A lovely week long trip through Venice, Verona, Vicenza, Padua... AND an outbreak of Coronavirus!
What do you do when the country you're in has an outbreak of Coronavirus? You stay and make the most of it, of course! This trip was kind of surreal because the entire region we were in ended up shutting down while we were there... but it meant for a week of empty cities and no tourists (except us) and so we had to become REALLY creative with our kid-friendly adventures.
DAY ONE- VENICE
Starting in Venice is a great way to start any trip to Italy: it has a major airport, a lot of accommodations, and is full of beauty and wonder.
Unbeknownst to us, we ended up in Venice during Carnivale! We had no idea (Venice novices) and had so much fun looking at the different costumes all over the city. Funny enough, this day of finding amazing costumes turned out to be a super fun activity for all of us. Who said that Carnivale isn't for kids? *wink wink*
We believe in seeing a city properly and are ready to dish out money to see the things we want to, BUT when things are free we are ALL. ABOUT. IT! This view of the city at Fondaco dei Tedeschi was free and so lovely.
The Fondaco dei Tedeschi was used as a trading post for German merchants, a customs house under Napoleon and a post office under Mussolini. Important place, right? In 2016, a luxury shopping center moved in and opened its panoramic terrace- becoming the newest rooftop view over Venice. You get a beautiful sight over the Grand Canal from two different angles, as well as a 360° perspective over the city. Signs on the rail clearly indicate all the surrounding buildings which is a fun game for kids to spot the right buildings! It is located next to the Rialto bridge, along the Grand Canal. Access to the terrace is free, but we had to wait in line until our appointed time to access the terrace. 10/10 would recommend! Make sure to make your booking in advance here!
Money Saving Tip- Choose to lodge outside the island and stay close to the train station Venezia Mestra. Trains into the city run frequently and it
is super easy to book using the app Trainline!
DAY TWO - PADUA
The next day Coronavirus was all over the news. They shut down Carnivale. The streets became ghost towns. Few things were open. It was a bit eerie to be honest. But we decided to continue with our journey and tried not to feel too spooked.
Hands down the MOST FAMILY FUN we've ever had traveling together was a COOKING class. You have to try it. We had such an amazing time. It is a little bit pricey, but it was worth every penny. SO fun! We booked an experience through Airbnb with Chef Francesco. He was very animated, made it fun for the little one, we learned a lot and we got to eat delicious pizza at the end. Talk about a winner of a morning!
Padua with Kids- Us adults thought Padua was beautiful and loved walking around the city, but we couldn't find many activities (mid-winter)
that were open for kids. A cooking class is indoors (away from the cold), interactive, engaging and takes a couple hours so it's a great family activity!
DAY THREE- VERONA
If this trip taught us anything... it was to not stress. Things may not be open, but kids don't care. We literally spent a good chunk of time throwing rocks into the river that winds through Verona... and you know what? That was the best. day. ever (according to the little one). You may think to yourself, "Is she really recommending we throw rocks into a river on her travel blog?"
Why yes, yes I am.
Rocks + water = ALWAYS a kid friendly activity.
I suppose I will give ONE more suggestion for Verona since you may think rock throwing is not a real suggestion. SO... I would definitely recommend walking up to the viewpoint by Castel San Pietro. The hill looks intimidating, but it didn't take us long... even with kids in tow! It ended up being a positive climb, with ice cream and beautiful views at the top.
What more do you need in life?
Walking tip with kids- Give them a job to do while they walk...
like have them count steps if you're climbing stairs.
See who can make it up the fastest.
Take turns leap frogging each other as you walk.
OR get them a step counter and set rewards for steps...
example- 5,000 steps you get a rest break,
10,000 steps we get ice cream, and so on.
DAY FIVE- VICENZA
I'm going to be honest... at this point it was hard. It was hard to find things open. It was hard to entertain the kids. So we did another walk, this time up the hill Monteberico. If you want an outdoor activity that takes a good chunk of time, find a viewpoint of the city you can walk to. This walk up the hill was a little more difficult because it was a gradual incline the whole way instead of steps. We ended up playing a domino pushing game, where the back person pushes the person in front of them, which in turn spurs the push of the person in front of them, and so on. If the pushes aren't TOO hard, this makes for a good motivational activity to get kids to keep walking!