Venice is so unique, can you think of a ‘Top 10 romantic cities in the World’ list that wouldn’t feature this wonderful city?
With 177 canals, 450 palazzi (palaces), 350 gondalas, 417 bridges and 100s of ice cream flavours, there’s so much to see and explore it bamboozles your mind wondering what you should see on a trip to Venice.
The beauty of Venice is that there are so many little streets to explore (like Ramo Varisco street which is only 53cm wide!) that you can stroll arm in arm with your lover and enjoy getting lost away from the hustle and bustle of too many tourists.
I contacted some of the top hotels in Venice, like the Hotel Gritti Palace and Hotel Danieli, and found the unmissable gems that you should see when you go…
San Marco Piazza (St Mark’s Square)
The centre of Venice so take time to sit down, have a coffee and enjoying people watching in this busy square. It’s so photogenic, you could almost be back in time in a black and white 1950s film!
Tip Sneak back in the evening at dusk when it’s much quieter – it’s magical.
This beautiful Gothic palace used to be home to the Doge (like a major) of Venice and was also a place where justice was dished out. Did you know that Casanova was imprisoned there? And he even escaped…!
To make history come alive, I recommend going on the Secret Passages Tour where you’ll feel like you’re going back in time.
Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri)
This is a tourist hotspot and for good reason. It’s a beautiful example of Baroque architecture and the only covered limestone bridge in Italy. But more excitingly, it connected the Doge’s Palace to the prison!
It’s called the Bridge of Sighs because apparently prisoners, when crossing the bridge to the prison, would give a big sigh as their fate was sealed.
But much more romantically, legend has it that if you take a gondala ride with your other half and pass under the bridge at sunset while the bells of St Mark’s Campanile ring out, your love will last forever!
This is the oldest bridge in Venice and spans the Grand Canal. It could just be one of the most famous bridges in the world so practice your best pose while having your picture taken!
Make sure you don’t miss the fruit and vegetable market and the locals choosing their fresh produce to make some yummy pasta dishes.
Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (St Mary of the Friars)
This seemingly quite simple church on the outside is one of Venice’s greatest churches. Don’t be fooled because inside it holds some Renaissance masterpieces like Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin which you can see over the main alter.
Mask Making Workshop of Cà Macanà
Venetian masks are an 800 year’s old tradition and this workshop is one of the oldest in Venice. Every mask it makes are unique and it has even made masks for Hollywood films like Eyes Wide Shut.
You even have the opportunity to try some on and make your own mask in a 2 hour course and buy your own as an amazing souvenir to take home.
Tip Ask for Nancy and she will make sure that you’re well cared for
Tramontin Gondala building workshop
See this special workshop – just off the tourist trail – where you can find out how the beautiful gondalas are made.
Today, just 350 gondalas float about on the canals and are steered by gondolieres which is an admirable profession passed down from father to son.
Eat some typical Venetian snacks – Cicchetti
Cicchetti are like little tapas, finger food and oh so Venetian! You must try some! And the best place is at Cantinone Schiavi with its bustling atmosphere right by the canal! I love anything with seafood!
Ice cream with a view!
Okay, the bit we’ve been waiting for – Italian ice cream! There are many places you can find ice cream in Venice but if you really want the best experience, go to Da Nico. You’ll have to pinch yourself when you get your ice cream from this adorable blue and white decorated gelateria. Make mine a cherry flavour scoop with cone!
Have a look at its blue and white awning in the photo below…
Listen to Opera in a Venetian Palace
If you really want a special experience, you can have an opera experience in an intimate setting in a Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto.
Your Musica a Palazzo experience would take part in a private 18th Century House which overlooks the Grand Canal! What performance would you choose?
A trip to Venice can’t be complete with a gondola ride. You will be taken through all the nooks and crannies and secret canal passages that you just wouldn’t see otherwise.
A 30 minute ride is usually about EUR 80. But how about making it extra special with a Venetian singer accompanying you? Ask them to sing O sole mio (made famous from the Cornetto ad!)