculptures by Michelangelo and his peers, but there are other interesting types of art in the region. The name of the museum probably won’t have you rushing to visit, but it’s a unique space that warrants a look.  MAGMA uniquely displays the exhibits and uses multimedia to capture the attention of visitors of all ages.  It’s best visited in the evening if you’d like to see the full effect of the light displays inside and outside.

31. Experience Daily Life in a Medieval Village at the Poggibonsi Archeodrome

[Poggibonsi Archeodrome] – Children will soak up what life was like in medieval times as they walk through this reconstructed village. Open only on Sundays (and still worth a call to make sure!), the village has actors who demonstrate medieval daily life, including raising chickens, farming, making bread, working with grain, and using tools.  Kids can also participate in some of the activities.  And, it’s free!  The archeodrome is adjacent to the Poggio Imperiale Fortress, built under the direction of the Medici family.

32. Gaze at the Stars at the Chianti Observatory

[Osservatorio Polifunzionale del Chianti] – This observatory in Chianti is home to Tuscany’s largest telescope. It’s located in a botanical garden which can be visited during the day, but the highlight is a visit at night to view the sky.  Visits must be arranged in advance and are not available often, so advance planning is important.  The observatory offers two unique experiences – AstroExperience, an evening with an astrophysicist, and Visita Galileana, an evening with a professional astronomer using the main telescope and copies of the instruments Galileo used to view the sky.

Outdoor Activities for Kids in Tuscany:

33. Build a Sandcastle at Bibbona Beach

boy and mother playing in sand at beach

[Spiaggia Libera Marina di Bibbona] – Italian pediatricians award beaches a bandiera verde, or green flag, if they’re ideal beaches for children. Some of the characteristics of these beaches include shallow waters, no steep drops from the beach to the water, plenty of sand, lifeguards present, and other resources for families (restaurants, retrooms, etc).  Bandiere blu, or blue flags, are awarded to the cleanest beaches in Italy.  Bibbona checks off both.  It’s a perfect place to build a sandcastle!  Parents can join in on the fun or supervise from lounge chairs.

34. Relax in the Bagno Vignoni Hot Springs Like the Ancient Romans

[Antiche Terme Romane Libere] – Kick back and spend a day in the hot springs of Bagno Vignoni.  If you don’t want to make a day of it, walk down to the public hot springs and stick your feet in one of the slim, shallow hot springs canals.  If you’re looking for more of a spa experience, Spa & Resort Le Terme is in the center of town and offers day passes which include thermal baths, hydromassage, Roman sauna, robe, slippers, and locker.  Younger kids will enjoy a quick visit to the outdoor public hot springs and a look around the town.

35. Marvel at Stalagmites and Stalactites at the Grotta del Vento

[Grotta del Vento] – My then-4-year-old son loved passing time looking at photos of caves in the Picturepedia. He was blown away seeing the real thing!  The Grotta del Vento has three main itineraries, and I recommend doing the first (1 hour) itinerary with kids.  There is plenty to see and an hour in the cave is enough time for little ones.  Wear proper shoes to climb up and down stairs and walk on humid paths and bring a light jacket or fleece.  There are handrails in most parts, but not all.  English tours aren’t always available – if there’s not one running when you arrive, they will provide an audioguide.  The drive up can be an experience (narrow, winding road).

36. Take Photos with Sunflowers

[Sunflower Fields]– It’s hard to think of Tuscany without thinking of sunflowers. They bloom in our fields every summer and even locals smile when driving by a huge field of them.  My kids and I still stop and run through the fields, pausing for a few photos.  The fields change because the farmers rotate crops, but you’re guaranteed to find them if you drive out of the cities and into the countryside.  They’re everywhere, and locals in small towns will be happy to point you in the right direction of the season’s fields.

37. Make Italian Friends at Summer Camp

[Labsitters] – Each summer, Tuscan families send their kids to centri estivi – summer camps. Options include everything from art camp to soccer camp, outdoor survival camp to computer programming camp.  There are camps located in the city centers and others in the sprawling countryside.  Labsitters runs camps each summer in English for Italian children wanting to learn the language.  If you’re in the area for a short time it could be a great opportunity to get to know Italian children.  Tutto Campi Estivi also has information on camps in Tuscany (and the rest of Italy).

38. Take a Ferry to Elba and Explore the Island’s Beaches

[Porto di Piombino] – In less than an hour, you can ferry from Piombino on the mainland to Portoferraio on Elba Island. Elba’s white sand (and black sand and rocky) beaches and turquoise waters are paradise.  Kids will love playing in the sand and swimming in the shallow water, but if you’re looking for more, try kayaking, sailing, or snorkeling in the crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea.

