Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Italy with kids

How to plan a day trip from Rome to Florence with kids: all you need to know

How to plan a day trip from Rome to Florence with kids: how to get to Florence from Rome, what to see, where to eat, what to book in advance.

Florence is a stunning, unique and fun city, famous for incredible art, delicious food and one of the world’s most significant and beautiful medieval city centers.

It is a city that can keep art lovers entertained for days.

However, it is also a city with a lot to offer to the casual visitor, the traveler who may not be into seeing all the museums but is however interested in getting a taste of this beautiful Tuscan city.

If this is you, then you will love to hear that Florence is a city that you can easily enjoy in a day and that you can visit it as an easy day trip from Rome!

I love Florence and I take a day trip from Rome to Florence anytime I can.

The last time I did so, I did it with my 11 year old son and we had a fantastic day.

So if you are looking for how to plan a day trip from Rome to Florence with kids, I hope our experience comes in handy and it can help you make the most of your day!

To make your day easier, I have included:

  • How to use the train to get from Rome to Florence
  • Our exact itinerary
  • A free portable with top Florence landmarks for kids and some essential facts

You can also find here >>> our full guide to visiting Florence with kids, if you want an overview of what the city offers to its youngest visitors.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How to get to Florence from Rome for the day

The best way to get from Rome to Florence for the day is by train.

The distance between the two cities is about 200km, but thanks to the high-speed train, you can get from one to the other in as little as 1h36 minutes, half the time it’d take to cover the same distance by car!

Florence train station is right in the city’s center, a short walk away from the Duomo and Florence’s main landmarks.

This means that once you arrive in Florence, you don’t need to worry about how to get around or find taxis: you are already where you need to be for sightseeing!

How to book the high speed train from Rome to Florence with kids

Two railway companies cover this stretch and you have several trains each day, often as frequent as owner per hour or even more.

The trains are:

Le Frecce by Trenitalia – Trenitalia is the main railway provider in Italy, offering both high-speed trains (Freccia Rossa, Freccia Argento, Freccia Bianca) and standard trains.

To go to Florence from Rome in a day, you want their Frecciarossa train, which is fast, efficient and comfortable, even at the cheapest fare.

Trains are very frequent and often have offers for families or special fares for a return day ticket.

You can find the schedule and prices on their official website here >>>> trenitalia.com <<<< Use ‘Roma Termini’ and ‘Firenze Santa Maria Novella’ as departure/ arrival stations.

Italo Treno – Italo is the other provider of high-speed trains in Italy. While managed by a different company than Trenitalia, the service and standard it offers are very similar, the disparities with Trebitalia being more about branding and colors than anything else.

Italo has frequent trains and it serves the same stations as Trenitalia. Often its prices are slightly cheaper; however, this is not always the case, so I recommend you compare both options!

You can find the schedule and prices on their official website here >>>> italotreno.it <<<< Use ‘Roma Termini’ and ‘Firenze Santa Maria Novella’ as departure/ arrival stations.

My son and I during our Florence day trip, with Ponte vecchio in the background

To book a Trenitalia high-speed train, follow these steps:

  • Go onto the website trenitalia.com or download the Trenitalia App
  • On the homepage, select Roma Termini as your departure station and Firenze SMN (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) as your arrival station
  • Add the number of adults and children traveling. Children fares apply to kids age 4-14, while children under 4 are infants. Infants travel free if on the lap of the adult; if you want a seat for them, out them is as ‘children’
  • Add your desired date of travel and time. Need to know: if you don’t specify a time, the search will default to the time of the search, so if you are searching and it is 3pm, they will only show you trains for after 3pm, even if for a different day. Always specify both date and time of the desired departure to have a full list
  • Click search and wait for the list of available solutions on offer
  • Pick the travel time/price that seems most convenient to you and click to these the available fares. All available options will appear on this page: if you cannot see the family offer or another offer you had hoped to get, this usually means is it not available on that specific train.
  • Once you are happy with a train, toggle the ‘select seat’ option and pick your seats to ensure you travel together. This comes at a small additional charge.
  • Once your selections done, click proceed and choose the option ‘continue without logging in’. Then follow on screen instructions to complete your purchase
  • You will receive your tickets by email – keep them safe as these will be your boarding pass and they will be checked on the train.
  • You’re done!

To book Italo Treno high speed train, follow these steps:

  • Go onto the Italo website italotreno.it
  • On the homepage, select Roma Termini as your departure station and Firenze SMN (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) as your arrival station
  • Add the number of adults and children traveling. Children fares apply to kids age 3-12; children between 14 and 29 are considered ‘youngs’; children under 3 are infants. Infants travel free if on the lap of the adult; if you want a seat for them, ss them as ‘children’
  • Add your desired date of travel and time. Need to know: if you don’t specify a time, the search will default to the time of the search, so if you are searching and it is 3pm, they will only show you trains for after 3pm, even if for a different day. Always specify both date and time of the desired departure to have a full list
  • Click search and wait for the list of available solutions on offer
  • Pick the travel solutions that seems most convenient to you and click to proceed to payment and check out page.
  • You will receive your tickets by email – keep them safe as these will be your boarding pass and they will be checked on the train.
  • You’re done!

