Nathan Louis and Isabel, after four days in Venice, were appalled to see cars again as we reentered the real world after our immersion in the city’s magic. Their cries were loud and real as they spotted a parking lot near the train station. Isabel’s hand had to be pryed from a railing at the station’s entry as we risked missing our Rome-bound return train. She could not bear to turn her back on that final view of Venetian canals.
For children, no city in Italy is more remarkable than Venice.
The simple idea that life can be independent of a car is earthshaking. We walked and skipped and danced and loitered; when we did not walk we took the vaporetto (waterbus), Grand Canal traghetto (a public gondola service) or a gondola (this latter for a remarkable tour in minor waterways, and a highlight of everyones’ trip.)
Carnival was well underway, and never have we enjoyed more a children’s entertainment than we did the utterly charming one (and free) organized for Venetian kids in Piazza San Marco. Their faces painted with motifs from a Venetian book of hours, their hands filled with Venetian Carnival sweets, the children delighted in a marionette show (partly in Venetian dialect), magic tricks, jugglers and the creation of an enormous sculpture of the endearing Lion of Venice — all with local vegetables.
Everywhere we went in Venice, a gay holiday air was on, with doges, aristocrats, courtesans and other 18th century Venetians greeting us at every turn and corner.
We picnicked on our own wharf extending well out into the Grand Canal.
By staying nearly always off the tourist path, the children discovered their own Venice, one where seagulls could be chased, snug squares run through, paper confetti thrown, views admired in a manner undisturbed.
The children learned how to row a gondola, and what fish live in the Venetian lagoon.
Every morning Isabel awakened early to gaze at the view from just above her bed.
Much of what we learned — including our hotel updates — we shall share in this month’s Newsletter. Please let us know if you could like to subscribe, at no charge.
We leave you with a picture of Isabel within her first few minutes, for the first time, in Venice. We all need to feel her wonder.