39. Find the Stone Giant in Pratolino Park

[Colosso dell’Appennino] – Just outside of Florence, lies an enormous green space waiting to be explored. The park consists of grassy areas, forest, fountains, gardens, and caves.  You may see animals – deer and rabbits make their home in the park.  The highlight for kids is the huge statue of the Giant.   The park is free and it’s best to call ahead to check the opening hours, which can vary.

40. Explore Etruscan Roads Carved into Tufa near Pitigliano

[Via Cava di Fratenuti] – The forests surrounding Pitigliano, Sovana, and Sorano in Southern Tuscany are home to the Etruscan vie cave, or excavated roads. In some places, the narrow roadways are carved into tufa walls more than twenty meters high!  Children love exploring the pathways and caves – it feels like an Indiana Jones adventure!  Some of the pathways can be reached by foot from the villages.  The Via Cava di Fratenuti can be reached by foot from Pitigliano or you can park just off of the main road and walk the kilometer out-and-back.  Pack lunches are perfect for the ‘adventure’ and if you’d like to learn more about the history of the area, a local guide can be hired in the Pitigliano tourist information center.

41. Walk Across the Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge in Italy

[Ponte Sospeso di San Marcello Pistoiese] – The original suspension bridge here wasn’t built for tourist fun – it was a way for local laborers to get to work in the morning. Walking across the bridge helped them to avoid a multi-kilometer trek on the road.  It was once the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, at 212 meters.  It no longer holds the title (the current world record holder is the 516-meter Arouca suspension bridge in Portugal) but it remains a thrilling visit for kids (and adults!).  Parking is free, and so is the ten-minute walk across the bridge.  Reminder – don’t attempt to walk across the bridge if you have a fear of heights.  At times the ground and river are 35 meters below you!

Sports for Kids in Tuscany:

42. Climb Between the Trees at an Outdoor Ropes Course at Adventure Park Il Gigante

[Adventure Park Il Gigante]This adventure park outside of Florence is well-maintained and fun for all ages (3+). All safety equipment is provided and there is a safety briefing before beginning.  There are sixteen routes to choose from, depending on the child’s age, and some routes require a parent to follow along (on the route or from the ground).  It’s the perfect place to go in the heat of the summer because there is quite a bit of shade.  Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and bring snacks!

43. Get a Strike at the Bowling Alley in Chiusi

[Bowling Chiusi] – I lived here for years before I realized Tuscany had bowling alleys. I didn’t realize Italians liked the sport, so bowling had always been a treat for visits to the United States.  Luckily, a mamma friend told me about multiple bowling alleys in our region.  They aren’t always kid friendly, but Bowling Chiusi has small shoes for rent, light bowling balls, and optional lane bumpers for the little ones.

44. Bicycle on Top of Lucca’s 16th Century Walls

[Rent Bike Punto Bici Lucca] – Don’t worry – you’re not balancing precariously on a slim path on top of a wall! Lucca’s walls are tree-lined and have a very wide path that is used by cyclists and pedestrians.  Rent a bicycle (or a multi-seat bike for your family) from one of the many bicycle shops in town.  Do a quick shop in town to gather picnic supplies and stop during your ride to enjoy the views and have lunch or a snack.  Or stop at one of the cafés on top of the walls.  The walls are just over four kilometers, and it will take about 30-60 minutes, depending on how fast you ride.  It’s a fun activity and a must-do if you’re in Lucca.  If you’d like to also cycle inside Lucca’s walls, it’s best done in the morning when there aren’t as many pedestrians.  And most importantly, don’t forget helmets!  Most cyclists you’ll see aren’t wearing them – don’t follow the crowd!

45. Channel Your Inner Mario Andretti in a Go Kart Race in Siena

[Circuito di Siena] – My eldest son is counting down the days to his 10th birthday so he can drive a go kart at this track. Even if your kids are too young, you could stop by and watch other kids race.  There are numerous gare (races) on the calendar.  They rent all safety gear needed and they occasionally run a Go Kart school for kids.  Note that due to COVID-19, you may need to provide your own helmet (call for the latest information before going).

