Katie in Florence

Katie in Florence

Eat, Stay, Play

by Katie Kime

Unsurprisingly, I am not immune to the alluring hold that Italy has over so many. My relationship with the Mediterranean gem began while I was at Duke on study abroad, teaching English to Italian children. When I ventured back with three children (and Greg!) in tow, as you might expect, it was a very different experience and one that I cannot recommend enough.


There’s no avoiding the behemoth presence that Gucci has in its hometown of Florence. If you can’t beat them, join them and do it at the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura. Another memorable meal is at Acqua Al 2, where I ate on special occasions while studying abroad. It did not disappoint when we returned with the kids. Order the blueberry filet and potato raviolis with shaved truffles. La Menagere is a true feast for the eyes and has a delicious brunch. For aperitivo, chevron floors and pink tablecloths decorate the Florence outpost of the beloved Harry’s Bar of Venice.


As a family of five, we opted for a villa 30 minutes outside of the city, and it was perfect. There are so many rentals now around Tuscany and near Florence that offer more space and freedom to roam if you’re going for an extended period of time and with children.

For the feeling of a bygone villa with the service of a hotel, the Villa San Michele is a lovely option. Surprising to no one, the Four Seasons Florence is absolutely splurge-worthy, and the Villa Cora is a delightful place to grab lunch and sneak a dip in the pool, even if you aren’t staying overnight.


When we took the kids to Florence it was a part of one month trip to South Africa, Zanzibar, Florence and then the Amalfi coast. When we asked our kids their favorite thing of the whole trip Halle said, “shopping at Zara in Florence.” And I mean, she’s not wrong. Beyond Zara, head to Via del Corso for an impressive mix of local and national brands and Via Roma for designer fashion.

If you’re looking to balance out all the pasta with some fresh fruits and vegetables, head to Mercato Sant’Ambrogio for fresh produce just ten minutes from Piazza del Duomo. If you’re going to Florence, kids in tow or not, you really must pay homage to the century-old house of Gucci at Gucci Garden, a moderately-sized gallery devoted to the history of the brand.