Favorite Places in Venice for Art, Food & Drink

 

Enjoy Venice like a Venetian

 

The Grand Canal is a splendor. But if you're curious about what's hidden in the dense neighborhoods beyond, you'll discover the joys of Venetian life. The morning calls by the gondoliers, a café in the sunny piazza, the lined-up delicious Cicchetti, a fuchsia sunset to raise your glasses to. And then wake-up in a Venetian-style room even with canal views.

 

"You can have the universe if I get Italy" Giuseppe Verdi

 

Venice Canale Grande, Piazza San Marco with Doge's Palace
Venice Canale Grande with Piazza San Marco and Doge's Palace
Giardino della Marinaressa during the Venice Art Biennale
Giardino della Marinaressa during the Venice Art Biennale
Restaurants at Venice Cannaregio Canal
Restaurants at Venice Cannaregio quarter

Anyone who escaped Venice' permanent “amazement mode”, who has made the journey through time to Tintoretto and the Doge's Palace without black plague and conflagrations, can relax and enjoy Venice like the Venetians.  

 

First of all stop for an ombra (a glass of wine) in one of the traditional bacari (wine taverns). This is celebrated at any time of the day, in the morning workers and market traders come by, later pensioners, students and the 'dottore'. The ombra includes cicheti (also cicchetti), Venice's famous appetizers. But more on that later. Let's take Venice easy and enjoy....

Wine transport boat Venice
Wine transport in Venice
Cannaregio quarter in Venice
In Cannaregio you are quickly away from the tourist stream
Parcel delivery service in car-free Venice
Parcel delivery service in car-free Venice

TIP. Venice from above - the best views 

  • Climb Venice's highest tower for views over the history-rich ensemble on St. Mark's Square – with luck to the ringing of the bells (most often on Sundays and holidays). The queue at Campanile di San Marco can be long. Online-Tickets give direct access to the bell tower without queuing (elevator available). Due to the crowds, the ticket is for a fixed time and non-refundable. 
  • An insider tip for the best Venice city panorama is the bell tower on San Giorgio Maggiore (Google Maps). The small island across from St. Mark's  Square is easy to reach with boat line 2, and it won't be very busy there! (Closed during Sunday mass, with elevator + entrance fee).
  • From the rooftop terrace in the luxury department store of Palazzo Fondaco dei Tedeschi. It offers an extraordinary panoramic view of the lagoon city, from the Grand Canal over the Rialto Bridge and roofs of Venice. Built in the 13th century as a trading house for German merchants, the palazzo has been transformed into a luxury department store after extensive renovation (buyer Benetton Group). Absolutely worth seeing, even for non-shoppers, is the redesign by star architect Rem Koolhaas, which has brought a new commercial splendor to the Palazzo. The commercial project is controversial, but without big investor money, many palazzi in Venice would have fallen into disrepair. (The roof terrace is free and online reservation requested, open daily 10h30 to 18h30, online reservation requested, info Google Maps).

 

Views from the Campanile at Piazza San Marco

View of Venice and Piazza San Marco from the church tower of San Giorgio Maggiore Island

 

View from the roof terrace of the shopping temple 'Fondaco dei Tedeschi' at Rialto

Must-Do's in Venice

  • Have the original Bellini drink in legendary Harry's Bar, where it was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1948. Original with the intense fruity aroma of white peach puree – in a great 'old Venice' atmosphere, where Hemingway liked to drink at the bar. In 1950, Cipriani invented the Carpaccio dish for a Comtessa who was not allowed to eat cooked meat and named it after the Venetian painter Carpaccio, known for his vivid reds.
  • Head to St. Mark's  Square early in the morning or at night. At this time you'll be almost alone on the square. Best to go after 11 p.m. or before 7 a.m. (Vaporetto boats start running around 6 a.m.). Spoiler alert: Feeding pigeons is strictly forbidden on St. Mark's  Square and costs a hefty fine of 500 Euros. 
  • Visit the Doge's PalaceWalk across the mysterious Bridge of Sighs, from which the prisoners sighed and looked towards freedom one last time on their way to the dark lead chamber. Only Casanova managed to escape, impressing many women. "My Escape from the Lead Chambers of Venice" Amazon* is an enjoyable little taste of Casanova's life, for those who don't dare to read his page-heavy memoirs (Amazon*).
  • Guided tour of San Marco Basilica & Doge's Palace bookable online and cancelable 24 hours in advance via Getyourguide.
  • Stroll through the famous Teatro La Fenice undisturbed, with a skip-the-line ticket (english audio guide).

