Exploring the City of Water: A Guide to Visiting Venice
Introduction Venice is a dream destination for many travelers. From the glinting canals to the majestic historic buildings, there is so much to explore. This Venice travel guide will take you on an unforgettable journey of discovery in this romantic Italian city. Uncover hidden treasures, delicious cuisine, and world-class cultural attractions as you explore the city of water.
Home to the Colorful Canals: What You Should Know Before You Go
If you want to explore Venice like a local, renting a private water taxi or even a gondola is the best way to explore the city. Not only is it a unique experience, but it also allows you to see more of the beautiful canals and bridges. Alternatively, consider taking public transport, like the vaporetto, to get around.
Where to Stay
Going all-in on the classic Venice experience? Consider staying in a hotel situated along a canal for the full Venetian experience. For a more budget-friendly stay, the many hotels on the mainland are still close to the sights and attractions.
Climate of Venice
Venice is known for its temperate climate, usually with temperatures ranging between 57-73°F (14-23°C). Summers tend to be warm and humid, while winters are chilly and sometimes rainy. The best time to visit Venice is usually in spring (April-June) or fall (September-October), when you’ll see some beautiful weather along with fewer crowds.
Spectacular Sites: Planning the Perfect Itinerary
Using the Museums Pass (Venezia Unica), you can access some of the most well-known sites in the city, with discounts on admission and access to special events. Here are some of the can’t-miss attractions:
- St. Mark’s Square: this iconic square is home to the ancient St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and Campanile di San Marco.
- Rialto Bridge: a historic bridge that spans the Grand Canal, connecting the two districts of San Polo and San Marco.
- Murano Glass Factory: a must-see experience if you’re interested in marveling at the intricately crafted Murano glass creations.
- Venetian Arsenal: a spectacular collection of preserved ships and warships that will take you back in time.
- San Giorgio Maggiore: a stunning 16th century basilica located on its own small island.
- Jewish Ghetto: a district of Venice with hundreds of years of Jewish history.
Soaking Up the Culture: Getting to Know Venice
Venice is home to a vibrant culture, full of art, music, and delicious food. This Italian city is full of hidden treasures begging to be discovered.
The Venetian Language
Venice has its own language, known as Venetian, or Veneziano in Italian. Locals will still speak Italian here, but you may hear a few words or phrases of Venetian when you talk to locals. Keep your ears open for unique words like ‘suorce’ (money), ‘cavia’ (cat), or ‘seu’ (yes)!
Delight your taste buds with the incredible food in Venice. Visit local eateries to try out classic seafood dishes like sarde in saor, or learn how to create delicious Venetian recipes like pasta al nero di seppia (pasta with squid ink).
Art and Music
Venice is home to countless works of art. Browse small galleries to find pieces by local artists or take a guided tour to learn about the masterpieces of Renaissance artists. After your sightseeing, enjoy a performance of traditional Venetian music at one of the city’s many music venues.
Beyond the Beloved Gondolas: Surprise Attractions to Delight
Venice is full of surprises, so don’t write it off as just a city of gondolas and canals. There is so much more to discover.
Harry Potter Fans Rejoice!
Did you know that Venice served as one of the locations for the Harry Potter movies? Get your dose of magic by exploring the landmarks used in different scenes or treat yourself to a delicious Butterbeer at a local cafe.
Visit the Museo Fortuny for a fascinating look at the works of artist Mariano Fortuny and his unique aesthetic style. You’ll find prints and paintings, alongside contemporary art pieces. Don’t miss the sculptures inspired by Greek mythology and the tapestries designed by Fortuny himself.
The Clock Tower
Check out the historic bell tower of St. Mark’s Clocktower, located in the square of St. Mark’s. See the distinctive hourglass, moon clock and ship’s meteorological instruments. Take a look at the clocks from the 12th century and watch them in action.
An Unforgettable Experience: Historic Landmarks and Ancient History
Venice is full of ancient historical sites and beautiful buildings from centuries past. Embark on a journey back in time as you explore behind-the-scenes of this incredible city.
- Historic Theatres: experience the atmosphere of the Teatro La Fenice, an iconic theatre known for its unique performance history and beauty.
- Biennale: explore the art scene by going to this renowned international exhibition, taking place every other year in Venice.
- Peggy Guggenheim: marvel at the stunning works of modern art, housed in an 18th century Italian palace.
- San Zaccaria: be stunned by the grand architecture of this 15th century Venetian church, featuring works of Tintoretto.
- Rialto Market: visit every morning to discover local produce and souvenirs, as well as a glimpse of Venetian daily life.
- Bridge of Sighs: this iconic bridge has plenty of secrets to discover, from the romantic stories to the legend of Casanova.
Picturesque and Poetic: Capturing Your Memories of Venice
Capture the beauty of Venice in photos with these photography tips.
- Selfie-Sticks: If you’re looking to take an iconic photo of yourself in Venice without having to pay an artist for a painted portrait, then a selfie-stick is the way to go. But be sure to choose a scene that isn’t too crowded or chaotic for your photo.
- Go Local: In Venice, capturing a photo of a typical Venetian backstreet, or a gondola with a bridge in the background, will help you create memories to last a lifetime.
- Bright Colors: No one can deny the bright colors of Venice. Whether you’re photographing the colorful boats in the canals or the magical architecture, the colors here will take your breath away.
- Fearless Experimentation: Try out different angles and see how different camera settings will affect your photos. Use the natural light to your advantage and think outside the box with composition.
- Edit and Share: When you’re back home, think about how you can give your photos an extra personal touch by editing them in different ways. Then, share your memories with friends and family.
Adventure Awaits: Exploring the Venetian Lagoon
The waterfronts of this city may be an adventure in themselves, but to really explore the Venetian Lagoon in all its glory, consider renting a boat. Take your group to the many islands nearby for a full day or explore the nearby coast on your own. Some of the must-visit places are:
- Murano: for its famed glass-making workshops and museum.
- Burano: for its fascinating architecture and delightful pasta.
- Torcello: to have a peek at its unique 12th century church and mosaics.
- Lido: to visit the main beach just a few minutes away from the city.
- San Michele: to explore the tranquil cemetery in style.
Enjoy the Best: Where to Eat and Drink in Venice
Venice is the perfect place to sample the world-famous seafood dishes. From baccalà alla vicentina (saltcod) to sarde in saor (sardines in sweet-and-sour sauce), there’s something for everyone. Dishes like polenta e schie (shrimp and polenta) or bigoli in salsa (spaghetti with anchovies) are some of the local favorites. Savour the freshness!
Venetian wines are some of the finest in the world. Sample a glass or two in one of the many lively bars and bacari, like Cantina do Mori or Al Timon. For a different flavor, a spritz (white wine, sparkling water and soda water) is also a classic Venetian option.
Save the Date: Year Round Fun in Beautiful Venice
No matter the time of year, Venice is always offering something new.
- Spring: Witness the city’s annual carnival, an unforgettable celebration of music, masks and costumes.
- Summer: Take advantage of the extended daylight and stay out late in search of the city’s best spritz spots.
- Fall: Enjoy the mild weather and soak up the magical atmosphere of the city without the heavy crowds.
- Winter: Experience the charming atmosphere of Christmas in Venice: visit the churches and local markets and listen to live music in the piazzas.
Venice is a dream destination for any traveler looking to explore the unique culture and history of the city of water. This Venice travel guide offers you tips and advice on how to plan your trip, from sightseeing to culinary delights. So, pack your bags and get ready for the time of your life in Venice!