46. Cycle the Stunning Countryside

[Tuscany Bike Tours] – Let me start by saying I don’t let my small children ride on the roads here in Tuscany – we stick to trails, bike paths, and boardwalks. While most Italians are respectful of cyclists (everyone has a relative and or/friend who rides), the roads are full of tourists and some Italians who aren’t comfortable with or don’t know how to share the road with cyclists.  If your children are older and experienced cyclists, they will love spinning their wheels in this cyclist’s playground!  The entire family can take rent bikes (or bring your own!) or take a cycling tour.  This excellent tour includes a castle visit and lunch and van support if/when you need it!

47. Drive the Mini Cars in Forte dei Marmi

man and son drive mini race car in piazza in Forte dei Marmi

[Piazza Marconi]– The seaside town of Forte dei Marmi is a favorite destination for our family. It’s not exactly a budget destination, but it’s very clean and you’ll feel comfortable letting your kids walk or ride their bikes around without being in arm’s reach.  We base ourselves at one of the bagni, or beach clubs.  After a morning playing at the beach and a relaxing lunch at the bagno, we make our way to Piazza Marconi the center of town to ride the mini cars.  Kids can drive solo if you feel comfortable, or you can squeeze into one of the cars with your younger ones.  The ride around the piazza only takes a couple of minutes, and you can buy multiple rides if your kids love it.  There are also horse carriage rides in the same area.  After, take a stroll through town and enjoy an outdoor aperitivo or dinner at one of the restaurants in the pedestrian zone.

49. Go Horseback Riding in the Countryside

[Riding Tuscany] – There are quite a few equestrian centers in Tuscany, and there’s even a ranch that specializes in horseback riding holidays (Tuscany Equestrian). This stable, in the hills near Volterra and San Gimignano, is focused on riding experiences for children, from beginners to experienced.  The staff offer lessons and excursions, for children or entire families.

47. Hike to a 12th Century Church near Pienza

[Pieve di Corsignano] – At less than one kilometer from Pienza, this stroll will take 15-20 minutes along the pedestrian path down to the Romanesque church. Older kids will be excited to look out onto the Val d’Orcia, the location of scenes in The Gladiator with Russell Crowe.  The walk back up to Pienza takes a bit longer because it’s all uphill, but a gelato at the end makes it worth it!  Cheese lovers will enjoy wandering Pienza’s streets – it’s the home of pecorino cheese and you can smell the sheep’s milk treat as you wander about.

48. Go Sledding in the Appennine Mountains

[Val di Luce Sledding Hill] – We love this small skiing/snowboarding/sledding area. We’ve had nice stays at the Val di Luce Resort, which is across the street from the slopes.  You can eat breakfast and walk 100 meters to start your day.  We now make a daytrip from Florence:  After an early breakfast at home, we drive to the resort (less than two hours) and play in the snow for a few hours.  After an easy pizzeria lunch next to the slopes, we play for 1-2 more hours and then hop back in the car for the ride back to Florence.  It makes for a fun day for all!  You can rent or buy equipment at the slopes.  The area also has hiking trails during the summer.

51. Cast Your Line and Fish for Trout in Chianti

[Lago Vallechiara] – This small private lake in Chianti is a perfect spot for fishing with kids. It’s not remote and wild, but there are amenities that make it ideal for families.  Because it’s a private lake, no license is necessary, and you can rent fishing poles on site.  There’s also a restaurant, swings and a trampoline.  Trout can be caught and taken away to be cooked, or you can catch and release carp and sturgeon.

52. Ride a Bike at the Beach in Versilia

[Cicli Maggi] – Versilia is our pick for the best family-friendly cycling in Tuscany. There are cycling lanes, car-free biking lanes along some of the beaches, and beautiful pine forests to ride through.  Rent a bike from the dependable Cicli Maggi in Forte dei Marmi and use the shop as a base for your cycling adventures.  The shop has a variety of bicycles for rent, so you’ll find one suitable for each family member.  Don’t forget to stop for a gelato mid-ride!

53. Kitesurf in the Mediterranean Sea 

[Inkite Kitesurf] – Kitesurfing is popular in Italy, in from the northern reaches of the country (Lake Como, Lake Garda) to the center (Mediterranean Coast of Tuscany) to the South (Puglia) and its islands (Sardegna, Sicily). There are multiple schools in Tuscany, and this one in Vada is perfect for beginners.  The waters are shallow, the winds are consistent, and the school focuses on safety.  Older children can take a one hour lesson and continue if they enjoy it.

