Recently a fellow photographer asked me if I had any recommendations on what to see, eat, and do in Venice. Reminiscing about my last trip to the beautiful floating city, I decided to put together a short travel guide.
St. Mark’s Basillica: What an amazing place! Sadly the exterior was being renovated so the facade was mostly covered by scaffolding, but the inside was absolutely gorgeous.
Campanile: The clock tower right outside of St. Marks offers a stunning view of Venice and the lagoons. It also has an elevator to the top which after 2.5 weeks of walking and walking and walking was a nice change.
St. Mark’s Square: I have heard that on days when a bunch of cruise ships are docked it can be insanely crowded with tourists, but when we were there it was absolutely fine. I would recommend going to one of the famous cafes (Caffè Florian or Ristorante Quadri) after dinner, sitting outside for a drink or gelato, and listening to the “dueling orchestras.” Bonus points if you dance under the moonlight (we did)!
Bridge of Sighs: I will warn you, there are a lot of tourists who come to see this bridge but it is so very worth it. It is called the Bridge of Signs as folklore suggests that as newly convicted criminals would walk through it to prison, they would sigh as they took in their final view of beautiful Venice.
Castello Sestieri: This is the neighborhood that the real Venetians live. It is very quiet and quaint. You won’t see any gondolas, or really many tourists at all. It’s beautiful and fun to wander around and get lost.
Dorsoduro Sestieri: Another great neighborhood to walk around. Offers wonderful views and neat little shops that are must less touristy than those near St. Mark’s.
Punta Della Dogana: My favorite spot in Venice. If you walk to the eastern tip of the Dorsduro neighborhood you have an amazing view of Venice and the Grand Canal. We loved it so much we went every day we were in Venice (a 40+ min walk from our hotel). It was so peaceful to hang our legs over the edge with our toes in the water and watch the gondolas and boats go by. Be sure to stop in the famous Maria Della Salute church and save time to admire the amazing works of art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Gondola Ride: Of course this is touristy, but none the less we loved our experience so much. Our gondolier was so sweet (his name was Fabio and he had been a gondolier for more than 30 years), and it was so dreamy going down the tiny little canals and seeing the twilight light glitter off the water.
Dinner at Club Del Doge: I would be remiss if I didn’t include one of my favorite dining experiences ever. This restaurant is located in the famous Gritti Palace Hotel, and the restaurant has a large outdoor terrace right along the Grand Canal with a priceless view of Santa Maria Della Salute. It is incredibly elegant (waiters in white jackets, a pianist playing a Grand Piano), and sitting at our table watching the gondolas float by could not have been more romantic.