Italians love children, which is why Italy is one of the best countries to visit with kids. A great thing about Florence is that pretty much everything is within walking distance, so bring comfortable shoes, and a good stroller if your kids are small. Also, basically every restaurant is kid-friendly, but if we’ve included them on our Date Night list, it’s because the meals are on the longer side and you will want to enjoy them alone.
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GUIDE TO glimpse
Each recommendation lists address, phone number, website (if available), and gives a basic overview for all of you busy parents. There are also a few words listed to sum up each restaurant, including the type of food they serve, and I have also included whether or not a restaurant has high chairs and a kids’ menu. Keep in mind, even if there is no specific menu, all restaurants on the list will work with families to come up with simple dishes.
Here is the guide to those words:
Contemporary – the décor is simple and modern
Classic – the décor is conservative yet elegant
Cont/classic – the décor contains elements of each
Constant – the spot never goes out of style
Hot – this is the place to be at the moment
Stylish – your outfit should be smart and sophisticated
Casual – jeans and flats are appropriate here
Posh – men grab your coat and tie, ladies, your heels and diamonds
Via del Neri, 74/r
+39 055 2382723
There’s a good reason why the line at All’Antico Vinaio is always out the door – many call this the best sandwich shop. Ever. One of the last fast food places in Florence is also one of the most popular for a quick bite. Head over early to avoid the crowds, order food to go for the whole family, and enjoy a glass of wine and the famous focaccia bread while you wait.
Italian • Classic • Constant • Casual
Borgo S. Jacopo, 57/r
+39 055 212427
Soon after we visited Cammillo Trattoria, a picture of the restaurant popped up on Condé Nast Travel’s Instagram, which proves how wonderful it is. Another of the more popular restaurants for discerning Florentines and travelers in-the-know, it serves divine Italian dishes in a crowded, vibrant space.
Italian • Classic • Constant • Stylish
Piazza Antinori, 3
+39 055 292234
Cantinetta Antinori is a traditional wine bar almost always recommended by locals and hotels. Started 26 generations ago, the historic Florentine room, surrounded by floor to ceiling shelves holding thousands of wine bottles, creates a feeling of being in ones personal wine cellar with family and friends. As a bonus, every single bottle can be sampled by the glass.
Italian • Classic • Constant • Stylish • High chairs (just one, so call ahead)
Via della Spada, 10/r
+39 055 2776328
Remodeled by the Roberto Cavalli group and attached to the Cavalli store, Caffè Giacosa is the perfect spot to grab a quick pastry or cappuccino before continuing on with the area’s fantastic shopping. A hit with the fashion crowd, as well as those traveling with kids, it serves a famous Negroni for the adults and non-alcoholic cocktails for the kids.
Italian • Cont/classic • Constant • Casual • High chairs
Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 8
+39 055 2341100
It has been years since this well-known Florence restaurant first opened to much aplomb, but it is still as strong as ever. The crowd is a mix of international jetsetters, intellectuals and locals, and there is no menu, just whatever the chef deems the freshest that day. While kids are welcome, large families or those with babies might prefer the private dining room or casual Cibrèo Trattoria next door.
Italian/seafood • Classic • Constant • Stylish
Via Torta, 5
+39 055 2654329
If making a dining decision is difficult for your family, the stylish Cucina Torcicoda is the answer, with its selection of dining options. Choose from the elegant restaurant with domed ceilings, white tablecloths and beautiful wood floors if dining without the kids, or head to its casual pizzeria or ice cream shop with them. There is also a tavern for those wanting something in between.
Italian • Classic • Hot • Stylish/casual • High chairs
Borgo Pinti, 99
+39 055 26261
Il Palagio at the Four Seasons hotel is a wonderful choice for families wishing to dine in a more formal setting. One of the more luxurious Michelin-starred restaurants in Florence, it features views of the historic hotel gardens, a seasonal terrace, and most importantly, a children’s menu.