54. Drive a Vintage Fiat 500 Through the Countryside

[500 Touring Club] – My husband likes to tell me how his entire family would squeeze into a FIAT 500 for road trips to the beach in the summer. This tour will limit your squeezing to 2 adults and 2 kids, but you’ll have just as much fun as you make your way through the Tuscan countryside in a vintage vehicle.  After a quick lesson and safety briefing, you’re off to explore the Tuscan hills.  Some of the tours include wine tastings and lunches.  It’s important to note that there are no seatbelts in the back seats and they can provide a car seat for the front passenger seat.

55. Splatter Your Family in a Game of Paintball in Florence

[ASD Paintball Florence] – When you think of Tuscany, what comes to mind? Rennaissance Art, Gelato, Pasta, Vineyards, and… paintball!  If you have a group of 6 or more (ages 8+), join a paintball session just outside of Florence.  Parents will enjoy it as much (or more!) as kids will.  It needs to be reserved.

56. Play Pickup Soccer with Local Kids

[Parco delle Cascine] – Kids can find a way to communicate even without speaking the same language. Playing pickup soccer is a fun way to socialize with Italian kids.  Florence’s largest green space, the Parco delle Cascine, is located just outside of the city center (it’s walkable).  You might have to look around to find a game, or bring a ball and start one on your own!  There are also bars and cafes for a gelato or refreshing drink.  Parents can relax on the grass and cheer (in Italian, of course).

57. See (and Hear and Feel!) Ferraris Racing on the Track in the Mugello

[Mugello Circuit] – Race car (& motorcycle) fans will be thrilled to visit Tuscany’s Ferrari-owned track. There are multiple events throughout the season and you can also watch practices.  The circuit is just over 5 kilometers long and it has 15 turns.  Don’t forget earplugs and sun protection – it’s very loud and can be extremely hot in the summer!

Theme Parks for Kids in Tuscany:

58. Venture inside the Terrible Dogfish at Pinocchio Park in Collodi

[Pinocchio Park] – Did you know Pinocchio is from Tuscany? Carlo Lorenzini (pen name Carlo Collodi) was from Florence and you can visit Pinocchio Park in the small village of Collodi.  A friend of mine best described the park as ‘vintage,’ which is the perfect way to describe it!  You won’t find flashy rides here, but you will find an outdoor park full of charm.  A highlight is the huge dogfish (or whale in some versions of the story) sculpture. Children between 1-1.5m and over 5 years old can try out the short ropes course.  Kids love the park, especially younger ones, and those who have read the story of Pinocchio.

59. Ride a Roller Coaster at the Tuscan Amusement Park Cavallino Matto

Entrance to Italian amusement park Cavallino Matto, with the horse and a rocky wall.

[Cavallino Matto] – Mingle with Italian kids and their families at Tuscany’s Cavallino Matto Parco Divertimento, or ‘Crazy Pony Fun Park.’ It’s best for families with younger kids, but there are a couple of rides to keep teens happy too.  The Jurassic River ride and two others with water cannons feel great on a hot day!  The park is clean and well-maintained and worth a visit for families with small children.

60. Splash in the Wave Pool in Cecina

[Acqua Village Cecina] – Spend a day here on the waterslides (for both younger and older kids), in the pools, in the wave pool, and in the kids splash area. There are plenty of food options and safety is stressed by the staff on each ride.  The only downside is the lines are almost always long.  All ages will find something fun to do here and it’s even entertaining for parents!

61. Mingle with Dinosaurs in Peccioli

[Parco Preistorico di Peccioli] – If you have a dinosaur fan in your family, this small park is worth a 1-2 hour visit. The 22 dinosaurs are built to scale by the owner, and there are small informational signs.  It’s a perfect stop on a hot summer day – you’ll appreciate the shade.  Pack a lunch if you’ll be there around mid-day and let the kids run around exploring the replicas, riding the go-karts, and playing at the little park.

62. Jump, Jump, Jump on the Inflatables at Bimbolandia in Follonica

[Bimbolandia Gonfiabili] – This is a guaranteed hit for young kids who love jumping on bouncy castles – it’s an entire playground full of bouncy inflatables! It’s a guaranteed hit for parents too – an hour of jumping here will help kids fall asleep quickly at night!  Clean, well-maintained equipment and attentive staff keep locals coming back.  Bring your own socks or buy an inexpensive pair at the park.  Parents can sit inside, but know that it can be very hard to keep track of multiple kids.

