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Can't for the life of me decide which area of which sestiere to stay in Venice (with kids!)

Hello!
We have two families coming to Slovenia and Italy in June. My family of 6, and our friends with a family of 4. Kids range from 3-12. We will stay in two apartments that are relatively close to each other.

Schedule..
Thurs June 11 - Arrive in Venice late afternoon, explore Venice in the Evening
Friday June 12 - Explore Venice with a tour
Sat June 13 - Likely Explore Burano/Murano
Sun June 14 - Explore Venice in the morning, leave around noon

So, we have 3 nights, and 2 days plus 2 half days in Venice. We will obviously see some of the big sites (St Marks, Rialto, etc), but we don't need to be right where the throng of tourists will be. Perfectly happy getting lost in some of the lesser known areas and seeing other things that some tourists may not see.

For that reason, I was thinking Cannaregio or Dorsoduro. But even if I narrowed it down, there's a lot of area within each of those Sestiere. Any thoughts on where our two families should look? If you have a sestiere recommendation that would be great, but even a more specific region within would be awesome as well!

Thanks for any help!

Posted by
738 posts

We always stay in Cannaregio, and I chuckle at your mention of a "vast amount of area"- all of Venice is not that big, but perhaps you have a "vast amount" of choices for apartments.
We always stay at the Grand Hotel Dei Dogi, and I just throw that in as we love those small canal neighborhoods adjacent. [We use the Madonna dell'Orto vaporetto stop.]

A great family activity that starts in Cannaregio is "Row Venice", in which up to 4-5 folks can take group rowing lessons on the quiet back canals in the area. I believe it's 89 Euros for 90 minutes, [total for the group], and IMHO, is much more fun than spending 89 Euros for a 30-minute gondola ride. Just google Row Venice.

Safe travels and have a great time!

Posted by
11702 posts

Instead of trying to decide on a certain neighborhood, why not look for suitable apartments in the same building? We stayed for a month in an apartment named “Lion’s House No. 4” rented from Venice Red House, a local agency. The location was excellent—-right near Rialto Bridge, in Castello but on the border with Cannaregio. Find Campo San Lio on a map and that is it. This apartment has a rooftop terrace which was wonderful, and a dedicated elevator right up to the unit (on the 4th floor). This is the booking.com listing; the Venice Red House website is poky today so I am showing this instead.

https://www.booking.com/hotel/it/the-lions-house-apt4.html?no_rooms=1&checkin=2020-10-19&checkout=2020-10-22&group_adults=2&group_children=0&req_children=0&req_adults=2&hp_refreshed_with_new_dates=1

As the “No. 4” suggests, there are other apartments in the Lion’s House as well, namely No’s. 1, 2, 3, and 5. The latter sleeps 6. That one is listed on Airbnb as well as other sites, but it showed up on Venice Red House when I searched for apartments for 6. So you could rent No. 5 for the family of 6 and one of the others for the family of 4. It would be easiest to co-ordinate this by renting through the agency, unless you prefer to use Airbnb.

There is a decent grocery store right up the street (Salizzada San Lio), and one of the top-rated gelato shops in Venice nearby. There are also several restaurants but we did not try any.

Posted by
841 posts

My suggestion, Dorsoduro, somewhere around Campo San Barnaba, Campo Margherita or maybe Campo de Carmini.
Lots of kids kicking soccer balls, no bridges or maybe one bridge from the Ca’ Rezzonico vap stop. Supermarket in Campo Margherita, cheap places to eat.
Less touristed than some places, ten minutes walk to the Ae Oche pizza place on the Zattere where many groups of young people eat.

Posted by
841 posts

Think hard about Burano / Murano. 40 minutes each way on a very crowded vaporetto, might not be so much fun for kids.

Posted by
11983 posts

I would avoid Giudecca (inconvenient), San Marco (too touristy and expensive), and also Castello in the Far East end (too far from the main sights).
Anywhere else is pretty much a go.