Italian • Classic • Constant • Posh • High chairs
Via di Santo Spirito, 64/66
+39 055 211264
This intimate Florence hotspot across the Arno River is a lovely, less expensive option for a nice dinner. The reasonable prices are only part of why the line forms out the door immediately upon opening at 7:30, and the stylish celebrities, locals and tourists make it an entertaining place to dine. You may feel a little out of place with smaller kids, but it ended up being fine for us.
Italian • Classic • Constant • Stylish
Via de’ Georgofili, 3
+39 055 219208
When craving a panini, head directly to ‘Ino, known for its fresh ingredients found all over Italy, and daily specials, featuring such delicacies as truffles and prosciutto. The quick turnaround is perfect for families on-the-go. The chocolate tasting for dessert will not be forgotten.
Italian • Contemporary • Constant • Casual
10/12 18r Borgo Pinti
+39 055 241341
Of all the restaurants in Florence, this one seems to be recommended the most. Opened in the 70’s by an Italian prince and now run by his son, the hip spot is full of locals, tourists, students and families, all enjoying the perfect Italian dishes in a cozy, yet exciting, setting. This was our favorite meal.
Italian • Classic • Constant • Stylish • High chairs
Via dei Vagellai 18r
+39 055 0944877
A very casual spot but with a sophisticated touch, Libreria Brac is a popular library, restaurant, café and bar all in one. The center courtyard gives it an open, yet cozy feel, and the wifi is a nice perk for travelers.
Italian • Cont/classic • Constant • Casual • High chairs
Via de’ Vellutini, 1r
+39 055 218562
While the inside of 4 Leoni is very cool, with exposed brick walls and a rustic-chic feel, it is the outdoor seating that is so coveted. Located on a small, cozy square, it is quaint, yet exciting, and everything you think an Italian restaurant should be. Don’t forget to book ahead.
Italian • Classic • Constant • Stylish
Via del Porcellana, 25/r
+39 055 212691
Before visiting Florence the first time, all we heard was “Sostanza. Butter Chicken”. Take a break from all the pizza and pasta and head here for the world-famous dish, bustling atmosphere with white-tiled walls, and charming staff. Of course, they also serve pasta if you just can’t get enough.
Italian • Classic • Constant • Stylish
Via Ghibellina, 87
+39 055 242757
Quite possibly the most famous restaurant in all of Florence, as well as all of Italy, Enoteca Pinchiorri is a must for all foodies. There’s nothing quite like the French/Italian fusion, with its three Michelin stars, and wine cellar that holds 150,000 bottles, making it one of the biggest cellars in the world. Leave the kids and enjoy the extensive, life-changing tasting menu.
French/Italian • Classic • Constant • Posh
Via Pisana, 37/r
+39 055 222299
Fuor d’Acqua is a great choice for those seeking something other than pasta, as it is well-known for its fresh seafood and stunning décor of white tablecloths, white walls, and modern seating. Children might not feel comfortable in the beautiful setting so leave them with a sitter and enjoy the extensive wine list in the adjacent wine bar after dinner.
Seafood • Contemporary • Constant • Posh
Via dei Georgofili, 11/r
+39 055 2001699
With its neutral colors, white domed ceiling and contemporary tables, Ora d’Aria is one of the more chic choices in Florence. The Michelin-starred chef is very well-known in Italy, and the cuisine is some of the most coveted in the city. We recommend the five-course tasting menu.
Italian • Contemporary • Constant • Posh
Via Spicciano, 7, Tavarnelle
+39 055 806470
Located about 30 minutes outside of Florence, the Castello del Nero is a chic option for those families wanting a resort in Tuscany, yet also desire to be close to the thrills of Florence. An authentic 12th century castle on a private estate of 740 acres with unparalleled views of the rolling hills, the hotel has been completely updated to accommodate the most discerning travelers, with a luxurious ESPA-branded spa, 50 spacious rooms and suites, a gorgeous pool overlooking the Tuscan countryside, and two restaurants, including one with a Michelin star. As is the case everywhere in Italy, children will be welcomed with open arms, and will enjoy itineraries filled with trips to museums and amusement parks, cooking classes, horse riding, and hot air balloon rides.
