It’s freezing, kids (and adults) have the flu and it’s a real pity as there are so many things to do and see around Florence… and it’s also a great time to take a winter break, like to Val Gardena where Family hotels make life easier for children and parents. Here is a selection powered by our kids’ correspondent Laura and three year old Francesco.

In the city: theatre and more

Teatrino del Gallo (Libri Liberi bookshop) at 15.30 and 17.00: Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January Teatrosfera presents “I tre porcellini” and “Il pirata Barbanera”, Saturday 21st Buratta La Luna with “Arrivano i cantastorie” and Sunday 22nd Teatrosfera with “Robin Hood” ending with “Cappuccetto cambia colore” on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of January.

Teatrino del Gallo (Libri Liberi bookshop) at 15.30 and 17.00: Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January Teatrosfera presents “I tre porcellini” and “Il pirata Barbanera”, Saturday 21st Buratta La Luna with “Arrivano i cantastorie” and Sunday 22nd Teatrosfera with “Robin Hood” ending with “Cappuccetto cambia colore” on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of January.

Pass Teatri Family: Sunday 15th January Elsinor Teatro Stabile d’Innovazione at Teatro Niccolini (in San Casciano Val di Pesa) presents “Anna è furiosa (Non si può andare avanti così)” for capricious children ;-) while at Teatro Cantiere Florida in Florence on Sunday 29th January will be presented “Cartastorie” a show made of paper and on Sunday 5th February “Alice nel mondo” powered by Company Blu.  On the same day at Teatro Puccini in Florence Pupi di Stac present “Le avventure di Pinocchio” with their lovely puppets (not included in the PassTeatri card).

La Bottega dei Ragazzi at the Museo degli Innocenti (via dei Fibbiai 2 in Florence close to piazza SS Annunziata) is opened Monday to Friday from 9-13 (on Saturday 10-13) in the morning and 16-19 in the afternoon. They hold a 90 minute Workshop “Play and learn with art” for 3-5 years olds (also in English, if required). You can buy tickets (10€) or cards (20€ for 3 or 50€ for 8 workshops) and you have to book 2 days in advance. Here are the next workshops: Saturday Jan 14, 21 (h.16.30/18.00) and 28 January and Saturday 4 February h.11.00 / 12.30 workshop: “Sons of Italy: papers and colours histories” (3-5 anni with one adult).

Shopping for kids in Florence – a day at the winter sales

January is winter sale time where you can spend half price (and at the end also 70% off) to buy a few thing needed and, especially, to prepare the entire wardrobe for next winter! Here a selection of must-have for children that go to nursery / primary school and the shops where I find them (most of them are in via Gioberti were the density of baby-children shops for square meter is incredibly high and dangerous for your wallet.

Tracksuits – as Francesco is a tiny toddler I need those with elastic at the ankle that I find at Iana (via Gioberti 80 R and via Corridoni 44/46 in Florence) in different materials and colours for less than 10,00€ (full price) that you can pair with T-shirts, sweaters, etc. I suggest you also to visit OVS Industry (via Gioberti, piazza Dalmazia, via Panzani, via Talenti, ecc.) where you can find cheap and confortable clothes at the right price.

Underpants and/or knickers – as Francesco needed about 5/6 a day (now he’s learned to ask for the toilet) I made a deep analysis and I can tell you that the nicest ones are in Benetton 0-12 (with stripes, Snoopy, etc) quite expensive normally (10,00€ for a 3 pack) but affordable during sales (in via Gioberti, via dei Cerretani, via Corridoni, etc.) while at UPIM (via Gioberti 70) there is a 7 pack for the same price.  In the picture Francesco karaoke star with a Benetton wool jumper.

Children shoes – one of the best shops in town is Junior Shoes in the Nove Botteghe courtyard (via Gioberti) with New Balance, Kickers, Bikkembergs, Falcotto and all the best brands. Ask for the card to receive 10% discount and wait for sales but.. you cannot buy baby-shoes in advance. You must try them on and they must fit exactly or it may happen that a sandal will be perfect in… November!

A place to eat – Gilda in piazza Ghiberti in front of Sant’Ambrogio market is a tiny bistrot were children are welcome! While adults can choose from the rich daily menu (if you are a ToscanaIN member you can eat all you want for 10,00€ at lunch!) the chef will prepare a tomato sauce pasta for children. Enjoy!

A ski weekend or week

Francesco, Fabio and I went on a ski holiday last year so I did a little research – and shopping – for winter holidays near Florence with kids.

First off: a trick for sports clothes – The best deals are to be found just outside of the city at Nencini Sport in Calenzano: it’s worth driving out there. With the fidelity card you’ll receive a discount of every purchase (even at the Outlet area) and you can also buy online. Not only children but also adults can buy at very low prices what they need to practice any sport!

Now you’re ready to ski in Tuscany at Abetone or Monte Amiata where the season has already started (it snowed on the 24th of December). At Abetone the daily lift ticket costs around 36,00€. At Amiata you can ski on the Vetta and there is a kiddie hill at Macinaie where children younger than 5 years old pay only 1€ if they are with their parents.

But if you want to ski in the Alps, take a week off! We tried a few family hotels with nursery facilities like the Biancaneve at Selva in Val Gardena, a 4-star luxury design hotel where you can leave your children in the morning and see them again after dinner! Try also Bad Ratzes at Alpe di Siusi with a nursery where children play, eat, etc and there are special walks and activities for families. In the photo at the top of this post, see Francesco resting after the sledding (and a big plate of ‘canederlo in brodo’ eaten in the chalet)

A winter recipe to taste: the strudel – Buy frozen ‘pasta sfoglia’,  brush it with melted butter and dust with toasted breadcrumbs, put inside apple slices (put them in lemon juice and sugar before), pine nuts, sugar, grated lemon peel, raisins and cinnamon. Close the pastry, brush with butter and put in a 200° temperature oven for 35 minutes. Done. Serve with custard or cream. Francy loves it (and so do we).

Online Resources for moms in and around Florence

There are helpful communities that list things to do with kids, or give you the opportunity to meet up with local moms. Here are three great resources.

Check out the previous months’ posts about Florence for Children because while there is some information about events, there are also tips and secrets to make your life as a mom easier in town!

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