You’re coming to Florence… with a baby or toddler!
Are you wondering what you can do with your baby in Firenze?
Maybe you’re trying to decide if you should bring your stroller.
Or perhaps you’re stumped on which neighborhood is best to stay in with your little one.
Read on for the answers to these and more below. I’ve had three children in Florence, so I’ve spent plenty of time with them in the city during the baby and toddler stages. I’ll give you the scoop on where to go with them, help you with logistics, and give helpful tips for your visit!
Is Florence a Good Place to Visit with a Baby or Toddler?
True, it’s not ‘set up’ for a baby or toddler. But, it’s an incredible city, and with a little planning, it will be fun for you and your little one.
Pros of Visiting Florence with a Baby or Toddler
- Florence is a compact city so you won’t need to push your stroller for kilometers. The city’s small size also means you can usually get back to your hotel quickly if you need to.
- It’s a safe city. We feel fine exploring with our kids.
- There are plenty of places for babies and toddlers to explore (piazzas, colorful markets, a few parks)
- Florence is relatively stroller-friendly. Sure, you’ll have to move up and down sidewalks sometimes and there are plenty of cobbles, but Florence is definitely doable with a stroller. You will see local moms using all types of strollers, from large, fancy strollers to compact umbrella strollers.
- It’s easy to find and buy baby supplies
- There’s plenty of English spoken, so you can get help at pharmacies or in the event of an emergency.
- We have an incredible children’s hospital here – Meyer.
Cons of Visiting Florence with a Baby or Toddler
It can be a tough place to change a diaper (but we’ll give you tips below).
The center is very hot in the summer.
There aren’t a lot of baby and toddler-friendly green spaces in the historic center.
Things to Do in Florence with a Baby or Toddler
Spend Time in a Piazza
Florence’s piazzas are almost completely car free, which means you can let your little one walk around, but you still need to be aware that a taxi could drive through (along with bicycles and scooters).
They’re a great place to let your new walker explore, chase pigeons, look at people, and eat a gelato.
Babies can watch people or nap in the stroller while adults get a coffee or aperitivo.
The main piazzas in the historic center are Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza della Signoria.
A must-do with a baby or toddler is the historic carousel in Piazza della Repubblica. It runs year round and has places for baby to ride on a horse or sit down with an adult in a carriage.
Look at Books
If your baby loves books, take a break and head to a bookshop in Florence. The best places to go with a baby or toddler:
- RED Feltrinelli – convenient location on Piazza della Repubblica; small section on 1st floor
- Todo Modo Dilà – magical atmosphere in the Oltrarno (‘other side’ of the river)
- Paperback Exchange – small section of children’s books; close to the Duomo
- Città del Sole – book section in this toy store near the Duomo (across the street from the Paperback Exchange)
- Uffizi Gallery – the museum’s bookshop has a huge selection of books for children (and you can enter without a ticket – just ask an employee at the museum entrance)
- Oblate Library (Biblioteca dell’Oblate) – amazing kids section in this Florence library; plenty of space for little ones to browse
Go to a Playground or Park
Best playgrounds for babies and toddlers in Florence:
- Playground in Piazza Massimo d’Azeglio
- Boboli Gardens – great for toddlers who want to walk
- Parco della Carraia
- Playgrounds in Parco delle Cascine (Giardino Nicholas Green, Parco Giochi Visarno)
Visit a Market
Head to a market – your baby or toddler will love looking at the colors of the fruits and vegetables. You can choose in-season produce to snack on or gather picnic supplies.
Good To Know: Our favorite market is Mercato Sant’Ambrogio. You can wash your fruit by the north entrance.
Stop by a Toy Store
We love visiting the Città del Sole toy store with our little ones. There are a lot of things for baby to look at and age-appropriate toy sections.
Read more about our Favorite Toy Stores in Florence!
Ride the Hop on Hop off Bus
If your legs need a break but you still want to see a bit of the city, take the double-decker HoHo (Hop On Hop Off) Bus that circles the city center and heads up into the hills on the other side of the Arno River.
Good To Know: You can bring your stroller on the bus, but you need to take baby out during the ride.
Walk Across Ponte Vecchio
Babies and toddlers love sparkles, and Ponte Vecchio is full of them. Walk across the ‘Old Bridge’ of Florence and let your little ones see the gold and jewels in the shops on the bridge.
In the evening, you’ll often see and hear musicians at the center of the bridge.
It’s fairly crowded during the day, but if you go early in the morning or late at night when there are fewer crowds, you’ll find the shops are closed.
See the Horses
You’ll see them trotting through the city center, but if you want a closer look, bring your baby to Piazza Duomo, where they wait to give visitors a ride. Just don’t get too close or you may scare the horses.
If you let your toddler eat gelato (we do!), a gelato break will be one of your little one’s favorite activities in Florence.
You can ask for a baby cone (un cono per bambini, per favore).
