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How to Visit Venice With Kids

Updated on August 12, 2016
Robie Benve profile image

Robie is an Italian artist who now lives in the US. She loves to share useful vacation tips and first-hand knowledge about Italy.

Venice, children playing in a campo.
Venice, children playing in a campo. | Source

Venice, a City Made of Islands

Venice has around 150 canals connected by 409 bridges, and over 3000 alleyways on the 118 islands. Each bridge is connecting two islands.

Venice, City With No Traffic

The wonderful city of Venice has the singular characteristic of being built on water and being made of several islands, big and small.

Consequently there are no cars, lots of bridges, and lots of sidewalks along the canals. The available means of transit are: feet, gondolas, and water-buses or boats.

While there are many positive aspects of being in a city with no cars, bikes or motorcycles, walking along the water canals requires a little training for the little children or they could fall in the water by mistake.
Locals are used to walking, that’s the main way to move around in the city. They have learned to accept it and plan for the extra time.

Visiting the city and moving around with small children or persons affected by disabilities that limit mobility, can be a true challenge.

How do you manage to walk in Venice when you have a child in a stroller or on small feet that get tired soon?

Venice - view with bridge steps and sidewalk edging canal.
Venice - view with bridge steps and sidewalk edging canal. | Source

Touring Venice on Foot Is Interesting

Walking is the main way Venetians move around in the city. As a tourist you definitely want to walk, some areas are accessible only that way, and you get to see the best of Venice while on foot.

Prepare your children to a lot of walking.

You can make a game about counting how many steps you climb in a day, or somehow get them excited about what's next to see.

However, ever corner of Venice is charming for adults and children alike.
Kids are particularly fascinated by the boats and the gondolas.

I had a hard time getting my children to move from a particular intersection where hundreds of gondolas where yielding to one another with complicated techniques.

Gondola rides "traffic" in a canal - Venice, Italy.
Gondola rides "traffic" in a canal - Venice, Italy. | Source

Venice with Strollers

You can definitely move around Venice with a stroller, no problem. Your main challenge will be the bridges.

Go up the bridge backwards, and go down forward, keeping the front wheels of the stroller raised. The biggest and newest bridges have a section on the side with lower steps, which are easier on the wheels.

Most of the times you’ll find someone walking alongside you that will offer to help, lifting up the front of the stroller, so that you can get over the bridge in a non-bumpy fashion. Children may complain about that: they usually enjoy the bumpy ride very much.

The only danger of the walking in Venice, besides tripping and falling as in any other city, is ending up in the water, but honestly it does not happen often. Make sure you tell your children to be careful and avoid walking and standing on the edge of the fondamenta and rive (the “sidewalks). Not all calli (streets) are on the water, many have walls on both sides, and there are plenty of wide spaces and large campi (squares) where the children can freely run and play.

Venice - Vaporetto stop in front of the railroad station (ferrovia).
Venice - Vaporetto stop in front of the railroad station (ferrovia). | Source

Vaporetto, the Water-Bus of Venice

The vaporetto is the Venetian public transportation, a bus on water. In fact the water buses are run by the same company that runs the regular buses on the mainland.

For children the vaporetto is always a delightful experience, they usually want to sit next to the windows or outside and enjoy the view and the experience. Access in and out of the vaporetto is wheelchair friendly, so it’s easy also for strollers.

You can get ordinary tickets, travel cards, or special tickets for groups, students etc. People on wheel chair have a discount tickets and if they are accompanied, their aide gets to ride for free. For more information you can visit the ACTV web page.

Gondola, The Most Famous Venetian Boat

The typical gondola tour that we see in the movies is very romantic and picturesque, but it is also expensive, so in Venice it is a thing strictly for tourists. No locals would ever take a gondola tour.

However, there are some gondolas that are used daily by Venetians to cross the Canal Grande where there are no bridges available. These gondolas are like shuttles connecting the two banks of other of the bridge, and you pay only €0.50 to get to the other side. The shuttle gondola is a little wider than the regular ones, and can carry about 14 passengers.

That’s a great way to get a short gondola experience without breaking the wallet.

Map of the 7 Gondola Shuttle Locations in Venice

A
Fondamenta Santa Lucia - Fondamenta San Simeón Piccolo:

get directions

Just in front of the railroad station

B
San Marcuola – Fóndaco dei Turchi :
Museo di Storia Naturale, Sestiere Santa Croce, 1730, 30135 Venice, Italy

get directions

C
Santa Sofia (near Ca’ D’Oro) – Pescheria (fish market):
Campo Pescheria, 30125 Venice, Italy

get directions

D
Riva del Carbon - Fondamenta del Vin:
Riva del Carbon, 30124 Venice, Italy

get directions

E
Sant’ Angelo – San Tomà:
Calle Centani, 30125 Venice, Italy

get directions

F
San Samuele – Ca’ Rezzónico:
Ca' Rezzonico, Fondamenta Rezzonico, 3136, 30123 Venice, Italy

get directions

G
Campo del Traghetto – Calle Lanza:
Calle Lanza, 30123 Venice, Italy

get directions

near the Santa Maria della Salute Church

Make Your Children Junior Photographers of Venice

Venice has so many beautiful and photogenic aspects that it would be a shame yo get home and regret you did not capture something. It's much better to have extra bad or uninteresting photos, than not enough.

Also, get some cheaper or disposable cameras for your children. They'll have a blast playing photographer, and it 'salways a surprise for me to see what they decided was worth a shot.

You may go home and find you have some surprising artistic captures of Venice's trash bins, or water waves that you did not think worthy, but can turn out great.

Also, having them in charge of photos will give their walking a purpose, and minimize the potential wining. Word of mom.

© 2012 Robie Benve

Comments

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    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Hi bdegiulio, what a wonderful vacation plan! Enjoy!

      Thanks. :)

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Robie. Great Hub. Spent a few days in Venice a few years ago and your Hub brought back great memories. We didn't have kids with us so good for you for exposing them to this one of a kind city. We are going again in September and can't wait. Your Hub makes me want to go now.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Lady_E, in Venice people speak of course Italian, but they also speak the Venetian dialect, which is very local to the city and surrounding mainland.

      Thanks for your comment. :)

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Michael, I took my children to Venice the first time when they were 2 and 5, in a cold December day, and I have great memories of that visit - of course they don't remember a thing, but we have photos. :) Thanks!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      A beautiful and relaxing place. Thanks for the info and photo's. I wonder if they have a local language....

      Awesome Hub.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Alliemac, it's a shame you missed Venice because you did not want to take the risk, but this way you have a great excuse to plan a trip back. :)

      Thanks a lot for reading and commenting.

    • Michael J Rapp profile image

      Michael J Rapp 

      6 years ago from United States

      Venice seems incredible, but I'd imagine it such a challenge with little kids. Loved your pictures!

    • alliemacb profile image

      alliemacb 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      An excellent hub. Taking kids on holiday can be really stressful but when my daughter was little, I used to take her to Italy regularly because everyone was so friendly and welcoming. The one place we didn't go was Venice because I was a little afraid of all that water. Having read your hub, I can see there was nothing to fear. Voted up and interesting.

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