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Venice with children

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Venice may seem like a challenging place to travel with children, but there is plenty for kids to do and enjoy.

Understand[edit]

For kids, walking across the city may be a job that is a bit too hard for them, so always be prepared to take an impromptu water taxi. Also if you get a hotel map ask the concierge to note down the water taxi stands. Venice is a huge city and also very easy to get lost in. So the easiest situation with kids is make your way to the Grand Canal and/or retrace your steps. Water taxis are a convenient but expensive option: they start at a fixed rate of €15.00 plus €2.00 per minute, with additional fees for transport at night, additional people, and luggage—rides in the city center can easily exceed €50. If you might need to take one, make sure to keep some money with you. A more economical option is the vaporetti (water buses), which are free for children under age 6 on urban routes. Kids will love the boat as it goes slowly for them to see every aspect of Venice. However a bad time for kids to get on is from 9-10 AM and from 6-7 PM. These are both rush hour times for the city of Venice to the boats are very crowded to it is hard to get in and out.

Get in[edit]

If you need to buy Trenitalia tickets, buy them from the machine and not the person at the counter. It is much more expensive.

By train[edit]

In general getting to Venice by train is a lot easier and more painless than by car, especially if you have children. There are various direct connections, including sleeper trains from Italy and Austria and instead of "are we there yet?" from the backseats, you get to spend quality time with the little ones and can look out the window or make the journey an adventure all itself.

Eat[edit]

There are a thousand different restaurants that you can eat in but for vegetarians and kid friendly the restaurant count goes down dramatically. But still there are a few restaurants that are kid-friendly.

Street Stands[edit]

There are a ton of these in Venice, about two on each street. These are the fast food versions of restaurants in Venice. They sell everything from burritos to pizza. However they do not sell pasta so if you are looking for some pasta you will have to go to a regular restaurant.

Another type of street stands commonly seen on the streets of Venice are gelato (ice cream) stands. They have about 10 flavors that change depending on the time of year. The quality of the ice cream even there is amazing and a favorite with the kids. The street stands that sell pizza have gelato too, but the quality is not as great and the flavor is sort of stale.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants[edit]

  • Al Vaporetto, Calle della Mandola, 3726 San Marco (Located on the walkway that leads up to the Campo Manin), +39 041 522 9498, e-mail: . Tue-Sun 11AM-10PM. This is a great kid-friendly restaurant in Venice, offering a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. A recommended starter is the bruschetta, which is some of the best food you will find in all of Venice. The desert menu is also very good, with a delicious selection of cakes and pies (though the gelato is mediocre). The cakes melt in your mouth and the pies are stuffed very well. Other highlights of the menu are the spaghetti and the out-of-this-world pizza selection. If you like spicy food you can ask the waiter to spice up your food and for an extra special spicy sauce. The food is really light and not heavy like many other restaurants in Italy. The portions are small, which is good for kids, and are cheap enough for adults to order two. Water isn't free so you'll have to buy a bottle. €8-20.

Do[edit]

There are so many things for a kid to do in Venice. It isn't all just a big tourist trap aimed at adults. there are a few things that kids will enjoy in Venice.

Saint Mark's Square[edit]

Piazza San Marco ("St. Mark's Square" in English) is the main square of Venice and is one of the highlights of the city. Located next to the Grand Canal, San Marco's square has its own water bus (Vaporetto) stop.

The square itself is filled with life every second of the day and there is a lot for kids to do there. It has many souvenir shops and carts, and gelato is available at several stores lining the square—although it is forbidden to eat while sitting down on the steps entering San Marco's square. Tired kids and their parents can sit in one of the sidewalk cafes and enjoy the live music that is frequently playing. In the center, tourists and pigeons gather for photo opportunities and bread crumbs. The square is a busy place but there is still room for kids to run around before entering the basilica or even better, the prison that housed Casanova.

Saint Mark's Basillica[edit]

The Saint Marks Basilica, like any church, may not be a good place to take younger kids. Silence is expected and people will get offended if kids scream a lot. Additionally, visitors aren't allowed to wear tank tops or shorts that go above the knees and cannot take cameras or backpacks into the Basilica. There is a cloakroom to leave your bags, but it may be difficult to find. You can go through the entrance for a concert hall and go straight towards the aisle in the middle. From there take a left and you will immediately see the area where you can give your bag. The cloakroom closes half an hour after the Basilica closes.

