In Emma John’s feature, “Why Did I Bring a Teenager to Venice?” (March/April 2013), she is accompanied by her young friend Naimbh (an Irish name and spelling, pronounced Neev) on a tour of the venerable Italian city. If you, too, will have teenagers in tow upon your arrival in Venice, here is a list of family-friendly tours to suit a wide array of interests (and attention spans).
The Secret Itineraries Tour, Palazzo Ducale
The itinerari segreti provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Palazzo Ducale, the mystery and intrigue heightened by secret passageways, prisons, and cabinets full of weaponry.
Bike Around Lido
Rent a tandem or four-wheeled family bicycle and take a leisurely self-guided tour of the sand-bar island that separates Venice from the Adriatic Sea. Bike past the Grand Hotel des Bains, the Venice Casino, and the Grand Hotel Excelsior, and stop at the public beaches for a swim.
Terra e Acqua Tours
A traditional Venetian barge, or bragosso, carries nine to 12 people around the northern or southern ends of the lagoon, stopping at fishermen’s houses, a variety of Venice’s islands, and wildlife habitats. Snacks and picnic lunch are included.
Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia (Museum of Natural History)
Giant dinosaur and crocodile skeletons, an aquarium, and a butterfly exhibit are among the kid-entrancing attractions.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Every Sunday, this mansion-museum hosts an hour-and-a-half Kids’ Day. Geared towards children ages 4 to 10 years, the session begins with a lesson about one of the masterpieces in the permanent art collection and continues with a related crafts workshop.
Gilberto Penzo Workshop
An expert in the history, construction, and restoration of gondolas and other boats and ships, Penzo builds replicas and scale models, and sells kits that kids can take home.
La Bottega di Gio
From an extensive array of Murano glass beads, visitors can assemble their own bracelets and necklaces.
Gelateria San Stae
Any walk around Venice must include a stop for gelato, and this small shop, just steps away from the San Stae vaporetto stop (and near the Museum of Natural History), offers flavors for the whole family, from cherry and vanilla to prosecco and local pistachio, with colorful add-on sweets for the kids. Santa Croce 1910, 39/041-710-689
Photo by Peter Dench