Borgo Pinti, 99, Florence
+39 055 26261
We all know any Four Seasons is a smart choice for travelers seeking luxury, but the one in Florence is particularly spectacular. With its breathtaking, and famous, 15th century botanical gardens, ornate 16th century architecture and frescos, inviting spa, and selection of elegant restaurants, it is a top pick for those travelers in-the-know. Located in a nice, quiet area of the city, away from the tourist center, it is also close to a great playground for young kids. The last time we were visiting the city, a New York socialite had rented out the entire hotel for her impressive wedding – which was of course written up by Page Six. That was enough to make me want to stay there again.
Borgo S. Jacopo, 14, Florence
+39 055 27261
A favorite of many jetsetters and socialites, the Hotel Lungarno is situated right on the Arno River, and near the foot of the Ponte Vecchio bridge. The clean blue and white colors are a nice change from most of the other opulent Italian décor, and the balconies overlooking the river provide an amazing view of the beautiful red-tiled roofs of Florence. A spa, well-known restaurant and bar round it out, and we loved sipping champagne on the lobby terrace overlooking the river. Fun fact – I take lots of style cues from Amanda Brooks, author of I Love Your Style, and this is her favorite Florence hotel.
Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 7, Florence
+39 055 2645181
After a stay at the gorgeous and well-known JK Place in Capri, I had high hopes for the location in Florence, and it did not disappoint. While not as bright and airy as its sister hotel, the neutral tones and sleek, yet inviting furniture is more befitting the historic Florence locale, and will always be a top choice for the fashion crowd. This is the perfect option for those wanting an intimate, yet modern feel, as there are only 20 rooms and suites, and the courtyard, library and rooftop terrace help travelers feel like they are staying in a very elegant home.
Via Doccia, 4, Fiesole
+39 055 5678200
High up in the hills on the outskirts of Florence sits Villa San Michele, a gorgeous 5-star hotel with phenomenal views of the city below. But the views are not the only reason to stay – the spectacular surrounding gardens, the highly acclaimed restaurant on the hillside terrace, picturesque pool, and luxurious rooms also make it a popular choice. Part of the Belmond hotel group, it is also known for its amazing family package. Not only do parents receive 30 percent off their room, kids under 14 can stay in another room for free, and the luxurious former monastery can provide pizza-making classes and toys for children. With all of these amenities, parents can get the relaxing vacation they desire with the perks of being just outside world-class culture, and kids will be entertained the way they need to be.
SHOPPING FOR KIDS
Below is a list of adorable children’s stores, including places that sell ice cream, gelato and sweets.
Assunta Anichini – Open since 1912, this is the oldest children’s clothing store in Florence, with all embroidery and smocking done by hand
Via di Parione, 59r
Viale Don Minzoni 19 rosso
Bartolucci – classic, wooden toys crafted in an interesting workshop
Via Condotta, 12
Carabe – Located near the Duomo, this is the best ice cream in Florence, using lots of ingredients from around Sicily
Via Ricasoli, 60r
Citta del Sole – a modern toy store with a big following
Via dello Studio, 21/23r
Loretta Caponi – go-to for baby gifts in luxurious fabrics
Piazza degli Antinori, 4r
Robiglio – an old-fashioned pastry shop with tearoom, and known for the thick, hot chocolate
Via dei Tosinghi, 11r
Vestri – large selection of handmade chocolates and ice cream
Borgo degli Albizi, 11r
SHOPPING FOR ADULTS
Italy. Shopping. Need we say more? Below are some favorite shops and streets.
