fun things to do with kids murano burano venice italy   Travel for Kids
  | Venice

Venice – Islands in the Lagoon

Kids will have a great time exploring the islands in the Venice Lagoon. Boats to the islands of Murano, Burano, Torcello leave from Fondamenta Nove stop as well as Piazzale Rome. The Line 1 boat that goes down the Grand Canal also stops at the Lido, as well as other boats that circle around Venice. Either a trip to the islands or the Lido is a fun day trip.
video island murano

Murano – To see Venetian glassblowers at work, visit the island of Murano. You can tour glass blowing workshops, free of charge. Watch these master glassblowers take a glowing lump and turn it into a leaping horse.


Stop into the Museo del Vetro (Glass Museum) to see wild and colorful glass creations over the centuries. The most spectacular glass creation is a centerpiece, like an Italian garden, with arches, flower beds, fountains, and urns, all made from glass! Other interesting goodies are glass necklaces and cosmetics bottles from the 1st century AD, extravagant goblets with stripes and swirls like multicolor candy canes, bowls shaped like boats, or fruits and vegetables.


Basilica Saints Maria & Donatus – An ancient church, founded in 1141, has glowing Venetian - Byzantine mosaics, but none of the crowds of St. Mark's Basilica.


On the floor are, look for colored marble geometric designs and mosaics with a pair of peacocks and griffins, grasshoppers, eagle clutching a bird, rooster and a fox. In the apse is a golden mosaic of the Virgin Mary.


Public park (Parco pubblico) – If you have little kids, skip the Glass Museum and head over to the public park. (At the Basilica of Santi Maria e Donato, cross the bridge over the canal, turn right into the park.) It has a nice playground, grass, trees, and is the perfect spot to picnic.

    Burano When you step off the boat at Burano, it feels like a town where kids painted the houses – all the houses are painted in different bright colors.

Burano is also famous for its lace making, an intricate skill practiced by the women of Burano since the 16th century. In the Museo del Merletto (Lace Museum) there are all kinds of amazing lacework, tablecloths, fans, collars, shawls, in flower, geometric, or animal patterns. Various shops have lacemaking demonstrations also.


Tip: Looking for a place to picnic on Burano? Right at the water bus stop, there is a sizable grassy area with benches and shade, where you can spread out your lunch.


Torcello Torcello is one of our favorite spots in the lagoon, and it's well worth a trip to get a sense of life on an island in centuries past. People came to live on Torcello in the 5th century, and the first cathedral in Venice was built here. Today the island is very lightly populated, and there are green fields and trees, chickens and goats in the houseyards, it's quiet and peaceful.


The cathedral Santa Maria dell'Assunta, dating back to 1008 AD, is decorated with amazing Byzantine mosaics, as lovely as the mosaics in the Basilica of St. Mark, but in a much more accessible setting. In the apse, the mosaic of Mary and baby Jesus, surrounded by golden tesserae, is simply stunning, along with the feel of ancient mosaic flooring worn smooth under your feet.


In the west wall is a dramatic Last Judgement mosaic. The top layers depict the life of Christ, on the bottom, the Archangel Michael holds a scale, weighing the souls of people, saints and paradise on are the left, on the right is a firey hell with blue-black devils.


Campanile – Be sure to climb up the 11th century campanile for a superb view of the island overall – fields, old crumbly buildings, canals and waterways. It's stairs all the way up, and at the top, there's wire netting, so no worry if you have little kids. The bell in the tower rings at noon and 4:00pm.

Throne of Attila the Hun

"Throne of Attila the Hun"– Outside the cathedral, under a shady olive tree, next to the usual stone well, is a stone throne. Who knows, people were living in Torcello in the 5th century, and perhaps Attila might have made a detour to Torcello on his way to Padua. Even if he didn't (more likely the chair was for local judges), kids can sit on the stone chair, and pretend to be Attila the Hun, terror of Europe and Asia.


The Lido The Lido is certainly of the most famous beaches, although crowded in summer, and most of the beach front is private. Typically you rent a beach hut (cabana) for the day. There is a free beach at Blue Moon Terrace, and also public beaches on northern and southern ends of the island.


The Lido is largely level, and you can rent bikes (including kid's bikes) and surreys at shops next to the Lido vaporetto landing. For little kids, there's a fun fair on Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, with rides.

      At the eastern end of the Lido, visit the Old Jewish Cemetery, Antico Cimitero Israelitico. A cemetery from the 14th to 19th centuries, this is a peaceful spot, green and shady, with many old gravestones.

Tip: For all the islands, get an early start. The water buses run early, and especially if you go in the morning, it's peaceful and quiet, and you'll have the island to yourself, with far fewer crowds.

travel for kids | italy | venice | venice lagoon islands
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