Venice has many, many squares. Some are famous like St Mark’s, and some less so, but we reckon the best square in Venice, especially for kids, is probably one most people haven’t heard of…
…And like many of the best things, we discovered it accidentally and coincidentally.
Accidentally, because we only got close to it when we decided to move apartment during one of our stays in Venice. We’d made a basic error of not checking if the apartment we’d booked had air-con. Mid August and 35 Centrigrade prompted us to change apartment, and that also meant a change of area.
Coincidentally, because on the flight over to Venice, we’d been talking to an Italian lady who lived in Venice and mentioned this particular square as somewhere that kids would enjoy and that adults would too. But we knew it was nowhere near where we were supposed to be staying (originally).
After we’d moved across to the new apartment, I went for an evening wander to explore the new area with my daughter.
Two streets, an alleyway and a canal bridge later, we found ourselves in a long, widening square, busy and humming with adults and children enjoying their evening.
I checked the name sign on a nearby building and discovered it was the name the lady on the plane had mentioned.
Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio.
The best square in Venice!
There were kids playing and enjoying themselves in the square, with parents and adults sat watching them from the numerous cafes and restaurants dotted around the edge. It had much more of a local feel to it compared to some of the other well known and touristy squares in Venice.
When we got back, we excitedly told the others we’d discovered the square that the lady on the plane had told us about, and the next morning we all went back.
Just as good as the night before!
All sorts of things were going on in the square, while cafes around the edge were serving coffee and pastries. And this time we also noticed the local shops in the streets around one end of the square that were open and selling their produce.
Before long our son was playing football with half a dozen kids and our daughter was sat in the middle of the square drawing with three or four other children.
While they were happily occupied, we attended to other matters!
We went there at some point on most days of our stay. Partly because it was nearby, but mainly because it had a good vibe to it, and it was easy for the kids to enjoy themselves there.
Other squares in Venice may be more famous, or larger, or whatever, and they do have their merits, but they often have their downsides too such as too many street vendors, or just too many people at times!
Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio just seemed to strike a right note for both the kids and us.
Thank you to the lady who recommended Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio, and to serendipity that we ended up in the right area after all!
Footnote: Many squares in Italian towns and cities are called Piazzas. Venice has only one Piazza – Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square). The rest are called “Campo” meaning field, which is how many of them started out!
Find more posts on enjoying Venice with kids.