Is Venice with children possible? Among magical places, workshops and amazing museums, here is the family-friendly Venice you don't expect!
For many families, beautiful Venice remains a dream in the drawer to be realized when the children are older. What if we said, however, that this beautiful city is not only enchanting, but also a perfect place to take little ones of all ages?
In fact, with a few tricks, we are completely certain that exploring the city with your family will not only be easy, but will also be an unforgettable joy.
Between trips to the islands, visits to interactive museums and amazing workshops, here you can find 10 ideas to discover a Venice that can really speak the language of the little ones.
10. Doges' Palace with the incredible "Secret Itineraries" path
The Doge's Palace is, without any doubts, a kids friendly museum. In fact, this elegant palace, located between Saint Mark's Square and the lagoon, surprises its visitors not only for its beauty.
Its refined gothic motifs, the elegance of the marbled Porta della Carta (Paper Door) and the magnificence of the Scala dei Giganti (Giants' Stairway) are just a joyful outline for children, that here can find some of the most vivid Venetian stories.
Following the "Secret Itineraries" path, your family will be delighted: among intrigues, crimes, murders and mysteries, the itinerary unfolds from justice places, to dark rooms, torture places and cells which have seen many legendary personalities walking through their doors. For example, have you ever heard about a certain Giacomo Casanova?
Anyway, may you notice that rooms are often narrow and strollers cannot be acceded. Besides this, the experience will be thrilling.
9. The liveliness of the Rialto market area
In every venetian itinerary, Rialto market represents an unmissable stop.
Discovering it in the morning, in the days when the market is open, means to understand the authentic "Venetianity". Always been a fundamental reference point for the Venetians, it was so important in the past that made the Republic built the first stable bridge on the Canal Grande, the Rialto Bridge of course.
Here you can find the fish market (called Pescaria), but also the fruits and vegetables market in the adjacent Piazza delle Erbe. The area is so interesting, being full of souvenir stands and shops gathered on the way to Rialto Bridge. Jewels and trinkets have now taken the place of spices and goods coming from the East and it is truly incredible to let your gaze linger in the busy comings and goings of the Venetians.
Here, in fact, the most ancient soul of Venice is still living, letting everyone see the most joyful and true place of the entire city. Indeed it's an unmissable stop for kids.
8. Guggenheim Collection in Venice: the art that amuses all the family
Bluish Translucent Stone within the Entrance Gate to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. Designed by Claire Falkenstein, 1961.
In what once was the Venetian house of Peggy Guggenheim now you can find one of the greatest XIX century art collections. Inside the Venier dei Leoni Palace, in fact, you can admire masterpieces made by Dalì, Magritte, Picasso and Chagall.
Even if it could seem that this museum is anything further from a child, it is actually the intent of the museum to make art as accessible as possible, therefore also for the little ones.
The museum is kid friendly, not only making access to strollers and having different relaxing areas, but especially organizing laboratories and activities for children once a week. During these events, kids are able to face, in a practical way, art techniques and issues that, from time to time, are always different.
It's precisely in this way that the art can spread its message of universality, just as the collector Peggy Guggenheim once wished.
Anyway, there are many museums in Venice that are perfect for families and kids. Next one will leave your kids' mouth wide open.
7. Natural History Museum in Venice: the charm of paleontology
No one, nor adult or child, could resist the history of the giants of the past. And if now that history becomes concrete, among exhibitions and rooms that show its traces, the call gets really stronger.
In Venice, located in Fontego dei Turchi, a great palace facing Canal Grande, you'll find the Natural History Museum dedicated to Giancarlo Ligabue, famous paleontologist but also former Italian parliamentarian. The origins of this museum are dated back to the XIX century, thanks to the collection of Patrizio Correr, entirely devoted to the Municipality. Since then the collection has started to grow and Venice has to buy and restore the Fontego dei Turchi palace.
Now the museum collects traces of more than 700 million years of history, besides a library with 40 million books. On the ground floor, there's the incredible Cetaceans Gallery, where you can stare at the skeletons of a blue whale and a sperm whale. On the first floor, there are finds of the Ligabue expedition, among which a great skeleton of a 7 meters long dinosaur.
The museum also organizes themed and personalized visits for the kids: here, the children just have to let themselves go to the most genuine wonder.
6. Murano, the glass blowing art that amazes families
Maybe it's not the glass artworks that will amaze your children, but the glass blowing process certainly does.
Visiting a furnace and observing the glass masters who extract a shapeless and incandescent mass from the flames and then transform it, in just a few seconds, into objects of all kinds, certainly sounds like magic.
