Last weekend No 1 Son and I spent a few days in Venice. Apart from the fact that it was FIERCELY hot (even in the evening), and of course, crowded, it was also absolutely beautiful. The last time I’d visited was back in the Eighties (I know, shocking) and as we’re both Italy aficionados we couldn’t wait to explore.
We sped across the Lagoon, James Bond-style, in a vaporetto. Our hotel was located right on the Grand Canal which gave us stunning views and was only two minutes walk from the Piazza San Marco, with the magnificent Basilica and mind-blowing architecture.
Of course we enjoyed gelato and crazily over-priced sandwiches and coffee (9 euro for a cappuccino) and had a great time discovering all the bridges and canals, including the Rialto. And being a history buff No 1 Son was in his element. The queues for the Basilica were prohibitively long – we were told the best time to visit is actually May or October to avoid the crowds.
I make it a rule when I’m travelling to try and eat where the locals are – no mean feat in Venice in the middle of summer, when most people tend to be tourists – but we found a lovely pizzeria in a back street where No 1 Son ordered the most extraordinary pizza, with mussels in the centre covered with a little pizza hat, and the following evening we ate in a very authentic taverna.
We also enjoyed breakfast on the terrace of our hotel, right on the water’s edge. (Of course, if you want somewhere cheaper to stay, then there are heaps of options for families on the Lido di Jesalo).
Despite the crowds, at no point did we feel as though it was too busy, and we also felt very safe. It was absolutely magical. Venice may be one of the most romantic cities in the world – but it’s also great for kids (and their mums).