Venice you have to visit for sure at least once in your life. It’s a unique city with a dash of magic. Every view you see in Venice is like from a postcard and worth taking a picture. It is not my favorite city, because sometimes it is a bit too much and experience looks a bit fake, but definitely it’s special on its own way.
Gondola canal tour
I know that it is not a unique activity in Venice, but for sure it is special. I loved seeing the whole city from the water, how they manage to have the same services, but on the water like taxi, ambulance, post services and so on. If you travel during Summer then it’s a nice activity to cool down and admire those beautiful Italian houses. It can sound a bit pricey to pay 60 – 80 eur for gondola, but it is the price for the whole gondola which you can share with about 6 people.
Venetian Carnival and masks shops
The most popular event in Venice is annual Venetian carnival. It is said that the carnival started from a victory against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico di Treven in 1162. Venetian people just started dancing and gather in San Mark’s Square, which is the biggest and only place where to gather in Venice. This festival became official in the Renaissance period. In the baroque the carnival was a way to show the prestigious image of Venice in the world. Masks at first were used by Venetian gamblers and prostitutes who were seeking for anonymity, although by the 18th century it was banned outside carnival time. An interesting fact which I found out about Venetian carnival is that the Great Council made it a crime for people who are wearing masks to throw scented eggs. Scented eggs? What? Sounds kinda disguising, but it’s not. Venetian carnival always been a way of flirting and getting guy and a girl together. These ovi odoriferi were eggshells that were filled with rose water perfume, and by young men tossed at young women they had their eye on. So don’t miss the carnival masks shops, you will be surprised how original those masks can get.
Realto bridge and market
As I always say to experience Italy you have to experience the food and what is the better experience of food than a market with fresh fish, meat, pasta, vegetables, fruits. It’s impossible to keep you phone in your pocket while wondering around because the view there is worth taking a picture. Also, the market has a wonderful bridge which you just have to admire for a moment.
Visit Casanova in jail and Doge’s Palace
Do you remember Casanova? His seduction was the ultimate expression of Venetian flirt. Unfortunately, he ended up in the Doge’s Palace jail which you can visit and see his cell on a palace tour. Also, Doge’s Palace is a huge deal in Venice, if you have at least one extra day then visit it for sure. It has a rich history and in some time in the history it took an important part in political life and public administration. Check more about it here.
Address: Piazza San Marco, 1, Venezia
St. Marco Square
This is the most popular and the only gathering place in Venice, which is almost the first thing you see when you reach Venice and mostly the reaction of the people who see it for the first time is “Wow it’s so beautiful!!!”. This square is really something special and the buildings which surrounds it looks gigantic.
Basilica of San Marco
This is the Basilica which is in the San Marco square, the biggest and the most beautiful. The queues usually are really long to get inside, although you shouldn’t skip it. The church’s exotic shapes and gold mosaics make it a symbol of Venice’s wealth and power.
Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore
Why this bookstore is unique? Well, as you probably heard sometimes during especially spring, water level rises in Venice, so some streets is flooded and this bookstore is nor exception. As you all know water for the paper means complete destruction. Although this bookstore is perfectly prepared for the water and they keep their books in the furniture which protects from water like gondola, rowboats, waterproof bins or even bathtubs. Also, they have a staircase made of books! Definitively, check it out. Read more about it in Justin + Lauren blog.
Island of Murano
Venice has its unique glass art which you can see in any glass shop or going to the Island of Murano. It is famous for glass furnaces, and many are free to visit. Enjoy watching local artists spin molten glass into wonderful shapes.
Address: Murano island
Island of Burano
A colorful Burano island is the furthest island away from the center of Venice, although it is worth the journey. To stroll among its bright colored houses and pick up some handmade lace is one of the most traditional things to do in magnificent Venice.
Address: Burano island
When I talk about Italy I always talk about Italian food as well, because it is one of the most exciting experiences in Italy, trying their traditional and high quality food. I love what one city guide told me “if you want to try good Italian food then you have to walk at least 20 minutes from any touristic place t to any direction and if you find a restaurant where are only Italians then it is a place for you”. The sad true is that the more touristic restaurant is the worse quality meals they make. Every region has it’s own traditional meals and it also depends on the season so make sure to check what to taste before traveling. Of course try gelato, tiramisu, pasta and pizza.
The experience in Venice can be not kind to your wallet. It’s a really touristic city which basically lives from tourism so on any possible step you will have to pay. My guide recommended to skip touristic restaurants, because you will have to pay additional strange charges and your bill can get double or even more. Especially, skip dinner at Sant Marco Square, the prices are super too much, even for a touristic place. Read more about “Non Stop Destination” experience while having the drinks there. Also, check my blog post “Things to expect in Italy”.
Venice is a known city for wander around without a destination. Do that during the day and the night and you will be inspired. City by day is a tourist machine, but at night it changes. Streets become emptier and quieter, but still magnificent. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and every bridge, street, and house take your breath away.