Florence is really one of my favorite cities that we’ve visited in Europe! It just has such a nice vibe to it and with so much to see and do, it’s the kind of city that makes you feel like you’re really “in” Italy. You could spend several days in Florence visiting the famous sites and museums, not to mention all the artwork! But, I would highly suggest just spending a day wandering around and getting lost in this lovely city! You never know what you’ll stumble upon. The pictures in this “tour” are from two days of adventures walking around the city, but with dedication you could fit all of these into one day.
On the first day, we drove to the city and parked along the river in the metered parking. It was a little pricey, although coming from Zurich we don’t notice that as much anymore! We walked along the north side of the river taking in the sites and checking out the famous Ponte Vecchino bridge.
We walked over the bridge, which is for pedestrians, checking out all the little shops (mostly jewelry) and paused to take a photo in the middle! One day we’ll get a nice family photo with Carter actually smiling.
Over the bridge keep exploring and head strait on to the Palazzo Pitti. Here you’ll find the Renaissance Palace, designed mostly by Filippo Brunelleschi, which was also once home to the famous Medici family. Today it houses several museums, as well as a vast garden behind the palace. You can buy a ticket for the museums only, the gardens or both. We decided to skip the museums because we knew we were going to the art museum later that week and there are only so many museums a 3 year old can go to! We bought tickets for the gardens and took some time walking around there.
Carter loves watching all the street performers and we usually give him a little bit of money to give the musicians and mimes. But, I hate those pushy guys who try to get you to buy flowers or hand you bracelets like they’re free and then demand your money. We are very good at avoiding them but they are also sneaky and know that kids will also take things handed to them, especially in the form of a fun balloon sword. Nevertheless, we let Carter keep the balloon this time, and he had a lot of fun with it. (along with a short chat about accepting things from strangers) At least it kept him entertained while we walked around!
No trip to Italy is complete without trying all the gelato! This was the first of many gelatos we had on this trip. Both my husband and I had the “after 8” flavor, which was just mint chocolate chip, and Carter had nutella flavor!
Last on your walking tour, head back over the bridge and walk north until you hit the Piazza del Duomo. This is where you will find the famous Duomo and is also a great center area for tourist with a lot of shopping and restaurants in the surrounding streets.
If you don’t feel up to waiting in a long line, paying and climbing 463 steps to the top, you can also join the much shorter queue and view the inside of the cathedral for free! You’ll miss the views, but you can also enjoy views of the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo (*free) and from the Boboli gardens (behind the Palace).
Just a note about traveling with kids- there aren’t really a lot of playgrounds to be found in Florence. So, if you’re kids get bored easily I would highly recommend bringing a few small toys they can play with in the piazzas for a break- cars, bubbles etc. Otherwise, the town is very kid friendly and everyone was very nice and accepting of having kids in the restaurants and such.