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Touring San Marco In Venice

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Venice Italy is full of tourists, especially in the spring and summer months when everyone flocks to this city of islands and boats. Truth be told, as an Italian whose family is from Venice, despite spending each summer growing up there as a child, I never really played tourist in this town. As a parent, it felt important to give my daughter a sense of history and culture about this city that is so important to our family, so during our last trip, we embraced the idea of playing tourist and exploring San Marco in Venice’s center.

What to see in San Marco

San Marco in Venice is the most iconic of the city’s attractions. You can see it from the water. You can hear the bells of the campanile (or bell tower) from anywhere in the city. Everyone flocks to Piazza San Marco, or the square, to see the Basilica, Palazzo Ducale, and to feed the pigeons.

Venice - San Marco from the top of the Campanile.

San Marco from the top of the Campanile.

Our trip to San Marco included a trip to the top of the campanile (by elevator) and a tour inside the Palazzo Ducale.  We opted not to go into the Basilica in part because the lines were too long, and because when traveling and playing tourist with my eight year old daughter, I try to prioritize what I think will be of most interest to her.

Taking the Secret Itinerary Tour

Venice - Birds eye view of the Palazzo Ducale from atop the campanile in San Marco.

Birds eye view of the Palazzo Ducale from atop the campanile in San Marco.

Just the name, “secret itineraries” tour was engaging and motivating for my daughter who loves reading mysteries. Exploring the parts of the Palazzo Ducale that are not part of the main tour and seeing where the story of Casanova unfolded with a small group led by a tour guide is definitely worth it. We bought our (timed) tickets online a few days prior to the tour and explored the rooms where sentences were decided, government business was conducted, and the magistrates chambers.

Children will love walking through the other parts of the Palazzo Ducale, like going through the Bridge of Sighs, over the canal, to see the prisons where criminals were kept, and pretending that they are royalty standing on the Scala dei Giganti or Giants’ staircase in the main courtyard.

Touring San Marco in Venice is a definite must do for families and best organized ahead of your arrival.

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Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!

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