5 years ago we went to Venice with my parents. Venice is a wonderful place to take kids. They love all the canals, St. Mark’s Square with all the pigeons, riding on water taxi’s and eating by the canal. We stayed in an apartment suggested by the Pensione Guerrato. The apartment was on the walking path between the Rialto Bridge and the Piazza San Marco. It was three stories tall, one room on top of another. John and I would go out early before anyone woke up and get coffee and bakery goods. Then we would get lost, seeing incredible markets and architecture.
This weekend my sister in law, Kathy and her husband and boys (15 and 17) just went to Venice for the Carnival weekend. The Carnival of Venice (Carnevale di Venezia) is an annual festival, the Mardi Gras of Venice. The Carnival starts around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and it finishes on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. I interviewed her and realized again why Venice is a wonderful place for kids!
How did you get there?
We drove from Stuttgart, Germany (7.5 hour drive) and parked in the Piazzale Roma parking garage.
Was this your first time there?
We’ve been there three times but this is the first time with the boys.
Where did you stay? Did you like it? If not, where would you stay next time?
We stayed in an apartment in the San Croce district. We loved it! The apartment was very clean, efficient and close to everything. The landlord, Sebastiano, was delightful and spoke perfect English. We wouldn’t stay anywhere else!
Describe you favorite meal.
The favorite meal was Fritto Misto on the island of Burano! The second favorite meal was spaghetti with mussels…eaten in an outside restaurant on the Grand Canal right next to Rialto Bridge.
How did you get around? Car, train, boat, public transportation?
Walking and water taxis.
Tell me about your favorite sites you visiting.
Of course we took the kids to the ‘normal’ sites like Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco, but this time we also went to two of the islands, Murano and Burano. It might be often overlooked, but the island of Burano and its brightly painted buildings was gorgeous. We were also lucky enough to be there during Carnival, so we only needed to step outside our apartment to see the amazing costumes and masks that Venice is so famous for.
Anything one should be careful of?
Getting lost in the maze of small passage ways…on second thought this isn’t something to be careful of…it’s fun! Something that would really mess up your day would be stepping backward into a canal while trying to take that perfect shot…(yep, almost happened!)
What would you do differently?
Stay a few more days.
What is the one moment you’ll remember?
It was 7:30 a.m., Ron and I were sitting at a small cafe right across the passage way from our apartment….we watched old men, still wearing their carnival masks, laughing and fishing off the canal as 15 gondolas filled with Japanese tourists floated by…all while we were sipping our first cappuccino of the day and eating the most delicious chocolate croissants we’ve ever tasted. People were just beginning to arrive, fully dressed, for Sunday’s carnival festivities.
Why is this a good spot for kids?
Venice is filled with people of all ages experiencing some of the most wonderful sites on earth. Carnival itself is like an extended Halloween where everyone, young and old alike, gather in one place to celebrate the music, dance, shows, face painting, costumes and laughter.
How did you all become closer on this trip?
NO TV. NO COMPUTERS. NO TELEPHONES. But… we all had cameras so we were all able to capture what was interesting or important to us and share it with each other.