Best Things To Do In Venice With Kids
Traveling to Venice with kids is a magical experience. Venice possesses a sort of intimacy — the half-land half-water city is full of Venetians who take pride in their rich heritage. The colorful city’s breathtaking architecture is bursting with culture and seems to be unmatched by other locations. For these reasons and more, traveling to Venice with kids is a must when going on a European vacation. Your children will love exploring the narrow streets, bridges, and canals. These cultural nuances are extremely fascinating to both children and adults alike, but can only hold a child’s attention so long. This is why we have created a list of entertaining family-friendly activities that will turn your family vacation to Venice into an unforgettable experience.
Go Lion “Hunting” in Venice with kids
When you think of Venice, it’s no surprise that St. Mark comes to mind. The city is riddled with relics and paintings commemorating the Evangelist. Not to mention, the main Piazza (square) is named in his honor, Piazza San Marco. You might also recall the symbol of Venice: a winged lion with its paw on an open book. This lion represents St. Mark, and the book is his gospel. Interestingly, when the book is opened, it means the relic was constructed in times of peace, and closed represents a time of war. You and your children will love exploring the city look for these lions, hint: they’re everywhere. Your children can even compete to see who can count the most! The kids can encounter plenty of lions on our “Treasures of St. Mark’s Square” tour. After a brief introduction and a look at the outside of the Doge’s Palace, it is time to enter the Palace’s courtyard to the Chamber of the Great Council, Europe’s largest room, by way of the creepy prison. Our private, fully licensed guide will tell you all about the history and secrets of this iconic palace, while keeping the young ones fully engaged. A visit to Saint Mark’s Basilica is also part of the tour. After looking at its magnificent facade and golden mosaics, skip the line and enter this holy place, which still holds the remains of St. Mark the Evangelist. You’ll even have a chance to go behind the altar and gaze at the precious altarpiece “Il Pala d’Oro”. Finally, discover the secrets of the Bell Tower, the Campanile and the buildings around the iconic square.
Row Like A Gondolier
Gondolas and Venice go hand-in-hand. The black lacquered traditional rowing boats are similar to canoes, but narrower. Becoming a Gondolier takes year of training and practice. Have you ever wondered how the boat stays on a straight path by only rowing on one side? For centuries, gondolas were the primary form of transportation in Venice. They are still used today for sightseeing and when traveling across the Grand Canal they are referred to as “traghetti” or ferries. Children and adults alike will love gliding through the charming canals of Venice. Over two and a half hours, you and your family can learn to row like a true Venetian gondolier with our tour. After a quick security briefing, you and your family will board the gondola. This type of gondola is a bit special, and a lot more stable than the black Venetian gondolas. No one will fall into the water! First, you will learn how to row, and once you have gotten the hang of it, it will be time to steer the gondola! It’s all in the wrist, they say. Along the way, you will stop in an former squero (gondola reparation) which has now been transformed into a small museum.
Explore the Islands of the Venetian Lagoon with kids
Located on the outskirts of Venice lie two vibrant islands, Murano and Burano. Murano is known worldwide for its incredible glass blowing. In 1291, fear arose that the fire used in glassblowing would burn down the almost completely wooden Venice, and all the glassmakers were ordered to move to Murano. The Murano glassblowers have been developing high quality techniques for centuries and everyone in your family will be amazed at the intricacy of the glass and the art of glassblowing. Across from Murano, Burano is home to the most intricate lacework in the world. Lace artisans work day and night to perfect their craft. In addition to the delicate lace work, Burano’s streets are lined with visually stunning, brightly colored homes which might inspire the artist within you and your children. Visit Burano the best way with our tour suited to the whole family. Hop aboard your own private Venetian yacht and, together with your fully licensed guide, discover the Venetian Lagoon. Your first stop is Murano, where you will have the privilege to see a small, charming glass atelier. Learn all about the art of glass making and watch the artist as she creates glass beads. Your children will also have the chance to blow in a tube just to get to see what glassblowing is all about! After a short walk on the island, it’s time to jump back in the boat and head to Burano. Your guide will take you through the beautiful colorful streets and canals of the island. A great way to take in all of its charm, and have the kids run around a little bit. And to top it off, everyone in your family will get to taste the local cookie, which is a delight!
A Bookstore the Kids Will Love
Libreria Acqua Alta is a gem of Venice, tucked away from the busier parts of the city. Truly an ode to the Venetian lifestyle, this small bookseller is very eclectic with a staircase comprised completely of books and a gondola that runs down the middle. Your child will love the books piled high everywhere you look and the cats that inhabit the store. Libreria Acqua Alta is a great stop for an easy souvienier too; they have post cards you won’t find anywhere else.
Discover the Secrets of the Doge’s Palace
Built in the traditional Venetian gothic style, the Doge’s Palace was once the political heart of Venice. The Palace was the residence of the Doge, the supreme elected ruler of Venice. To enchant and captivate your whole family visit the various rooms of the palace as well as the secret part which generally has limited access. From the Chamber of the Great Council (Europe’s biggest room), to the Council of 10, where those who plotted against the state or those with bad social behaviors would be trialed, discover why Venice got it’s reputation of being “most serene”. Children will love discovering the secret prisons and dungeons. Uncover the secrets of the Doge’s Palace by taking our family-friendly tour. Meet your guide in front of the Palace, and once you’re inside, thanks to our skip the line tickets, follow her as she will take you through the darkest secrets of the Palace, in places not always accessible to the public. The courtyard is the first stop, and soon you’ll climb the Golden Staircase that leads to the official chambers of the Palace. Next, you will penetrate the dark and spooky prison cells where the famous Casanova was once held prisoner. We made sure to add a great deal of fun to this awesome experience for your children thanks to our engaging game booklet.
