Keeping kids happy under the Tuscan sun : Part One

by Laura Gray on February 7, 2011

This is not going to turn into a mum blog, and heaven forbid, certainly not a mommy blog…. but  I do have several children and, above all, I was once a child on holiday in Tuscany. While wine, food, views and religious art may be the components of many adults’ dream vacation, their offspring are not always of the same opinion.

Days out from Montalcino (no more than 45 minutes drive away)

Goat petting and cookery

Between Pienza and Montepulciano you will find a farm called Podere Il Casale. They make wonderful cheese and have ponies, goats and sheep galore. It’s what’s known as a “podere didattico” and they receive a lot of school groups from the area. They also offer activity mornings that would work for a family. Their Corso Pizza or Pane has everyone getting their hands sticky making bread and pizza, includes a visit of the farm, animals and cheese-making facilities and culminates with lunch (the pizza you made plus seasonal vegetables and a quarter litre of wine).

Contact Sandra Tel. 0578 755109.

Podere Il Casale – Podere Casale, 64 – 53026 Pienza (SI)

Up the mountain….

The Monte Amiata chair lift is 1552 metres long and goes up 348 metres. It is always open at August weekends and often in July too, though its worth ringing to check (0577 778237). A one-way pass costs around 4,50 Euros. Its quite something to go up the mountain slopes with your feet dangling over the trees. It takes two to a chair.

 Extreme tree climbing

There’s an acrobatic climbing park at Prato delle Macinaie in the beech tree woods. There are 14 obstacle courses high up amongst the trees. You get kitted out in harnesses and can clamber around, enjoying the world from on high (6 metres). You need to call David on 334 8906008 / 334 243044 two days beforehand to book. Loads of fun for adults and older children (children must be over 130 cm in height its best for over-12s since they can do all the courses). It was once called Amiata Balance but has now become part of the Indiana Park chain. Unfortunately the websites are not yet up to date. For more information, see:–e18302#mapa

Località Prato delle Macinaie  – 58033 Castel del Piano (GR)

Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri

This is a amazing 16 hectare woodland park with nearly 90 modern sculptures by different artists. It was setup by Swiss artist, Daniel Spoerri. Some pieces are enormous while others are minute and visitors are free to wander at leisure amongst the woods and pastures. Be warned, a lot of Spoerri’s work is quite macabre (lots of skulls and spiky things) but I have been here with children of all ages who have loved it. There is lots of exploring to do, telescopes to look though, buttons to push, pedal operated clanky sculptures, a fire-breathing dragon, grass covered sofas and a whole room in cast iron at an angle…. Its open from Easter to October from 11 am to 7pm. There’s a restaurant on site, run by the wonderful Roberto Rossi, who also owns nearby Il Silene.

Loc. Pescina 58038    Seggiano GROSSETO Tel. + 39 0564 950 026

  • Britton Montalvo

    Great ideas. I love the variety of culture, activity and nature.

  • Judith Minkoff-Grey

    Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri: Roberto had invited Veronique and me to the garden, and I am so sorry I wasn't able to go. Maybe next time! Thank you for the description; I LOVE DRAGONS!

    • Admin

      You will love it! And sunset at the garden is something else…. Are you coming back this year?

  • Jean Cleary

    Kids – let's do it as adults – what fun. Thanks Laura.

  • Lianne

    Greetings from Lianne and Dave Cleary! We are expecting our first little one any day now and are hoping to make our first trip to Tuscany next Spring. These are wonderful ideas!

    • Admin

      Congratulations and good luck! I'm waiting for the Proud Grandparents to give me a name to add to your plaque on the tree ;) It will be lovely to meet you all next Spring! Augurissimi from Il Palazzone!

  • Rebecca

    Brilliant! I live in Tuscany with a lively 3 year old and I'm always looking for new things to do. Any more ideas???

    • Admin

      Ciao Rebecca! I'm working on Part Two… where are you based? (AND DID YOU KNOW THERE'S A TIGER ON M.AMIATA?? in a sort of zoo, I hasn't to add, run by the WWF for abandoned exotic animals…)

  • S.T. Raider

    I have yet to go to Tuscany but I have read a lot of great things about it. Now I'm excited for our trip there next year. Thanks, Laura.

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    Kids always look for something they can play and enjoy their life with. They love to spend their time in places where they can easily move around and play freely. They enjoy playing with their fellow kids and their parents also.

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