Are you looking for day trips from Siena or Florence? You must visit San Gimignano, an Italian hilltown in Tuscany, Southwest of Florence.
How To Get There
My husband, my toddler, and I took a direct bus from Piazza Gramsci in Siena. It takes around one a half hours to get there. On the return trip, we took the afternoon bus from San Gimignano to Poggibonsi, then transferred to a Siena-bound bus from there. The reason why we did this was the direct bus (San Gimignano-Siena) will leave at 7:00 P.M., which was far too late for us considering that we were traveling with small kids. Check the bus schedule in advance so you can plan your trip accordingly.
Traveling With Small Children
Traveling with kids requires patience and preparation, and my husband and I like to keep things as simple as possible. We made sure to bring our Brevi stroller and our Ergobaby carrier. We also brought bottled water, light snacks, and a backpack-type diaper bag. A portable stroller organizer such as the Merry Milestones Stroller Organizer helps a lot! Also, keep your itinerary short and simple. You do not have to visit all the places in one day. Just choose three or four places to visit and enjoy the day.
Places To See in San Gimignano
The moment we stepped off the bus, we saw a street musician cranking an old school music machine, which my toddler really loved! We spent the day walking on the cobblestone streets while checking out the local shops. For lunch, we had a slice of pizza from one of the local pizzerias.
The highlights of our trip were the Piazza della Cisterna (a medieval square), the Torre del Diavolo (“the devil’s tower”), and the Sant’Agostino Church. My two-year-old was fascinated with the human skeleton outside the Museo della Tortura (Museum of Torture) because he was still on Halloween-mode in spite of the Christmas festivities at that time.
Have you been to San Gimignano, Italy? Tell me some of the highlights of your trip! Or, if you are planning on going there and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments section and I will try my best to help you out.
Finally, are you planning a Trip to Italy with the kids? Check out my travel tips:
Are you thinking of traveling to Florence with your family? Are you excited to explore one of the most beautiful cities in Italy with your little ones?
I am Mamma Carmela, a mom of two boys living in a Tuscan town called Siena. Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture (Florence Travel Guide). Read on to find out what you can do in Florence for one day if you are traveling with small children.
Florence Weather in November
We went to Florence in November of 2017. The weather is moderately cold, or “sweater weather”. Wear a light jacket if you are used to the cold weather. If you are coming from a country where the weather is generally warm, bring a heavier jacket.
What We Brought With Us
To carry my baby, I used the Ergobaby carrier. We used the Britax stroller for my toddler. However, I do not recommend bringing this heavy and bulky stroller to Florence, as there are narrow streets and ramps are not always available. Bring a light umbrella stroller such as the Brevi stroller instead. You should bring a stroller organizer such as the Merry Milestones stroller organizer. I recommend that you bring a backpack-type of diaper bag such as the Color diaper bag because it is easier to carry around.
Taking the Bus from Siena to Florence
If you are traveling with small children, always prioritize comfort. I have a two-year-old and a baby, and taking the bus is the best option because we can sit comfortably and I can nurse on the go. We took the Firenze Rapida (fast bus to Florence) from Piazza Gramsci to the Florence Bus Station. The cost is 7.80 euros one-way. You can buy tickets from the Tabacco Shop (with the letter T) or at the main ticket station located underground. The bus ride took around 1 and a half hours. Another option you can do if you missed the fast bus is to go on a regular bus. You need to know that the regular bus to Florence has more stops and takes longer to get there. (Another option: take the train.)
Arrival in Florence
When we arrived in Florence, I noticed that there were a lot of tourists. Keep an eye on your belongings and your children. We went to the public restroom right away. There is a diaper changing area in the public restroom. Also, bring coins because you will need to pay 0.60 euros to use the restroom. Since we got hungry after the bus trip, we also had coffee and pastries at the bar located at the bus station. It is a good idea to get snacks and drinks before your tour because you will be walking a lot in the city.
Florence is an exciting city for kids and parents alike! For this particular day trip, we decided to keep our itinerary simple. Traveling with small children can be very exhausting, so it is best to keep things short but sweet.
These are the places we visited (in order):
Santa Maria dela Novella: This is the closest cathedral to the main railway station. Take a family photo in front of the church.
Piazza Santa Croce: This is a plaza located in the central neighborhood. Here you can see the “city in action”.
Florence Cathedral: The main church of Florence, located at Piazza del Duomo. You will be amazed at its magnificent structure and art.
Piazza della Republica: Leon had a fantastic time riding on the carousel at the square!
Piazza della Signoria: This is a square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Leon enjoyed chasing the pigeons. Here you can find “living statues”. My toddler enjoyed interacting with the “pope”!
Mercato del Porcellino: This is a marketplace where you can find the statue of the bronze pig. My toddler enjoyed touching the pig’s snout!
The Disney Store: This store is located at Via del Calzaiuoli. It is always a good idea to stop by a Disney store. Leon enjoyed seeing his favorite Disney characters.
Piazzale Michelangelo: A square with a panoramic view of Florence. This is a great place to take a picture of the entire city of Florence. Leon and Lucas enjoyed hanging out at the fountain area. This is a good place to stop for coffee or hot chocolate!
We did a walking tour of the places I mentioned above. The only time we took the city bus was when we visited the Piazzale Michelangelo. We visited other places such as the Ponte Vecchio (“Bridge of Gold”) at a different date. After taking photos at the viewpoint, we took the city bus back to the bus station and took the 5:20 P.M. back to Siena.
Photos of Florence:
As my family was exploring the streets of Florence, we saw this marble statue of the famous Renaissance poet Dante Alighieri. I named my second son after him (Lucas’s first name is Dante). Seeing Dante’s sculpture reminded me of his quote: “My course is set for an uncharted sea.” Leaving the Philippines and living in Italy is probably beginning of my family’s grand adventure. Michelangelo once said: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Our family moved to Italy to carve out a new life for ourselves. It is not easy to move out of our comfort zone to a place where the culture and language are unfamiliar. We have yet to learn the Italian way, as life here is very different from the Philippines and the U.S.A. But then again, we are lifelong learners!
I bought this Michelangelo-inspired umbrella from a souvenir stand. I liked this picture overlooking Ponte Vecchio. The two angels remind me of Leon and Lucas, my two precious little boys.
Have you ever been to Florence? Share your travel tips in the comments section!
*This post was originally part of Cee’s Photo Challenge and was originally called “Carve and Set Free”