One of the most famous souvenirs is the "Murano rooster", a timeless classic. It's an object realized in vivid and beautiful colors and it's part of a triad of symbols: the rooster (meaning the vigilance) takes on its shoulder the fox (the craftiness) and in its beak the snake (symbol of caution).
In the beautiful Murano, besides all the furnaces you can visit to admire this art, there is also the Glass Museum where, together with your family, you can discover the origin of this activity, dating back to the Romans. The entrance is included in the Venice Pass!
5. Gondolas behind the scenes: let's visit a squero!
No matter what, gondolas are the true symbols of this city laying on the lagoon. Their iconic shape is so famous all over the world, that slipping on the water on board of this boat has become the wish of many.
And what if we say that your family could watch their making of?
More than 280 different pieces make the gondola, a boat with an unusual and asymmetric shape, approximately 11 meters long. Small, agile and easy to handle and yet it requires up to one year to be made.
In Venice, there are not so many squeri left. "Squero" is the typical dockyard for rowing boats, among which the gondolas. This experience will certainly be able to involve all the family and guests of all ages. And, why not, at the end you may decide to board of one of these boats and make your wish come true.
4. The Island of Burano with its brightly painted houses
Burano is among the most interesting attractions to visit in Venice with your family. The island is so small that you can visit it all in 2 hours, and without too much effort. The houses are painted with the most vivid colors and are a feast for the eyes of all the visitors.
But Murano is also the home of lace and it is so exciting watching the merlettaie (lacemaker) in an art that, from mother to daughter, have been handed down for generations. Perhaps not all children will be similarly amazed by the intricacies of "Burano lace", but it is certainly worth exploring this noble activity at the Lace Museum. Amid history and legends, as well as dutiful patience, the museum, included in the Venice Pass, nicely traces the origins of this art that survives to this day. And if sightseeing has whetted the appetite, Burano is the place to taste buranelli, the typical doughnut-shaped cookies, or "s" letter, traditionally baked at Easter.
A real treat.
3. Naval Historical Museum to get a glimpse to the Bucintoro
What is Bucintoro? It is a great and sumptuous boat, boarded by the Doge and its court during the Festa della Sensa, a feast to celebrate the marriage of Venice with the sea. Today this ceremony is spectacularly held by the Mayor, but it's possible to have an idea of its magnificence at the Naval Historical Museum.
It is based near the Venice Arsenal in a 15th-century building and is a truly unique museum. Here in fact are wooden models reproducing Venetian fortresses from the Adriatic to the Aegean, reconstructions of a war galley, and finally that of the Bucintoro. So important and impressive was the last Bucintoro made in the late 18th century that when the French found it in the Arsenal they wanted to destroy it immediately.
In short, what better way to experience the splendors of the Serenissima than in this electrifying museum?
2. Acqua Alta Bookshop, a fabulous stop
Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa is home to one of the most original and picturesque bookstores in the world.
In addition to the large assortment of books, both new and used, it is the shelves that strike visitors: canoes, boats and even gondolas become the lucky shelves of hundreds of books, which, in turn, besides being purchasing goods, also become furnishing objects. So, that old-fashioned encyclopedia or that long-forgotten book can finally revive a new life as soft benches and makeshift steps.
Everything inside the Bookshop evokes magic: although it is a rather recently opened place, stepping through its threshold almost feels like the entrance to another world, made up of boats, books and some friendly cats who have long been watching over the store's huge book collection.
As a place that has become very popular in recent years, it is good to know that you'll have some time to spend in line, especially on weekends.
1. Venice Lido with the family: beaches, bicycles and a Planetarium
The Venice Lido is full of experiences that can be enjoyed with your family. First, there is the possibility of a few hours of relaxation at the many beaches, both public and private, but not only.
One of the most fun things is certainly a bike ride to the beautiful San Nicolò Lighthouse, or to the village of Malamocco and then to Alberoni. Bikes are transportable aboard the ferry to Lido, or easily rented on site as well thanks to a handy bike-sharing service.
And finally, if the children are over 6 years old, a trip to the Planetarium may be of interest. Once a week, in fact, they can admire the representation of the vault of heaven above Venice, as well as listen to trivia and elucidation (it's always good to check the museum's website for possible schedule changes!).
In short, Venice with kids is truly an experience not to be missed.
To be inspired by even more activities, why don't you peek the attractions included in the Venice Pass? It also includes 24 hours of public service!