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Kids in Tuscany. One big Renaissance playground
Renaissance hide and seek near Siena

Tuscany's adults' pleasures are obvious: delicious food, expensive wines and some sophisticated art as a side dish. But what about the kids? Uncontaminated nature, fun sculpture parks, great beaches and plenty of medieval cities full of chiseled beast and scary doorknobs should do the job. BuonconventoPaganico and Castiglione della Pescaia are some of my Southern Tuscan favorites for combining Renaissance art or Tuscan history with ice-cream stops.


Feeling your kids are becoming too book smart with all the new-found Renaissance knowledge? Take them to one of the Water Parks on the coast near Follonica or Cecina. Endless up and downs will stop them talking Michelangelo & co. for a while. Preferably from Monday to Friday, as the water slides get packed on the weekends. 


But why even bother with water parks if you have Tuscany's beaches nearby? The kids won't miss the slides any longer once they've put foot on Alberese beach in the Maremma National Park. No need for a brolly, just bring a few sarongs and a bit of string - and get your youngsters to turn the drift wood on the beach into a hut or shady tent. The best way to get there is via the well kept National Park cycling path, whilst admiring Maremma cows, foxes and sometimes even families of wild bores. 

Southern Tuscany's Maremma cow. On the way to Alberese's national park beach.
Maremma Cow on the way to the Alberese national park beach

Another fantastic beach to hang out as a family is Fiumara beach between Marina di Grosseto and Castiglione della Pescaia. You never thought eating out with kids can be fun? Me neither until our first dinner at Fiumara Beach restaurant - after a quick bite the kids can play in the sand whilst the parents try not to get too drunk during their contemplation of the perfect sunset. More details under my Fiumara Beach post. As with the water parks it's not like you'll be on your own during the week, but during high-season Saturdays and Sundays get much more crowded with all the people from Siena, Florence and any other hot Tuscan town joining in the fun.  


Bagni San Filippo's Natural Hot Springs in the Val d'Orcia
Bagni San Filippo: Fosso Bianco natural hot springs 
Too cold for water parks and beaches? Check out Southern Tuscany's wonderful thermal baths. Great fun with kids are the Petriolo natural springs (30km south of Siena). Don't go to the fancy hotel up on the main road, but do the wild thing down in the valley - the kids will love it! And if granny is travelling along she can use the new Petriolo Spa right next to the free outdoor ones. Another favorite of ours are the San Filippo natural springs in the Val d'Orcia. A variation of the same theme are Bagno Vignoni (20 min from Montalcino) and Saturnia (1h from Grosseto and 30min from stunning Pitigliano). 

No need to reiterate things somebody has put out there already. Find more kids in Tuscany advice from superb Brunello wine bloggess Laura. As a mother of three she's an expert in regard to extreme tree climbing or goat petting in Tuscany. Click through to read her "Keeping Kids Happy under the Tuscan Sun" - posts: Part One and Part Two

Sunset, Olive Tree and Swings Tuscany Basilessa Winery
 Basilessa Winery, Southern Tuscany:
Booze for the adults and swings for the non drinkers

If you're planning to hit Tuscany's cities, read my Kids in Florence and Kids in Siena guides, packed with tips and ideas for the whole family. Another good resource for things to do in Southern Tuscany is Terre di Siena, the official website of Siena's tourism office. Some of its content is only in Italian but you should get by with google translate.

If you want to learn more about Tuscan history and the Medici, browse the Palazzo Vecchio Family Museum website, which provides plenty of insight into the Renaissance for young and old alike. Some of its video content may even be fun for the kids to watch before coming out. 

Visualizza Tuscan fun for kids - map it out in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori

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A quick round up of my favorite wild hot springs and historic bath towns in Tuscany (more detailed information on spas and rock pool bathing can be found in the single articles the links will lead you to).  WILDERNESS POOLS   PETRIOLO  half an hour to the south of Siena. With its steaming hot water in the upper row of pools a favorite of mine on icy cold winter mornings. The Farma river passes right next to the hot springs. So be courageous and have a splash to try the benefits of kneipping.   SATURNIA  the biggest, most southern and also Italy's best known (and loved!) wilderness pools. The closest option for a soak if you arrive from Rome. To be avoided on weekends.  FOSSO BIANCO  in the Val d'Orcia is a spectacular sight hidden away in the woods below Bagni San Filippo. The shady surroundings make of these natural springs a nice location in the summer.  BAGNO VIGNONI  has a lovely pool below the small waterfall. However, the water arrives from the medieval t


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The Fosso Bianco hot springs and natural pools in Bagni San Filippo If there's one thing I didn't expect when moving to Tuscany, it's the multitude of freely accessible natural hot springs. Day spas and thermal baths can be found all over the world. But when talking hot baths in the wilderness my first guess would always have been a geyser in Iceland.  The generous natural pools near Saturnia  and the hot springs in Petriolo taught me differently. Both places are well known in Italy, a fact that can make them packed on weekends and public holidays. If you like to take your bath a bit more privately, move on towards Val d'Orcia and explore the Fosso Bianco hot springs   near Bagni San Filippo. The waters are as hot as they should be for some comfortable soaking and high in sulfur and calcium (which explains the formation of the white rock and the name of the place).