Venice, a city with 177 canals and 354 bridges, is not your typical family vacation spot. No amusement parks, no escalators to help with strollers. With no parking lots, everything—pillows and teddy bears, ipads and earphones—must be carried by hand—and by boat—to hotels. Besides, what would kids find in a city steeped with history and art?
The answer: everything! To our young teens and a tween, Venice was one giant theme park. It was Water World Italian-style—from cruising the canals in vaporetti (boats acting as city buses) to gliding along in gondolas, from buying lunch from waterside vessels bursting with fruit to watching dogs (and their owners) whizz by on speedboats.
“Wow, wouldn’t it be cool to bring a Jet Ski here to zoom down the canals?” asked our 14-year-old as we rode our taxi boat to the hotel. “We could bring two and race each other,” enthused his younger brother. As for my daughter, she was squinting. Something in her eye? “If you close your eyes a bit,” she said, “the old buildings look like cool black-and-white photos.”
Obviously, in their eyes, Venice was an exciting new world. To top it off: cafés serving pizza, pasta and dozens of flavours of ice cream. “I’m going to live here one day,” exclaimed our oldest before we had even set foot in our hotel.
Two Top Venice attractions:
Peggy Guggenheim’s home where her beloved pets are buried in the garden; climbing the Campanile bell tower in Piazza San Marco; a huge puppet theatre in the Decorative Arts Museum
Out Islands: The Lido: rent bicycles to ride along the shore, play foosball on the beach. Or sail to the Murano glass factory for miniature glass animals – “I didn’t know that you could actually ‘make’ glass,” said one of my kids.
Photo Kate Pocock
On Burano: watch lace-making, and join a soccer game