Antico Setificio Fiorentino – Italy’s oldest silk weaver, since 1786, selling menswear, table linens and upholstery. By appointment only
Via Lorenzo Bartolini, 4
Brandimarte – gorgeous silverware and gifts, all crafted in house
Via U. Foscolo 6
Elio Ferraro – designer vintage clothing, mainly for women but also containing men’s clothes and furniture
Via di Parione, 47
Gucci Museum – the only place in the world selling the Icon Collection, including the Flora scarf designed for Grace Kelly. They are made from the artists proof and contain his scribbles
Piazza della Signoria, 10
Loretta Caponi – linens and bespoke pajamas housed in a 14th century palazzo with frescoed ceilings
Piazza Antinori, 4r
Luisa via Roma – store carrying all current top designer labels like Giambatista Valli and Nicholas Kirkwood
Via Roma, 19/21r
Madova – nothing but luxurious gloves
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio – a farmer’s market for Tuscan delicacies
Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti
Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella – perfumes, soaps and body care products. It is one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, and was once a rococo chapel
Via della Scala, 16
Olio and Convivium – beautiful selection of packaged foods, wine and cheese
Viale Europa, 4/6
Pineider – bespoke stationery, since 1774, with the pope as a rumored client
Piazza de’Rucellai, 4/7r
Ponte Vecchio – the famous bridge, featuring goldsmiths and jewelers designing high-end items
Via Maggio, Via Santo Spirito and Via dei Fossi – these streets are the best for art galleries and antiques
Via Tornabuoni, Via Strozzi and Via della Vigna Nuova– the best streets for fashion, including Pucci, Prada, Etro, and the Salvatore Ferragamo flagship store that houses its museum
**When you get back home from Italy and find yourself craving more, head to the Ortensia Blu website for specialty Italian food and traditionally crafted goods, shipped right to your home
EXPERIENCES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Arte Firenze – private walking tour for kids at $343 for 2 ½ hours
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella – kids might enjoy the nativity scene by Botticelli, just one of several important works within one of Florence’s most beautiful churches
Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18
Boboli Gardens – great for a picnic, and perfect for playing and climbing trees, these gardens are located on the other side of the Arno River. It surrounds Pallazo Pitti, a former palace that now houses the largest museum in Florence
Piazza Pitti, 1
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – also known as Il Duomo, this cathedral is the hallmark of Florence and features a climb to the top of the dome, with incredible views of the city and interior of the cathedral. Right next to it, Giotto’s Campanile (the bell tower,) also offers beautiful views
Piazza del Duomo
Galleria dell’Accademia – home to Michelangelo’s David. Reservations can be made so you can skip the line
Via Ricasoli, 58-60 near Piazza San Marco
Gucci Museo – offers CreaKids-itineraries for kids 5-12 to understand the evolution and importance of fashion. It also features a great bookstore for adults and kids
Piazza della Signoria, 10
Family Tour of Florence – The Municipality of Florence has created a kit and app for kids that can be rented, and helps them explore the historic areas of the city
La Specola Museum – part of the Museo di Storia Naturale di Firenze, this Museum of Zoology and Natural History holds the largest collection of 18th century anatomical waxworks in the world, as well as specimen skeletons
Via Romana, 17
Make Your Own Pizza classes – for kids staying at the Four Seasons. Plus, family guided tours of the market
Museo dei Ragazzi – children’s museum of Palazzo Vecchio that brings the Renaissance to life, with different tours to different museums. Reservations required, best for ages 3-8
Piazza della Signoria, 1
Museo Galileo – interactive displays show Galileo’s inventions at this Institute of Museum and Science
Piazza del Giudici, 1
Museo Leonardo da Vinci – enjoy an interesting showcase of Leonardo’s inventions, including workshops for families
Via de’ Servi, 66r
Piazza del Repubblica – there is a beautiful carousel in this square
Parco di Pinocchio – located outside Florence in Collodi, Pescia, this museum and park is all about Pinocchio’s story. There is also a butterfly house
Via di S. Gennaro, 3, Collodi
Ponte Vecchio – a stroll across the famous bridge and symbol of the city is entertaining for little ones as they watch everyday Florence activities unfold
Scuola del Cuoio – learn all about leather at this well-known school in Santa Croce
Via S. Giuseppe, 5r
Taste Florence tour – a great way to discover the culture of Florence is through food tasting on this tour
Uffizi Gallery – take a tour of one of the most famous museum’s in the world, featuring incredible Renaissance art, among others. Reservations can be made in order to skip the lines, and a private tour guide can be arranged to show only the most important pieces
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6
Listed below is a sample itinerary appropriate for all ages, and one for adults only. I have kept them light because we all know kids moods can be unpredictable. For more age specific activities, please go through our Experiences for the Whole Family section, which also gives more details on each recommendation listed below.
