As you may have guessed, I just returned from a really enjoyable 6 day stay in Venice. I write this post because I believe Venice has the undeserved reputation of being a place you don't want to stay for more than a a day. I believe it's because most American tourists may stay near the San Marco Square area...which I hated. It was so busy and so commercial that I wanted to hurry away every time we happened to be in that neighborhood.
Instead, we stayed on the far side of the Grand Canal across the Accademia bridge in Dorsoduro. The area is much more residential. That's how I like it! I know I'm a tourist, but I don't want to hang out in a sea of tourists. I like to experience "real life", and glimpse how the natives live when possible. If you're like me, and looking for some authentically fun things to do in Venice, then you may want to try some of these ideas... I'm hoping to share these with my group next year!
MY TOP TEN FUN THINGS TO DO IN VENICE:
1. Take a Vaporetto Tour- get a seat onboard a Vaporetto and see the city from it's best angle. If you buy a ticket for an extended tour, you can ride for as long as you'd care to and see a lot of the city. Water taxis or vaporetti, (try getting on No. 1 at Piazzale Roma or even No. 2 lines) have sheltered outdoor seating areas in the back and sometimes in the bow. Experienced Venetian guides recommend taking No. 1 at night because it zigzags across the Grand Canal for 45 minutes from Piazzale Roma to San Marco, and allows you to go beneath the Rialto Bridge and peek inside to see the decorated ceilings and chandeliers of the historic palaces that line the canal.
2. Hop on Board the Traghetto- For 2 Euros you can ride in a gondola across the Grand Canal. It's fast and its fun. The one we rode was just down the street from the Guggenheim Art Collection (toward Santa Maria della Salute and away from Accademia Bridge).
3. Go to a Vivaldi Concert- The group Interpreti Veneziani holds concerts at the Chiesa Di San Vidal (the church of San Vidal- very near the Accademia Bridge and Vaporetto Station and not far from San Marco Square) They have a really exuberant showy style of playing their string instruments and are accompanied by harpsichord. Hearing the music in the setting for which it was composed was fabulous!
4. Have a Bicherin at Gelateria Paolin at Campo S. Stefano. It's a yummy coffee/chocolate/cream concoction that is unique and worth trying!
5. Go to the Venice Jazz Club- Near Campo San Barnaba- Ponte die Pugni. They are closed Thursday and Sunday and have a nice evening show they put on. Get tickets in advance since the club is small. Despite this, we were able to get 20 Euro tickets for the same night and really enjoyed it. Click this Link to the Venice Jazz Club
6. Take a Gondola Ride- for 80 Euros you can split the cost among as many people as you'd like to cram into your Gondola. It's one of those things you may regret NOT doing if you leave without hopping on board.
7. See Murano and Burano
Click this link to read & see photos of our trip to Murano and Burano
8. Experience the Zattere Promenade- Have dinner/cocktail on the Zatteré. Take a stroll. We loved it at sunset...we loved it in the morning. This is a beautiful promenade and has a great view. Our favorite meal was on the terrace at Ristorante Terrazza del Casin Dei Nobile. We had a wonderful Sea Bass with Pomegranates and Roasted Pumpkin Slices. I also enjoyed the Salmon/Tuna Stack.
9. Campo San Barnaba- Ristoteca Oniga is yummy and it's right around the corner from the Jazz Club.
10. See the Peggy Guggenheim Collection- This Museum houses a fabulous collection of great early 20th Century Contemporary Modern Artists. The museum is in what was once the home of Peggy Guggenheim, and I loved spending the morning there. I really enjoyed the audio tour. It took me 2.5 hours to see it all in a leisurely fashion.
11. San Marco Square- Even though it doesn't make my "top 10", I include it because you have to see it at least once. It's a great place to people watch. If you'd like you can feed the pigeons (though technically you're not supposed to do it). You can also experience the beauty of the square, but know that you'll probably pay over 20-30 Euros for a cocktail at the bars there. High tide can cause the square to flood, but they put out logs to use as "stepping stones". Hopefully the restoration will be complete before long and allow you to see it in it's full glory.
One of my favorite paintings of this beautiful church is below- by Steve Rogers