What do you do when you’re hot, your kids are hot, and things are going to explode into a fiery argument if you don’t cool down pronto? Never fear, solutions are here!
There is nothing quite like the sweet relief of a cool dip in one of Florence’s many pools. Le Pavoniere in the Cascine park is a tram ride from the centre and even has a smaller pool for the littlest ones. Another option is Piscina Bellariva, conveniently beside the Arno for a post-swim stroll. Micropiscina Isolotto (via Baccio Bandinelli) is an indoor alternative that will keep your kids protected from the sweltering sun as they swim or play water polo.
Apart from splashing about, there’s shade to be found in the green areas scattered across the city. Ideal for picnics and kicking a ball, Parco delle Cascine is a firm favourite, even featuring horseriding for the equine-inclined at the Centro Ippico Toscano. The park at Villa Stibbert is another gem, featuring temples, rock caves and fountains. The Giardino dell’Orticoltura, near via Bolognese, organizes a host of summertime events, such as live music and storytelling workshops, with a path winding up the hillside—kids will be delighted to come across the giant snake fountain which writhes through the garden. Parco di Villa Vogel, in the Isolotto area, not only has a playground but also trampolines, go-karts, a carousel and a pond: plenty to entertain and delight. Had enough of being down on the ground? Head out of town and into the treetops at Il Gigante (via Fiorentina, Vaglia), which offers ten high rope courses, a zip line and enough adventure to satisfy the most energetic of kids.
With so many museums to visit in Florence, it can seem like there’s never enough time to see them all. The school-free months provide opportunity galore to explore and keep your kids learning. One of the child-friendliest museums is Palazzo Vecchio, which has interactive theatre workshops and its own children’s museum. Check out the Museo Galileo’s extraordinary objects and then continue your kids’ learning with science games on the museum’s website.
Florence is the ideal spot from which to take day trips. A short spin in a car, bus or train and you will be at any number of fabulous locations. Treasure troves such as Lucca, Siena and Prato; Spello and Perugia (in Umbria); and even Ferrara are always an option. Feeling like a trip to the beach? Ninety or so minutes in the car will bring you to Castiglioncello, Quercianella and Cecina, or Follonica or Scarlino further down the coast. If you’re not quite feeling like a sandy excursion, Fattoria di Maiano is a farm near Fiesole, which offers trekking and even a safari tour. And yes, there’s wine for well-deserving parents.
MAKING AND PAINTING
Looking for videomaking, journalism, sculpture, painting, music or astronomy? Situated in Le Cure, Le Curandaie has lots to keep young minds engaged. Le Maghe Magò, in the same neighbourhood, is also worth checking out for their summer programs, which include outdoor activities and other fun workshops. Labsitters, near Porta Romana, has plenty of options, from cooking classes to storytime in the Oblate library.
If all fails, and the heat is still defeating you, there’s nothing a gelato can’t fix.