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Venice for teenagers.

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I saw a thread called “Three days in venice too long?”, started by people with teenage kids. One response was “depends on the kids, and what they are into”. Three days of art, churches, history and architecture might be a challenge. Instead, give them something to do on their own account, a treasure hunt. Venice is the safest city in the world, and the best fun to explore. I think you could safely let teenagers wander at large here.

So here's a treasure hunt. When treasures are found, photograph them, or obtain documentary evidence. Some treasures are pretty obscure, and will need map reading skill. Others are easy. Some just need doing. They are certain to get lost, but a good map should see them home. Total cost for the escapade – about 30 Euro, and there's only one church to enter, I think Venice's most spectacular church.
I acknowledge Jan Morris – Venice, Tiziano Scarpa – Venice is a fish, Erla Zwingle - The National Geographic Traveller, Venice for the bomb in the Frari church.

It starts at San Marco, in the Piazza, but there is a preparation first, at a bookshop. You could do this the night before.
Leave the Piazza at the furthest end from the Basilica, along Sallizzada San Moise. There's a bookshop on the left, No 1345
Buy a Moleskine City Notebook for Venice – costs 15 Euro, and all the places in the treasure hunt are indexed in there with the maps. The good thing is that it is black and pocket sized, so you don't look like a dorky tourist when you are consulting it.
Still at the bookshop, first question: You will see sloping pieces of marble erected about two feet above the ground in corners, or brick infills in the corners. What are they for? (Hint – find the book, “Venice is a Fish” by Tiziano Scarpa, and browse to page 76.) After you know what they are for, you'll laugh every time you see one.

Now, start in the Piazza.
Find the lowest street number in the San Marco (hint – start at Florians, and I think it is number 3).
Name the fruit and vegetables carved on the tenth column of the Doges Palace facing the Campanile, starting from the corner. Extra points for English translation of the Italian names above. Quad bonus points for producing any of the actual fruit – hint – try Rialto Markets.
Go back, count to the fourth column facing the Grand Canal. It is a little out of line with the rest. Rest your back against the column, and try to slip around it, feet on the white marble step at the base. You won't be able to keep from falling off, but video the attempt. Condemned prisoners were given this challenge – if they fell off – and they always did – they were executed. A trial by gravity.
Find the American bar, buy something, keep receipt as proof. How many different flavours of ice cream are available. (Hint – order with the cashier).
Go through the arch under the clock tower, find the Sotoportego e Calle del Capello, about 15 metres on your left. There's a statue high on the wall of a woman who dropped a flower pot on the head of a guy who was staging a revolution. There's a tile in the pavement below, recording where the flower pot hit, and the date. Record the date, interpret from Roman numerals into English (15 June 1310).
Find McDonalds. Keep receipt or wrapper as proof. (Calle lunga San Marco).
Back into the Piazza, leave through the end opposite the Basilica, towards Academia. Find Campo Santo Stefano – it's big.
There is a statue in the Campo of of Niccolo Tommaseo, a writer. Venetians have nick-named him il Cagalibri, or the book shitter. Figure out why.
Find and photograph the canal that runs clean under the Church of San Stefano.
Find the plaque to the right of the main door to San Stefano high on the wall that prohibits gambling, bad language and selling stuff. Photograph it, extra points for interpreting the date (20 June 1663).
Follow the signs to Rialto.
Find the statue of Goldoni, in Campo Bartolomeo. He has a walking stick – which hand is holding it?
Find an internet cafe, buy time and check Facebook. (Hint – there is an internet cafe near Rialto, in Calle dei Stagneri, off Campo Bartolomeo. A legal ID is required to buy time, either passport of drivers license, minimum cost is about 5 Euro. It's closed from 1:00 to 2:45 PM).

Now, off to San Polo, across the Grand Canal.
Cross the Rialto bridge. Count the steps on the centre section of the bridge.
Pass through the vegetable market, buy some grapes if you want to pick up the bonus points from the second question relating to the column on the Doge Palace.
Find the Fish Market, the Campo del Pesceria.
The minimum size of fish allowed to be sold is controlled – what is the smallest fish size? (Hint – it is on a stone tablet mounted on the wall facing the Grand Canal.) (Red Mullet, Grey Mullet, Sardine, Anchovy – 7 cm.)
Head towards the Ferrovia, the Railway Station.
Find the Campo San Silvestro. Tap on the well cover with a coin – every point makes a different note, like a Carribean steel drum.
Find the Ponto Storto, the Twisted Bridge.
Find Campo dei Frari.
Enter the Frari Church, on your left there's a big pyramid monument, then a monument supported by four African gents, Moors. To the right of this monument, finf the small bomb attached to the wall, about six feet above the ground. It fell on the church roof and failed to explode on 27/28 February, 1918. It costs 3 Euro to enter the Frari Church.
Leave the church, find Legatoria Polliero, a paper shop. The proprietor is Paollo, and he has no English, not a word. Buy something – a bookmark would cost about 5 Euro. You'll love his shop.
Head towards the Ferrovia, the station.
Find Salizzada Zusto – a street barely two and a half feet wide, and twenty yardslong. (Bonus points for this one – it's tiny. Extra bonus point – what direction are you facing when you leave the street - North, South, East, West.)
Cross the Ponte degli Scalzi over the Grand Canal. Count the number of steps, turn left.
Buy a coffee at the Ferrovia. (Hint – order at the cashier, present ticket to the bar).
Leave the Ferrovia, turn left, follow the signs to San Marco. (There's heaps of tourist junk along this strip, but by now, you'll ignore it, because you'll be feeling like a local.)
Cross the Grand Canal at the San Sofia traghetto. It costs 50 cents, and you are back at the fish market. Tourists don't use traghettos much, Venetians all the time. Pay in coin – the cheapest gondola ride you could ever have.
Wind your way down stream to the next traghetto which is below the Rialto bridge. It is on the Fondamenta del Vin, or off Campo San Silvestro, where you played the steel drum. Cross on the traghetto, and follow the signs back to San Marco.

You'll have seen more of Venice than many tourists, and you'll be able to direct your folks when they get lost.

That should keep the kids busy for a day.
Day 2 – buy a 12 hour ferry ticket, which costs 14 Euro.
Write down the cost per litre of diesel fuel oil on Burano ...............

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