Inside the Basilica is only a short walk so some children may find it boring, though if your kid is a history nut they may find the area very interesting. It is free to enter the Basilica but there are separate tickets you can buy inside the Basilica to go up to the dome, for example.

Saint Mark's Square Bell Tower[edit]

The Bell Tower of San Marcos Square is a family-friendly place that kids and adults alike will enjoy. The Bell Tower is right in the center of San Marco's Square and a really amazing sight. The entrance ticket costs 3 euros and you take a spacious elevator to the top. From there you can see all around Venice and even as far as the mainland. Kids may especially enjoy the binocular stands, which are located on each side of the tower. Each takes a one-euro coin for about 10 minutes of use.

The line for the bell tower is very long, so it is best to go around 5 o’clock in the evening. On the hour and half-hour the bell tower will ring, which is very loud and can frighten young kids. However, if you have older children who don't mind noise it is a really fun event hearing the bell from that up close.

Doge Palace[edit]

The Doge's palace is an interesting historical place for people of all ages. After the Roman Empire fell and after the medieval times a new city sprung up with the Renaissance. That city was Venice. Venice was ruled with a Roman style senate and the Doge at the head of government. The Doge lived in the palace. The palace is a collection of statues and paintings. Though the artwork and the scenery may be boring for a some kids, there are two highlights that families with kids would find really interesting in the Doge Palace.

The first highlight for kids is the armory room. The armory room is filled with all sorts of different style weapons. There are there for the guard to keep in case ever there is an attack on the palace. There is an amazing array of weapons that are really interesting. Kids will really enjoy seeing the different types of weapons. There are the first types of hunting bows that were made in the 1500's. They also have the porcelain guns that they traded with the Chinese. The also have displays of guns that were taken apart and each different piece of the guns were shown. One of the interesting pieces in the armory is the armor sent by King George the First. The armor was supposed to be made out of the strongest metal in the world. To test this they shot it with a modern day bullet. It bounced off the armor proving it to be really that strong. If you look on the right side of the armor on the breastplate, you can see the dent where the bullet bounced off the armor.

The second highlight of the Doge's palace is the palace prisons. The palace prisons are sort of like the dungeons except they are above ground. They are like a maze of twisting passageways all around the palace and are really easy to get lost in (but if you follow the signs you should be okay). To get to the prisons you cross the Bridge of Sighs. There are a ton of prisons and kids will love seeing each one.

Taking pictures or video inside the Doge palace is not permitted except in designated areas.

Nearby[edit]

Lido[edit]

Lido is really a great place for kids as there is so much to do, including biking and going to the beach and playing in the sand. Lido isn’t that big of an island so if you want you can rent a bike for an hour or two and hit the streets.

  • Pizza Con-Gusto. Another great kid-friendly restaurants that the Venice area has to offer, Pizza con Gusto has some twists and tweaks that you won’t find in other restaurants. One of those twists is a table charge. There will be some pretzel sticks out there for you, but if you take one it will add to the table charge. On top of the table charge, the waiter will expect you to give a 15 % tip.

Murano[edit]

The Murano glass making factory tour is one of the most interesting tours in the Venice area.

Transportation to and from Murano can cost a lot of money, but if you are staying at a hotel check with the concierge on free glass tours. Usually the hotel sponsors one of the factories and the tours are completely free. There is a taxi ride from your hotel to Murano and then back to San Marco's Square. The taxi ride is a great fun for the kids as they will love the way the boat skips up on the water.

The tour itself is something that the kids will really enjoy. It is really interesting to see the way that the master artisans shape the glass. The way they use the tweezers to make different shapes out of the glass. However the free tour has a catch. They usually want you to buy something at the factory. The different chandeliers and the vases that are made out of glass are simply beautiful but, they do cost quite a bit of money. Some can be as expensive as 50,000 euros! I recommend that this isn't a place to take younger kids who can be really antsy and accidentally break something. If you have some older more controlled kids, this can be a place where you can take them inside. They usually have an eye for a beautiful piece.


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