Help make our trip to Europe amazing, Venice edition
June 5, 2016 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Our family will be spending a few days in Venice in July. We're traveling with kids, so our plan is for a mostly low-key trip filled with lazily exploring the city. But we're also looking for other unique or special experiences we could do as a family that would really make our trip special.

We would love to hear any ideas that might involve:

- Meeting and interacting with locals
- Visiting special places in the city/area that might not show up in guide books
- Anything food or wine related that shouldn't be missed
posted by quantum to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Food: Vini Da Gigio and Trattoria da Bepi for dinner, and GROM for gelato.
posted by neushoorn at 7:09 AM on June 5, 2016

I've been to Venice in July/August a couple times and it was totally swarmed with tourists. As a result I sort of hate Venice? But I really, really enjoyed wandering around the old Jewish quarter, which was *not* swarmed with tourists and appeared to be a neighborhood where people actually still lived. We went to Gam Gam for dinner, which was delicious (and is for sure on the tourist track, but not like, wall-to-wall with fanny packs). I also liked going out in the evenings & early mornings when there were fewer people around - Venice is gorgeous when you can actually see it.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 8:20 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rossopomodoro for pizza. You'll think you took a detour to Naples. It's divine. Calle larga San Marco 403, very close to San Marco, pretty easy to find. In a touristy area, but don't be put off by that, the food is wonderful!

Squero di San Trovaso where you can see guys making/reparing gondolas is pretty cool. Not sure how much it costs to get in. When I went it was with a group and it had been pre-paid. It is in Dosodoro not far from Accademia Bridge.

Have fun! Venice is magnificent (once you get away from the cruise ship hordes!)
posted by pjsky at 8:29 AM on June 5, 2016

I just asked this a few weeks ago! Venice was wonderful, splendid. It is a terrific place to tour with kids because there are no motor vehicles in the streets, not even bikes, only foot traffic, so they can run around without you worrying. The thread linked has cool suggestions about kids activities.

Don't miss going up top of the campanile. It's worth the line for the unbelievable views.

I hired an excellent, erudite tour guide, happy to share his info if you memail me. (Full disclosure, the time we spent on his walking tour was for the adults - the kids were along for the ride and mostly playing independently during it. I wasn't interested in a kids-level history lesson.)

Ice cream... don't worry too much about getting to GROM or any particular place. There are plenty of great gelaterie. If you're there for a few days, you'll get to know lots of them. Look for the term "artigianale" and you'll be ok.

Piazza San Marco will be somewhat less crowded after 4-ish, and I'm told it's lovely at night (it was too cold to contemplate this when we were there unfortunately.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:22 AM on June 5, 2016

Just home from Venice a few days ago. It was lovely. I went to see the architecture Biennale and specially in the Arsenale, I think some exhibits might be child-friendly (large models and even little houses you can enter). The Arsenale in it self is a fascinating part of Venice - the former navy base with docks and yards for sailing ships.
But in July the city can be really hot. A trip out into the lagoon to get some air is probably a nice thing.
The Campo San Polo has a lovely local feel, kids play soccer there, and meeting other parents is a simple as bringing a ball. I found a new favorite restaurant close by: Osteria al Ponte la Patatina - a very social, warm place specializing in seafood. It was filled with gondolieri and other locals when we were there, which I take as a good thing.
Crossing the Rialto bridge is crazy because there are so many tourists, so it's good to know there is a gondola service which is also a good way to try a gondola if you don't have loads of money.
I was with a group of friends, including a child. She had a great time, and everyone spoiled her to bits. But I was made aware of a thing I taught my own children, and sometimes tried to suggest to this girl: in Italy, food is strictly regional. If you want normal child-favorites like pizza, or lasagna, or bolognese in Venice, you can't expect it to be good. It might be, but it can also be horrible. She learnt to ask for local specialities she had noticed and liked, and everyone was really happy to accommodate her.
I was recommended the Maritime Museum, it wasn't open at all while I was there, but the person who recommended it was so inspiring, I really want to go next time I'm there. Also the Fortuny Palace - it's a beautiful place in itself, and finding it leeds you all sorts of fine ways. There is always a contemporary exhibit which can be good or bad, but the Fortuny apartment is just amazing. Very much for children, too, except they can't touch any of the things they want to touch.
posted by mumimor at 12:11 PM on June 5, 2016

I walked down to the Biennale, and it was very residential and quiet, if it's still in the same place. Also, The Feast of the Redeemer is the end of July, I think. All the boats go out on the lagoon and are festooned with the lights, and then everyone watches fireworks. Get a table near the water and watch it all while you eat dinner!

Even the kids might like a concert at the Church of Vivaldi. He built it for the orphans, ahem, fathered by all the visiting sailors, and the acoustics are the best I have ever heard, and the church is beautiful.

Buon viaggi!
posted by PJSibling at 5:33 PM on June 6, 2016

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