PLACES TO VISIT
Venice hasn’t changed for more than 600 years. It is the city of incredible charm, spreading out over 118 small islands linked by more than 400 bridges.
Some tourist sights are the symbols of Venice. The gothic style Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Basilica and St Mark’s Campanile at St Mark’s Square, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs, Grand Canal, the Burano, Murano and San Giorgio Maggiore Islands are the most famous tourist attractions.
VENICE FOR FAMILIES
With so many old buildings and history in Venice, a lot of parents wonder if it is the right decision to take their children there. On the contrary, the ancient buildings and the canals that intersect the city are the guarantees that kids will enjoy every minute of their stay.
The number one resource of fun for kids is water. The easiest thing is to tour the Grand Canal on the Vaporetto and pass numerous important tourist sights. Gondolas are another but more expensive option. Instead, take traghetti – gondola ferries, which are both entertaining and cheap. Teenagers can learn the Venetian art of rowing on a sightseeing tour. For experienced boatmen, there is an option to rent a motorboat. Active teenagers can go kayaking on the inner and outer lagoon.
An excellent way to learn about Italy and to have a great time is to go to Rialto Fish Market, a fresh food market with an incredible mixture of different foods. Kids will probably amused at the sight of a squid or different fishes from the Lagoon.
The Spooky Prisons in the Doge’s Palace will tickle kids’ fancy about the past.
Shopping for carnival masks can’t be boring, at Mardi Gras or any other time of the year. Even more, you can go to Ca’Macana, one of the city’s remaining traditional mask-making workshops, where children can paint their own mask and take it home as a souvenir.
Glassblowers on Murano Island in their workshops can let visitors watch them produce exquisite pieces of glass highly treasured worldwide. Girls will probably want necklaces of colorful glass beads.
When they get tired, visitors can take a Vaporetto to Giardini Pubblici, a shaded park with sculptures and flower beds and a lot of grass for kids to run on. There is also a playground with slides and swings. If you continue from Giardini across a canal, you will enter the Parco della Rimembranze where kids can run and the family can have a picnic.
Lido can also be a good choice. In the summer it is white beach sand, but off-season, free and peaceful, it is a good place for children to play in the sand looking for shells or building castles.
Visitors can go to the opposite side of the lagoon, to San Giorgio Maggiore and take a lift to the top of the tower to view the city.
Both kids and adults will be interested in watching craftsmen work on the gondolas at Squero San Trovaso in Dorsoduro, one of five gondola workshops in Venice.
Besides these tourist attractions, there are a few playgrounds for younger children.
Of course, just walking along the entangled narrow streets is an adventure, but if you are even more adventurous, you can go to Villa Pisani and get lost in the tall and dense hedges of the maze.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES IN VENICE
Venice is undoubtedly a huge piece of art. Still, some museums have to be mentioned. First of all, that is the Doge’s Palace, but also Museo Civco Correr, Gallerie Dell’Accademia, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Museo della Musica, the Natural History Museum, Ca’ Rezzonico and many others.
There are more than 340 hotels and hostels in Venice and it isn’t easy to choose, but with our experiences traveling there, we suggest: San Marco for the first time visitors, Cannaregio for travelers on a budget, Dorsoduro for those seeking nightlife, Castello, the coolest place to stay in Venice, and San Polo for families.
Another option is to stay on the mainland, in the Veneto countryside, and have an opportunity to explore the region at the same time.
WHAT TO EAT
Visitors can eat different kinds of fish, risotto, bigoli (a kind of Venetian pasta) and gnocchi (a kind of pasta with potatoes) and other Italian dishes.
You can try Cicchetti, small portions of food served in Venetian bars. For dessert, you can have tiramisu or fritelle, small fried sweet doughnuts. You can have Grappa, a kind of brandy distilled from grapes, or Prosecco, a champaign like wine.
Of course, you can buy spaghetti, pizza and gelato everywhere in the city.
Venice is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities on Earth, so you will walk a lot. Wear comfortable shoes.
Be ready to carry your toddlers as strollers can’t be pulled everywhere.
Eat main meals outside areas with too many tourists. Look for places where locals eat the food will be authentic and cheaper.
Get up early and visit the city during off-peak hours.
Book a hotel near a water taxi stop, so that you don’t have to carry your luggage a long way.
Don’t panic if you get lost for a moment. That happens to everyone all the time.
Prices in a bar or a café are lower if you stand at the bar and higher when you sit at the table.
Children under 6 travel for free on the shared water taxi.
TIME TO VISIT
Venice can be cold in winter and overcrowded and hot in summer. To have the best family trip to Venice, try to visit it in April and May, October and November. We went in November and we had a fantastic time !
Book lovers will adore Libreria Acqua Alta, an unusual place where books fill old gondolas, canoes, bathtubs and barrels.
More adventurous visitors can climb the Scala Contarini del Bovolo, the staircase hidden in a small court near St Mark’s Square on top of which you have breath-taking views of Venice. Even more adventurous is crossing the Ponte de Chiodo, the bridge without guardrails.
To learn about the real meaning of sighs on the famous bridge, visitors should take a guided tour inside the bridge, which was the final route for prisoners going to execution at St Mark’s Square. Check out our instagram post about it to learn more.
You can also walk along the narrowest street in the world, 53cm wide Calle Varisco. History lovers can visit the world’s first-ever ghetto, where 5000 Jews lived from the 16th century.
Art lovers will enjoy San Zaccaria’s flooded crypt where the water acts as a mirror, enhancing the beauty of the place.
At the sunset, get aperitivo at Al Timon with locals on a wooden boat anchored outside the restaurant.
From the International Marko Polo Airport, the best way to get to the city and back is by private water taxi or shared water taxi. Across the city, you will travel by vaporetti and traghetti.
The never-changing city of Venice is a good family destination. Along with having fun, kids will learn a lot of things and their parents will enjoy the fascinating sights, tasty food and wines. There is something to everyone’s taste: awe-inspiring pieces of architecture, glorious canals, stylish hotels and restaurants. Venice is undoubtedly one of the most marvellous places to visit.
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