Venice has the reputation of an expensive location. Yet, quite a few opportunities to save money are available, especially for a family with kids. This is a guide to some of the free (or almost) things to do in Venice with kids.
The Rialto fish market is still a genuine place where locals go shopping daily, except on Mondays. Unfortunately, the number of stalls is decreasing together with the number of residents. Going there and buy some fresh seafood will help the fishmongers endure while your kids will enjoy the place and the merchandise on sale.
Ride in a gondola is infamously pricey as a 40-minute tour can cost €100 for a party up to 6 people. Only locals know that a much cheaper option exists. Since only 4 bridges cross the Grand Canal, in 5 spots gondolas shuttle people from one bank to the other for only €2.
If one knows little of Venice, they hardly imagine that the city has beautiful parks at Giardini and Sant’Elena, the easternmost area, where it is delightful to have a picnic in the shade of trees and shrubs.
If you plan to use lots of public transportation, it is convenient to buy a pass for the vaporetti. Use it for a fabulous cruise along the Grand Canal on the water buses of line 1 or 2 that have seats in the front (the more recent models do not have them). For a family-size price, you’ll enjoy a memorable experience.
Masks and glass are among the most famous products of Venice. Shopping for them is a convivial moment to share with your children. Ca’ Macana makes beautiful masks and also teach you and your kids how to make or decorate one. Head to Murano to watch a craftsman blowing glass and create beautiful pieces: many factories offer the show for free.
In the months when the Biennale is on, several palaces around the city are open and host art installations. Grab the chance to get into the historical buildings to appreciate the architecture and savour how the Venetian aristocrats used to live. For the same reasons, some churches are also free to visit.
On a beautiful day, the place to go is the Lido to sunbathe or walk along the water’s edge. You can even spend a few hours planespotting at the minute Nicelli aerodrome.
Should you run out of ideas, at any time get in-person help easily with a friendly Prontopia local.