This itinerary is part of Travel Tales, a series of life-changing adventures on afar.com. Read more stories of transformative trips and inspired itineraries on the Travel Tales home page. Though COVID-19 has stalled many travel plans, we hope our stories can offer inspiration for your future adventures—and a bit of hope.
As one of the world’s most romantic cities, Venice of course comes tailor-made for couples. But do it the right way and the City of Bridges can be a fun and engaging getaway for kids, too—with lots of places to explore, exciting activities to try, and great places to eat.
One key of successfully traveling with kids is picking a hotel with plenty of space. This can be tricky in Venice, but a smart option is the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, which occupies 40 garden- and olive tree-filled acres on the private island of Isola delle Rose. It’s even fun to get there; the JW will transport you 20 minutes from St. Mark’s Square by private water shuttle. Choose from rooms, suites, and even private residences, then take advantage of the four restaurants and three pools, including a family pool and a 360-degree rooftop pool with iconic views of the Italian city.
Start your exploration by diving into an authentically local place: Rialto market. Kids will love the sight of fishmongers hawking their fresh catches—octopus, shark, swordfish, and crabs—and local produce merchants selling seasonal fruits and vegetables.
After, visit the Doge’s Palace, full of gilded grandeur that inspires awe in travelers of all ages. Wander through the vast ducal apartments, with their carved ceilings and frescoed walls. And see the glories of the Venetian Republic painted on the ceiling of the grand hall where the Great Council convened.
Then it’s time for a pizza break. Nearby at Aciugheta, you’ll find great pies with fun Venetian toppings, like anchovy, zucchini, and pine nut. Sit outside and watch local life go by.
Fueled up, it’s time for an art project: decorating Venetian masks! Ca’Macana has been making papier-mâché masks since 1984, and their workshop produces many of Venice’s famous carnival masks. Your clan will learn how they’re made; better still, you’ll get hands-on lessons in how to decorate them using a variety of techniques and materials.
Keep on Sailing
Begin today with breakfast at the family-run Pasticceria alla Bragora. Lounge on the orange banquettes and enjoy brioche and croissants along with excellent coffee.
Then catch the vaporetto to Murano, where you can see glass being made. Stop by a place like Vetreria Murano Arte to watch master glassblowers demonstrate the process…and see kids’ eyes grow in wonder.
Have lunch at the family-run Osteria al Duomo, which opened as a food cooperative in 1903 and now serves typically Venetian dishes with locally sourced ingredients.
For a leisurely afternoon, continue to the Lido, where you can rent bikes and ride the streets, passing historic structures in between the Venice Lagoon and the Adriatic. Or simply go to the beach and relax.
Before you catch the shuttle to your hotel, drop by the gelato shop La Mele Verde (near St. Mark’s) for some of the finest sweet treats in Venice. The name means “green apple,” which is just one of the many exceptional flavors you can sample as you finish your tour of this very special city.
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