We love Italy here are at Cruising With Kids and all our editors have had the great pleasure of visiting the region of Tuscany early in 2018. Livorno is the port of call that will bring you closest to the Tuscan sights and foodie delights of Florence, Pisa, Siena and Volterra – all places we can recommend visiting with your family. Here’s our guide to the best Livorno shore excursions with kids, which you can do as organised tours with your ship or under your own steam with a local guide or hire car.
What to see with kids near Livorno: cruise excursions
Livorno shore excursions: Florence with kids
You’ll find a couple of options for exploring Florence from your cruise ship: organised walking tours and the opportunity to explore on your own. We have been lucky enough to try both. If you have young children then you might like to opt for grabbing a map and looking around under your own steam. There’s a lot you can see in Florence in four hours including the incredible Duomo, Ponte Vecchio and the roman statues of Piazza Signori.
If you have children aged five and up you might like to try a tour of the Uffazi Gallery – it was the world’s first public museum and you can find child friendly tours. Galeto-making is also a fun experience for all the family, as is tasting some in one of the many gelato shops lining the city centre streets. Top tip: opt for a gelateria where the gelato is not piled high – this may look Instagrammable but is less authentic and will not taste as good.
As well as visiting the Uffazi, older kids who are into art will not forgive you if you don’t seek out Florence’s street art or Michelangelo’s David at the Academia Gallery. There’s so much to do in Florence with teens that you’ll wish you had longer than a day.
Need to know:
- Florence is about 1.5 hours from Livorno by coach and can be combined with visiting Pisa
- Most of the city is flat but be prepared with comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing a bit of walking to see the sights
- The streets are navigable with a pushchair but expect it to be busy even out of the summer season – a baby or child carrier might be more suitable.
Livorno shore excursions: Pisa with kids
It is possible to combine a shore excursion to Pisa with time in Florence but it is a long day and you are likely to have less than an hour with the famous leaning tower. However, unless you intend to go up the tower or into the neighbouring Duomo and Baptistery an hour in the Piazza dei Miracoli is plenty to get that obligatory fun’ shot (kids, and adults love this) and a gelato. You can also shop for souvenirs between the coach crop off point and the piazza – the route is lined with street sellers.
If you do decide to make Pisa the focus of your Livorno shore excursion then you must go up the Learning Tower of Pisa. This costs €18 per person (under 10s are free) and includes entry to the Duomo and Baptistery from where you’ll get a different perfective on the Piazza dei Miracoli. Once you’ve seen the touristy side of Pisa take a step back from the crowds and wander towards the River Arno where you’ll find a wealth of places to eat authentic Tuscan cuisine.
Need to know:
- Pisa is about 1.5 hours from Livorno by coach and can be combined with visiting Florence
- Entry to the Piazza dei Miracoli is free
- There’s plenty of space for kids to run around on the grass to let off steam after their coach trip. Bring a picnic to avoid the high food prices within the piazza or head towards the River Arno for cheaper, more authentic bites.
Livorno shore excursions: Siena with kids
Siena is often referred to as a smaller version of Florence but it holds its own when it comes to impressive sights. In fact the more compact nature of the city centre makes it easier for families to explore – just be prepared for a few more hills. So what is there to see in Siena with kids?
If you’re planning an excursion with young children then we’d recommend heading to the Piazza del Campo which is the stage for the famous Il Palio horse race twice a year. It’s a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ event lasting about 90 seconds as the horses and riders make a few circuits of the square in front of thousands of spectators. Something your kids will enjoy spotting are the symbols of the different neighbourhoods that compete in the race. There are dragons, porcupines, serpents and wolves all over the city. On the piazza itself you’ll find the government building Palazzo Pubblico with its impossibly tall tower Torre del Mangia which can be seen from around Siena.
Older kids will enjoy the story of the city’s saint, St Catherine – who brought great wealth to Siena as wealthy pilgrims travelled to see her conversing with God in the Basilica San Domenico. You can also see her mummified head and thumb in this church.
A sight that will delight all ages is the Duomo which has incredible marble floors and ornately decorated ceilings. Tickets for the Duomo cost between € 8 and € 15 per adult dependant on the time of year and € 2 for children aged seven to 11-years-old. Entry is free for children aged under six. You can pay extra to scale the unfinished wing of the Duomo for views across the city.
Need to know:
- Siena is 1.5 hours from Livorno
- Siena does have some hills but the streets are suitable for pushchairs. The city centre is pedestrianised.
Livorno shore excursions: Volterra with kids
Twilight fans will recognise the name Volterra from the movies – it’s an epic mountain top city with plenty to see in a compact space. The views from 1770 feet above sea level are worth the trip in themselves.
We visited Volterra for just an hour before heading to Siena so had the hastiest of wanders around its medieval walls and picturesque streets. However, there is plenty to see in Volterra with kids, making it somewhere all out editors would like to return.
A must and something that we were able to do briefly was to tour the daily markets selling fruit, cheese and meat to the locals, as well as the region’s famous leather goods and gifts. The smell of fresh vegetables is incredible.
Volterra is also a great excursion from Livorno to see the ruins of its Roman Theatre – one of the best preserved in Italy. Another building that will capture your attention is the black and white marbled Baptistery which was built in the 13th Century. If you’d like to find out about a traditional Volterran craft then you can visit the Alabaster Ecomuseum.
Need to know:
- Volterra is just over an hour from Livorno so could be visited economically with a private hire car
- There is underground parking in the city
- You will find a few sloping streets in the city centre and steps
Where to visit from Livorno?
The worst thing about a port day in Livorno is that there isn’t time enough to see everything Tuscany has to offer. However, whichever Livorno shore excursion you chose we know it will leave you wanting more.
Have you called in Livorno, Italy, before? Which is your favourite excursion?
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