Posted by
1137 posts

I agree with Lola that you ought to look for apartments and see what is available and narrow down from there. You have very specific requirements and that may be challenging.

Posted by
14036 posts

Lola's given you the best advice, with Roberto's caveats. When you get there, you'll be surprised at how small it is.

As for the itinerary, I'm with Aussie - you don't have enough time to see the sights of Venice and spend a day going to the islands. Realistically I don't think you have any half days. If you arrive in Venice in the late afternoon by train, it will take you another half hour to get to the apartments and drop your bags. If you fly in, it will take longer, maybe even another hour. Sights close in the late afternoon. Leaving at noon, you'll need go back to the apts. to get your luggage and then go to the train station. If you want to sightsee in the morning, and you leave at 8.30, that gives you about 3 hours including going to/from your rooms. Walking can be slow for young kids, going up and down bridges, plus there are always distractions.

Now that I've written all that, it occurs to me that the Dorsoduro is not a good choice because you'll need the vaporetto to get to/from the train, and it's slow. Somewhere in Cannaregio that is a 10-15 minute walk from the train is probably best for your large group.

Posted by
55 posts

Instead of trying to decide on a certain neighborhood, why not look for suitable apartments in the same building?

Lola, thanks for the advice. Lots of people saying they agree with Lola, and I assume it's on this main premise that you started with (as opposed to the specific appt). Does everyone think it's most important that we are in the same building? We are two separate families who are just doing this trip together, in my view if we were a block or two apart, or across the square from each other, that would be 100% fine. But I will put more care into finding accommodations together!

Posted by
55 posts

Now that I've written all that, it occurs to me that the Dorsoduro is not a good choice because you'll need the vaporetto to get to/from the train, and it's slow. Somewhere in Cannaregio that is a 10-15 minute walk from the train is probably best for your large group.

Chani - FYI, we will be coming in via rental car from Slovenia, and leaving via Rental car for Tuscany. So, we won't use the train. But, I'm assuming the recommendation doesn't change.

Although, that recommendation probably only applies for the furthest west areas of Cannaregio. If I found a place in the area nearer to San Marco or Castello, I'm sure Dorsoduro wouldn't be any less convenient.

Think hard about Burano / Murano. 40 minutes each way on a very crowded vaporetto, might not be so much fun for kids.

As for the itinerary, I'm with Aussie - you don't have enough time to see the sights of Venice and spend a day going to the islands. Realistically I don't think you have any half days. If you arrive in Venice in the late afternoon by train, it will take you another half hour to get to the apartments and drop your bags. If you fly in, it will take longer, maybe even another hour. Sights close in the late afternoon. Leaving at noon, you'll need go back to the apts. to get your luggage and then go to the train station. If you want to sightsee in the morning, and you leave at 8.30, that gives you about 3 hours including going to/from your rooms. Walking can be slow for young kids, going up and down bridges, plus there are always distractions.

Thanks for all these thoughts on our itinerary. And yes I'm sure you are right about not having the extra half days. Especially on the our departure day I think. On our arrival day, we may be there at 3:00pm (and we will have already recovered from Jet lag while in Slovenia), so we could see some things before 9:00 for sure. I don't envision lots of long slow sit down meals in Venice - more quick bites - saving the longer meals for our time in Tuscany. Hopefully we can see a lot.
But, if you all think that Burano/Murano is a bad idea with kids, and with 1 of our 2 full days, I can reconsider!!

Posted by
1137 posts

I would put some effort into being in the same building as it will make coordinating so much easier. My husband and I were in Vienna a couple years ago and his brother joined us. I was there for work and was put into a building. My brother in law asked for the name of it and rented an apartment on the next floor. It so convenient that way!

Posted by
11702 posts

Are you dropping off your car at Piazzale Roma and then picking up another when you depart for Florence? If so, the western end of Dorsoduro could be convenient for arrival and departure, if you don't mind walking. Do you have a preference for how younget to your apartments? On foot, vaporetto, water taxi? Some websites say that water taxis can take up to 10 people. I don't know if that includes luggage, but if so, that would be a hassle-free way to get to your apartments.

