Saturday, November 26, 2022

Where To Stay In Tuscany With Kids

Cool Off At Acqua Village

Where to stay in Tuscany – The best countryside, towns and villages

Why go: Few things signal summer more than a day out at a water park, and youd be hard-pressed to find a child who isnt keen on water-based fun. If youre anywhere near the Tuscan coast, its definitely worth devoting a day of your holiday to fooling around at the Acqua Village. This large waterpark has two outposts: one in Follonica near Grosseto, the other in Cecina near Livorno. Both are equipped with enough flumes, chutes and pools to entertain your offspring for hours.

Location: via Tevere, 25, 57023, Cecina, Italy

Learn About Cheese Making In Cugusi

For a fun, tasty and educational activity that appeals to the whole family, head to Cugusi, the famous cheese-making area around Pienza. Stop off at the Cugusi Dairy, where adults can stock up on the famous local Pecorino cheese and kids can learn all about the fascinating cheese making process, including a little meet and greet with the animals. They will love it!

Other Great Bases Are Along The Train Routes

Other places to consider include many of the small towns along the train route between Florence and Pisa, Florence and Lucca and Florence and Arezzo, and the route from Empoli south to Siena. You will have to plan to stay within those towns to make moving around easier, because if you choose something in the countryside outside of the towns, you will have to depend on private drivers to get you from the town to your lodging if it isn’t within walking distance. Some examples are towns such as San Miniato, Certaldo, Castelfiorentino, Prato, Pistoia, Montecatini Terme.

A final note for anyone planning a trip without a car in Tuscany: MAP out where the lodging you like is located in BEFORE booking your stay. We gets lots of requests for help from visitors who first book a stay in a farmhouse in the middle of the countryside and only after look for help in sorting out how to get there. In those cases, if you can’t cancel your booking for one reason or another, you will have no choice but to rent a car or hire a private car with driver.

Wherever you choose to stay in Tuscany, you will find yourself falling in love with the region and its views and landscapes. Traveling without a car, while maybe a bit less convenient, will make for exploring Tuscany in a wonderful, less hurried way you will treasure.

Enjoy planning where to stay in Tuscany!

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What Is A Farm Stay In Tuscany

It refers to an accommodation option that involves staying on a farm that does not necessarily have animals. In Tuscany, most farms focus on the production of Tuscan wine and/or olive oil. This is why you will most certainly find incredibly palate-pleasing olive oil and wine on the premises. Some properties even feature wine buying and wine tasting endeavours.

That aside, guests are pampered with spacious rooms, self-catering, and services like local guidance, a private chef, and housekeeping. Being given the chance, you may choose to stay in a restored farmhouse, standalone villa, apartment, or palazzo-style building within the farm premises. In any case, expect an impressive range of amenities on offer, such as spa services, tennis, play areas, swimming, and onsite dining.

The best part of agriturismo? You share the farm with other families, which means that the kids can play and interact with children from all over the globe.

What To Do In Volterra With Kids

Traveling to Tuscany with kids

Lets be clear. Yes, I am a fan of the Twilight Series, but no, I did not drag my family there in search of the Volturri. Since the movie was released, Volterra has become a destination for vampire fans searching for remnants of Edward and Bella. Thankfully, I didnt see any as that would have ruined the beauty and magic of this gem of a town.

Founded by the Etruscans, and believed to have been their largest settlement, Volterra is exactly what you would expect from a quaint, Tuscan village. The rain probably helped, but there were only a few tourists on the day we visited. The Palazzo dei Priori is one of the main attractions. You can go inside and see artwork, learn about the town history, and even climb to the top of the tower. Since we had just climbed the other tower in San Gimignano, we skipped this one, but know that it is something you could do.

We did however spend a bit of time at the Teatro Romano. Dont spend the money to go inside unless you have a guided tour. My advice: walk around the outside, take pictures, and imagine what it was like to sit in this amazing Roman amphitheater when it was built 2000 years ago.

Afterwards, we found ourselves in search of somewhere to get out of the rain. We settled on LIncontro, Via Giacomo Matteotti 18, due to its awesome display of desserts. There are a limited number of seats, so we secured ours and then ordered coffee for ourselves and hot chocolate for the kids.

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Kid Friendly Wineries In Tuscany

It may sound like a bit of an oxymoron but there are plenty of child friendly wineries to visit whilst youre in Tuscany. Italian wine is famous throughout the world and images of rows of grapevines ready to be picked perfectly embody the spirit of Tuscany. Kids are welcome pretty much everywhere in Italy so you dont have to hunt down a specifically child friendly vineyard, maybe just call ahead to check first when you make your reservation. Obviously kids wont be able to try the wine but learning how its made should be interesting for everyone and theyll often be given a glass of non-alcoholic grape juice to ensure they dont feel too left out.

