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How to Have the Best Holiday with Kids in Venice
It is a fact: Venice is great for kids! It is a city full of wonders, from water running through canals to the incredible buildings, hid behind every corner. On top of that, there’s the security of not having any cars around. It sounds like heaven for parents indeed; nonetheless, there are many hardships to be faced in a city built on water and Venice put lots of obstacles for parents who get there unprepared. So how to be ready and spend the best holiday with your kids in Venice? Let’s see.
Stay a little longer in the city: kids need time to soak it all in
Our first and most obvious suggestion is: plan ahead and stay longer. This is due to the fact that Venice has a lot to offer to a kid, but it takes time to discover the best of what there is. Let your kids create unforgettable memories of the city. It will be a life experience! Also for Venice staying longer than the typical two days is a sustainable travel practice that has a positive impact on the city’s serious struggles with over-tourism.
While it is good to plan ahead so that you will know how to get around, it’s even better to take time to plan together with the whole family: your kids will be enthusiastic to find out how people live and have lived in the water city, and so will you!
If you aren’t sure, get help for your arrival
When in Venice you won’t be able to rely on many of the transports we are used to: no buses, no cars, no taxis. All there is in Venice are water taxis, which are very expensive, and water ferries, which do not get you everywhere. Feet are your best companions.
Thus at the arrival, you’ll be startled by the magic of the place, but in the meantime, you’ll have to walk and deal with luggage, kids and finding the right way to your hotel. Getting lost amid the canals and small streets can be real fun if you don’t have a schedule, but is frustrating when you are trying to arrive at a specific place.
The new Prontopia app is a wonderful resource, providing assistance from a trusted Venetian local who can help you get where you need to go, assist with a bag or a travel need (such as finding an urgent item at the pharmacy). It allows you to focus your attention safely on the kids while en route to your lodging or activity.
With plenty of choices, find the right activities
There are many activities to play for kids in Venice, make sure you get the right one for yours! In fact there are many options to choose from:
- bring them to a mask shop where kids can make their own masks;
- do a family game in a boat along the Grand Canal pretending to be enterprising merchants and then design their own sumptuous merchant palazzo,
- visit a kid-friendly glassblowing artisan on Murano, creating their own art piece afterward out of Venetian glass;
- for teenagers, there are many rowing schools that give daily lessons on how to ride a gondola.
Of course, if your kids enjoy art and strolling around exhibitions Venice gives a lot of options on that side either. For instance, check out the Museo di Storia Naturale, which is great for kids as well as for adults. Here you will find interactive exhibitions of the evolution of the Earth, animals and humankind with dinosaurs, mummies and skeletons, plus a collection of animals and … mystery chambers!
Tip on finding places to eat with your kids
Kids can be difficult when it comes down to food and many Venetian traditional restaurant are mostly specialized in fish dishs, which is not always a kid’s first choice. Pizza and pasta al pomodoro can be found almost in any restaurant in Italy, but they are not always as good as they could be, if you order them in a fish restaurant. One good option that will make everyone happy is Sulla Luna Bookstore and Bistrot, a charming family-friendly place in Cannaregio. Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in a bookstore cafe with lots of picture books to browse; the kid-friendly menu includes favorites such as hot chocolate with whipped cream and organic, fresh options for light meals. You can also find a lot more options moving in other areas of the city, of course.
(Remember that dinner in Italy is after 7.30 and many restaurant don’t open before that hour!)
Venice is full of anything a kid dreams for, but it is up to the parents to make it really unforgettable for him. In case you get lost and your kids start to act out too much, get help from those who know the city best!