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Venice

Kids in Venice

Venice is a city that says adventure and sailing to distant lands. Marco Polo was 17 years old when he left Venice to sail to Asia. From the 13th - 15th centuries, it was one of the most luxurious cities in Europe, and a great trading empire with the Orient. Today, Venice is still a city like no other, and traveling to Venice kids will have a great time exploring the labyrinth of streets and campos, shimmering canals and endless bridges.

Lions of Venice Photo Album
  Piazza San Marco
  Castello - East
  San Croce and San Polo - West
  Dorsoduro - South
  Islands in the Venice Lagoon
    Boats, boats, boats – Venice is really hundreds of islands in a lagoon, connected by bridges. When you first arrive, take a water taxi from the airport, car park (Piazzale Roma), or train station – you'll get a great introduction to this watery city. Remember no cars are allowed in the city proper – this is a real pedestrian city.
   

Vaporettos (water buses) go up and down the Grand Canal, and out to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Lines #1 and #82 go up and down the Grand Canal, with views of the all the fancy palazzos. You'll also want to take the circle lines that go completely around Venice, from the train station to Fondamente Nove, around Sant' Elena, through the Guidecca Canal, with stops all along the way. For the map of vaporetto routes and fares, check out the ACTV site.

Gondolas Venice
   

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.
Lions of VeniceThe 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.
Stone wells Venice
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.

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.

Jewish Ghetto (Cannaregio) – In the 16th century, the city of Venice decreed that Jews should live in one part of the city, called the "Ghetto Nuovo." This was the first ghetto in Europe, and today is a still active Jewish community. Visit and the Jewish Museum (Museo Ebraico, which includes the Museum of Hebrew Art), then stop into a kosher restaurant in the neighborhood for lunch.
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.
  Tip: Strollers in Venice. Remember there are hundreds of bridges over the canals in Venice, and steps up and down each side. Taking a child in a stroller will involve a significant amount of lugging the stroller up and then going down, over each bridge.
   

Fun food

Sweets Venice
   

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

Murano Fish
   

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 colors of 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 appliqué with winged lions or gondolas.

     

 

family hotels venice italy

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in Venice, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of accommodations in Venice, family hotels and apartment rentals, different styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods near to places you'll want to explore:

Venice family hotels
Venice family apartment rentals
family walking tours kids venice italy
 

Take a private family walking tour around San Marco and the Rialto, as kids discover hidden treasures and history of this fascinating city, and find winged lions along the way:

Venice Lion Hunt
 

The Accademia Galleria is filled with Venetian masterpieces, but just how do you make Titian, Tintoretto and Tiepolo come alive for your kids? Take a private family walking tour through the museum:

Arte Veneziana for Families
kids books venice italy
     
childrens books venice VivaVenice guide  
VivaVenice
Paola Zoffoli, Paola Scibilia

We discovered this kids' book on our last trip to Venice, and it's a delightful guide to this magical floating city! Legends and traditions, boats you'll see in Venice, yummy treats, fish of the lagoon, Venetian songs and rhymes, palace styles, color the mosaics of St. Mark's, and more. (Illustrated chapter book)

 

   
Daughter of Venice
Donna Jo Napoli

16th century Venice. Donata breaks the rigid confines of her noble family to explore her beloved city. Sparkling story of a teenage girl who would rather wear smelly clothes of a fisherboy than silks and parasols, and glows with the light and colors of Venice. (Chapter book)

 

 
     
italy venice kids books adventure The Thief Lord
 
The Thief Lord
Cornelia Funke

After running away from their annoying aunt, two boys, Prosper and Bo, see Venice on their own. Exhilirating adventures of Prosper and Bo, and a bunch of street kids, led by a 13 year old "Thief Lord," as they are pursued by a kind-hearted detective. (Chapter book)

 

     
Looking for Marco Polo
Alan Armstrong, Tim Jessell

Mark explores Venice for the first time, following the trail of young Marco Polo, leaving by sea, and many years later, returning home. A super story of Venice today, interwoven with tales of its most famous traveler, Marco Polo. (Chapter book)

 

 
     
easy reader kids venice Carnival at Candlelight
 
Carnival at Candlelight (Magic Tree House)
Mary Pope Osborne, Sal Murdocca

Jack and Annie are whirled back to Venice 250 years ago, right in the middle Carnival, the big yearly festival. They've got to find the Grand Lady of the Lagoon, a painter named Tiepolo, a clock with the right time, and the winged lion, before a flood destroys Venice. (Easy reader)

 

     
Anna Maria's Gift
Janice Shefelman, Robert Papp

When Anna Maria comes to the famous orphanage in Venice where Vivaldi is the music teacher, she brings with her a very special violin. But after her violin is tossed in the canal, Anna Maria goes on a search through Venice. (Chapter book)

 

 
     
italy venice kids biography Titian  
Titian
Mike Venezia

Before you visit the Galleria dell' Accademia, find out about the artist Titian – real name Pieve di Cadore. Ten year old Titian arrived in Venice to work as an apprentice, learning to paint. Titian became so popular, kings and queens lined up to have their portraits painted. (Picture book)

 

     
Gabriella's Song
Candace Fleming, Giselle Potter

Music's in the air, as Gabriella hums a song of Venice, a tune that inspires the baker, the widow Santucci, a gondolier, and a composer, who writes a wonderful symphony. "Sing it again, mio amore." (Picture book)

 

 
Gabriellas Song kids music venice
     
picture book venice italy The Famou Nini  
The Famous Nini
Mary Nethery, John Manders

Based on a true story, everyone comes to visit Nini, a plain white cat at the Caffe Dei Frari on Piazza San Marco. Nini gives Verdi the perfect note for his opera, meets the king and queen of Italy, smiles at the pope, and receives a jeweled egg from the czar of Russia. (Picture book)

 

     
The Mystery of the Mosaic (Greetings from Somewhere)
Harper Paris, Marcos Calo

Ella and Ethan are having fun eating gelato and exploring the canals, but they have two mysteries to solve - finding a missing gondola (belonged to the doge of Venice) and locating a five hundred year old mosaic. (Easy reader)

 

 
     
the treasures of venice sario cestaro  
The Treasures of Venice Pop-Up
Dario Cestaro, Paola Zoffoli

Famous landmarks of Venice in lovely 3-D – Rialto Bridge, St. Mark's Basilica, Ca d'Oro palazzo, Doge's Palace, La Fenice theater, Santa Maria della Salute church, plus hidden gems history and facts about each "treasure." (Pop-up book)

Editor's note: On Amazon, pop-up book collectors give this book poor reviews, concerning the paper engineering. They don't seem to realize this is a children's book.

 

     

Take a trip through Venice – a unique city with 117 islands, vaporettos, gondolas and water taxis, Venetian specialties (lace, glass, seafood), the Grand Canal and beautiful marble palazzos, weddings on the water, famous buildings and churches, pigeons at Piazza San Marco, and more. Whimsical, fabulous illustrations, fun facts, this is a classic. (Picture book)

 

 
This is Venice kids books
     
Treasure Hunt Venice kids guide  
Treasure Hunt Venice
Ellen and Marvin Mouchawar

This pocket-size book is a scavenger hunt for Venice. Count the bridges over the Grand Canal, feed the birds in Piazza San Marco, taste an espresso, visit a pasticceria, get your photo taken with a gondoliere, and more. Fun for everyone in the family! (Activity book)

 

(More children's books on other Italy pages)
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