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Pisa, Siena or Florence with kids?

(19 Posts)
majormoo Thu 27-Oct-16 11:20:53

We will be going to Italy for our summer holiday next year, mostly on the Tuscan coast. I want to book a couple of nights in either Pisa, Siena or Florence before we get to the coast. We have four children ages 5-13. Our DD will turn 14 while we are away and I thought she would like a city stop. Pisa would probably be the most convenient but I had a quick look online and people don't rave about it. However, I thought the boys might love looking at the tower. I haven't been to Florence since my honeymoon many years ago. In August would it be to busy to take a 5 year old? He did pretty well in Barcelona this summer but we were all shattered after a long day and spent quite a lot of time just in a park. Where would you book of the three destinations?

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myyoyo Thu 27-Oct-16 11:23:59

Are you flying into Pisa? Florence is not that far to drive from Pisa. I'd go there. envy

MadHattersWineParty Thu 27-Oct-16 11:26:36

Pisa- boring once you've done the tower. There's really not much else going on. Aesthetically nowhere near as lovely as Florence and there's heaps more to see and do there! I went in August, it was half empty as that's when the Italians are all taking their own breaks and getting out of the city heat. I just did a day trip to Pisa, very easy on the train, and that was plenty of time. Where the palace is there are lovely parks and gardens that look out over the Tuscan hills.

MadHattersWineParty Thu 27-Oct-16 11:27:21

*palace in Florence, not Pisa that is.

ladyvimes Thu 27-Oct-16 11:28:55

Definitely Florence, loads to do and a lovely atmosphere. There isn't a lot to do in Pisa apart from the tower and Siena is lovely but ridiculously busy.

myyoyo Thu 27-Oct-16 11:31:47

San Gimignano is also in driving distance of Florence.

ThisPasadenaHomemaker Thu 27-Oct-16 11:31:55

Florence or Siena. I'd go for Florence.

Pisa was......underwhelming to say the least.

Spudlet Thu 27-Oct-16 11:35:00

Siena. I don't really like Florence for more than a day, it's just too touristy. Siena is also busy but a little less so ime, and the old town is pedestrianised and would be a great place for children to explore.

Spudlet Thu 27-Oct-16 11:36:13

Florence in August! Jesus Christ no. (Sorry, only just noticed that bit). Overcrowded nightmare!

majormoo Thu 27-Oct-16 16:34:25

Thanks everyone. Think Pisa out then (just booked accommodation so not tied to going there) as no one seems blown away by it. Unfortunately we are going away st the busiest possible time of the year but that can't be helped. We survived Disneyland Paris over a weekend in August a couple of years ago-surely nowhere can be busier than that!!

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MrsWobble3 Thu 27-Oct-16 16:36:51

Other point about Pisa is children under 8 aren't allowed up the tower so I wouldn't go if any of yours are younger.

secondhoneymoon Thu 27-Oct-16 16:44:23

Agree not much to see in Pisa but I think the children would love it and the must do photos of holding up the tower. If you can do it easily en route to/from airport would try to fit it in - you'd only need 30 mins - 1 hour to see it. Siena is lovely, in some ways I prefer it to Florence. Where exactly will you be staying ? Can you fit them all in? Second San Giminano.

Allalonenow Thu 27-Oct-16 16:45:34

Another vote for Siena from me, loads to see and on a scale which wouldn't be tiring for children, lots of small family run trattorias, fab little shops, lovely atmosphere.

TheNaze73 Thu 27-Oct-16 16:51:54

Florence every time. Beautiful city. Sienna is ok but, Pisa really is dull. There's the tower, 20 odd stall holders trying to flog you replicas of the tower & that's it. Avoid

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Thu 27-Oct-16 16:55:09

Did anyone else think this was a baby naming thread and think Pisa?

Actually, now I've said it in my head few times it's quite pretty...

majormoo Thu 27-Oct-16 17:25:16

Ha my baby naming days are well and truely behind me...though wouldn't be surprised to bump into a little 'Pisa' somewhere or other!

We will be along the coast around Cecina, not far from the island of Elba (don't tell me that area isn't nice as have already booked it!) I think it might be possible to do day trips but really swimming/eating/drinking is the most relaxing option with three lively boys. Plus DD and I are still working on the theory that a few hours down to Rome at the end of the holiday might be a good idea though DH not convinced

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cheerup Fri 28-Oct-16 20:48:59

We have been to the Etruscan coast 3 times now and have always added a couple of urban days on. I would highly recommend both Lucca and Volterra. Busy in August but totally manageable. Next year we are trying out Pistoia and hope to finally fit in a day trip to Florence.

ladydoer Wed 09-Nov-16 14:10:11

I've been this September (6-9) to Tuscany with my 2 boys (8 and 14). We did go around pretty much, so here are impressions:
* Pisa - must-see for the boys! Climb up to the top of the leaning tower, even if it's expensive (18 euro each). They were soooo impressed from the experience! Also enter the historical cemetery next to it, seemed interested in that one as well.
We walked around the city but basically they were pretty bored with everything else.
* Lucca - climb the towers overlooking the city, ride a bike (everyone does it and it has nice parks). In general - they did enjoy it, mostly the towers
* San Giuliano terme - this is where we rented an Airbnb apartment (~30 km from Pisa) and it turned out a lovely peaceful village with amazing hot outdoor pool. Now this is what the kids enjoyed most smile We visited 3 times during our vacation and they had so much fun!
* Vinci village - the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci. This is in the middle of the road between Pisa and Florence and had a museum with Leonardo's machines displayed. Boys loved this too!
* Florence - early Sept there were huuuge crowds. Can't imagine what it will be like in August. Long queue to climb up the tower of the cathedral and this is what the boys enjoyed the most.
In general - climbing towers seemed what they truly enjoyed, also biking in Lucca.
Siena - didn't manage to reach that far, so no impressions.

Hope that helps!

shortsaint Sun 20-Nov-16 19:34:45

We did this last year - flew to Pisa, train to Lucca (the best place of the whole trip - small, walkable, great fun cycling round the ramparts, eating ice cream and climbing towers), then stayed on farm outside Pisa with pool. Drove to Pisa station, got train to Florence for day. Spent last night in Pisa which is fine for a day or two. The tower is horribly touristy but worth seeing and there is stuff to see beyond that part.

Best bit - Lucca. Worst bit - seaside near Pisa. Italian seaside is just not good - crowded, hot, exoensive, not pretty.

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