Good To Know: If you don’t want to give your toddler a cone, you can ask for a sigaretta russa (Russian cigarette), a small, tubular cookie that most gelaterie have. Then, scoop a little bit of your gelato on the top and you have a mini ‘cone’ for your child to enjoy.
Good To Know: Yogurt is a good gelato flavor for little ones because it’s less sweet than most flavors.
We love to get gelato at:
- Perchè No
- Gelateria de’ Medici
- La Sorbettiera
La Specola – Currently Closed
We wanted to include our favorite kid’s museum in Florence – La Specola. Unfortunately, it’s closed at the moment, but when you visit, check to see if it’s opened back up.
Toddlers love the displays of taxidermied animals and the colorful insects and butterflies.
When it opens up, you’ll find our family there!
Do What You Want to Do
If you’re traveling in Florence with a non-walking baby, you can design your trip according to your desires. As long as baby is getting fed, getting naps in, and staying cool in the heat (if you’re visiting during the summer), you can spend your time in Florence seeing what you’d like to see! Explore some of Florence’s gems like:
- The Uffizi Gallery
- The Accademia Gallery – Read our posts on how to Skip the Line to See David and Visiting the Accademia with Kids.
- The Bargello
- Piazzale Michelangelo
- Boboli Gardens
- Palazzo Vecchio (can bring stroller but easier with a baby carrier)
- Leonardo da Vinci Interactive Museum (not fun with an exploring toddler – make sure he/she is asleep!)
Good To Know: If you’re thinking about climbing Giotto’s bell tower or the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore), we recommend having one adult stay down with the baby while the other climbs. Yes, you can technically use a baby carrier, but there are narrow sections, some steep steps, and the last part of the Duomo could be very difficult with a little one on you. I’ve climbed Giotto’s bell tower with a 4 year old, and he loved it, but I personally wouldn’t bring little ones in a carrier. That being said, I’ve seen plenty of people do the climb with little ones in a carrier or baby backpack.
Helpful Tip: If you’re entering a museum with a stroller, ask where the elevator is. You don’t need to carry your stroller up the stairs!
If you’re visiting with a walking toddler, you’ll need to pay more attention to his/her needs and make sure there’s plenty of active time to play, walk, and explore. Then, when your toddler needs to rest or nap, use that time to visit a museum.
Getting Around Florence with a Baby or Toddler
Florence with a Baby or Toddler – On Foot
The easiest and most pleasant way to get around and see Florence is on foot. If you’re traveling with a baby or toddler, you will want to have a stroller and/or baby carrier (we use both but tend to favor using a stroller).
Florence with a Baby or Toddler – By Taxi
You can catch a taxi from a designated taxi stand in the Florence city center. You can also call (or have your hotel or restaurant call) 055.4242 or 055.4390. You can’t flag them down on the street.
Remember that Italian taxis do not provide car seats and they are not required by law.
Read more about Car Seats in Italy.
Florence with a Baby or Toddler – By Bus
If you need to, use the local bus system (Autolinee Toscane) to move around town. Some of the buses are tiny, but you can bring your stroller on. Buy your ticket before you get on the bus (easiest to buy them at newsstands or shops with the Autolinee Toscane sticker or at the bus ticket booth at the Florence SMN train station).
Tickets are valid for 90 minutes. Remember to validate your ticket in the machine when you get on the bus.
Florence with a Baby or Toddler – By Tram
You can also utilize the tram if your destination or hotel is on one of the routes. Use the same tickets as you use for the bus and remember to validate your ticket when you get on the tram.
Florence with a Baby or Toddler – By Car
The center of Florence is small, so if you can, avoid having a car in the city. Parking is expensive and can be difficult to find. ZTL (limited traffic zones) dot the city and entering them without the appropriate permit will net you a multa (fine). And, you don’t need a car in such a compact city!
If you’re not staying in the historic center, you can use public transport to get to the city center.
If you do drive your car in Florence, remember that your baby or toddler must be in a car seat.
Learn more about Driving in Italy.
Where to Change a Diaper in Florence
Changing diapers can be tricky in Florence. There aren’t a lot of places that consistently have changing tables. I recommend bringing a portable changing mat (or buying a pack of disposable mats in the grocery store (incontinence pads). Do as Florentine parents do, and utilize benches and flat surfaces when you need to change baby.
Depending on the age of your baby, you could also do diaper changes with a pad inside the lay-flat stroller, standing up, or in your lap.
Helpful Tip: If you don’t have a stroller that will work for diaper changes, bring or buy some disposable changing pads. You’ll probably be laying the mat on some grimy/dirty places, and you won’t want to wash it each time.