Visiting San Gimignano With Kids

The drive through the Tuscan countryside is so much prettier when you are not driving, and better yet, not navigating. Our driver stopped for photo opportunities, pointed out important sights along the way, and dropped us safely at our destination.

On a hilltop overlooking the surrounding countryside sits the city of the beautiful towers, San Gimignano. Only fourteen towers of the original 72 remain, but the town is still spectacular. We walked through the piazzas, browsed in the local shops, and tried to stay out of the rain.

With some amazing cajoling, we persuaded our children to make the treacherous climb up the Torre de Grassa. The cost was 5, which included admission to a small museum attached to the tower. There are well over a hundred steps to the top and it becomes a bit dicey when the children have to climb metal ladders. It was hard work getting everyone to the top of the tower, but in the end we would all say it was worth it to enjoy the spectacular view.

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When To Visit Tuscany With Kids

Italy gets HOT is summer, there were days when we felt we were melting and didnt want to leave the cool of our outdoor pool but I wouldnt be put off too much, the usual precautions of plenty of water, regular breaks and sunhats should see you through. The main reason to avoid the summer months are the hoards of tourist that visit during the European summer school holidays. If you can time your trip in June or September the heat should be bearable and the cities quieter making it the best time to visit Tuscany with kids.

If youre interested in visiting Italy with children then make sure you read this guide on Bologna with kids, another of our very favourite Italian cities.

And be sure to pin this post for later for planning your next trip to Tuscany with kids.

Other Accommodation In Tuscany

Tuscany, Italy: Agriturismo Farm Stay

Here are some recommended places to stay. I recommend using HotelsCombined as an easy way to find accommodation and to get the best deal across the hotel booking sites it will list the main hotel booking sites as well as how much a room at the hotel costs at each of them.

  • Hotel Rivoli, Florence This hotel is a good price for a hotel in such a convenient location and there are triple and quad rooms for people travelling with kids. The hotel also has a nice courtyard area with a small pool.
  • Garden Hotel, Siena This hotel has a wide range of rooms including economy triple and double options. It was the best value hotel I could find in Siena. There are also 4 bed options, a kids pool and picnic area.
  • Pensione Rinascente, Pisa This is an excellent choice for people travelling on a budget that still want something nice in a top location. This guesthouse is an easy walk to Pisas highlights and in a very central spot. There are also triple and quad rooms.
  • Hotel Ercolini & Savi, Montecatini Terme An easy walk from the main piazza in Montecatini Terme as well as the train station, getting around to the rest of Tuscany from here is easy. This is a great value, 4 star property with a variety of room types and prices which start at less than US$80 with breakfast.

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Where To Stay In Tuscany Without A Car

The best bases for your stay in Tuscany with NO car

If you’re looking for the best base in Tuscany and you will have your own car, make sure to also read our first part on Where to Stay in Tuscany which has general information for everyone.

Trying to decide where to stay in Tuscany without a car, depending on public transportation to get around? The choices are many, the important thing is that you’re close enough to a train station or bus stop .

Here are my suggestions for some of the top places:

Monkey Around At Parco Avventura Il Gigante

Why go: One way to keep kids cheery while on holiday is to intersperse regular sightseeing with some more adventurous activities theyre bound to love. Treat them to an afternoon of climbing through the trees at this high ropes course, set in the woods north of Florence. A low-level route with a tunnel and a mini zip-line allow for nippers as young as three to get in on the action. Other more demanding courses, with ascending levels of difficulty, will put older childrens, teenagers and even adults balance and acrobatic skills to the test.

Location: Via Fiorentina, 276, 50036 Vaglia FI, Italy

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See The Leaning Tower Of Pisa

Not only is the Leaning Tower of Pisa an iconic landmark of Italy, and one that children would have learned about at school, but its also a fascinating sight for those seeing it for the first time. The unique structure makes an exciting photo opportunity and kids will love walking around the Piazza del Duomo and the beautiful grounds of the cathedral. Nearby, there are also lots of places to grab a slice or treat the whole family to some authentic Italian gelato. A must try dessert in Pisa is Torta con i Bischeri, a delicious chocolate based tart that will appeal to all ages.

Amusement & Water Parks

Where to Stay in Tuscany

If all else fails, planning a day at one of Tuscanys amusement or water parks is bound to alleviate boredom. Younger kids might like the Pinocchio Park, bringing the fairytale puppet to life in the little village of Collodi near Pistoia. For slides and rides, try Piccolo Mondo near Pisa, or the more thrilling Cavallino Matto, further south, with rollercoasters, shows, pirate ships, and a Jurassic river.

Soaring temperatures in summer might lure you to a water park for a cool-off. The two big ones are Acqua Village Cecina and, further south still, Acqua Village Follonica, where kids can let off steam in wave pools and tropical-themed lagoons and on kamikaze slides.

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When To Go To Tuscany

May and June are gorgeous, with snow lingering picturesquely on the peaks and the lush meadows thick with wildflowers perfect weather for picnicking. July and August are extremely hot, and while the heat drives many people from the cities, the coast gets overcrowded. It is, however, blissfully refreshing in the mountains.