After breakfast at your hotel, which I find much easier to manage when traveling with kids who have woken up hungry, head to Galileo’s Museum for an interactive experience
Next head to Il Duomo and climb the bell tower next door for sweeping views of the city
Kids will love the butter chicken at Trattoria Sostanza
Visit the Galleria dell’Accademia to view the David
Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio bridge and admire the historic shops
Head to the Boboli Gardens to run around. Stop by the grocery store across the street to grab a snack
La Giostra is our favorite restaurant
If bringing a nanny or hiring a sitter, we suggest the following:
Head to the Uffizi Gallery which will take a few hours to tour
Cammillo Trattoria is a fun option
Do some shopping on the Tornobuoni, Strozzi and Vigna Nuova streets
Enjoy a cocktail on the rooftop of the Hotel Continentale
For a long, but incredible, Michelin starred meal, head to Enoteca Pinchiorri. For something a little less structured, Fuor d’Acqua features amazing seafood in a chic setting
CITY TIPS AND HELPFUL INFORMATION
Baby food, diapers, etc
Pharmacies are the best places for baby related items, and just like for adults, they have an interesting selection of beauty and health-related products
Each hotel we have listed is able to find reputable babysitters, but most require at least 24 hours notice
Make sure you carry small change with you because most public restrooms will charge a fee. You can find them in most of the tourist locations, and maps of these restrooms are provided at the Florence Tourist Information Office – Via Cavour, 1r
Restaurants and museums have restrooms for free if you are dining or visiting
Any of the quaint cafés or gelato shops are great places for snacks and bathroom breaks
Click here for contact information on embassies and consulates
I think everyone should rent a car when visiting Italy, especially when bringing kids. It is easy to get around and the countryside is so beautiful that you will definitely want to venture out
Florence is small and the perfect city for walking around, but traffic is limited to residents and deliveries only. If driving in from hotels in the countryside, find a parking garage outside of the historic center and walk around from there. Although, most luxury countryside hotels offer shuttle services to the city center. If driving to a hotel in the city center, call them beforehand and give your license plate number. They will then give it to the police and save you from getting fines
All hotels can set up chauffeured car services, either around town or to and from the airports and train station. Some of the hotels include transfers in their rates, so be sure to contact them about this
If arriving by train, the station is located in the historic district. Unless you have a ton of bags, you can walk to your hotel. There are also city buses, but Florence is so small, I wouldn’t bother with them. It only takes about half an hour to walk the entire length of the city
The Meyer is a well-known pediatric hospital in Florence
Viale Pieraccini, 24
The Lost Property office is at Via Circondaria, 17b
+39 055 328 3942
For 72 euros, the Firenze card allows you to visit all museums in 72 hours, skip the lines and get free rides on local buses. Just make sure your family is up for several museum visits
Police and Emergencies
For an ambulance dial 118
For the police dial 113
The European Union emergency number is 112
If you live outside the EU, ask for a Tax Free Form at checkout and don’t forget to turn it in at the airport before you leave. You will be reimbursed for taxes within a few weeks
I always recommend taking strollers to Italy if you have very small toddlers. Some people think the streets are hard to navigate, but I would rather deal with that than a two-year-old on the run. However, the city is quite small, so you could get away with just carrying a baby in a sling, and walking with four-year-olds and up
Tipping is not required in Italy, but most people will round up for a little extra. Some restaurants will include a service charge anyway
Give 1 euro per coat at a coat check
No need to tip taxi drivers
Tip for good service in hotels – 1 euro per bag to porters, a few euros per day for housekeeping, and a concierge should receive a few euros per restaurant reservation; I give at least 10 if it is particularly difficult to secure
Give 10% in spas
The official Office of Tourism website is here