About Judy E
Lives in Rome, Italy
Since Jul 2014
For the past decade Italy has been a constant in my assignments as travel writer and photographer. Rome, Florence, and Venice are the cities where I spend the most time, but much of my time has been spent in small towns and the countryside, too, especially in Southern Italy. It's always a privilege to criss-cross the boot, often in a convertible or by train. The art, culture, food, nature, and wine are all incredible. Italy is so rich in these that the problem is never to find something of interest, it's in all those wonders that for lack of space never make it to the printed page or web page. Born in the U.S. and with treasured years of working in the museum world in Washington, DC, I always bring those perspectives with me, too, including to TripAdvisor. I was delighted that TripAdvisor commissioned me to write some Travel Guides for Rome, Venice, and Sicily. Happy reading and happy travels!
Bus Transportation, Mass Transportation Systems
Natural History Museums
Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Observation Decks & Towers, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Architectural Buildings, Speciality Museums, Historic Sites
, Gift & Speciality Shops, Factory Tours
Points of Interest & Landmarks
A vaporetto ride, end to end along the Grand Canal (Canal Grande), is a great way to view the city and orient yourself. Add the Lido to your trip to take in another island—it's especially good for outdoor family activities and for understanding how the islands are connected.
The Natural History Museum, Museo di Storia Naturale, was recently remodeled in 2012. Explore lagoon life in the Tegnùe Aquarium on the ground floor and marvel at the dinosaur skeleton—standing more than 12' tall—and the giant crocodile skull nearby. Another section of the museum is devoted to Venetian explorers: the “Room of Wonders” is modeled after the way 16th-century collectors liked to display their scientific discoveries and is a good place to get ideas on how to group and display your own treasures back home.
For lunch near the Natural History Museum, consider La Zucca—also in the sestiere of Santa Croce. Its warm but simple wood interior is relaxing, and it has some outdoor seating for warmer days. The menu emphasizes vegetables, including its namesake pumpkin, and simple soups and pastas are likely to please the kids.
St. Mark's is one of the grandest and most historic squares in the world. Its wide open space is occupied by cafes, and there are also plenty of museums to explore and towers to climb, making it a great base to enjoy the Venetian atmosphere for a while. If you're celebrating a special occasion, or if your family simply likes to dress up, the elegance of the square inspires putting on your best —jeans and t-shirts are fine too though!
Climbing the Campanile (Bell Tower) in San Marco, which rises to 323 feet, is a sure way to burn off excess energy! Here you get the lay of the land from the air, which can help you get your bearings in Venice - the lovely views extend beyond the square, across the city, the Grand Canal, and out toward the sea.
Splurge on an afternoon break at historic Caffe Florian. They make their own delicious ice cream and pastries, plus a wide selection of refreshing drinks.
You may not have expected to find a mummy in Venice, but the ones at the Archaeological Museum are sure to make kids squeal, and a treasure hunt to track them down makes for a fun family activity. Plus, there are plenty of gods and goddesses to look out for too. Despite its location, right on Piazza San Marco, this museum is rarely crowded, meaning it can be a welcome escape from the busy streets.
The menu at Bistrot de Venise has a wide selection of food, from historic and gourmet to simpler fare, which should please a variety of palates, including those who like to try good wines. During a recent visit, I noticed a gondolier brought his wife and kids. If it works for a Venetian family, why not try it yourself?
No visit is complete without a ride in a gondola! Glide lazily along, admiring the sights of Venice and the manoeuvres of the gondolier, while you listen to him shout advice (or insults!) to his comrades in the typical sing-songy Venetian dialect.
While you could visit this pink palace at your own pace, the most interesting and fun way to explore it is to book a Secret Itineraries Tour directly through the museum. Explore secret passageways and learn about plots, traitors, and heroes during the time of the Doges in Venice...
The art of disguise and intrigue was played out frequently in Venice - and not only during Carnevale (Carnival). Visit a mask shop like this and let your brood take on new identities!
The Lido—the island that gave us European beach resorts and the Venice Film Festival—gives you plenty of fresh air, room to play, and a place to have a picnic. Ride bikes, swim, walk, run or simply watch the sea vessels coming and going on the east shore at one of the delightfully retro stabilmenti (beach establishments).
Glass is the art form on exhibit in Le Stanze del Vetro (The Glass Rooms) at the Giorgio Cini Foundation, which features some of the best works from the 20th and 21st centuries. It also gives your family the opportunity to explore another small Venetian island - San Giorgio Maggiore.
Start by finding the lighthouse on Murano which safely guides boats to this island, then take a walk along the streets by the canals to see which glass factories or studios are giving glass-blowing demonstrations. Kids of all ages will enjoy seeing how fire is used to craft glass and the skilled precision that is required to form it into just the right shape.
Lunch at Il Certosino restaurant or a sandwich at its bar is the perfect excuse to explore the wilder side of the Island of Certosa. If you need some space to run, picnic, or chase wild rabbits, you'll find it all here, with part of the island overgrown with weeds among its monastic ruins.
While the art of lace-making gave Burano its fame, the real family thrill is the crayon box of colors that you're greeted with upon arriving at this island. Its charming little houses are painted in a variety of very vivid hues - explore the streets and canals and spot the colors reflecting in the water.
See how lace is made in the Museo del Merletto (Lace Museum). Most days you can see women seated upstairs at the window of the museum making careful stitches that form a variety of intricate lace patterns.
A footbridge connects the island of Burano with Mazzorbo. Take a short walk to see the vineyards and vegetable gardens growing here, which are right near the bell tower.
Opened in May 2014, the new Vinoteca at Venissa is an excellent place to enjoy great food and wine in an informal setting. There is simpler fare such as ham or mixed fried fish in addition to some more complex dishes, and most of the food is sourced locally. Their lovely selection of wines focuses on Northeast Italy, from the Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino, and Alto Adige regions.