Who wouldn’t want to visit Venice?
This majestic capital of Italy’s Veneto region is spread out over 117 islands on a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea and entire parts of it are designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Through its history it has been at the forefront of several artistic movements, risen to prominence as a wealthy sea power, and become the world’s first true international financial centre, making it one of the most culturally interesting and utterly beautiful cities in the world.
Here are 20 things to do in Venice!
Have the Original Bellini at Harry’s Bar
This delicious concoction of peach puree and Prosecco has made its way around the world but there are few better than the original, invented by bartender Gisueppe Cipriani in Venice in the 1930’s.
Ride the Vaporetto
Grabbing a ticket for these little water taxis lets you understand the vastness of the canal system, explore father reaching parts of the city, and most of all get the wind in your hair and experience a coastal city properly. At only €7 for a 60 minute trip it’s the cheaper, faster alternative to gondola rides.
Chow Down on Chicchetti
This Venetian version of tapas served in ‘bacari’ (a type of osteria) takes top quality Italian ingredients and places them on top of a piece of bread, or more traditionally polenta.
Pair them with a small glass of white wine called an ‘ombra’ (‘shadow’) and you’ll be just like the locals.
Check out the Glass in Murano
Murano’s famous glass blowing studios produce top quality products that are sought after the world over, making it an incredible place to pick up a top notch souvenir.
Explore the Basilica of St. Mark
Arguably the most beautiful church in all of Italy is home to three main chapels and over four miles of mosaics, many made entirely of gold.
You’ll remain speechless after viewing the jewelry bedazzled Pala D’Oro (a golden altar piece): one of the most priceless pieces in the world.
Take in the Bridge of Sighs
This famous white limestone pedestrian bridge connects the New Prison to the interrogation room in Doge’s Palace and legend has it that it gets its name from the noises prisoners would make seeing their last view of Venice before being imprisoned.
Buy a Painting/Sketch along the Grand Canal
The ‘amateur’ painters and sketch artists operating along the Gran Canal just off of Saint Mark’s Square are some of the most accomplished in the country – just make sure to haggle because the original prices could be a bit steep.
Take a Gondola Ride
It won’t come cheap with rides exceeding 50 or 60 euros during high season, but there are few things more Venetian than taking a spin on one of these classic boats while the gondoliere serenades you in traditional Italian song.
Soak it all up in Saint Mark’s Square
The biggest square in Venice offers an immense relief to claustrophobics and some of the city’s most notable buildings including St Mark’s Basilica and the famous bell tower.
Just keep your wallets away, prices in the area almost double for everything from ice cream to souvenir shirts.
Turn off the GPS and Get Lost
Use your GPS only as a last resort: what makes Venice great is the stuff you find by accident and the fear you’ll never get back to your hotel without collapsing in some corner and succumbing to dehydration.
See the Peggy Guggenheim Collections
The city’s third most visited attraction is a modern art lover’s dream for its massive collection of 20th century masters.
Sink into Some Sardine in Saor
This classic Venetian dish of marinated sardines with onion, pine nuts and raisins gives you the combination of sweetness, saltiness, acidity, and crunchiness that makes any dish great.
Have a Cocktail at Skyline Rooftop Bar
Not all Venice needs to be steeped in tradition: the modern rooftop bar at Hilton Molino Stucky offers the best view of Venice from 8 stories up. Go for a pre-dinner aperitif that can’t be beat.
Take in the Carnival Festivities
This annual festival corresponding with the Christian celebration of Lent dates back to 1162 and is famous the world over for its elaborate masks. Venice is considered one of the best places to enjoy the carnival festivities which lasts more than two weeks!
Go Window Shopping on Ponte Rialto
The most well-known and oldest of the four bridges crossing the canal was built using stone in 1591.
The 7.5 meter arch offers amazing photo opportunities, not to mention a ton of overpriced jewelry and souvenir shops.
See the Doge’s Palace
This Venetian Gothic behemoth was the home of the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice and has been a museum since 1923.
Drink Bacaro Jazz Bar Dry
For a city so alive with tourism there are so few lively night spots but Bacaro Jazz Bar begs to differ.
With two for one drink specials at happy hour, great Italian starters, and a ceiling decorated with customer bras what more could you ask for?
Get a Souvenir Mask
The distinctive Venetian carnival masks made of porcelain, leather, or even glass would make a great conversation starter at any Halloween party at home, if not a great piece of art to put up on the walls.
Discover Risotto di Gò
Risotto lovers with revel in this local delicacy made from the broth of a small local fish called ‘il giozzo’ – though there’s no English translation in sight for this slender, eel-like fish the international language of deliciousness surely reigns supreme.
Climb the Bell Tower
St Mark’s Campanile stands head and shoulders above every other building in Venice at 98.6 meters. At only 8 euros to get to the top, much cheaper than a cocktail at pricier rooftop bars, the euro to Instagram snap ratio is optimal.
Molto bene… Let’s get to the airport and make fantasy a reality!