For a Bellini at Harry's Bar Venice | St. Mark's Square at 7 am | the Bridge of Sighs on a night walk.

 

 

In St. Mark's Basilica without tourists!

 

Once inside the Basilica di San Marco, you'll be taken by the unique atmosphere of the silent church during service. Half an hour after the official closing time you can mingle with local churchgoers and take part in the service on every Sunday and public holiday. Take the entrance to the left Porta dei Fiori. Gatekeepers turn tourists away there, so signal that you want to pray. Don't appear like a tourist with backpack and camera, and don't walk around! This does not replace the guided tour with the Cathedral Museum, but it is a spiritual and special Venice experience.

 

  • Basilica di San Marco Services Sa / Sun in the nave – current times, also when the choir sings.
Service in the Basilica di San Marco Venice
Basilica di San Marco

 

Activities & Tickets. Local providers gather on Getyourguide with their activities as well as extensive ticket sales. They are easy to book and most can be canceled free of charge 24 hours in advance. From an airport transfer, water taxi or skip-the-line ticket to fancy things like a Stand-Up-Paddleboard-Tour* on the canals of Venice or a Burano glass blowing workshop. It's worth taking a look inside.

*Advertisement

Reiseliteratur Venedig

 

 

We present reading tips for VENICE on our book page.


 

SUSO Gelatoteca – my favorite ice cream in Venice

 

The line behind me is long and I can hardly decide. With so many creative ice cream flavors (all organic), you're spoiled for choice. Everything was heavenly: Pistachio Amarena, Opera, Moro di Venezia or Manet, the nougat ice cream with salty pistachio!  

Eat like the Venetians – good and inexpensive: Bacero, Ombra and Cicchetti

 

Another reason that always brings me back to Venice is the drinking and eating culture of the Venetians. Venice still maintains the wonderful tradition of the bàceri, the traditional wine tavern around the corner. After work, locals seek out their bacero for an aperitif, sometimes it's just a hole in the wall with a crowd in front of it. Here the neighborhood meets, acquaintances are greeted or said goodbye, the conversation is cheerful and relaxed with either Prosecco, Vino or various Spritz and Aperitif variations - and everything for little money and good quality.
Prosecco wine bar Al Merca Venice
Prosecco wine bar Al Merca Venice
Venice morning ritual cafe bar

 

The word ombra means shadow and dates back to the days when wine was sold from barrels in St. Mark's Square. To keep it cool, the merchants always followed the shadow of the bell tower.

 

Of course, Bacero have to go with Cicchetti. The bar counter is tantalizingly filled with these delicious, imaginative appetizers that I'd skip dinner for. Deliciously topped panini and crostini, appetizing antipasti, and then there are the little warm treats that make your mouth water: deep-fried little fish, stuffed squash blossoms, smoked tuna, spicy meat and fish balls (polpettine), stuffed rice balls, pickled vegetables, mussels, squid salad, tramezzini with crab meat, arugula or radicchio....

ALL'ARCO / San Polo. Each bacero has its specialty, at ALL'ARCO, hidden in an alley behind the Rialto market, for example, there are mainly sandwiches panini and crostini, but all very delicious! Topped with stockfish cream (baccala), sardines in saor, savory sfoglie di mozzarella, truffled mushrooms, small braised squid (folpeti). We just wanted a bite / nibble to go with the prosecco. Happy and elated / exhilarated we only leave the tiny place once we've tasted almost the entire Cicchetti counter.  