Wildlife for Kids in Tuscany:

63. Find the Meerkats at the Pistoia Zoo

[Pistoia Zoo] – If you’re used to some of the larger zoos of the world (like the San Diego Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, or the Bronx Zoo), you may be disappointed. Reset your expectations and visit this small zoo in Pistoia (with smaller prices too!). It is a perfect place to escape with the kids for a few hours. There is plenty of shade, which makes it ideal in the hot summer months. It’s got a few hills, so bring a stroller if you have one. My kids love to visit the reptile and insect building, the farm animal petting area, and the meerkats. We usually start our visit in the morning, stop for a pack lunch and play time in the playground, and then grab a popsicle at the bar before leaving in the early afternoon. Don’t want to pack a lunch? There is a restaurant and a snack bar (although I’ve never seen anyone at the restaurant). It’s an easy outing and the kids are always happy to be there.

64. Go Birdwatching in a World Wildlife Fund Oasis Lago di Burano

[Oasi WWF Lago di Burano] – When you think of Italian beaches, you probably think of beach chairs and umbrellas set up close together and crowds of sunbathers. Visiting Lago di Burano will show you how Italian beaches were before they filled up with people.  Observe abundant bird life and enjoy the peaceful dunes.  The guided tour will bring the area to life and is interesting for kids and adults alike.

65. Find Nemo at the Livorno Aquarium

boy inside shark sculpture at aquarium

[Acquario di Livorno] – While not as expansive at the aquarium in Genova, it’s still an easy way to pass a few hours with the kids. There’s something here for all ages.  Besides finding Nemo, we like looking at the jellyfish, walking in the tunnel and watching the stingrays overhead, and visiting the insects and small reptiles upstairs.  Pack a picnic lunch to eat inside or outside by the playground.

66. Go on an Italian Farm Safari at Fattoria di Maiano

[Fattoria di Maiano] – Hop onto the farm’s 4-wheelers and explore the farm’s delights – botanical gardens, a small lake, and animals running free on the property – horses, donkeys, ducks, geese, and ostriches! You can also travel on foot on the well-marked and signed paths.  After visiting the farm, stop for a picnic or sample some of the food from the property.  The farm welcomes school children during the year, so they have plenty of experience with children and keep them engaged and interested.  This is a fun visit for kids and relaxing and easy for parents.

67. Search for Deer in Parco San Rossore

[Parco Naturale Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli] – Deer, swans, owls, flamingos, rabbits, wild boar, squirrels, red foxes – keep an eye out for all of them as you walk or cycle through the park. The fauna is also outstanding and diverse.  You can visit some of the park’s small farms and take home their products (cheese, vegetables, honey, pine nuts, milk, and more).  It’s a popular stop for local Pisans, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of room for everyone – it’s over 24,000 hectares!  Note: parking can be an issue, so you may want to take advantage of the electric train rides from the center of Pisa.  See the website for updates.  Also, some areas of the park can only be visited with a guide.

68. Walk with Over a Thousand Butterflies at the Casa delle Farfalle in Collodi

[Storico Giardino Garzoni – Casa delle Farfalle] – If you’ve made the trip to see the Pinocchio Park, it’s worth walking across the street to visit the Butterfly House and the Garzoni Gardens. The Butterfly House is small, but houses over 40 different types of butterflies from habitats around the world.  You can also observe the lifecycle of a butterfly, from egg to winged-creature.  Our boys have grown butterflies at home and loved seeing the many varieties and stages throughout the glass structure.  After visiting the Butterfly House, walk outside and let everyone explore the Italian Garzoni Gardens.  Kids love zigging and zagging around the bushes and checking out the fountains.  The ticket includes a visit to the Pinocchio Park.

69. Observe Flamingoes From Your Boat at the Diaccia Botrona Natural Reserve

[Natural Reserve Diaccia Botrona] – If you’ve been going non-stop, take a break and relax on a boat ride in this 700+ hectare wetland Nature Reserve full of bird life. The park estimates over 200 species of birds visit and almost half of them have nests in the park.  There are also animals and creatures (foxes, hedgehogs, snakes, and more) but they are not as easily spotted as the birds.  Each season brings new scenes to observe, but the flamingoes are a highlight and best observed in the winter and spring.  If you don’t want to take the boat, you can also explore on foot or on bicycle.  Don’t forget bug spray, as the mosquitoes can be plentiful.

70. Play in a Pile of Dirt

Three Boys Playing in a Pile of Dirt

[Anywhere] – One day, I was speaking to a fellow mom about this list as we watched our kids play. We’d brought them to visit a castle in the countryside.  They enjoyed the visit and the picnic we had afterward in a beautiful vineyard, but the highlight of the visit was…. playing for over an hour in a big pile of dirt in an empty parking lot.

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