If you have children to entertain during your visit to Florence you might like to consider these two colourful and historic places to capture their imagination.
At the Palazzo Vecchio in the historic heart of Florence there is the Museo dei Ragazzi, or Family Museum. This imposing palace was built as the office of the Priors, the governors of medieval Florence, and then was transformed into a home by the tremendously wealthy and powerful Medici family. Today it is possible to visit many rooms and even secret corridors of the palace, even though it is still the working office of the mayor and council of Florence.
There are guided visits and activities every day, some suited for the 3 to 7 age group and the rest for the whole family. Most of the visits last just over an hour but not all activities are available every day so it’s best to book in advance.
Three times a week you can book a guided tour of the Quartieri Monumentali and then enjoy an audience with actors playing Cosimo I or his wife Eleonora di Toledo alternatively there is a guided tour with the architect of the palace, Giorgio Vasari also available three times a week.
Palazzo Vecchio Museum opening hours: April-September daily 9am-midnight except Thursday 9am-2pm. Winter months daily 9am-7pm except Thursday 9am-2pm. Extended opening for public holidays except closed Christmas Day.
Admission: € 6.00 Concessions available.
A short taxi ride or the city bus number 4 from the train station will take you to the Museo Stibbert, once the private home of a wealthy Florentine.
Frederick Stibbert inherited a fortune when he was only twenty one. His grandfather had been the British Governor of Bengal, his father a Colonel in the Coldstream Guards who had married an Italian and chosen to settle in Florence. Although he inherited a fortune, he was a clever and careful investor and managed to increase his wealth all through his life allowing him to follow his passions for travel and collecting. For nearly fifty years he filled his home with his finds from ceramics to paintings, from clothing to arms. The most famous collections within the fifty thousand pieces are those of the European, Oriental and Japanese armour, many displayed on life size models, some on horseback, in one of the main rooms of the house. The fascinating thing to remember is that they were not placed there when the house was opened to the public as a museum, but they were part of the furnishing of Stibbert’s home; the rooms are arranged as he lived in them and as he left them when he died in 1906.
Museo Stibbert – Via Frederick Stibbert, 26. Opening hours: 10am-2pm Monday-Wednesday; 10am-6pm Friday-Sunday. Closed January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, August 15 and Christmas Day.
Admission: € 10:00 Concessions available. How to get there: Ataf bus number 4 – Bus stop: Gioia