If you are going to use the vaporetto for this, boarding at Piazzale Rome is much better than dealing with the crowds at the train station.

Posted by
5934 posts

With children, theZattere in Dorsoduro along the water offers a place for them to run around and play. Venice is not full of parks so theZattere would act as one for you.
We have spent a lot of time in Cannaregio and like it a lot too.
Take them out to the Lido by vapored to to run on the beach as well.

Posted by
14036 posts

Then look for somewhere near where you will park the car. I love the area of the Dorsoduro around the Academia but that means relying on the vaporetto back and forth to the train/car park, which easily can take an hour.

Posted by
1774 posts

Are you dropping off your car at Piazzale Roma and then picking up another when you depart for Florence? '

I was going to ask the same thing. Otherwise it's time to find and book a parking lot in (or close to) Venice.

If I were the driver I would watch a couple of youtube videos focused on the A1 between Bologna and Firenze. Pay attention to Bologna's ring road and then add 30 minutes of driving to what google maps and viaMichelin say. Pay also attention to the mountain section of the A1 where you'll have to choose between the "Panoramica" and the "Direttissima" routes. No trucks on the former, but less tunnels, more viaducts and zero gas stations.

I don't know if they have already installed the Tutor speed Monitoring System on the A1, for sure the all motorway is full of old fashioned speed traps.

Posted by
55 posts

Several of you have mentioned getting an apartment with consideration for where we will be entering Venice from. The truth is, I don't know what our best option is for entering Venice.

Will be driving a car from Slovenia to Venice, staying 3 days, and then leaving Venice for Tuscany where we will need a car for a full week. So, our options are:
A - Drop of rental in Venice and enter from there (I assume that means Piazzale Roma). Then 3 days later get another rental car before leaving for Tuscany. This means we would have to go through the rental/drop off twice, which could be a pain. But also saves us the cost of the rental (we will have a minivan for our family of 6 - so it's not inexpensive) and parking.
B - Keep rental car and pay for parking. I have no idea where this means I would be parking...

What are your thoughts on these two options? I'm willing to spend some extra money on parking, if that makes it easier on us the family..

Posted by
1774 posts

Since you can drop the car in Venice, why wouldn't you take an high speed train to Firenze SM Novella station and pick another car there? I thought you had to drive to Florence, but if you are not interested in making any intermediate stop...

Posted by
55 posts

I thought you had to drive to Florence. Since you can drop the car in Venice, why wouldn't you take an high speed train to Firenze and pick a car there? Why driving if you are not interested in making any intermediate stop?

We aren't actually going to Firenze - we are staying in an Agriturismo in Sesto Fiorentino. We will need a car for our week there. And why would we rent a car in Venice to get to Sesto Fiorentino instead of train to Firenze? The main reason is I'll need a car anyway, and with a family of 6, train travel isn't as economical as it is for some of you who are traveling alone or as a couple. Train tickets for 6 would be fairly expensive, when we need to rent a car anyway for the week. It would be one thing if it were saving us a rental all together because we were staying in Firenze, but we will need a car so I didn't see why we wouldn't rent it from Venice.

Am I wrong?

Posted by
7737 posts

Here's a tip if you find that your kids are needing a break to run around and play: There's an excellent park/playground at the Sant'Elena end of the historic center. Check it out: https://goo.gl/maps/RFc5F5mRXhDkn7HGA

You will likely be the only tourists there.

I agree that the boat ride to Murano/Burano might not go over to well with the kiddies.

As for where to stay, ditto Roberto.

Posted by
11702 posts

Drew, it sounds like younare renting the car in Slovenia and dropping it off in Italy. Have younpriced that out? One-way rentals between different countries generally come with a high drop fee.

