Tuscany is one of the most desirable holiday destinations on the planet, with people from all corners of the globe often dreaming of visiting this unique and magical part of Italy. For most people, Tuscany’s appeal lies in its rich and varied arts and culture scene, with the region having been at the centre of Italian and Western culture and history since ancient times.
But there’s more to Tuscany than great museums and architecture: whether you’re looking for rental villas in Tuscany,budget hotels or boutique Bed and Breakfasts, there’s plenty on offer in this region for people looking for all kinds of experiences.
Those travelling with children and trying to plan a well balanced family holiday that everybody will enjoy need not worry about Tuscany’s somewhat ‘grown up’ reputation. Whilst there are of course plenty of churches, museums and galleries that are best suited for mature visitors, the region is actually extremely child-friendly.
Many of the museums have very interactive exhibits designed especially to engage children and young people and get them excited about Tuscany’s unique cultural heritage, and there are regular creative workshops and child focused tours that ensure children are kept entertained. And outside of the cities, there’s lots to do that’s more active and outdoorsy – so you can rest assured that even the youngest and most energetic amongst your group won’t be getting bored or restless!
Below are some of the best things to do in Tuscany for those travelling with children and large families.
The Etruscan Coast
Family holidays are often about sun, sand and swimming in the sea – and whilst many people may overlook Tuscany as a destination for this kind of trip, for the same reason the region serves as the perfect place to enjoy peaceful and undisturbed time at the beach with family.
The Etruscan Coast boasts sandy blue flag beaches that are perfect for making sand castles and playing safely in the sea, and many beautiful rocky coves and bays that make for great photo opportunities.Whether you decide to have your annual beach holiday in Tuscany, or you’re simply looking for a few days to let your family to rest and play in the sun before heading back to the museums and galleries of the cities, The Etruscan Coast is bound to be a hit with everyone in the family.
If you head in land from the coast, you’ll discover the famously slow and relaxed Tuscan way of life. Particularly in the rural south, Tuscany is a place that abounds in farms and vineyards. Many of these working farms are open to the public, and they’re places where your family can get involved in helping with feeding the animals, harvesting the olives and making fresh homemade bread in traditional stone ovens.
The Apennine Mountains
The exceptional variety of Tuscany’s landscape is astounding, and the mountains in the south of the region serve to make Tuscany a place where virtually every European landscape can be experienced and explored. Visually stunning and full of fun and exciting things to do, the mountains are a great place to take your family.
In the summer,all the traditional family outdoor activities such as mountain bike riding and hiking can be enjoyed in a truly beautiful setting; and in the winter, the snowy landscape is the perfect place for bobsledding, snowshoeing or skiing and snowboarding at one of the ski resorts. A trip to the mountains is a far cry from what most people associate with Tuscany, but it is a great option for keeping everyone entertained.
As already mentioned, the traditional Tuscan holiday involving lots of visits to museums and art galleries doesn’t necessarily have to exclude younger family members: the Tuscan tourist board is extremely keen to promote the region’s culture and heritage amongst its younger visitors, and as a result has invested huge sums of money in ensuring that its museums include plenty of interactive exhibits, multimedia touchscreen displays and creative workshops. Tours for children which focus on the areas of Tuscan culture most likely to be of interest to young minds are available, with tour guides who are well trained at using the right words and creating the right atmosphere to inspire and educate children.
Food and Drink
Whilst many people assume that Tuscany’s reputation for fine dining means that the culinary scene is unsuitable for children, nothing could be further from the truth. Many family favourites like pizza and pasta are of course staples of Italian cuisine, and you’ll have no problem finding informal pizzerias and ristorantes where your children can enjoy colourful, exciting and delicious food that they’ll love.
And of course, most children have a natural love of all things sweet – and particularly ice cream. Needless to say, world-class gelato is abundant in Tuscany, with most gelato houses offering a fantastic range of options when it comes to flavours. So you’ll have nothing to worry about when it comes to keeping everyone happy and refreshed on warm afternoons exploring the cobbled streets of the many towns and villages.
Whilst we often think of Tuscany as a holiday location for couples and solo travellers keen to experience one of the world’s most culturally fascinating regions, with careful planning and the right background research at your hand, you can create a truly unique and versatile itinerary that will make a trip to Tuscany perfect for all the family.