During our week at Villa Pia we spent an afternoon in Florence and had a family friendly tour of the Uffizi.
It was due to be a full day in Florence but due to some bad planning on my part, I thought I’d booked my tours for Thursday and I had in fact booked them for Wednesday prompting a call from the tour group we were due to meet at 10am asking where we were, we only got half a day.
Sad to have missed the first tour but determined not to miss the family friendly tour of the Uffizi at 3pm we jumped into the car and made the hour and half journey to Florence arriving at 1pm.
Having been to Florence earlier in the year I decided to book the same car parking spot. I’ve linked the details below because whilst it’s expensive to park for the day – it’s very very central and it reduces the time you spend walking after a long day exploring this fabulous city They also park your car for you which is an added bonus in a very busy Italian city. It’s Garage Bargello.
On the way from the car parking spot to the cathedral we spotted a restaurant that did take away pizza and decided to get that for all of us for lunch. The kids were fascinated watching the pizzas being made and being cooked in the huge pizza oven and we then sat outside the cathedral in the sun watching the world go by.
Due to our delay at getting into Florence we didn’t have as much time as I might have liked but we managed to find time to ooh and ahh at the size of the cathedral and be amazed at how white it is now that they’ve finished cleaning it. We wandered through the back streets to Piazza della Signoria and saw the life size replica of David and made sure we had time for Gelato!
Gelato in hand we wandered across the Ponte Vecchio bridge down to the second bridge and got a fabulous view of the Ponte Vecchio bridge from further down river.
The weather was perfect Exploring weather. Bright and cheerful but not too hot. Very unlike the weather I had had last time I visited that involved rain macs and umbrellas.
So after a two hour wander in the city it was time to meet Francesca from Europe 4 Kids tours for our Treasure Hunt in the Uffizi.
Tickets for the Uffizi have to be booked way in advance and this was all done for us by Europe 4 Kids and we paid for those tickets on arrival. The Uffizi do get some ticket returns when people don’t turn up for booked tickets but if you’re really wanting to visit it you have to make sure to book in advance. Tickets for the Uffizi are 24€/adult, 4€/child
Europe 4 kids tours has kindly agreed to provide a guide for us in exchange for this review, and Francesca exceeded all of my expectations. There is absolutely no way that we would have enjoyed two hours in the Uffizi with our kids without her wonderful tour.
Once we had our tickets we had to queue a little bit to get into the Uffizi due to the new scanning machine. Europe 4 kids had recommended that we did the tour as early as 9 if possible or at 3pm to avoid the largest numbers in be Museum: it was a great recommendation and the Uffizi never felt too busy at any point.
Before we entered the Uffizzi Francesca took the girls to see the bridge that went over the street and joined the uffizzi to the x she asked the girls to remember the bridge and the people looking out for when we went inside.
As Francesca moved towards the museum all three girls ran after her hanging off her every word.
Once we got inside and had had the usual toilet stop Francesca gave all the girls a Treasure Map each and told them she would wink at them when they went into a room which had something in they needed to find.
You can see a photo of the treasure hunt below in Lily’s hand but there was only small parts of pictures on the sheet and they had to try and find the full pictures in the rooms.
Isobel was incredible at it. Even before Francesca had said a painting might be in the room, Isobel had scanned the painting and knew one of them was on her sheet. Her power of recall for the images really was very quick and I’ve no idea how she did it. It was impressive. That soon got the competitive genes working and all three were aiming to be first.
As well as getting the children to locate paintings Francesca was brilliant at explaining the history behind the museum, its main benefactors and some of the fascinating stories behind the paintings.
Tales ranged from painters who painted nudes for famous people who then didn’t want them, to helping them understand how art has developed over the centuries and pointing out self portraits of the artist in paintings. It clearly went in as when we were in a church later in the week I heard them challenge each other to guess where the artist was on each painting.
Half way around the Uffizi Francesca talked to the girls all about the Ponte Vecchio bridge and why it had been built in the way it had. The girls were fascinated that the Medici family had created a way to get to their new palace without getting harmed and walking down on the ground with the public. It was also possibly the realisation that they could move such long distances without getting wet that appealed to them and they wondered if we could create a similar construction for the walk to school!
Just after the discussion about the Ponte Vecchio bridge was a chance to grab a cool drink and get a very different view of the Florence skyline. Beware though 6 drinks cost around E18 some rather expensive Fanta and water!
Once our 2 hours in the Uffizi came to an end, Francesca explained that we actually had her time for 3 hours and so she would love to show us around some more of the city and explain some more of the history around the buildings. We explained where our car was parked and so she walked us back through the streets towards the cathedral chatting us through some of the more interesting parts of the back streets, pointing out towers, the oldest building in Florence and why some of the streets were built so close together you could almost touch the apartments across the street.
We had a wonderful afternoon with Europe 4 kids tours and would highly recommend them to anyone visiting the city with kids. Interesting, engaging and wonderfully patient too.
The kids finished their day as it started with takeaway pasta from the same shop which they ate in the car on the way home!
Wonderful tour! You can take a look at all Europe 4 Kids tours here!
The details of the 3 hour tour we took and the prices can be found below:
Art Detectives: Uffizi Gallery Hunt + Accademia
Enjoy Florence’s world-famous museum, the Uffizi Gallery. See the Gallery’s most important treasures, and experience Leonardo Da Vinci’s genius, as well as Titian, Raphael, Bronzino, Caravaggio and many more. And of course, when in Florence one must see Michelangelo’s masterpieces, along with the very famous Botticelli’s classic, the “Birth of Venus”. 2 hours.
+ Accademia (David)
See the Michelangelo´s David and some of the highlights of the Gallery of Accademia. 1 hour.
Guide fee 3 hours: 270€
+ tickets to pay in cash, on site