With beautiful rolling countryside, warm and enjoyable temperatures and stunning cities packed with art and history, Tuscany has plenty to offer for a unique and fun-filled family holiday. Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, the area still continues to retain a sense of rustic seclusion and laidback charm. From famous monuments, to dinosaur-packed parks and mountain biking through the stunning surroundings – not forgetting the unmissable gelato – the region boasts a wealth of activities and sights that will appeal to families of all ages.
There is something for everyone in Tuscany, whatever your family’s interests and passions. Here, Tuscany Now, a specialist company offering a range of luxury, family-friendly villas in Tuscany, has gathered a selection of top recommendations for families visiting this fascinating and beautiful region.
What to see and do
For literature lovers – Pinocchio Park, Collodi
Many people don’t realise that Pinocchio was the creation of Tuscan writer Carlo Collodi. To honour this classic tale, which dates back to 1883, his home village of Collodi now boasts a lovely park filled with family friendly activities based around the book. This cultural and natural park is set in a beautiful garden filled with art exhibitions, puppet-making workshops and bronze sculptures as well as an amusement park filled with charming games and rides.
Educational and artistic – The Leonardo da Vinci museum, Vinci
This fascinating museum, located 35km west of Florence in Vinci, boasts one of the largest collections of Leonardo da Vinci’s discoveries and art works. This ambient museum is located in a historical medieval tower and showcases an impressive range of his creations, from guns and war machines to frescoes and blueprints to clocks and bicycles – ideal for inspiring budding inventors. The charming village of Vinci is also ideal for a relaxing day trip, offering beautiful views of the rustic local countryside.
Energetic and active – Parco Avventura Fosdinovo, Apuan Alps
Parco Avventura Fosinovo in the beautiful Apuan Alps offers a wide range of activities for energetic families, including mountain biking, a bungee trampoline and treetop circuits. The Apuan Alps themselves are an ideal location for hiking and horse riding within the stunning setting of this beautiful mountain range.
Fabulous food – Gelato tasting, Florence
Any sweet-toothed visitor will adore sampling the many wonderful flavours of indulgent gelato ice cream available throughout this beautiful city. With a huge variety of gelaterias offering hundreds of varieties, there’s plenty of reason to keep going back for more. Look out for signs that say produzione propria which show that the gelato is homemade, and try to limit yourself to three or four flavours, so that you can really appreciate the incredible tastes on offer.
Impressive history – Prehistoric Park, Peccioli
After finding fossils around their property, the owners of the Prehistoric Park in Peccioli created a land of over 18 life-size fibreglass dinosaur models, as well as a volcano and cavemen. Kids will no doubt be fascinated by the sheer scale of these scientifically correct, giant beasts, including one of the largest reconstructions in Europe. Immediately outside the park is a large playground and picnic area, making this an ideal day trip for any visit to the area.
And who can forget… The Leaning Tower of Pisa
One of the region’s most famous monuments, kids will adore staring up at this precarious-looking piece and even adults won’t be able to resist the obligatory photos “holding up” the tower. The building owes its famous tilt to an initial build on unstable soil, but once the underlying soil began to settle, the tower became more secure. Whilst the tower was closed for a decade in the nineties to stabilise the structure, it is now perfectly safe for visitors to climb to the top again to enjoy the incredible surrounding views.
Where to Stay
Whilst the hotels and agritourismo in the area are of a high standard, when holidaying with a family villas can offer the most flexibility and privacy, as well as providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Tuscan way of life. Charming Vaggion Saverno is a renovated farm house near Florence, offering a central location for exploring the region’s sights. The villa sleeps 8 and offers a private pool and stunning views over the surrounding Cal d’Arno, ideal for relaxing together at the end of the day.
For more information on Tuscan villas, visit www.tuscanynow.com.