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  • Writer's pictureBird

How to Visit Venice with Little Ones (and actually enjoy it)

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

We all just got back from a quick getaway; 2.5 days in Milan and 2.5 days in Venice.

We traveled by train (and bus and ferry) and stayed in a hotel in Milan (the Hyatt, of course) and at an airBNB in Venice. The train rides were easy, inexpensive and straightforward and we reached our destinations without any hiccups.

So now that we're back, let me say this...don't take your littles to Milan. It's just not a fun city for kids. Chapo and Amore did fine and they really liked the world-famous duomo, but the top "must-see" things in Milan don't really offer much for little kids.

Venice, however, is definitely kid-friendly. It's a very romantic city, and I would love to return with just Zack one day when I'm in my "I'm not worried about them kids right now" era. But for now, while we're a kid-managing duo, the City of Love was a wonderful place for a charming family getaway.

If you too are in your "my kids are always on my body"era, and are considering visiting Venice with the whole crew, let me help you out with some useful tips:

  1. Go when it's NOT summer time, yet not so cold that it's terribly uncomfortable. We went at the end of November and the temps were in the low 50s...brisk but not bad. It still felt crowded, but not to the point where it was too much. Which brings me to my next point....

  2. Let the kids roam. Let them walk ahead of you and be free little birds when the environment allows for it. The piazza San Marco is a huge wide open square with loads of things for them to marvel at. Fall back a little and let them spread their wings, it'll make for happier, easier to please babes.

  3. Plan to move slowly and be okay with changing course whenever necessary. The pace in Venice, believe it or not, felt fast to me. People walking hurriedly everywhere you turn. But I made it a point to keep a pace that was comfortable for Chapo and Amore. Whomever was in a rush around us would just have to find a way around us. Amore took her sweet time walking backwards through the streets, climbing up and down the stairs at the canal bridges and pointing to all the things she thought were beautiful. I was not about to rain on her parade.

  4. Be prepared for when the kids are just...over it. This is inevitable and perfectly okay. For Bambina, we put her in the back-carrier when she grew tired of walking. At times she was content just being carried around. Other times she needed her headphones and music. And at nap time she napped. At one point (actually, at two points), she was just like...I'm gonna cry really loudly because I'm 2 and that's what I feel like doing. During those moments, I stepped away from the crowd, held, hugged and kissed her until she felt okay enough to carry on. I think we got through it in under 10 minutes each time.

  5. Allow them to soak it all in. When they want to stop and look in a shop window, at the boats, door knockers, dogs or whatever, let them. Zion and his camera; a love story. This little boy said "Wait - Wait! I wanna get a picture of this" at every other block. And at every other block we would wait and pose for (or watch as he took) his pictures. He was excited, and I loved that for him.

  6. Go one step further and allow the kids to make decisions regarding the itinerary. Letting them choose what's next, when appropriate, keeps them interested and excited. So for instance, I'd get to a corner and ask them "Which way? Left or right?". Or I'd say "Should we walk or take a boat?", "Should we go in this store???". Little things like that make a big difference to them. Trust me on this one.

  7. Also...Forget about the kids. For a moment, here and there, grab your lover's hand and kiss it. At meals, make eye contact and toast to the good life. When your kid is busy talking to pigeons or chasing their shadow, share an embrace and hold onto that feeling for a while. Think about where you are, while you're there, and tell your man/woman how grateful you are for the life you share together. It is an instant reality check and show of love. And it's invaluable during the kid-managing phase of life. Trust me on this one also.

  8. Last, but not least, and on an entirely different note....the bathroom situation. The bathrooms in public areas in Venice are small and not very clean. None of the ones I saw had a changing table, or even enough room for a changing table. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend Venice as a destination for parents with babies in diapers. Amore has been potty trained since a year old, but my girl is NOT about the public toilet life. She will much sooner pee her pants than use a public toilet. And so I go nowhere without her portable potty. It folds down small enough to fit in a small bag, so when she needs to go, I just take it with me into the bathroom, let her do her thing, and life goes on. In a pinch, I've set it up on a park bench, under a high-top counter in a restaurant, and in a car. If your little one is anything like mine, you'll need a portable potty if you're planning to spend the day wandering around Venice.

I think that covers the bulk of it. Now go book your tickets to Venezia! But before you do, check out some pictures of this gorgeous city.

Ciao for now!

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