italy
Venice

Venice is a city that says adventure and sailing to distant lands; kids will have a great time exploring the labyrinth of streets and campos, shimmering canals and endless bridges.


Piazza San Marco
Castello
San Croce & San Polo
Dorsoduro
Venice Lagoon
Tips for Venice - Before you go, while you're there, read our blog post for arrival, timed ticket entry for St. Mark's Basilica, how to avoid getting lost, disadvantages of strollers, self-service laundromat, and more.
Boats, boats, boats - Venice is really hundreds of islands in a lagoon, connected by bridges. Remember no cars are allowed in the city proper – this is a real pedestrian city. On our blog Boats in Venice: Life without a car.
Vaporettos (water buses) go up and down the Grand Canal, and out to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Line 1 goes up and down the Grand Canal, with views of the all the palazzos. For the map of vaporetto routes and fares, check out the ACTV site.
Gondola rides usually last about an hour, nighttime is an especially magical time to go. Gondolas hold six people (excluding the gondolier), and there are plenty of places to pick up a gondola on canals throughout the city (not just in front of Piazza San Marco). Tell your gondolier to explore the smaller canals (if you go on the Grand Canals, it 's the same view as the vaporetto ride...)
If you want a short, but very cheap gondola trip (with two gondoliers), take the gondola ferries (traghetti) that go back and forth across the Grand Canal. You do typically need to stand up, so it's best for older kids, and the perfect thing for teens. The traghetto crossing is a real short-cut across the city.
Winged lions - The patron saint of Venice is St. Mark, and his body is buried in the great Basilica of San Marco. St. Mark is represented as a winged lion, with his paw on an open book, the gospel. Everywhere you go in Venice look for the winged lion in all sorts of places - emblazoned on the red and gold flag of Venice, statues, fountains, door handles, bronze gates, church sculptures, even gondolas and cannons are festooned with the lion.
For more about history of lions in Venice, read our blog post Lion of St. Mark.
Churches - Venice is packed with churches, many decorated with paintings by Venetian artists, but our favorite church is the exquisite Santa Maria dei Miracoli in the Castello sestiere. The church is covered inside and out with lovely pastel-colored marbles. Water from the canal laps against the stone foundation on one side. The scale of this church is small and intimate, something kids can relate to. And on the altar is an bejeweled 15th century painting of the Madonna and child - it's believed the painting itself can work miracles.
Stone wells - Hundreds of years ago, ever wondered how the Venetians managed to have fresh water, living in the middle of the lagoon? Ingeniously, in each campo (small square), they built a sand-lined cistern, which collected and purified rain water. While you're walking through Venice, keep your eyes peeled for the stone cisterns, still in the center of each campo.
Go to a concert - Venice is a very musical city Antonio Vivaldi born in Venice, and was a violin teacher and concert master at an orphanage for years. One of his most famous pieces, the Four Seasons, is often performed at different churches around town - ask at your hotel for a concert schedule.
Fun food
At all seasons, gelato (ice cream) is available, in all kinds of flavors. In cold weather, hot chocolate with whipped cream is the drink to try. Venice has a sweet tooth, and there are lots of different pastries (some with an Austrian touch) - cookies, strudels, meringues, croissants filled with honey or jam, and the traditional zaletti, large cookies (plain, chocolate, or pistachio) made with corn flour and buranelli, s-shaped cookies typical of Burano.
Shopping
Venice is a fun place to shop, opulent windows filled with colors and textures. There are wooden or plastic models of gondolas in all shapes and sizes, and models of other Venetian boats. Look for glass items such as animals or miniature vases, necklaces, earrings, rings in all colorsof the rainbow. Mosaic is a traditional art in Venice - pendants and paperweights. Masks and marionettes are fun, as well as gondolier hats (straw with red trim) and blue and white shirts. Lots of choices for lace fans, parasols, and applique with winged lions or gondolas.
Family Hotels

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels, all styles and price ranges, convenient to fun things to do with kids in Venice:


Venice family hotels

 

 


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