In June, watch Florences Calcio Storico a rip-roaring combination of soccer, rugby and wrestling dating back to the 16th century and played in historical costume, in the atmospheric setting of Piazza Santa Croce.

Autumn offers many fabulous clear days of sunshine, with the wooded slopes blazing with seasonal colour. Indeed, harvest time is the best time to visit Tuscany, with lively festivals celebrating everything from truffles to chestnuts and fabulous autumnal produce showcased in the region’s restaurants, street markets and shops well into November.

If you happen to be here in February, the seaside resort of Viareggio hosts the country’s largest carnival after that of Venice.

Florence’s Porcellino.

Notes About Travelling Through Tuscany

Many people make the same mistake. They misinterpret the distances between attractions. For example, they believe that a short distance on the map actually means that it is a short drive from wherever it is that they want to go. This is wrong. Remember that rural Tuscany features slow and curvy roads. So, it may take you 30-40 minutes to reach the main road from an agriturismo property, even if it shows as a tiny bit of drive on the map.

READ MORE EUROPEAN TRAVEL GUIDES FROM WANDERLUSTERS

Also, bear in mind that there is a trade-off that will get you thinking, given that some properties are a long drive from basic services and major cities. So, weigh the pros and cons before deciding if a farm stay is the right option for your family. If it is, you can choose a property that is up to 10 minutes from appealing towns and/or major highways, so your longer excursions are also accommodated with relative ease.

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Il Borgo By Castello Banfi

| Montalcino Countryside | 5 Star Accommodation | Michelin Dining| Epic Pool

Castello Banfi is an institution of winemaking. They are by far the largest producer of Brunello wines on the planet as they own the most territory. Their grounds are absolutely immaculate and their structure is beautiful. A famous line of cypress trees lines their kilometer or so long driveway into their estate. It is one of the most elegant estates that I have ever had the pleasure of visiting in all my travels.

Wouldnt you know it they even have a luxury cluster of mini-apartments on-site and a Michelin star restaurant? The pool on site overlooks seemingly endless rolling hills completely covered in vineyards and olive trees. You will pay tooth and nail for your nights stay but it arguably one of the nicest hotels on Earth.

| Chianti | 90 mins from Florence | Great Views & Lots of Activities

Borgo Casa al Vento is more of a retreat than a place to stay. When you go there, you will likely stay on the compound the entire time. They have lots to do including archery, tennis, a pool, and more. You can completely indulge in the nectar of the gods and do so quite literally in a wine bath.

It is a great place to spend a few days, especially with the kids. Your kids can run around while you enjoy the scenery. Many rooms have fireplaces and there are common areas to build fires as well. The rooms are very charming and rustic. The structure is a renovated borgo that is a very European feeling.

Val Dorcia / Val Di Chiana

What to Do in Tuscany with Kids – Casentino Valley

Val dOrcia is one of the most famous areas in Tuscany and one of the most photographed.

If you think of Tuscany as a place of golden rolling hills and cypress trees, Val dOrcia is the part of Tuscany you have in mind, complete with stunning wine and food options!

This part of Tuscany is as beautiful as the photos suggests and I love to visit with kids as it like having a little miniature Tuscany within a limited radius.

You have nature, history, food, all withing a relatively small distance that means you can have a good balance between exploring and relaxing!

The places we love the most in Val dOrcia with kids are:

Montepulciano lovely hilltop town with a nice playground, pedestrianized streets and cycling tour companies offering cycling tours for the whole family. You can find our Montepulciano travel guide here.

Pienza Charming, historical town with a nice kids playground and a wonderful bastion walk. Find our guide to Pienza here.

San Quirico dOrcia small, charming, hilltop medieval town with pedestrian-only streets, a wonderful Garden , a lovely kids vegetable patch and a stunning medieval catapult just outside the main city gate. Find our guide to San Quirico here.

Chianciano Terme modern city with lots of children attractions including crazy golf and family friendly thermal baths

Bagno Vignoni tiny, delightful town with lovely thermal springs. You can find our guide to Bagno Vignoni here.

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Interested In Chianti Then Use Greve As Your Base

If you’re interested in enjoying the Chianti region, you can still consider staying there using Greve in Chianti as your base even without having a car. Bus connects Greve and Florence, once in Florence you can easily move elsewhere, and some buses connect Greve to other nearby towns such as Panzano, Radda and Castellina but, to be honest, the service between these smaller towns is not ideal. Greve can thus be a great base even without a car but I recommend it more for those who plan to stay put and enjoy the countryside rather than those who want to be everywhere else but at their accommodation for most of every single day. Stay in Chianti to enjoy Chianti! 🙂 In any case, read our article on how to move around Chianti which has information on buses. If you want to attempt moving around the area to do wine tasting by bus, here are some tips for wine tastings without a car.

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