Picnic in the Giardini Pubblicci
When Napoleon invaded Venice he ordered that all the marshland be cleared and a public park be put in its place. After a long day of sightseeing, you and your children might crave some down time. For the perfect afternoon, head to the Giardini Pubblicci (Public Garden) for a picnic. Your family will be able to relax with enough space for the children to run around, if they have more energy. Located along the Grand Canal, it is the perfect spot to go after your family visits the Doge’s Palace. Filled with luscious greenery, the park is very calm and serene. It acts as a great contrast to the city’s tight quarters. It’s a local favorite, as it is not well known by tourists. The park is extremely family-friendly; it has a children’s playground and a cafe. If you need a breather from all the sightseeing, look no further.
Make Traditional Carnival Masks
The Carnival of Venice is an adored Venetian tradition. It is a spirited festival held at the end of every February and considered a “last hurrah” for Venetians because the last day of the festival coincides with the first day of Lent. The festival is renowned worldwide for its elaborate masks. These masks can be found all over Venice and were first made worn by Venetians to equalize the rich and the poor during the carnival. One of the most recognizable carnival masks, the Medico della peste, has a long beak and is typically gilded with complex patterns. Your children will love playing dress up and pretending to be in the carnival. To better understand the tradition and origins of the Carnival, we offer an amazing tour. Our expert guide will take you on a fascinating discovery of Ca’Rezzonico, a museum dedicated to 18th century Venice. It is the best place to learn about Carnival and what it represent. Your children will also better understand the life and times of Venice some 200 years ago. Then, your family will head to a traditional mask making workshop. After a brief introduction on the art of mask making, you will get to choose your plain papier-maché mask and start adding colors, glitter, sparkles and feathers.
Cicchetti, Small Hands Love Small Snacks
Cicchetti, is typical Venetian fare that will delight your family. These small snacks come in bite-sized portions of food including, small sandwiches, olives, meats, vegetables, and seafood served on top of bread. Like tapas, a meal of Cicchetti, is comprised of many small servings. But, Cicchetti is more than just a snack, it’s an atmosphere and a vital cultural element of Venetian society. Gathering together, taking time to speak together, and sharing a meal is celebrated; it is something most families can relate to. Like Venetians, your kids will love to eat their small bites after visiting museums or going on tours. If you really want to experience life like the locals while in Venice, Cicchetti can’t be missed. If your family would like to explore Italian food beyond pizza and pasta, we offer a tour suited for the whole family. Through 2 delightful typical taverns and restaurants, you will be able to taste specialties such as cod-paste on bread, fried vegetables, fried meatballs, and cheese. The finishing touch for this highly entertaining and mouthwatering food tour is a stop in a chocolate shop or ice cream parlour, depending on the season. This Venice Food Tour is the perfect way to learn about the local culinary scene and taste some truly delicious local dishes.
See the Skyline From San Giorgio Maggiore
Waiting in long lines can be fatiguing on everyone, both children and parents. Long days of sightseeing and walking can exhaust your troops. If you want to climb the belltower in St. Mark’s square, but you and your little ones are not ready for the wait in long lines or crowds, try the San Giorgio Maggiore Bell Tower. Located across the Grand Canal, your family will be able to view all Venice’s iconic skyline. You can see all the red rooftops that Venice is so famous for including the canals and St. Mark’s square; there is no better view of all of Venice than this. You won’t want to miss this serene view of the iconic city. The good news about this view is that the line is a lot shorter, something the whole family will enjoy; plus, you can see St. Mark’s square and bell tower from here.
Cool Off with Gelato
If your family is traveling to Italy, there are a couple of things you must eat. Gelato might just be number one on the list. Why? It’s a sweet, creamy, and luxurious treat that delights the kids as well as the adults. Finding gelato is just fine, but finding great gelato is life changing. This is why you and your kids must go to La Boutique del Gelato before you leave Venice. It may not seem like much from the outside, but their gelato is heavenly. With just the right about of richness and plenty of flavors, no one in your family will leave hungry. They make all their gelato in store, and you can taste the difference between the others that aren’t as smooth or as fresh. La Boutique del Gelato is about a five minute walk from the Piazza San Marco and the perfect place to go after your museum tour.
Inspire Your Child’s Inner Artist
Once you and your family start to explore Venice, you will understand why so many artists were inspired by the dynamic city. So how about stepping in the shoes of fine arts masters such as Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese and experience an painting workshop like no other? Before the hands-on workshop, it’s always important to get some inspiration. What better way to get that than to spend some time at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice’s world famous fine arts museum? Follow our expert art teacher and discover the many depictions of Venice that these famous artists have painted. After this 1 hour introduction of Venetian art, it will be your time to paint your own views of Venice, using different techniques. Our art teacher will take you to a calm area near the Gallerie Dell’Accademia where you will start your 2 hour outdoor painting lesson. Don’t be shy, no one is expecting you to be the next Canaletto! Paint the canal, the bridge and the buildings and create your own private Venetian souvenir. The good news is, you’ll have the pleasure to bring your masterpiece back home! Try our Family Twist’s Painting Venice.