A few ‘go-to’ places include:
- Chicco (near Piazza Repubblica)
- Hard Rock Cafe (Piazza Repubblica)
- Rinascente (Piazza della Signoria)
- Città del Sole (near the Duomo)
Many museums have diaper changing facilities that you can use if you have purchased a museum ticket:
- Palazzo Strozzi (near Piazza Repubblica)
- Palazzo Vecchio (Piazza Signoria)
- Uffizi Gallery
- Accademia Gallery
Some restaurants have changing tables (Trattoria 4 Leoni), while others will do their best to find a suitable area for you to change baby (pushing small tables together in a bathroom, clearing a space on the counter for your changing pad, etc).
You can also head into the lobby of a nice hotel and ask to use their toilet.
If you need to buy diapers or supplies, you can find them at grocery stores (supermercati) or pharmacies (faramacie – look for the green ‘+’ sign). Grocery stores have everything you need (diapers, wipes, diaper cream) and they usually carry multiple brands, including well-known ones like Pampers or Huggies. Pharmacies sometimes have a nice selection of diaper products, and other times you’ll find the bare minimum. They also tend to be more expensive than grocery stores.
Strollers in Florence
I’m often asked about bringing a stroller to Florence. Even though Florence has cobbled streets, some tiny(!) sidewalks, and plenty of crowds, I find that with a baby or toddler, a stroller is useful and necessary.
Sure, you can use a carrier! Carriers work well if your baby loves a carrier and you don’t plan on being out all day. Also keep in mind that carriers can be really warm (for baby and adult) during the hot Florentine summers.
A few tips for bringing a stroller to Florence:
- Don’t bring jogging strollers with inflatable tubes unless you bring your own spares. You can easily find a place to pump them at one of Florence’s bike shops but it’s tough to find spare tubes.
- Leave a side-by-side double stroller at home. They’re tough to use on the narrow streets, and you’ll have trouble bringing them into shops and restaurants. We use a double stroller (single-file) and have no problems with it. Yes, it’s big, but we’ve never been turned away from a restaurant or shop. You may need to park it in a different part of the restaurant though.
- Bring a stroller and carrier if possible. If you have a good stroller napper, you’ll be fine with just a stroller, but you may want a carrier for some museums and activities. As mentioned above, you probably don’t want to rely on a carrier if you’re visiting in the summer – it will be very hot for your baby.
- Don’t leave your stroller unattended and don’t put anything valuable in the bottom basket. Pickpockets are active in Florence and they sometimes target parents with children.
- In the winter, if you have a stroller (great idea), bring a warm liner/bag for it.
More Tips for Visiting Florence With a Baby or Toddler
See our post on Visiting Italy with a Baby or Toddler for general tips.
For Florence, specifically:
- Remember that even ‘pedestrian-only’ areas like piazzas and shopping streets can still occasionally have cars drive through.
- In the summer, limit time in the hot midday hours. Florence gets really toasty. Try to make sure you have an air-conditioned room.
- You don’t need to bring a portable highchair. Restaurants in Florence have ‘gotten with the times’ and have them. They’re often the classic white IKEA highchairs.
- Think about getting an international phone plan or a local SIM card. While you can often connect to Wi-Fi (public, or hotels or museums), you’ll feel better knowing you can always call for help. Good To Know: 112 is the new universal emergency number in Italy (and Europe).
- Florence, like most places in Italy, has a lot of stone and obstacles aren’t always marked like they are in your home country. So, be extra aware and cautious as your toddler moves around (there may be potholes or sharp corners), walks up steps (there may not be railings), and explores the city.
- Try to eat dinner early when restaurants are less crowded. You’ll find more space for your stroller, a quieter environment for your little one, and less busy (more attentive) waiters.
Where to Stay in Florence with a Baby or Toddler
The best advice I can give is to stay in the city center so you can move on foot. It’s easier than dealing with public transport (especially if you have a stroller). You’ll love being able to walk back to your hotel if your baby or toddler needs a break, and you can also easily trade off time at the hotel (one adult explores while the other stays with the sleeping baby).
Sant’Ambrogio or Santa Croce Neighborhoods – close to main sites; Sant’Ambrogio is full of locals; close to Sant’Ambrogio Market and Piazza Azeglio playground; nice pedestrian street (Borgo La Croce)
Santo Spirito or San Frediano Neighborhoods – close to main sites (just across the Arno River); more of a ‘local’ feel than city center; close to Boboli Gardens
Duomo (Center) – louder, more crowded; close to all main sites; explore early morning; walk to Parco delle Cascine for green space and playgrounds
Best Day Trips from Florence With a Baby or Toddler
Florence makes a great base for exploring Tuscany, especially by public transport, as there are many places you can reach from Florence by train or bus.
Some of our favorite daytrips from Florence with babies and toddlers include:
Pistoia – Zoo
Collodi – Pinocchio Park, Butterfly Garden
Fattoria di Maiano
See our Favorite Day Trips from Florence
I hope this has helped you plan your time in Florence with your baby or toddler!
Be sure to check out our 200+ Essential Tips for Visiting Italy!