It’s virtually impossible to see what Venice has to offer in one visit alone, so we have compiled a few ideas to make sure you make the most of your City break…
1.The perfect start – enjoy an aperativo or cocktail!
To enjoy Venice, start with an aperativo. The Spritz (Campari or Aperol with wine and mineral water) is a tradition of Veneto and you will find most bars serving this during the early evening. Join the locals in the Peschiera district, which has some great bars and views over the Grand Canal. For something alternative, try the Ghetto (Jewish quarter), which is popular with students and arty things and full of quirky bars. And for something more upmarket, try the typical cocktail Bellini (fresh peach and sparkling wine) - there is no better place than Harry’s Bar in the San Marco quarter for this!
2. Browse through the hustle and bustle of the markets…..
Open-air markets are held in various squares every day except Sundays – if you are staying in a self-catering apartment, then you will be spoilt for choice with fresh fruit and veg at Campo Santa Margherita and Campo Santa Maria Formosa and the Peschiera market near Rialto should not be missed. The huge market at Rialto itself is bustling with activity and has a fantastic array of goods on sale. It was through this market alone that Venice earned its reputation one as the bazaar of Europe!
3. Simply relax and watch the world go by…
It may be touristy and crowded but there is no denying the uniqueness of St Mark’s Square. There is still no better place than to sit at one of the squares Cafés, watch the world go by and listen to an orchestra try Café Florian, a chic café which has been around since 1720. If you are looking for peace and quiet, then there’s no better place than accommodation with a balcony or terrace, where you can enjoy your breakfast ‘al fresco’.
4. Pack your swimming costume and visit the beach….
Many people may not be aware that Venice Lido is a beach resort only 20 minutes from the City centre by boat! Once Italy’s smartest bathing resort, Venice Lido still hold its own with palm tree lined boulevards, chic cafés and hotels and large expanses of groomed beaches.
5. Go shopping for something absolutely fabulous…..
As you would expect in Italy, most of the top flight Italian designers can be found in Venice. For those searching for some glamour, look no further Calle Larga XXII Marzo and surrounding streets, where you will find Missoni, Maxmara, Gucci, Armani, Prada, Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana amongst others.
6. Marvel at the history of the City….
Venice has its fair share of museums, which may not be high on every visitors list but it would be a travesty not to visit the Palazzo Ducale (Doges palace). This is unquestionably one of the finest buildings of its era and the central building of Venice, which was home to its former law courts, councils and even prisons. Allow at least a couple of hours and expect to be wowed by the magnitude of the building and the paintings and artefacts it houses.
7. Enjoy the favours of the cuisine….
Eating in Venice can be very expensive as the City does house some of the best restaurants in Italy but it is also possible to find some excellently priced food. Expect to see a large variety of seafood on the menu and typical Venetian staple dishes such as Risotto, Polenta, Pasta e fagioli (bean and pasta soup) and liver and onions (Fegato alla Veneziana). La Caravella on Calle Larga XXII Marzo offers excellent food, Al Montin located in the tiny backstreets of Accademia is a real find and for something more reasonable (and downright quirky), try Al Nonno Risorto in San Polo. For those looking for that something special, the Locanda Cipriani on the island of Torcello is magnificent!
8. Indulge yourself in art….
Venice is home to Europe’s most glamorous international forum for contemporary art (Venice Biennale), so expect to see a presence throughout the City. Art lovers will be spoilt for choice with a great selection of galleries. For those with a mild interest, there is no better place than spending a couple of hours wandering around the arty quarter of Accademia, where you will find the Guggenheim Modern Art Gallery.
9. Escape from the City and explore the islands….
Venice can often by busy, so if you are looking for some open space, a day out on the lagoon can be the perfect remedy. There are many islands surrounding the City but Murano is certainly worth a visit. This quaint island is well known for its glass blowing industry and there is a great collection of work on display in its main museum. It is also possible to visit workshops and factories and see the glass being made infront of you. The island of Burano is also worth a visit. This picture postcard perfect island is full of pretty multi-coloured houses and little fishing boats.
10. Take a Motoscafo and do it in style….
The City transport boats (Vaporetti) are an easy and reasonable way of accessing the City but many routes are often congested. For those who cringe at the thought of a Gondola, there is no better way to get around than with a private taxi (Motoscafo). Take one from the airport and arrive in style or simply hire one for a couple of hours and ask the owner for a tour. Sit back, put your sunglasses on and feel like an ‘A’ list star for the day!
And not forgetting the accommodation – for a range of apartments to rent in Venice, to make your stay even more special, click here.