A parent at our Soccer al Sole Umbria summer camp asked Arte al Sole Founder, Shannon,
“What are some of your observations of the children’s range of experiences through your programs with respect to the vast amounts of art they are exposed to in Italy?”
"I feel that we tend to underestimate young children’s ability to appreciate and soak in masterful art, and that this contemporary cultural mishap. Parents want to expose their children to art and history, but if they are running from place to place until exhaustion, without giving kids context in their travels, I’m afraid it falls short. At Arte al Sole however, we see kids of all ages astound us in their thoughtful and attentive appreciation of art while noticing the fertile terrain in Italy that inspired its creation, whether urban or rural."
In Florence, as parents, we might ask, “Where to start?” There is just so much to see and do in Florence, it boggles the mind. We always opt for Slow Travel in Italy and in fact, we often hear that the kids don’t want to be “dragged to museums with boring explanations from adults,” – and indeed, they don’t. But this doesn’t mean children don’t appreciate looking at art, on their own terms. And Florence offers many opportunities for that.
Following are a few tips for exploring museums, piazzas, and the art of Florence with your children as a family:
1. Read books, look at pictures, and watch videos in advance of your trip, to acquaint your kids with some of the sites you will be visiting.
Visit the book list at Italiakids.com for suggestions or
check out our latest blog post for Italy-inspired books, movies and more for tots, teens and grownups.
2. Offer kids a big picture view. It’s hard to understand the significance of watershed moments in history such as the Renaissance if kids don’t know from where the transformation began. Florence presents opportunities to show children examples of the art and architecture of the Middle Ages, and then in turn, that of the Renaissance—while comparing and contrasting. Kids love a story, so short vignettes pointing to great historic changes can be seen in the multi-layers of the buildings or palazzi. The Palazzo Davanzati museum, for example, vividly illustrates how a late medieval 14th century home was transformed at the height of the Renaissance into the late 16th century under the Davanzati family. Guiding kids to view the differences between the scale, grandeur, and visual orientation of medieval and Renaissance art and architecture helps to cue them in to looking more carefully at the beauty of the entire city as you explore.
3. Let’s face it, children learn the most from experiencing life, not being lectured. Luckily, the last few years have seen a cultural Renaissance in Italy, especially when it comes to children. We can help families find the right interactive experiences or activities, orienting them to the city’s treasures.
During both our spring and summer Arte al Sole programs
, kids learn while making friends, doing fresco projects, sketching architecture, and playing tag at Palazzo Pitti.
Palazzo Strozzi offers children’s workshops in English that include an art project related to the current exhibit, and a tour of the museum from a child’s eyes. Elaia Traveladvisors can arrange for a variety of tours and experiences for the entire family, from a treasure hunt, to a tour of daily life under the Medici, to our very own child-focused Uffizi experience – that bridge the age divide and offer optimal benefits for young and old to enjoy the city’s art as a family in all its splendor. We suggest discussing everyone’s impressions over a gelato and a carousel ride in Piazza Repubblica as a wrap-up!
For more information on Arte al Sole programs click here or you can
send us a direct email with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!
For info on our Summer Camp Programs
Got older kids? Try our in the Dolomites 28 July to 4 August 2019!