Best of Venice
Some cities are worth exploring over and over again.
I don’t think I could ever get enough of Berlin, Paris, or New York City. Does Venice belong on this list? I think it does. My recent trip reinforced this idea: I saw things I hadn’t a clue existed on my first trip, and came up with a list of things when I find myself wandering its streets once again.
You can read about some of these discoveries in my article for Luxury Travel Magazine ‘Discovering a Secret of Venice’. Hotel Ca’Sagredo infused a bit of history and elegance into my trip. Staying in a converted 15th century palazzo revealed what life would have been like for Venetian nobility.
If you’re heading to Venice, I’ve got 2 lists for you: popular attractions that are worth a look and unique things to do in Italy’s most mysterious city.
Popular Attractions worth a look:
1. Nico, for gelato: On a sunny day stroll across the Accademia Bridge and make your way through Dorsoduro to the edge of the Giudecca Canal. Here, located right behind the Zattere Vaporetto stop, you’ll find Nico, one of the most popular gelato spots in town. There’s almost guaranteed to be a line, and you can choose to order a couple scoops at the counter or sit down at a table to enjoy a sundae or coffee with your gelato. Saying the flavors is almost half the pleasure…stracciatella.. bacio..
2. Il Campanile, for one of the best views in town: Walking through Piazza San Marco, you might notice a line of people coming out of one of the buildings that’s not the Basilica. Or maybe you’ll get lucky and there won’t be a line for the elevator that will bring you 20 stories above the city for a mere 8 euro. You can linger as long as you like, and telescopes help you to make sense of the layout of the city. You might be surprised how canal-less the city looks from above.
3. Ride the Vaporetto: The expensive water buses provide quick, efficient transportation throughout the city. If you’re lucky enough to have a stop near your hotel, you’ll be glad at the end of a day walking and climbing over bridges. The savvy budget-traveler will take advantage of a Vaporetto pass. *These can be purchased online at least a week in advance of your trip for even further discounts* and can help to make the Vaporetto affordable. On my recent trip, I waited until my last 36 hours to purchase that pass – and enjoyed cruising the canal after days of walking.
Unique Things to do in Venice:
1. San Giorgio Maggiore, for a quiet, bird’s eye view of Venice: While you’re enjoying that ice cream cone from Nico, use your Vaporetto pass to cross the Guidecca Canal over to San Giorgio. The church here also has a belltower with great views looking across the canal at Piazza San Marco. From the Vaporetto, walk through the magnificent church and pay just 3 euro for a ride to the top. It is guaranteed to be less crowded than its neighbor in San Marco, and the views are spectacular. If you’re there at the top of the hour, be prepared for the bell to roar to life above you.
2. Follow in the steps of Indiana Jones at San Barnaba Church: X Never marks the spot, except at this church in Venice. If you’ve watched Indiana Jones and the last Crusade and wondered where in the city the church / library that Indy goes into, seeing it for yourself can be an exciting excursion. Located on Campo San Barnaba, close to the Ca’Rezzonico Vaporetto stop, this church looks exactly as it appears in the film. The inside of the church wasn’t used in the film, just the outside and the square. This is a pleasant place to start off your day with a coffee in the sunny square, right where Indy popped up from a storm drain.
3. Follow the locals to Fondamenta Della Misericordia: Some visitors never make it past Strada Nova in the Cannaregio district, but if you’re looking for affordable cuisine and a bit of nightlife, this is the place to head for. A long canal is home to a variety of restaurants and bars – offering reasonable meals (6-8 euro for appetizers, 15-20 euro for main dishes) with tables set along the quiet canal. Restaurant Paradiso Perduto is located here – and offers a canteen-style Venetian dining experience. Expect lots of fish, to share a table with boisterous groups, entertainment, and directions on where to find more nightlife when the restaurant closes.
Have a favorite ice cream flavor at Nico? Which belltower do you prefer the view from – San Marco or San Giorgio? Any favorite unique experiences of Venice? Share your experiences by posting below.