AL'ARCO a typical bacero in Venice for cicchetti
AL'ARCO a typical bacero in Venice

 

Enjoy Cicchetti at the Canale. Two great Cicchetti-Bars along the small Rio San Trovaso in 

 

CANTINONE GIA SCHIAVI. A good address for decidedly delicious cicchetti & crostini with artichoke cream, tartar sauce, baccala with truffle and much more. It is on a small canale by the bridge which we used to sit on, unfortunately this is now forbidden, probably it became too popular. Outside, drinks are only available in plastic cups, but inside it's also nice at the counter with an extensive selection of wines for sale.  

On Google Maps, 8h00 bis 20h30, Sunday closed. 

 

OSTERIA AL SQUERO. This small, equally popular cicchetti place also has a few tables inside, but it's best to stay outside with a view of the old Squero San Trovaso Gondola Wharf, which is also a landmark. After the international press (including the New York Times) has reported on the restaurant, often long lines are forming. Google Map, 11h to 21h30, closed Wednesday. 

  • Ferry dock Accademia or Zattere. Cicchetti bars on Fondamente Nani | Canale Rio San Trovaso.
CANTINONE GIA SCHIAVI Venice Cicchetti
Ciccheti & Wine at the Canale – CANTINONE GIA SCHIAVI
old gondola wharf opposite Osteria AL SQUERO Venice
The old gondola wharf opposite Osteria AL SQUERO

 

Simple & Good. Beautiful square on the canal at the church of San Nicola da Tolentino with two cicchetti bars in Santa Croce district

 

Bacareto da Lele / Santa Croce. The typical, simple stand-up bacaro. Gondolieres, workers and many young people like to stop in for a drink and panini on the corner at Bacareto da Lele at any time of the day. Prices are low. The tiny bar is located on the beautiful church square and Canale. Venice is still cheap here. Bacareto da Lele on Google Map.

Bacareto da Lele Panini Wine Bar, Santa Croce Venice
Bacareto da Lele Panini Wine Bar, Santa Croce Venice

Bacareto da Lele Panini Wine Bar, Santa Croce Venice
Bacareto da Lele. The typical, inexpensive stand-up bacaro is still around!

 

Arcicchetti Bakaro (Santa Croce) is the small bar right next door with even more tasty cicchetti. 

cicchetti bar santo croce venice
typical, cheap cicchetti bar in santo croce venice

My restaurant tips - the wonderful cuisine of Venice

 

Osterias have a broader offer, in addition to the cicchetti they serve the typical Venetian lagoon cuisine that you should definitely try. To name a few: Fried veal liver in broth (fegato alla veneziana), Schie e polenta (the tiny lagoon shrimp), frittura di pesce (fried seafood), bigoli in salsa (thick pasta in anchovy sauce), spaghetti al nero di seppia (with squid ink), 'con canoce' with mantis shrimp or the sarde in saor, sweet and sour pickled sardines with onions.

 

I have never had a bad meal during my 10 trips to Venice, you just have to know where. Without prior research, it is very easy to end up in a tourist trap. Restaurant owners make a good living from one-day-tourists, who at some point have to feed themselves in Venice.

 

  • During the summer holiday month of AUGUST, some restaurants may be closed!

 

Dalla Marisa serves simple, good lagoon cuisine.

Fish menu at Dalla Marisa, Venice
Fish menu at Dalla Marisa

TRATTORIA DALLA MARISA | Cannaregio District. After a full day on your feet, you will long for a leisurely dinner. Sitting by a romantic canal and on a warm summer evening for dinner is unbeatable. A favorite place we've been going to since our first visit to Venice is the quaint Trattoria DALLA MARISA on the quiet Canale di Cannaregio. In the meantime, the children have taken over the business, daughter Vanda works in the kitchen, has learned everything from mom and has not changed anything, thank god. The recipes and the menu order are unchanged. In the evening there is only one set menu at a fixed price (about 40€ p.p.) including the house wine, which comes in a carafe, either red or white, quite decent quality. We start with four great appetizers that all come together and just fit on the table: Baccala cod cream, raw marinated sea bass (great), stuffed mussels and braised musk octopus in a lovely sauce, served with polenta. This is followed by the Fish Lasagna and a portion of Frittura di Mare for two. I still manage the Vin Santo Mascapone cream with biscotti. Leaning back by the Canale, I am satisfied with the world.

