Five hacks to help make a perfect family break to Florence, Pisa and Tuscany
Coping with the heat
It can be intensely hot in summer. The temperature is at its best before 11 and after 6. We found early morning excursions and late evening walks worked best for us.
The middle of the day is the time to make sure you’re either in air conditioned accommodation or by a shaded pool.
Beware the siesta
No fewer than four times in a week we were caught out waiting for the local supermarket to open (it was closed between 1.30 and 4) and as we were staying 10 minutes drive along a gravel track that wasn’t ideal.
If you need supplies for little ones plan ahead and get all the essentials in one go. Often in small towns the choice isn’t what you might be used to and shops close in the early afternoon.
Research your parking
San Gimignano has a decent park and ride system but in August the car parks were almost full by 10.30am.
Volterra has even less parking near the historic centre, which means a long hot walk. The best idea to minimise a long walk is to visit early morning or late afternoon.
Florence has so much to see, but not all of it is interesting to little ones and the heat soon saps their energy.
Pick one or two main sights, rather than packing it all in, and choose two close together to cut down on walking under the blazing sun.
One good option is the Boboli Gardens and Ponte Vecchio, which work well and are quite close together. Similarly the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio are quite close.
The Leaning Tower
Yes, it’s a must with children but stick together, get the pictures done and retreat to a little market outside the walls of the site where there are toilets, snacks and stalls to browse.
You have to be eight to climb the tower so once you’ve snapped that shot there’s not much reason to hang around.