Galleria dell' Accademia - Like the Uffizi in Florence, this is the art museum for Venice, filled with large paintings from illustrious Venetian artists such as Titian, Tintoretto, the Bellini's, and Veronese. Throughout the Accademia, look for different Mary and baby Jesus paintings, especially the Madonna with Child by Titian - Mary is often painted with porcelain skin and typical Venetian reddish gold hair, and the babies are adorable. In the huge Feast in the House of Levi by Veronese find the big cat lolling under the table. In the Miracle of St. Mark Freeing the Slave by Tintoretto, St. Mark barrels down out of the sky like Superman. The museum collection has wonderful family portraits, and check out all the lovely Renaissance gowns and jewels in the paintings.
Walk along the Zattere - After you've trooped through the Galleria dell' Accademia, make your way to the Zattere (Fondamenta Zattere Pal Ponte Lungo), a wide promenade along the Guidecca Canal where you can run around, watch the boats go by or find a gelato.
Gondola Workshop (Squero di San Trovaso) - What would Venice be without the gondolas? At the corner of Rio Di San Trovaso and Rio Ognissanti canals (on Fondamente Nani), you can see one of the oldest gondola workshops. Gonodola making is a closely held art, going back 800+ years, and here kids can watch gondola makers at work in the open air squero, resanding and repainting gondolas (the recipe for the black-lacquer paint is a secret).
Campo Santa Margherita - Looking for a place to relax in the neighborhood? Campo San Margherita is a very large campo, lined with restaurants, cafes and outdoor seating, room for the kids to run around, a fruit stand and ice cream vendors. Lively and fun, this is another one of our favorite campos.
Paolo Olbi handmade books - Making books by hand is a traditional art in Venice. We stopped into Paolo Olbi to watch how a book is put together (and shop also). The beautiful hand stamped cover design with peacocks and griffins is Byzantine in origin. Paolo Olbi is located at Ponte Ca'Foscari 3252, Dorsoduro 30123.
Ca' Rezzonico - Ca' Rezzonico is a very fancy palazzo, a Baroque Venetian mega-mansion, extravagant for its time, which today is filled with 18th century portraits and paintings of Venetian life. The marble staircase and ballroom gets your attention with gilded chandeliers, the throne room has a fabulous rococo gilded throne with a ruby red velvet seat, and a Tiepolo ceiling fresco packed with adorable winged cherubs. In the grand salon, check out the sedan chair (what a way to be transported around). On the upper floors are paintings with scenes of Venice by Canaletto, and family portraits, kids on horseback, ice skating on the frozen canal, costume parties, a woman having her hair fixed and sipping hot chocolate in the morning (just like moms today ...). Don't miss the reproduction of an 18th century bedroom, with a lovely lacquered cradle, and on the top floor a pharmacy filled with ceramic jars of exotic ingredients.
Play garden - Outside the Ca'Rezzonico, to the left of the entrance, a small garden is tucked away, a fountain filled with little fish, benches and a small toddler play area. The garden is open when the museum is open, and any morning you'll find local children and strollers in the garden. Tip: If you have toddlers, they may want to stay in the garden and play, while older kids visit the palazzo.