Saturday, July 5, 2014

Things my toddler loved about Venice

Whichever vacation we choose to take as a family, our one hope is that our daughter will enjoy it and have a great time. It really is a toss-up - we have no idea what will be a hit or miss. We have no idea if she will find the place boring, exciting, or scary...

Now that Maya is in a playful age, she found Venice to be really fun. Venice is such a great city for everybody, at every stage. It's great for students, young singles, romantic newlyweds, families with children young and old, and the elderly.

Last year we went to Venice for the first time as a family, and I remember researching it online about which baby items to bring or not bring. I searched something like "Going to Venice with a baby", and there was this one snobby advice that said "WHY on Earth would a person take a slobbering crying baby to Venice?" (Ugh. Some internet commenters. Bleh.) A huge misconception about the city is that it is not suitable for a family trip - which it ABSOLUTELY is. So many people giving stupid advice like "don't take the stroller", "there are too many stairs and bridges", blah blah. I mean, we are not talking about the Brooklyn Bridge here. There are tiny little bridges that even the most rookie parent can maneuver with the stroller. Not to mention, rolling the stroller on the cobblestones is better than a dose of Benadryl to get your child to sleep soundly!

Taking our daughter to Venice was better than taking her to Disneyland. She played in every nook and corner of the city!


Here are some things my toddler loved about Venice:


The Boats

Often we would stand at the fences on the edge of the canal and point to all the points coming around the corners, saying "big boat", or "small boat", or saying the boats colors. She would get so excited when she saw one coming around.

The Pigeons

Venice is a city overrun by friendly pigeons. You can feed them and they will sit right up on your hand and take the food. Maya loved feeding them AND chasing them. So much so, that we had to go to the grocery store to get some crumbly cheap crackers to feed the pigeons. She would offer them a cracker and if they didn't take it, she would throw it at them and chase them!

Gelato

There was an ice cream shop about every 10 yards with more flavors than Baskin Robbins. They had beautiful flavors like Melon, Kiwi, Raspberry Ricotta, and Hazlenut. It was great for a daily treat, strolling down the Strada and having our ice cream.

The Squares

The squares, or "Campo's" were each like a playground for Maya. Every time we walked around a corner and it opened up to a square, she let loose like she was in a playground. She liked to run around and collect leaves and sticks, and since the square was contained it was so safe.


The Statues

In some of the squares, there are these historical statues which Maya thought were huge toy figurines. Her favorite one was the lion one, which she liked to sit beside and roar at everybody going by!

The Gondola (and the Gondolier!)

Maya loved being on the gondola ride because she saw the boats from eye level. But mostly, she loved making flirty googly eyes at the gondolier!

Playing with the other kids

There are so many families who come to Venice and tons of local kids to play with in every square. Italian kids are so friendly and playful too. Maya really enjoyed playing with all the kids, like a total social butterfly.


The Stairs / Bridges

One thing that was so great to not only tire her out and encourage her independence, was to let let walk over the little bridges. We would count the steps in different languages as we went up and down. We also paused at the top of each little bridge as a vantage point to watch and wave at the boats. 


Overall, the trip was a big hit with the little one! Even more than our Hawaii trip! So parents - right up there with beach vacations and Disneyland - is visiting Venice as a family! I highly recommend it for children.


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