 

  • Trattoria Dalla Marisa in Cannaregio. In the evening we always have the traditional fish menu. At lunch, Dalla Marisa has a daily changing menu of pasta, meat & fish dishes. Reservations are recommended. Closing days (may change): August vacations and Christmas. Location & info on Google Map.    Reservation +39 041 720211 or via the website Trattoria Dalla Marisa.

 

The perfect Fritto Misto

Al Covo has mastered the art of deep frying. No frozen goods, only freshly caught fish and seafood. Before frying, they put them in ice-cold sea water. Fritto Misto are processed in different ways, turned in flour or even egg or batter. At Da Romano on the island of Burano, they are briefly soaked in milk. In a good Fritto Misto, the breading is light and fluffy. 

 

AL COVO | Castello District. The Ristorante Al Covo belongs to the association of Slow Food chefs and is also a very good fish restaurant. Al Covo info on Google Map.

Fritto Misto at Al Covo Venice
Fritto Misto of the finest at Al Covo
Venedig Skulptur Schwimmerin
Schwimmerin – Kunst in Castello

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VINI DA GIGIO | Cannaregio. A small, typical Venetian restaurant of excellent quality. Always full, you sit comfortably with typical local dishes. The best products are skillfully processed here, so the prices are a bit higher. On the menu of the day are the sweet, wonderfully l grilled razor clams, the Venetian liver is exceptionally good and juicy tender the octopus salad. Excellent with the recommended white wine. The Vini da Gigio is tucked away in a quiet side street and is also popular with Venetians. 

 

  •  Menu Vini da Gigio Homepage / location Google Map, book early, tables inside only. Mon/Thu closed, on weekends 2 reservations 19h and 21:30 Tel. +39 041 528 514

 

ANTICO CALICE | San Marco. The traditional osteria Antico Calice specializes mainly in fish. We come to try the acclaimed mixed sea antipasti, which is rarely served fresher and more flavorful than in this restaurant. The bigoli all nero di seppia, generously portioned, are the best I've had, great ink sauce with lots of tender squid bits. One of the best places for fish lovers. The prices have gone up a bit, but the quality is still top notch.

  • Ferry Dock Rialto, Antico Calice on Google Map.
Seafood Appetizer at Antico Calice, Venice
Finest Seafood Appetizer at Antico Calice
Bigoli all nero di seppia venice, Antico Calice
Bigoli all nero di seppia
Slow-Food Trattoria Antico Calice, Venice
Slow-Food Trattoria Antico Calice

 

LA ZUCCA | Santa Croce. Trattoria La Zucca 'the pumpkin' makes for a pleasant change in Venice with its vegetarian dishes from seasonal produce. The veggies here are amazing, making you forget any meat, especially the pumpkin flan is a sweet and light revelation of unexpected rich flavor. Pasta with light gorgonzola dolce, radicchio or eggplant, fish and meat are also on the menu, great also the smoked mackerel with lemon potatoes. Very pleasant atmosphere, outside there are a few coveted tables by the small canal.

  • Ferry Dock San Stea, closed on Sundays. La Zucca info & location on Google Map.

 

 

CA D'ORO 'Alla Vedova' / Cannaregio District. This beautiful old trattoria has been a slow food place forever and is a Venice original. Here we like to stop for a prosecco accompanied by selected treats to enjoy from the antipasti & cicheti counter. The sit-down traditional dishes are solid and tastily prepared. Waiters rotate to handle the coming and going of guests. If you're looking for something to stop on the Strada Nuova shopping street, Ca D'Oro (also called to the widow 'alla Vedova') in the tiny side alley is a good option. When it’s closed, you might mistake it for a garage door. From the Ca D'Oro jetty, cross straight across Strada Nuova.