An alternative would be to drop the car in Slovenia and take the ferry from Piran to Venice. Looks like the cost for your family would be 258€ if you buy the tickets during the Winter Sale ( ends Jan. 31).

https://venezialines.com/?action=booking&out_origin=PI&out_destination=VE

That would save you four days' rental, parking charges at Venice, and the drop fee. Plus it would be fun.

Posted by
1774 posts

Am I wrong?

I don't know, It depends on how much six discounted train tickets cost on your day of travel. Did you check the prices on trenitalia.com and italotreno.it/en?

By car you'll pay around 45 € for gas and tolls, plus the cost to rent a six seats car. The cheapest Italo ticket on that route costs 23 €, but you must be quite lucky to grab six of those.

Posted by
55 posts

Dario - yeah I had checked, but just double checked and it’s 28 euro per. The total cost was around 178 euro.

Since we didn’t want to have to go all the way into Florence (Sesto Fiorentino is in the way to Florence from Venice), and having a car would allow us to stop along the way and break up the drive with a stop in Padua or somewhere else for sightseeing of some kind, I still think we are better off leaving Venice via car.

Posted by
55 posts

Lola -
Interesting and great idea on the Ferry. I don’t think it will work, because from the looks of it it only goes on Saturday’s (there wasn’t an option on my departure day of Thursday)
Also, we plan to be leaving Slovenia from Bovec area after coming down from the Vrsic pass. We won’t really be anywhere near Piran. Although Piran is supposed to be great, I think we will have plenty of cute towns to see during our Italy portion of the trip. We didn’t want to miss the Alps.

Posted by
55 posts

Lola -
I had been getting quotes from AutoEurope on rentals, and then saw after your post that I actually have to make a booking, and they will get back to me with what the drop off fee is since it’s a different country. I thought that was included in my quote - but it wasn’t. So, I should know within a day what that will be. If it’s huge, I’ll obviously need to revisit our plans for getting from Slovenia to Venice and it may take care of it earlier question about how to handle our rental during Venice (keep and pay to park, or drop it off and do a second reservation for when we leave)

Again, thank you all for all of the advice. So helpful.

Posted by
11702 posts

Often they do not include the drop fee in the quote, and people have been caught unawares.

We once paid the equivalent of $500 to drop a Norwegian car in Copenhagen. It was a last-minute change because the Norwegian air traffic controllers went on strike and we could not fly to CPH for our flight home. So we kept the car one extra day and drove. That $500 hurt.

You could also get to Trieste by bus, I think, and rent an Italian car there if the drop fee is huge. And there are other ferry companies that depart from other ports and sail on different days.

Posted by
55 posts

I finally was able to get a quote, and the drop off fee was going to be huge. Because of you guys, I found out about GoOpti airport transfers. So, I think I have a new plan which will be great, won't require us to drive 3 hours to venice, and we won't have to worry about the rental car when we get there.

On Wednesday the 10th, instead of just hiking and exploring in Kranjska Gora, and then driving the Vrsic pass to Bovec and over to Italy on Thursday - we can just drive the Vrsic pass on Wednesday, and then come back to our villa in Kranjska gora that night. Then, on our departure day from Slovenia, we can explore around there that morning, then drive to the Airport, drop off our rental car, and take a GoOpti airport transfer to Venice. Dramatically cheaper rental fee, and we won't have to worry about what to do with the car while in Venice. And the transfer is cheap with GoOpti, and they have good reviews. Thanks all!

Posted by
2126 posts

Drew,
I'm a little late to this thread but it sounds like you made an informed decision to use GoOpti to transfer. We used there service in 2018 from Venice to Ljubljana. Great customer service,
and comfortable ride. I would not hesitate to use them again. Enjoy your stay.

Posted by
55 posts

Thanks again everyone!

Today we booked a couple places right off of Campo Santa Margherita. Also, made plans to rent a car just in Slovenia and then take GoOpti over to Venice.

And with all if your advice I am planning other options instead of taking a day for Murano/Burano.