I’m having a bit of an Italian renaissance at the moment with the blog posts. Photos of Lake Garda last week, reminiscing about an early holiday in Rome the week before. And now Venice. Yes it is a beautiful spot for a romantic holiday for two, but it is equally brilliant for a family city break. Granted I probably wouldn’t recommend it if your little ones are in buggies because you will be cursing my name forever more as you negotiate yet another little footbridge across the canals. However if your kids are a little older (mine was 10 at the time) it is a very compact, fascinating place that children will adore.
There are lots of cheap flights to Venice. We travelled from Stansted to Venice Treviso airport with Ryanair. From there a special coach took us on a 45 minute ride across the lagoon to the main coach park on the island of Venice itself. We then we picked up a Vaporetto (water bus) and made our way to the hotel. You can see why this probably isn’t attempted if you have masses of luggage or a large quantity of stressed children.
From here on in, trust me, the holiday became far more relaxing. We stayed in the Dorsudoro area of the city in the Hotel Ca’ Pisani which was just heavenly. Still housed in the traditional 14th century building, yet the design was all Art Deco. It was located near to the Grand Canal and, usefully, near a Vaporetto bus stop. A three-day travel card saved us a lot of money and tears as we could just nip on and off the water buses whenever the sightseeing got too tiring. To be honest, our son could have spent all day jumping on and off them.
We did eventually persuade him to do some walking too and St Mark’s Square, with the ever-present pigeons, was just as magnificent as we’d hoped. We probably should have queued up to go inside the Doge’s Palace or the Basilica San Marco but were just as happy sitting in the Spring sunshine with a cappuccino and an ice cream.
One of my favourite parts of the holiday was the boat trip across to the little island of Murano, famous for its glass. Visiting the glass-blowing factories is a great way to entertain children and the gorgeous pieces of jewellery you can buy certainly keeps mum happy. Dad just needs to keep getting his wallet out. If I remember rightly we had some fab chips here too….!
As I’ve said before, in Italy dining with kids is effortless. Pasta, pizza and ice cream in bustling yet relaxed surroundings where children are welcomed with open arms. We had some great meals, even finding, after a great deal of huffing and bickering as we got lost in the side streets, what was meant to be the best pizza restaurant in the city. Yup, they were delicious, though Dougie decided to try the special that night and struggled gamefully with what turned out to be pumpkin pizza. It wasn’t good.