  • Tel +39 041 528 5324 Location & Info on  Google Map.
CA D'ORO 'Alla Vedora'  Cannaregio Venedig
Restaurant Ca D'Oro, "Alla Vedora" Venice
Restaurant Ca D'Oro, "Alla Vedora" Venice
Polpette meatballs with a glass of wine. Ca D'Oro 'Alla Vedora' Venice
Polpette meatballs with a glass of wine. Ca D'Oro 'Alla Vedora' hides in an alley

 

 

IL PARADISO PERDUTO | Cannaregio"The paradise has lost it"

Paradiso Perduto Venedig Restaurant, Canale Cannaregio
Il Paradiso Perduto.

Paradiso Perduto at  at Fondamenta Misericordia was a fixed point for us for many years. It seems that it became a victim of its own success. From a family atmosphere, it has turned into chaos. The rush is big, quality has gone down and prices up. More and more guests complain about long waits despite reservations, ordering and billing errors. A great pity. (Google Map).

 

A bar & ciccheti mile has developed along this beautiful canal in Venice. If you don't get a table sit down right on the canal bank with a glass of wine and cischetis.

 

A channel further above, Osteria Anice Stellato has long guaranteed good Slow Food quality at a slightly higher price. 

 

A secret hidden gem of Venice is not far.

The small 16th-century boatyard Squero Casal dei Servi houses a special museum. The non-profit Arzanà Association rescues historic gondolas and rowboats from certain destruction. Crammed with interesting finds, tools and instruments from boatyards and workshops, it can be visited on request ((as long as no new depot is found). See on the  Associazione Arzanà website. 

 

  • Squero Casal dei Servi. Cannareggio, Canal Misericordia/Calle Pignater, on Google Map.

Great Eats on the islands of Venice

 

TORCELLO ISLAND. Locanda Cipriani for atmosphere and history. 

Quietly situated in the northern lagoon, Torcello Island is 40 minutes by ferry from Venice. A green oasis still spared from modernity. Torcello is considered the cradle of Venice. Built in the 7th century there is the oldest church in the lagoon, the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta with a beautiful view from the bell tower. But for many Torcello means only one thing: Locanda Cipriani.

Garden Locanda Cipriani on Torcello
Garden of the Locanda Cipriani on Torcello

 

The rustic country inn with the dreamlike garden was already a refuge of Ernest Hemingway, who (of course) emptied many bottles of wine here with Giuseppe Cipriani. While the famous Hotel Cipriani and Harry's Bar belong to new owners, the Locanda Cipriani on Torcello is still run by the Cipriani family. Among the achievements of the Cipriani dynasty are the invention of the Carpaccio and Bellini cocktail. The Locanda has hosted the entire English royal family, Winston Churchill, Audrey Hepburn and Charlie Chaplin. The decor and atmosphere are reminiscent of a trattoria from another era. The cuisine is traditional and uses only best ingredients (also menus), the herbs come from Cipriani's garden where roses, oleanders, dahlias and pomegranates bloom magnificently. The in-house bakery offers a wide selection of pastries and cakes every day. Lunch at this romantic spot can easily become an a day-long affair.

 

  • Locanda Cipriani. (info & reviews Google Map). Reservations are essential. The six hotel rooms are often reserved. Get there by vaporetti, changing once in Burano. 

 

 

BURANO ISLAND TRATTORIA AL GATTO NERO

If you visit the small island with the colorful houses, you should stop for lunch at Al Gatto Nero, where you can sit idyllically by the small canal. On the island, of course, the fish cuisine dominates. If you don't have a reservation, you can try your luck before 1 pm.

