Navigating the crowded streets of Florence with kids in tow can be a challenge for families traveling to this famous Renaissance city. With careful planning, however, Florence has much to offer curious little minds in an environment in which museums and sites are increasingly providing unique exhibits and educational programs designed just for children.
When staying in the city during peak months such as the summer, the Oltrarno district just across the river from the Ponte Vecchio can be much less crowded and offers a variety of delicious less-touristy dining choices, as well as convenient supermarkets. The Oltrarno is also much easier to access by car than many of the neighborhoods across the river with very restricted traffic limitations, although parking is expensive. Nearby must-see sites with kids include the Boboli Gardens at Palazzo Pitti, with plenty of wide open space for the little ones to run around and let their imaginations fly, these legendary gardens are also the perfect place for a picnic (there is a supermarket directly across the street). During the summer, my daughters and I like to peek in the courtyard of Palazzo Pitti on our way home from dinner to catch a glimpse of the musical performances produced here. Only after stopping first at our favorite Gelateria Santa Trinità directly across from the Ponte Santa Trinità -- try the dark chocolate (fondente). Read more here.