You can find here >>> our guide to train travel in Italy with all you need to know about the two providers and what to expect on board.

Good to know! If the idea of navigating the train system is overwhelming, LivTours offers the option of helping you along the way with this tour that includes train tickets, help at your departure and arrival station, a guide in Florence and even a visit to the Uffizi. The tour is not ‘for kids’ as such but it is kid-friendly and the small group approach means you have the guide almost all for yourself. It is a much pricier option than a DIY approach but it can give great peace of mind to first time visitors.

Boarding your high speed train in Rome to Florence

departures board In Termini train station, Rome

On the day of your trip, boarding the high-speed train in Rome’s train station is easy.

There is no special boarding process or luggage checks so you don’t need to arrive too early. I usually like to arrive 20 minutes before departure to give myself the time to find the right platform.

When looking for your train, lool at the ‘Partenze / Departures’ table: it marks the name and number of your train and it’s final destination.

Trains that pass by Florence can have Venice, Milan or Turin as final destinations, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see ‘Firenze’ as such. You will find it mentioned in the other column last column, the one showing the intermediate stops.

The last column is the one with your platform. Do not be surprised if this only appears about 10 minutes before departure: it happens and it doesn’t mean the train is delayed.

Should a delay happen, it will be clearly announced on the same board.

How to plan your one day in Florence: 3 best way

I believe there are three best ways to enjoy one day in Florence with kids (in random order!):

  • Visit Florence with a kid-friendly tour;
  • Visit on your own and wander Florence city center at leisure
  • Visit on your own, but book one attraction you know you don’t want to miss.

One day in Florence from Rome with a kid-friendly tour

Visiting Florence with a child-friendly tour is ideal if your family loves guided experiences and your children do well with a structured activity and an engaging host.

There are two great tours that you may enjoy, depending on age of the kids and interest:

Florence semi-private tour (6 people max) by LivTours: not a tour for kids as such but a family-friendly tour with guides who can adapt the pace and tone you the age of your kids. The tour will show you Florence’s landmarks and it can be a lovely way to familiarize yourself with the city, before spending the afternoon wandering or shopping! option to add the duomo climb to your booking.

Florece drawing tour by LivTours: if your kids love a hands-on activity and drawing, they will love this tour! This is the tour I originally got to know LivTours for and it is a great one.

The tour is private, so the guide can adapt it to the age of your child. A lovely and different way to see Florence and be an artist in the cradle of the Renaissance!

Piazza della Signoria Firenze

One day in Florence in your own time

Florence is an open-air museum and enjoying the city is as easy as wandering around its stunning historical center.

Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is already in the center of the city and you will easily find your way to Florence’s main landmarks: the duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi, Accademia… all of these attractions are in close proximity one of the other and easy to find.

You can find our exact Florence day trip report at the end of this post, with the exact sequence of what we covered.

For kids, I have a simple and free activity pack with fact cards that you can use to engage them in a mini scavenger hunt around the city. You can download it for free here.

Self guided Tour + 1 attraction

Florence city center is compact enough that you can also explore in your own time yet also enter one of the city’s main landmarks.

In that case, I recommend you book in advance: tickets do sell out and many operate by reservation only.

The most Florene landmarks you need tickets for are:

  • Uffizi – find official tickets here. No need for introductions to one of the most famous museums in the world but a word of caution: the Uffizi Museums are huge and not well equipped for kids.

They are the type of museum that can take up your whole day. I highly recommend planning tour time wisely and evaluating your kids’ energy and tolerance for a big museum, before committing.

If budget allows, a great way to tackle them it to get a private family tour like this one. As well as being for kids, the tour only lasts 2 hours, which is enough for a guide to show you museum’s highlights without eating up your whole day.

  • Palazzo Vecchio – Palazzo Vecchio is one the most iconic buildings in Florence, gracing the city’s skyline with its tall, medieval turreted tower.

The historical seat of the Florentine government, the palace dates from the XIII century and is now a wonderful museum where you can see wonderful frescoes chambers, and heart stories of ancient Florence. The museum is child friendly. Tickets here.

Interactive Leonardo Museum – a fantastic museum for kids to see, touch and operate Leonardo Da Vinci Machines. Also available in Rome in similar form, I only recommend it if you haven’t seen the one in Rome already.

Museo Galileo – an interesting museum for kids as it contains a wonderful collection of historical scientific instruments

What to see on a day trip to Florence: main Florence landmarks and kid-friendly attractions.

