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Sample Guide (Florence)

FLORENCE

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. 

 

GUIDE TO glimpse

Each recommendation lists address, phone number, website (if available), and gives a simple overview because, let’s face it, what parent has time to read a ton of information?  There are also a few words listed under each synopsis to sum up each restaurant, including the type of food they serve.  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

 


Restaurants

All’Antico Vinaio

Via del Neri, 74/r

39 055 2382723

www.allanticovinaio.com

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

 

 

Caffe Giacosa

Via della Spada, 10/r

39 055 2776328

www.caffegiacosa.it

Remodeled by the Roberto Cavalli group and attached to the Cavalli store, Caffe 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

 

 

Cammillo Trattoria

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 is enough reason for everyone to go.  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

 

 

Cibrèo

Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 8

39 055 2341100

www.edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it/

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

 

 

Cucina Torcicoda

Via Torta, 5

39 055 2654329

www.cucinatorcicoda.com

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

 

 

Il Palagio

Borgo Pinti, 99

39 055 26261

www.fourseasons.com/florence

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 childrens menu.

 Italian • Classic • Constant • Posh

 

 

Il Santo Bevitore

Via di Santo Spirito, 64/66

39 055 211264

www.ilsantobevitore.com

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.

Italian • Classic • Constant • Stylish

 

 

‘Ino

Via de' Georgofili, 3

39 055 219208

www.inofirenze.com

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

 

 

La Giostra

10/12 18r Borgo Pinti

39 055 241341

www.ristorantelagiostra.com

Of all the restaurants in Florence, this one seems to be recommended the most. Opened in the 70s 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.  We come here every time we’re in Florence. 

Italian • Classic • Constant • Stylish

 

 

Libreria Brac

Via dei Vagellai 18r

39 055 0944877

www.libreriabrac.net/brac

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

 

 

Trattoria 4 Leoni

Via de' Vellutini, 1r

39 055 218562

www.4leoni.it/

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

 

 

 

Trattoria Sostanza

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

 


Date Night

Cantinetta Antinori

Piazza Antinori, 3

39 055 292234

www.cantinetta-antinori.com

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

 

 

Enoteca Pinchiorri

Via Ghibellina, 87

39 055 242757

www.enotecapinchiorri.it

Quite possibly the most famous restaurant in all of Florence, as well as all of Italy, Enotecha 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 in the world.  Leave the kids and enjoy the extensive, life-changing tasting menu.

French/Italian • Classic • Constant  • Posh

 

 

Fuor d’Acqua

Via Pisana, 37/r

39 055 222299

www.fuordacqua.it

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

 

 

Ora d’Aria

Via dei Georgofili, 11/r

39 055 2001699

www.oradariaristorante.com

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

 


Hotels

Belmond Villa San Michele

Via Doccia, 4, Fiesole

39 055 5678200

www.belmond.com

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 Renaissance monastery will 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.  

 

 

Castello del Nero

Via Spicciano, 7, Tavernelle 

39 055 806470

www.castellodelnero.com

Located about 40 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.  A former 15th century monastery with unparalleled views of the rolling hills, the hotel has been completely updated to accommodate the most discerning travelers, with a luxurious spa, spacious rooms and suites, a gorgeous pool overlooking the Tuscan countryside, and numerous 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.   

 

 

Four Seasons

Borgo Pinti, 99, Florence

39 055 26261

www.fourserasons.com/florence

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 touristy center, it is also close to a great playground for young kids. On another note, the last time we were visiting the city, a New York socialite had rented out the entire hotel for her spectacular wedding – which was of course written up by the New York Post and New York Social Diary. That was enough to make me want to stay there again.   

 

 

Hotel Lungarno

Borgo S. Jacopo, 14, Florence

39 055 27261

www.lungarnocollection.com

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.

 

  

JK Place

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 7, Florence

39 055 2645181

www.jkplace.com

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.  

 


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

 

Baroni – knitted clothing, booties and accessories, plus other high-end children’s labels

 

Bartolucci – classic wooden toys crafted in an interesting workshop

 

Carabe – Located near the Duomo, this is the best ice cream in Florence, using lots of ingredients from around Sicily

 

Citta del Sole – a modern toy store with a big following

 

Loretta Caponi – go-to for baby gifts in luxurious fabrics

 

Robiglio – old-fashioned pastry shop with tearoom, and known for their thick hot chocolate

  • Via dei Tosinghi, 11r

 

Vestri – large selection of handmade chocolates and ice cream

 


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

 

Aquazzura - the world's top designer shoe brand can be shopped under gorgeous fresco ceilings

 

Brandimarte – gorgeous silverware and gifts, all crafted in house

 

Elio Ferraro – designer vintage clothing, mainly for women but also containing men’s clothes and furniture

 

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

 

Loretta Caponi – linens and bespoke pajamas housed in a 14th century palazzo with frescoed ceilings 

 

Luisa via Roma – store carrying all current top designer labels like Giambatista Valli and Nicholas Kirkwood

 

Madova gloves – selling nothing but gloves to the elite

 

Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio – a farmer’s market for Tuscan delicacies

 

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

 

Olio and Convivium – beautiful selection of packaged foods, wine and cheese

 

Pineider – bespoke stationery since 1774 with the pope as a rumored client

 

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 and Via Strozzi  – the best streets for fashion, including the Salvatore Ferragamo flagship store that houses its museum, as well as Pucci, Prada, Etro and more

 


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Museo Galileo – interactive displays show Galileo’s inventions at this Institute of Museum and Science

 

Museo Leonardo da Vinci – enjoy an interesting showcase of Leonardo’s inventions, including workshops for families

 

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

 

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

 

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

  


Sample Itineraries

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. 

 

With Kids

Morning

  • 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
  • Head to Il Duomo and climb the bell tower next door for sweeping views of the city

Lunch

  • Kids will love the butter chicken at Trattoria Sostanza 

Afternoon

  • 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

Dinner

  • La Giostra is our favorite restaurant

 

Without Kids

Morning

  • Head to the Uffizi Gallery which will take a few hours to tour

Lunch

  • Cammillo Trattoria is a fun option 

Afternoon

  • Do some shopping on the Tornobuoni, Strozzi and Vigna Nuova streets
  • Enjoy a cocktail on the rooftop of the Hotel Continentale

Dinner

  • 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 that is hard to find outside of Italy

 

Babysitting

  • Each hotel we have listed is able to find reputable babysitters, but most require at least 24 hours notice

 

Bathrooms

  • 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

 

Embassies

 

Getting Around

  • 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, 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

 

Healthcare

  • The Meyer is a well-known pediatric hospital in Florence

 

Lost items

  • The Lost Property office is at Via Circondaria, 17b
    • 39 055 328 3942

 

Museums

  • 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

 

Shopping

  • 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. 

 

Strollers

  • 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

  • Tipping is not required in Italy, but most people will round up for a little extra. Some restaurants will include a service charge anyway. I, however, like to leave even more than that since I’m an American, and it’s what we do
  • Tip for good service in hotels - 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

 

Tourism website