Travel with Kids: Firenze on a budget

Visiting Firenze (Florence in English) during school holidays is a bit of a challenge because of the huge number of tourists and the long queues to get in everywhere. After all Firenze is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and inevitably over-crowded at all times.

But with a bit of planning you will be able to see lots of the key sight-seeings in a few days.

Firenze London Mums magazine collage

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as most attractions are at walking distance but there are lots of them to visit.

You cannot leave Firenze without at least seeing …

Piazza del Duomo & Campanile di Giotto

Piazza del Duomo & Campanile di Giotto Firenze London Mums magazine collage

A single great museum comprising the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Opera Museum. If you haven’t seen this, you haven’t seen Florence.

Chiesa di Santa Croce

Santa Croce is famous for being the burial place for the great and good in Florence including Michelangelo, Gioacchino Rossini, Machiavelli, and the Pisan-born Galileo Galilei, who was tried by the Inquisition and was not allowed a Christian burial until 1737, 95 years after his death.

Chiesa di Santa Croce Firenze London Mums magazine collage

There is also a memorial to Dante, but his sarcophagus is empty (he is actually buried in Ravenna as he was exiled from Florence). The church exterior is covered with a polychrome marble façade added in 1863 and paid for by the English benefactor, Sir Francis Sloane. Don’t miss the memorial to the 19th century playwright Giovanni Battista Niccolini to the left of the entrance said to be been the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty.

Piazza Santa Croce is the site of the annual soccer game in medieval costume, the Calcio Storico Fiorentino.

The Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Florence and one of the most famous museums in the world given the rich amount of unique artworks and masterpieces conserved within its walls, the majority from the Renaissance period.

Located in the heart of Florence, the Uffizi Gallery hosts works of art by great Italian artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello, just to name a few of the most famous. Its large collection has works from all centuries but a large part dates back to the periods between the 12th and 17th centuries.

To better plan your visit to the Uffizi, you will find information on hours, admissions and more in the “Plan Your Visit” section and information on the artworks and halls and suggested itineraries in the “Explore the Museum” section. You can also purchase museum tickets ahead of time if your time in Florence is limited.

Piazza Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio london mums magazine collage

The Uffizi Gallery is located next door to Piazza della Signoria where you can also admire the naked statue of David by Michelangelo among other famous statues. The prominent Palazzo Vecchio overlooks the square.

Il Ponte Vecchio

Open all of the time, along the pedestrian zone south of Piazza della Repubblica towards Palazzo Pitti. The Old Bridge was built very close to the Roman crossing, and until 1218 it was the only bridge across the Arno river in Florence. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345.

The list of sightseeings would go on and on to fill thousands of pages but these are the essential landmarks for a three-day stay without tiring the kids too much.

Kids-zone only

The Natural History Museum in Firenze runs Lego construction workshops which are really fantastic. Be prepared to spend a few hours there though as kids don’t like to leave them easily.

 

Eating in Firenze

Eating in Firenze London Mums magazine collage

You cannot leave Florence without eating a Fiorentina steak. It is super juicy but very tasty. For a steak of the size you see in the above picture you are expected to pay approximately £30 but 3 people can easily share it.

Tuscan bread is amazing but remember that the most delicious bread is the rustic type without salt. Personally that is delicious but my son complained that it wasn’t savory enough. It is the bread which is used to make BRUSCHETTA.

Bruschetta London Mums magazine collage

 

Shopping

Firenze is a beautiful city with lots of little boutique shops, all different from each other displaying unique products, artefacts, antiques, artwork or gifts, not resembling a British high street.

You are in for a treat for any kind of shopping. If you love designer fashion, pay a visit to the wonderful Emilio Pucci shop (my favourite Italian fashion designer of all time).

If you love antiques, head to the Ciompi bric-a-brac and antiques market. There’s something for any kind of taste. You can spend hours browsing around this little antiques market even without buying a thing.

Accommodation in Florence

We chose the Hotel Nuovo Palazzo di Giustizia (part of the B&B hotels chain which is the equivalent of the British Travelodge) – we stayed at this hotel located next door to the Nuovo Palazzo di Giustizia because it is well connected to the city centre. The bus 22 takes you straight to Piazza Duomo. Don’t even attempt to drive to the historical area as most of it is pedestrian and parking in the centre of Florence is almost impossible.

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