fun things to do with kids in venice  italy - family travel   Travel for Kids


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 maritime 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.

Venice Photo Album
  Piazza San Marco
  San Croce and San Polo - West
  Dorsoduro - South
  Castello - East
  Islands in Venice Lagoon
Tips for Venice – Before you go, while you're there, read our blog post for arrival, timed ticket entry for St. Mark's Basilica, how to avoid getting lost, disadvantages of strollers, self-service laundromat, and more.
  Boats, boats, boats – Venice is really hundreds of islands in a lagoon, connected by bridges. 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. Line 1 goes up and down the Grand Canal, with views of the all the palazzos. For the map of vaporetto routes and fares, check out the ACTV site.


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 Canal, 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.
    On our blog Boats in Venice: Life without a car.
Lions of VeniceThe primary 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.
    For more about history of lions in Venice, read our blog post Lions of Venice.
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.
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.
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.

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 traditional zaletti, large cookies (plain, chocolate, or pistachio) made with corn flour and buranelli, s-shaped cookies typical of Burano.




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. Lots of choices for lace fans, parasols, and 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 Travel for Kids researched lists of Venice family hotels and apartment rentals, different styles and price ranges, in easily accessible neighborhoods.

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 Tour for Kids: 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:

Venice Art Tour for Kids
kids books venice italy
ciao sandro  
Ciao Sandro!
Steven Varni, Luciano Lozano

Take a stroll through Venice with Sandro, a puppy with a nose for adventure, who knows his way through the city, every bridge and shortcut, greeting friends on the vaporetto, fruit boat, glass studio, because today is a very special for gondolier Nic, his best friend. (Picture 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)


Daughter of Venice italy historical fiction kids
city of magic  

1492, Fabrizio comes to Venice to help his master find a secret manuscript. Sneaking into Doge's Palace, rescuing his master from prison, falling into a chilly canal, exploring the city of winged lions, helped by his friend Bianca. Action packed adventure. (Picture book)


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)


carnival at candlelight
a thousand glass flowers  

Marietta's family are glassmakers, and live on the island of Murano. Her father teachers her how to blow glass, and one day she sees a beautiful glass bowl with tiny pieces like blooming flowers, made with an ancient technique.Years later, she creates a special "thousand flowers" glass bead. A true story, filled with color and light! (Picture book)


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)


Anna Marias Gift music kids venice
the story of the orchestra four seasons  
The Story Orchestra: Four Seasons
Jessica Courtney-Tickle

Antonio Vivaldi, renowner composer of Venice, lived in the city, taught music and singing, and is most famous for his The Four Seasons. In this book, gorgeous illustrations portray each season, and press the button to hear musical selections. (Picture book, audio)


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 mystery of the mosaic harper paris
Venetian Lullaby  
Venetian Lullaby
Judith L. Roth, Kendra Binney

A gondolier family glides through Venice, drifting past winged lions, bridges, peaceful cobbled streets. "Drift down streets of water, baby. Close your sleepy eyes." A lovely book for little kids. (Picture 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
venice panorama pops  
Venice: Panorama Pops
Sarah McMenemy

Open the small box and unfold a charming miniature cityscape of Venice – 12 different places, including St. Mark's, Rialto Bridge, Burano Island, Doge's Palace, and fun facts about each landmark. (Mini pop-up book)


travel for kids | | venice
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