Venice or “The Floating City” is one of the most spectacular cities in the world.
Did you know?
The city’s base is constructed of closely spaced wood pilings made mostly from alder trees. Submerged in water, the trunks don’t decay as they would above ground and are still intact after 1,500 years !
Limestone was placed on top of the pilings and acts as the foundation for the buildings seen in Venice today. That is just one fact we learned during our Venice kids tour.
To learn more about Venice and it’s history, we booked a tour with Macacotour one sunny morning in August. The company specializes in tours for families. As many parents have discovered, it’s rare to find a tour catering to children.
Macacotour offers a variety of themed tours and creative workshops. We chose the most popular tour, Treasure Hunt “Cannaregio”. The tour took us across the less traveled calli, campielli and fondamenta (or “streets” and small squares) in the Cannaregio district to learn about Venetian Alchemy and discover tales and legends of the ancient city.
We were staying in an apartment in the Cannaregio sestiere but didn’t realize the significance of the location until we took this tour. We passed by many landmarks without recognizing these historic pieces of the Venetian past. The tour opened our eyes to the history around us.
We met with our tour operator, Chiara, at 9am (to beat the heat of the day) outside of Scuola Grande Della Misericordia.
Chiara was organized, knowledgeable and great with the kids. She even managed to get an 11 year old, K, excited and smiling! Lucy (8) was enthusiastic about the hunt, ready to run ahead and spot the next clue.
Without giving away all the treasure hunt secrets, one stop was to the Campo dei Mori or Square of the Moors. Here you will find a statue with a turban and an iron nose. There are 4 figures in the square believed to be the 3 Mastelli brothers and their servant. Back in the 12th century, the brothers were merchants selling poor quality fabric for high prices. Legend has it they were turned to stone as punishment for their greed.
Throughout the tour, we learned many interesting facts about the history of Venice. The kids were asked to search for lions while they hunted for their treasure. The lion is the symbol of Venice. You’ll find this symbol all over the city, if you keep your eyes open. A lion depicted with a book was carved in time of peace, a sword in time of war. Lucky for Venetians, there are more depictions with books than swords…
Wandering around Venice, you’ll notice “wells” located in the middle of the squares. Rainwater was collected in the wells and shared by the community. Interestingly, you could only get water from the well twice per day when bell tower rung.
After an hour exploring the quiet streets, we ended the tour at Parco Villa Groggia, a hidden gem in the middle of Venice. I never would have expected a park to be found among all the bridges and canals.
A tour with Macacotour is the perfect way for kids and adults to learn about Venice – better than you can get from a guidebook! The kids enjoyed running around during the treasure hunt and learning about Venetian Alchemy and legends. Even after the tour, the kids continued to keep a sharper eye out for the little details evident throughout Venice.
More about the tour:
Treasure Hunt “Cannaregio” is designed for groups of kids aged 6 – 11 years old with a minimum number of 3 participants or for the whole family.
Duration: 1.15 hours
Tours can be requested in English, German, Spanish and Italian.
Price: 60 euro for family or 20 euro for a child VAT inclusive
Via phone or email.
Disclosure: My family was invited on a complementary tour by Macacotour to explore Venice Italy for Kids. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and may differ from others.