Florence has a compact city center so even just by walking around you will be able to see:

  • Santa Maria Novella (church)
  • Florence’s Duomo Complex
  • Via del Calzaiouli shopping street
  • PIazza della Signoria (with Palazzo Vecchio, copy of David, Fountain of Nepture, Loggia dei Lanzi)
  • Uffizi courtyard
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Porcellino Fountain and market
  • Piazza della Repubblica with carouse
  • San Lorenzo area and central Market
  • Possibly Piazzale Michelangelo (by taxi)

Below, you find my step-by-step itinerary and quick facts / info about each site.

One day in Florence with my son: our itinerary

This is exactly how our day went!

We got the train from Rome to Florence at about 9am, which got us to Florence before 11. We visited the town on foot.

First stop: Santa Maria Novella, church and square

As we arrived in Florence, we exited the station and walk towards the city center.

The easiest way to find it is following the crowds! The station overlooks the back of the church od Santa Maria Novella and you get to the front of the church in a couple of minutes (it is right in front of you if exiting from the gate with the taxis).

The church of Santa Maria Novella is one of the most famous in Florence.

Founded in 1279 by Dominican Friars, the church is considered one of the best examples of Florentine and Tuscan art and host invaluable and stunning masterpieces including Masaccio‘s Trinità, Ghirlandaio‘ frescoes in the Tornabuoni Chapel and Giotto‘s Crucifix.

Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti worked at its facade and kids may like to spot two peculiarities on it: a sundial and an armillary sphere marking the days of the equinox and solstice!

Access to the church is currently ticketed but we found no line and you can get tickets on the spot.

Need to know: modest attire is required to visit the church. Avoid shorts, mini skirts, strappy tops or items of clothing that may be deemed offensive to the catholic church.

The church is beautiful and worth seeing. The piazza in front is car free, very large and equipped with benches and several cafes: a wonderful place to relax and let little kids run and a little!

Walk to Piazza del Duomo

Our second stop was Piazza del Duomo.

The walk between Santa Maria Novella and the duomo is short; however the road from one to the other is dotted with shops and we ended up spending ages in OVS, a cheap yet nice department store with a good kids’ section!

This was a pleasant stop for my son and didn’t take too long, so we didn’t feel indulging in shopping took time away our visit.

If you are looking for everyday essentials for kids, this is a great address.

After our shopping spree, we got to Piazza del Duomo and took it the beauty of the church, its tower and the baptistery. We also had a long stop to say hi to the beautiful horses stationed beside it.

The duomo of Florence is a large complex comprising of three buildings:

  • The main church, easy to recognize by its famous red tiled dome
  • The bell tower by Giotto, one of Florence and Italy’s most famous artist
  • The baptistry, famous among other things for a carved door by Ghiberti so beautiful, Michelangelo called it ‘Paradise door’

The duomo is well worth a visit and if you have the time, the duomo museum is not to be missed, especially if traveling with older kids.

If you have younger kids however, the a visit may prove boring and the climb up too difficult.

Even if not interested in a tour, some facts about the duomo may be of interest:

  • Florence’s Duomo dome is the biggest dome of its kind in the world. Architect Brunelleschi built it between 1420 and 1437
  • Its dimensions are 116m tall, almost 50m in diameter and 37.000 tons in weight! The shpere on its top is 1981 kg.
  • To get to its top, there are 463 steps.
  • Inside, the dome is decorated with some of the biggest frescoes in the workd by Vasari and Zuccari.

Beside the Duomo stands the baptistery, which is also a work of art.

You can visit inside as part of the duomo visit, or you can decide it is enough to admire its door. The door of the Baptistry is carved by goldsmith Ghiberti who took over 20 years to complete it!

Michelangelo thought it was so beautiful, he called it ‘Paradise gate’, Porta del Paradiso, a nickname still in use.

Via dei Calzaiuouli and Piaza della Signoria

After piazza duomo, we took a walk along one of Florence busiest and most famous streets, via dei calzaiouli.

This strees connects the duomo with Piazza della Singoria and has some nice shops inlcuding one always worth pointing out to children: Venchi!

Venchi sells high-quality chocolate but this shop in particular also has something special: a wall of cascading chocolate, a chocolate waterfall!

Once in piazza della signoria, we took our time to admire:

  • Palazzo Vecchio (outside), the a historical seat of Florentine power
  • The Fountain of Neptune
  • The David (replica)

The main thing we spent time on, in Piazza della Signoria, is Loggia dei Lanzi.

Loggia dei Lanzi is a open-air yet covered area in Piazzas della Signoria with several beautiful sculptures and statues.

The loggia dates from the 1300s and originated as a space for public gatherings; however, during the 1500, it also became a space for the Medici Family to showcase their power through impressive art masterpieces.

