Venice is a glorious place for children — a visual feast to entertain them, from the wonderful array of boats, rowers on the lagoon to the beautiful speed boats and other vessels — in the summer many people (Valentino, Johnny Depp etc) bring their grand yachts here… as well as the occasional fabulous galleon moored in St Marks Basin…
Climbing the towers
The Campanile in Piazza San Marco and the tower at San Giorgio Maggiore (vaporetto: San Giorgio) both give spectacular views over Venice and the lagoon. Remember to take some change for the telescopes, or better still bring your own binoculars. If you get your timing right, you can experience the ringing of the Campanile bells at close quarters!
A “Secret Itineraries” tour of the Doge’s Palace
This has to be booked in advance at the Doge’s Palace information desk (041 522 4951) – buy a ticket (€12.50 per person) to go on an English speaking tour. You will meet in the courtyard to start your tour. It takes you into rooms that are not included in the general admission price and tells you stories and tales of what happened, for example the escape and imprisonment of Casanova. The tour skips the main halls in the palace but finishes in the palace so one can visit after the tour has ended.
Traghetto trips across the Grand Canal
These are gondola ferries which cross the Grand Canal at several points. They are very convenient and allow you to experience a ride in a gondola, if only for two minutes. The fare is very cheap, but it is customary to stand during the crossing – an exciting challenge for children!
Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni
Calle dei Furlani, Castello. A good “art” choice for young children. Carpaccio’s scenes are a lot like fairy tales, with dragons, knights and princesses.
Rialto fish market
Rialto, Tuesday – Saturday mornings. Children are fascinated by the huge variety of sea creatures on offer at the market. Best to get there early!
Italian lessons and games to discover Venice
Kids can have a great time learning the flavours of ice creams in Italian, numbers and vaporetto stops. Play games with cards to learn the history of Venice, and a treasure hunt around the different campos. Lola will teach them, entertain them, inspire them. Great for families or children of all ages. Police-checked babysitting is also available day and evenings.
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Naval Museum (Museo Storico Navale)
Campo San Biasio, near Arsenale (vaporetto: Arsenale). This is great for children of all ages, with model boats and guns.
Public Gardens (Giardini Pubblici)
The public gardens Giardini and S.Elena at the eastern end of Venice (vaporetto No 1: Giardini or S.Elena) are a good place to play. Giardini has a lovely cafe in the old conservatory, Serra die Giardini. S.Elena has a playground, football field and basket ball field open to the public – bring a ball and mingle with the local kids. Most Italian children play in the local campi, and it is rare to walk through Campo Santa Maria Formosa or Campo San Polo without having to dodge round a game of football.
Also try the garden of the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum – no ticket required, benches and a small playground. Two other gorgeous gardens are: the Carlo Scarpa garden in the Querini Stampalia (Santa Maria Formosa) and the Borges Labyrinth in the Fondazione Cini, San Giorgio island.
Find the lions
Try our treasure hunt, finding the lions in Venice…
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