10 Tips for visiting Tuscany with kids
Tuscany is one of the most spectacular regions of Italy. And it is a great choice for a family vacation with children. In addition to historic cities like Florence and Siena, Tuscany has gorgeous countryside. It is famous for wine production such as the Chianti region. And also boasts stunning landscapes and charming towns of the Val d’Orcia. These areas provide a wonderful retreat for families. Tuscany will give you time to relax and enjoy the scenery, while taking a break from the more hectic city sightseeing.
Here are our 10 best tips for enjoying these beautiful areas of Tuscany:
1. Stay in a family-friendly Villa or Agriturismo
These countryside areas are perfect for unwinding in a relaxed setting. Accommodation choices include renting a villa with the space you need for your family. Look for the amenities you want, such as a pool to enjoy in your free time.
Staying at a local farm or agriturismo is an authentic Italian experience. It offers the chance to meet your hosts, enjoy local food and perhaps even take part in activities on the farm, including wine harvesting activities. There may also be farm animals for the kids to visit! Or you may wish to stay at a hotel with interconnecting rooms. Learn more about the various pros and cons of various types of local accommodation here.
2. Picnic in a family-friendly vineyard
Some wineries offer the chance to have a fun picnic lunch amidst the vineyards. Contact the winery to see what can be offered based on the age of your kids. Spread out your blanket and ease into the beautiful scenery. Sample the best local meats, cheeses, bread, and wine for the adults!
3. Take a winery tour
Taking a winery tour doesn’t mean having to exclude the children! There are family friendly vineyards where kids are welcome. They can tour the vineyards and learn about how wine is made. Many wineries offer restaurants on site where the best of local products can be enjoyed in rustic settings. Kids can enjoy the local food and can be served appropriate beverages such as juice while parents sample the local wines.
During the autumn harvest season, some wineries participate in the Cantine Aperta or Open Cellars program. This allows visitors to join in the wine harvesting activities!
4. Visit the ancient villages and castles of the Chianti region
Apart from the wineries, the Chianti region offers picturesque small villages and stately castles. You kids will love to explore as you traverse the delightful hilly, vineyard-laden countryside.
Seek out several of the most enjoyable towns in the area to explore. These include Greve in Chianti. As the unofficial capital of the region, the central Piazza Matteotti square is host to the annual September wine fair. Radda in Chianti retains its medieval street plan and is another important wine centre. The area surrounding Gaiole in Chianti is among the most beautiful in the region, with vineyard covered hills and atmospheric castles like Brolio and Verrazano. Kids will love exploring these castles and using their imagination as they discover.
5. Explore the hill towns and stunning landscapes of the Val d’Orcia
The rural vistas of the Val d’Orcia are some of the most photogenic in all of Italy. Here you’ll find towns famous for wineries and wine shops. Along with medieval fortresses and Renaissance palaces. Must sees are walled, hilltop Montalcino and charming Montepulciano. Discover its artisan workshops and winding main street leading up to sweeping views of the Val d’Orcia from its Piazza Grande.
The town of Pienza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its Renaissance architectural core and beautiful valley views. Bagno Vignoni is unique with its central piazza consisting of a 16th century rectangular thermal basin.
6. Bathe in the Tuscan hot springs
Enjoy the area’s natural beauty by putting on your bathing suit and heading to one of the area’s natural thermal springs for a swim! Although you can’t bathe in the central square pool at Bagno Vignoni, the nearby Parco dei Mulini has a natural spring you can relax in. Head to Bagni San Filippo to explore a series of pools in the woods, overlooked by impressive natural limestone formations like the White Whale.
7. Experience a Tuscan cooking class and sample the local foods
Let the whole family roll up their sleeves and try their hand at creating their own pizza or pasta dish. Kids can then enjoy a lunch with the fruits of their own efforts!
This area of Tuscany has some delicious food products to try, including the famed Pecorino cheese from Pienza, made from local sheep. You could also sign up for a truffle hunt to hike in the woods while the hunter and his dog search for the underground treasures. Other treats to try include mushrooms from Amiata and chestnuts used in local dishes and cakes.
8. Enjoy a hot air balloon ride
Get a unique perspective on the rolling hills of the Chianti countryside by taking a hot air balloon ride! These excursions take off in the early morning and provide a bird’s eye view of the area as you silently glide over the vineyards, villages, and olive groves below.
After the balloon descends, enjoy breakfast with local cheese, olive oil and Tuscan bread.
9. Ride in vintage cars
Another unique way to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Chianti region is to take a family driving excursion in a vintage car. You can either self-drive or enjoy being a passenger as you travel through the beguiling Chianti scenery. Stop in some of the picturesque villages or at one of the many wineries for a tasting or lunch.
10. Stroll through an outdoor sculpture park
The Chianti Sculpture Park north of Siena gives kids and adults the chance to take a walk amongst fascinating contemporary sculptures scattered throughout the scenic grounds of the park. Families can even picnic on one of the park’s grassy areas!