Nowadays, Loggia dei Lanzi is a famous and popular open-air gallery with statues by masters such as Benvenuto Cellini and Gianbologna.

The loggia is free to access and you can see it in a matter of minutes. I recommend you make a little time for it as it is worth it for its beauty and is great for kids who love mythology.

Its statues represent, among others, Perseus with the head of Medusa and Hercules so if you have children who love myths or Percy Jackson, they may recognize these heroes!

Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italy, with sculptures

Uffizi and Ponte Vecchio

Loggia dei Lanzi connects Piazza della Signoria with the Uffizi building so, from the piazza, we kept walking towards the river and found ourselves in the Uffizi courtyard, easy to recognize by the huge crowds!

While, on this occasion, we didn’t enter the museum, we stopped to admire their buildings and then made our way to the river, which welcomed us with a view over Ponte Vecchio!

Ponte Vecchio, aka the Old bridge, is unique: its length is entirely flanked by shops so when you first step on it, you hardly realize you are on a bridge!

Towards is middle, however, there is a large open area with stunning views over the Arno river.

The view of the Arno got a ‘wow’ off my son and we spent ages looking at the rowing boats passing by.

Fun fact! You will quickly notice that all shops on Ponte Vecchio are jewelers/ goldmsiths.

There is a reason for this: the bridge originally hosted a market but the trash from the food stalls created too much of a stench and the florentine authorities decided to intervene.

They decided to only allow goldsmiths here as their trade was cleaner and less smelly. They also felt it made the city more impressive to visiting dignitaries why entered the city from the bridge.

Lunch in Nero Carbone

I never book lunch in advance. However, since I was alone with my son, I though it would be handy to have an exact plan an d so I booked lunch in a small place called Nero Carbone.

This was a fantastic idea.

The place was lovely, and quiet, it gave us focus and somewhere to go and it also worked well as it brought us to a quieter part of Florence, central yey away from the crowds.

The lunch was lovely and informal: we got a mix of cured meats, cheese and my son has a plate of pasta with Tuscant ragout.

Fontana del Potcellino and mercato Nuovo

After lunch, we slowly regained the city center. Our first stop was the Porcellino Fountain.

Porcellino Fountain is a peculiar fountain in the shape of a wild boar. (Porcellino in Italian means piglet) and is fun for kids and also comes with a legend!

Rub the porcellino nose, then take a coin, place it in the porcellino mouth and let it go. If it slides into the grate below him, you’ll have good luck!

The fountain is very popular, so much so that sometimes you may even find a queue here.

This has unfortunately taken away a lot of the charm of what used to be a fun and hidden treasure, but this stop is still cute for kids so while I wouldn’t overplay it too much for them, it is a funny one to seek out!

Porcellino is beside aa market so it can also be fun to wander among the leather goods for sale here.

After the porcellino, we walked to Piazza della Repubblica, nearby, where we also stopped for coffee.

Piazza della Repubblica is usually a great hit with kids as it has a wonderful vintage carousel right in the middle.

My son is a little old for it but he loved seeing it and this gave us also the opportunity to treat ourselves to coffee and a juice on a beautiful terrace: on top of the Rinascente department store, which overlooks the square!

At this point in hte day out original plan was to check out the Galileo Museum.

However, the day was so lovely and warm, we instead decide to keep wandering.

This led us to see San Lorenzo and its market.

The area of San Lorenzo is mostly famous for 2 things: the San Lorenzo church with Medici’s tombs and a market.

In this case, we were not interested in a museum so we just strolled the area and visited the market.

San Lorenzo market has two parts: one outdoors, with leather goods. This is a fun one to explore and for simple shopping.

Indoors, you have the covered food market which is called Mercato Centrale.

Mercato Centrale is very popular with visitors and a good place for an informal meal.

Personally, I don’t find it overly exciting or interesting; however, it is a good place to eat in Florence with kids if you want variety and like market atmospheres.

At this point, we were tired and ready to go home!

We regained Piazza Santa maria novella, had a take out drink, lounged on the benches and got the train back to Rome.

Since we hadn’t seen museums, we were able to hop back on the train at about 5pm, arriving back in Rome for an early meal.

Since we had been to Florence before, we felt this time we didn’t need to go all the way to Piazzale Michelangelo to see Florence from above.

However, it would have been possible to go by catching a taxi from Ponte Vecchio area: if you want to take the iconic photo of the view of Florence with the big red dome, Piazzale Michelangelo is the place to go!

I hope you enjoyed this overview of the options to go on a day trip to Florence from Rome with kids and it helped you plan your day.

Safe travels!

How to go on a day trip from Rome to Florence with kids: pin this!

Collage of three photos of Florence: Piazza della Repubblica carousel, Piazza della Signoria and Santa Maria Novella, with text: day trip Rome to Florence with kids
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Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.