Family Vacation Journal: Venice, Italy

Family Vacation Journal: Venice, Italy

A family gets off the well-worn tourist trail in Italy and makes discoveries all their own By: Hila Keren & Shavit Keren
<p>From left: Lateef, Hila, Shavit (age 17) and Yuval (13) // © 2016 Hila and Shavit Keren</p><p>Feature image (above): Venice’s Grand Canal and...

From left: Lateef, Hila, Shavit (age 17) and Yuval (13) // © 2016 Hila and Shavit Keren

Feature image (above): Venice’s Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge // © 2016 iStock

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It all began because the 13-year-old in our family wanted to see Venice, Italy. That got us started on the planning, and although it wasn’t our first time in Italy, the itinerary was a true famiglia experience.

For us, the key was staying off the beaten path. We spent five days at the charming Agriturismo Armea, on the south shore of Lake Garda. Jet-lagged, we strolled at dawn each day, inhaling the scent of the countryside and killing time until we could enjoy our sumptuous Italian breakfast and embark on that day’s adventure.

It was a trip full of unforgettable sights and sounds. There was the breathtaking view of Lake Garda getting smaller and smaller as the cable car in Malcesine took us to the top of Monte Baldo, where we hiked in rhythm with the jingling cowbells of a nearby herd. And our visit to Zonin winery — a family enterprise grown into a small empire — where a passionate sommelier emphasized that drinking wine is not about getting drunk but about what connects people to each other. We took his advice when he sent us up to a little village called Soave to have an amazing lunch on the steps of an old church.

Then there was Venice, where staying in a beautiful apartment overlooking a tiny canal allowed us to live like Venetians for five days. We shopped at Rialto Market just as it was opening to get the fresh catch of the day for dinner; wore out our unlimited vaporetto (water taxi) passes checking out the city; and hopped between Venice’s islands as if we were on a luxurious cruise.

On this Italian adventure, we followed each other’s passions — and it left us with a strong craving for more.