The one and only time the pushchair was used…
Beautiful Venice. It can’t claim to be the most baby friendly city in the world (or disability friendly come to think of it), but we can’t really be that cross with it as it only has its geographical location to blame for all of the bridges and steps. So, when your husband insists on packing the pushchair for your first venture out into a city you have visited numerous times before (when he seems to have forgotten about all the masses of various wheelie challenges ahead), do make sure you pack a decent sling as well. You will come to rely on it. As will he.
Map reading from the comfort of a sling… No wheels involved!
Again because of Venice’s geographical location and the logistics of getting supplies across the water, there are no big supermarkets, but if you run out of nappies you shouldn’t have a problem finding them in the odd grocery shops you come across. Baby milk however is another matter altogether. You can find it in the chemists, although if stocks are running low don’t leave it until you are completely out to find more – you might actually need to order some in. Baby food jars can be found but there’s not a massive choice, and a good few of the options look a little like cat food.
Baby changing in Venice can be a little problematic in that it’s pretty much non-existent. This is primarily a city for lovers – pre-families (and a good test of solid relationships afterwards with children!), and as most buildings are pretty ancient, there’s generally not that much room in the loos for changing tables. But, as long as you have a decent padded changing mat, there’s nothing to stop you from a quick alfresco change in a secluded corner. Fear not German friends (who tell me off when the baby hasn’t got a hat on even when it’s around 18 degrees!), the weather was actually very warm… Of the same vein, do take a fleece blanket if you can stuff one in your bag, Venice doesn’t have many green spaces, but if you need to get away from the hustle and bustle then head to the Giardini Pubblici east of St Mark’s Square for some relaxed baby hanging out…
If you have a lot of stuff to lug about (like un-useful pushchairs), consider splashing out on water taxis to get from A-B, that way everything easily fits on board, there are no Vaparetto crowding issues to contend with, and in the rare moments that everyone is quiet and looking out of the window, you can pretend you are a glamorous film star not a bedraggled parent.
This is Italy, so of course most restaurants are child friendly. Having said that, a lot of them don’t have high-chairs, so if you are reliant on one, think about packing a material version that can be tied to a chair back – that’s if your baby can sit up of course. We were mostly reliant on Daddy’s knee which also meant that he was the one covered in the most bread-stick.
Look into booking an apartment instead of being crammed together into a hotel room. We stayed at the excellent Corte Barrozzi Suites which is a fantastic family option. Situated on a quiet back street 300 metres walk from Saint Mark’s square, our apartment was spacious enough for all of us with a separate bedroom for The Small People, a lounge we could relax in when everyone else had gone to bed (no drinking wine and whispered conversations in the bathroom for us this visit!), and most importantly, a kitchenette and dining area, completely necessary when travelling with young children and a small but hungry baby whose nickname is Brutus. The staff are super friendly here too, going above and beyond with little touches such as turning up with a brand new travel cot when we hadn’t booked one and the only other one they had was in use. We would definitely stay again.
And that’s all the necessary Venice with a Baby tips just about taken care of. Consider it a trip of firsts – a first trip without relying on the pushchair for example, time for a memorable first gondola trip, and best of all, what better place in the world for your first taste of Gelato? There are of course plenty of sorbets and dairy/sugar-free options…
No Pictures… First she makes me wear this hat, then I don’t get to eat any more of that nice cold stuff…
And, if you are up early with the baby and fancy something to do with any older children you have as soon as the larks open their eyes, might I suggest a walk at first light?…
Conked out – bed-testing at the Corte Barrozzi Suites
Things to pack: A decent sling – you will be wearing this for a lot of the day so it has to be comfortable. Shoes you can walk for miles in whilst wearing said sling. All necessary baby food and milk, a baby sleeping bag, dummy chain (there are only so many times you can bend down to pick one up from the floor when you are wearing a sling!), favourite toys, sun hat/cold weather hat, material high chair, a fleece blanket for outdoor relaxing, a padded changing mat for alfresco changing, a small rucksack in lieu of a changing bag, sterilising bags for bottles, wine for mummy and daddy, camera to capture all those firsts.
Things not to pack: a pushchair.
