florence
Florence
Piazza Repubblica
Piazza della Repubblica -
Toddlers will enjoy a ride on the old-fashioned carousel with lovely scenes of Florence painted on the top.
Cafe Gilli - Indulge your sweet tooth at Cafe Gilli with Florentine sweets and pastries - fruit jellies with honey, orange, apple, strawberry, all kinds of chocolates, cookies, candied chestnuts, almond or rice tarts, apricot crostata.
Farmers market - Once a month is Mercatale, a farmers market with local artisan products of cheese, salami, honey, baked goodies, fruits.
Orsanmichele - Built as a market and granary in the 14th century, the exterior is decorated with patron saints of each Florentine guild. The statues in bronze and marble were created by the superb artists in Florence - Ghiberti, Verrocchio, Donatello, Nanni di Banco.
See if you can identify guild emblems for each patron saint - e.g. St. John the Baptist and cloth merchant guild (eagle emblem), St. Luke and judges - notaries guild (star), St. George and armor makers guild (armor), St. Matthew and bankers guild (balls), St. Stephen and wool guild (lamb and flag).
Also, several niches also have reliefs of medieval work life - a blacksmithy under St. Eligius (blacksmiths guild), carpenters and stonemasons under the four solider saints (stone and wood carver guild).
Mercato Nuovo - A market since the 11th century, today there are stalls where you can buy leather products, and souvenirs. Kids will also want to pet the bronze wild boar statue (Il Porcellino), adding to the shine on his nose.
Tip: This is a fun place to go in the early morning (something to do when the kids have jet lag), and watch the vendors setting up their stalls - wooden stalls are rolled in on wheels, and then unpacked, ready for business. (At the end of the day, the stalls are folded up again.)
Palazzo Davanzati - Visit the 14th century, and see the home of a wealthy Florentine merchant family in the Middle Ages. Four floors with two halls for entertaining, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms (equipped with a child's bathtub), and kitchen on the top floor. Rooms are beautifully painted with parrots and peacocks, lilies, crowns, coats of arms, and forest scenes.
Highly recommended. Open daily, but closed on different Sundays and Mondays in the month. Also, to see rooms on second and the third floors, need to reserve a time.
Read our blog post "Florence Palazzo Davanzati: Step into the Middle Ages"
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo (via dei Tornabuoni 2) - Shoes, shoes, shoes, a traditional Florentine art. This is the perfect destination for a teen or anyone in your family who likes shoes. Pick your favorites from this imaginative collection of fabulous hand-crafted shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo from the 1920's to the 1960's, black and white stripes and swirls, emerald green, electric blue, ruby red, multicolor shoes, encrusted with embroidery and rhinestones.

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