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Tuscany for Children - What to do.....?
Buongiorno,     
A FLEETING VISIT TO FLORENCE!

Visiting one of the worlds most culturally jam-packed cities with children in tow is not at the top of most peoples 'bucket-lists' but for some of us, there is no choice, the children have to come too! The most important thing to decide before you go to Florence is to write a list of all the things you want to see and do - and then cross half of them out!

 

Be honest with yourself, children are not going to want to wait in a queue at the Uffizi Gallery, marvel at the glory of Michelangelos 'David' or listen to the translations of the wonders of the Vasari Corridor! Planning a visit around train and bus rides, ice-cream stops, picnic areas and gentle strolls will keep youngsters happy, will allow you to view some parts of this beautiful City, take great photos and decide where you will come to when you return on a weekend break without the children!

 

We drove from our Tuscan villa to the train station at Montevarchi, left our car in the free car park and bought our tickets from the self-service machine (in English) and 45 minutes later we were exiting Santa Maria Novella train station in the heart of Florence (remember to validate your ticket in the machine on the platform before getting on the train to avoid a fine). We decided to use the Florence City Hop-on-Hop-off tour bus to get our bearings from the top deck whilst listening to the commentary in English - we went the whole way around the route and worked out where we wanted to get off when we went around again.

 

Our picnic spot was at the Piazzale Michelangelo on the far side of the Arno River, as this has one of the most amazing views of Florence and also some welcome shade. Returning to the heart of the City we chose an ice-cream (gelato) stop a few steps from the Piazza dellaSignora which is a fantastic outdoor sculpture museum; combining looking at the statues with eating ice-cream meant that our daughter didn't even realise she was being exposed to the wonderful culture as she was too busy trying to balance her huge cone.

 

There is so much to see in Florence and we managed to get around most of it with the help of the bus tours. We also all rubbed the nose of the Il Porcellino (the bronze boar) in the new market place which means we will return to Florence!
Blogs by Dympna Docherty (UK TT Agent)

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Italian Cooking - Kid's style!

The delight of Italian cooking is an art kids can also enjoy, and who knows, maybe Mum and Dad will be surprised by the eagerness of their hungry helpers!

The Toscana Mia Cookery School is located in the heart of the Chianti between the towns of Radda and Castellina. Paola and Simonetta welcome you into their family home for your afternoon or full day of cooking. Plastic step stools ensure children get a good view of all the preparations and "mezzalunas" (the wooden handle with the crescent shaped blade) ensure little fingers are kept well away from sharp blades whilst still allowing them to take part.

Children (and adults) are kept engaged throughout with explanations of the recipes, the methods, familystories and little breaks. The best bit about the lessons is the chance to sit with the family at the end to eat all the delicious food you've made.  

Pinocchio Park

Pinocchio is one of the most recognisable characters in children's literature and has become a 'classic' thanks to the Disney corporation. But, the Real Pinocchio you find in Pinocchio Park in the unassuming town of Collodi is true to the original story by its local author, a fact that Italians are intensely proud of.

 

The multi-media room shows the 'real' story of Pinocchio in different languages on touch screens; dressing up clothes allow children to become the characters; shows in the theatre bring the story to life; and large grounds following the different parts of the story ensure the children have just about the right amount of time inside and outdoors.

 

There are activity areas (make your own Pinocchio nose), a theatre where scenes from the book are acted out throughout the day and a host of pathways taking you around the park via a number of activities - don't miss the pirate ship, the whale, the play area with zip wire! An old-fashioned fairground area has some rides (extra charge) and if you ring the bell and pay a Euro, you can go into the mechanical theatre (don't forget to pick up the story in English as you enter). Be warned though, in the original version, Jiminy Cricket appears only briefly and has an 'interesting' exit from the story early on.

 

The 'theme park' may not be full of high adrenaline rollercoasters but Tuscany's Pinocchio Park has a special place in the locals heart and for children up to around age 10, it is a great place to spend a day. 

Quick Links to more on Tuscany for Children

Pistoia Zoo  

 

Ice cream-making in Castellina  

 

Adventure Park Through Trees 

 

Marmore Falls-Terni-Umbria