Mummy Pat says
Venice with a push chair. Brave move! :)
I was there nearly twenty years ago, but I think I’ll wait a little longer before I try and return there with our two little ones…
Ha. Thanks so much Mummy Pat. Yes, it was interesting with a pushchair!! :D
Cathy (MummyTravels) says
I would love to go back to Venice with my daughter – I can imagine what it might be like with a pushchair though. I just need to get past the point where I think my daughter might fall into a canal by accident… #citytripping
Never ever take a pushchair! Thanks Cathy, believe me if my children haven’t managed it yet, yours should be OK! (:
Karen Langridge says
Mine are past the pushchair age but handy to know anyway! I have always wanted to visit and now my boys are older it sounds like a better time :) x
It’s lovely at any time, just a little more hard work! I hope you get to visit very soon! :)
Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says
Great tips! I haven’t done Venice with kids (only pre-kids) but of course it makes sense to ditch the pram for a sling! Baby looks so adorable asleep on the bed! Thanks for linking to #citytripping
Thanks Elizabeth! (:
Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) says
Thank goodness for baby slings and padded changing mats! Some really useful tips here. #citytripping
Thank you Clare! (:
Aw, such cute bubba pics. I love Italy but for some reason didn’t really take to Venice when we went pre-kids. Maybe it was because it has such a huge reputation. I preferred Verona.
Thank you! I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Verona. Venice has to rely on tourism so most people are friendly, Verona on the other hand I don’t think enjoys it’s tourist status quite as much! :D
Aw that last photo is just adorable! I love Venice although it’s been a long time since I visited x
Thanks Cass. It’s a special place isn’t it? :) x
Donna Billson says
I still covet my visit to Italy but I have always thought I would like to do it without the children but your posts show that it is possible to do it all with children! Even if they don’t want their photos taken :-)
I remember a neighbour of ours saying we wouldn’t be able to travel anymore as we had children. I like proving people wrong! Thanks Donna x
Eline @ Emmy + LIEN says
This brought back memories! We took our toddler, WITH pushchair, to Venice once and my arms still ache at the memory of heaving him over all those bridges! Isn’t it the most amazing place though? All your other tips are spot-on too, and I’m determined to back with kiddo in tow one day. Though I might wait until he’s able to walk a good few kilometres by himself.
Thanks so much, I can only sympathise with the aching arms, never again! :D It is a wonderful place though, if you go back the mask painting shop looks fun to do, but book at least 2 months in advance of your trip! :)
Great tips Emma, I love how you don’t let children or even a baby stop you travelling. I am getting braver with mine, but it’s been a slow process.
If a trips a success you will always remember it, if it’s not so successful one day you will laugh at it! :D Thanks Emma :)
I just love seeing the photos of your gorgeous baby! It’s been many years since I’ve been to Venice but I loved it. It was on my list for this year’s holiday. As was Bavaria actually (my son doing German in school). But unfortunately neither option ‘won’ when put to all! xx
That’s a shame you were outvoted on coming here, it would have been lovely to see you! Thanks V. xxx
Kara Guppy says
I would love to go to Venice, slightly worried one of mine would end up falling in the canal though LOL
I can understand why that’s a concern with having to remind my 9 year old about 50,000 times not to go too close! :D
Who would have known a pushchair would not be useful in Venice. But it makes perfect sense. Glad you had a good trip and don;t let baby stop you. xx
Thanks Susanna! :) x
What fab tips for travelling with a baby, not just for Venise but everywhere really. In some ways a little ones is easier than a one year old!
Thanks Jen! :D
Sonya Cisco says
I would love to go to Venice – I did visit as a young teenager – but was at the wrong age, in a sulk, and mostly remember moaning about the smell – honestly, I could slap myself now of course – my poor parents!I totally agree about self-catering being so much easier when you are a bigger family – we cant squeeze 5 of us into a hotel room and an apartment often gives you much more space!
I am sure we all had moments like that as teenagers Sonya, I remember being similar in Crete! :D
Michelle Twin Mum says
Ohh not sure I’ve seen a pic of huby close up before – very handsome! Sorry, it was the baby I was supposed to be looking at, wasn’t it? lol Mich x
Ha. Thanks Michelle! :D x
Alice Project: Wanderlust says
Good thinking packing that sling. Good tip on packing a fabric highchair – wouldn’t have though of that with Italy being so child friendly.
I think Venice is definitely more suited to couples at times! :D Thanks Alice! (:
Niki - Play & Learn Every Day says
You are very brave! But it still sounds fantastic, and you’ve certainly got memories to last a lifetime :)
Thank you Niki! (:
I would love to go to Venice, it looks beautiful! I don’t have a baby anymore to worry about anymore though x
Perfect time to go then! Thanks Sonia! (: x
Beautiful Venice – its always an adventure – dodging mosquitos last time I was there!! x
I remember!! :D xxx