Burano Island Shellfish Plate Al Gatto Nero Restaurant
On Burano for lunch at Al Gatto Nero

 

 

To Burano for the Risotto. Trattoria DA ROMANA. The traditional restaurant on Burano's market square is an institution, popular with tourists, and it keeps its quality. Famous is their risotto. A distinct specialty of Burano is the risotto de gò. Made from the small goby fish from the lagoon which in our climes serves more as bait fish, the risotto is very tasty here! Still al dente and yet creamy, just perfect. Risotto di pesce Romano, agli scampi or nero di seppie. Trattoria Da Romano info on Google Maps.

 

Osteria La Perla Ai Bisatei - Burano. You feel at home in this honest tavern like from the old times, also villagers like to come by. There is an impeccable and well prepared Venetian lunch menu at pleasant prices. Braised cod, sardines in saor, frittura mista. The house wine is good to drink, the service is straightforward and friendly. Outside, you sit on Campo S. Bernardo. At lunchtime, this place is buzzing. Open only from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday off. See on Google Maps.

Frittura mista of Osteria La Perla Ai Bisatei on Burano
Frittura mista of Osteria La Perla Ai Bisatei on Burano

Staying in Venice – our hotel favorites

Venetian chandelier venice travel blog

 

The range of accommodation in Venice is immense. Our favorites help with the search, which can be endless. Always returning, I like to discover a new accommodation, a new neighborhood. 

 

TIP. AN EXQUISITE BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN VENICE 

 

Charming House DD724. A Venetian haven.

This little gem in an enviable location and with only six rooms is tucked away just steps from Peggy Guggenheim Museum. It is an ideal place to retreat after a day exploring the wonders of Venice. A discreet sign leads to the tiny entrance of the intimate boutique hotel. Guests are greeted by a modern interior with surprising detail, always stylish and never intrusive. A pleasant atmosphere is created in every room. The rooms have an undeniably high comfort, from the lamps to the super-comfy bed and gorgeous linens, state-of-the-art technology and fast free Wi-Fi. Almost all have views of a small canal or the gardens of Peggy Guggenheim (like Room G). A suite room is also suitable for 3 guests. A nice start to the day is a good breakfast in the cozy hall. In the artistic neighborhood of Dorsoduro you'll discover galleries, art museums, trattorias, and two of Venice's best cicchetti bars. Just a short walk across the Accademia Bridge, and you're in the bustle of San Marco. Service is excellent, and an incredibly helpful staff will welcome you. Charming indeed.

 

  • Dorsoduro, Vaporetto dock Accademia. Charming House DD724 offer and reviews on Booking.com.
Boutique Hotel Venice Charming House 724 Dorsoduro
Charming House with the house number DD724 in Dorsoduro

 

 

TWO BEAUTIFUL HOTELS NEAR THE BIENNALE 

 

In Castello District. Design Hotel Indigo Venice Sant'ElenaIdeal for the Biennale visit, this beautiful hotel is located in the former monastery far from Venice's hustle and bustle. The cloister garden with chaise longues invites you to relax. Interior design and rooms are pleasing retro chic, and breakfast is very good. They have a lovely bar and the restaurant "Savor". It's a 30-minute walk to St. Mark's Square or you hop on the vaporetti dock at Sant'Elena. My hotel choice for the Biennale visit. Offer and reviews on Booking.com 

Design Hotel Indigo Venice Sant'Elena
Design Hotel Indigo Venice Sant'Elena (photos Booking.com)

 

 

Ca' di Dio – Small Luxury Hotel. A palazzo opens its doors. 

Venice's luxury hotels have grown. In the artsy Castello district halfway between St. Mark's Square and the Art Biennale, this five-star hotel has plenty of local character and a prime location. The old Venetian palace received a new guise and flawless 21st century update. Architect Patricia Urquiola mixed unique traditional pieces with a modern twist. You feel like you're in a chic Venetian living room. The former chapel has become an impressive lobby with a Murano chandelier made of 14,000 glass crystals. In its three peaceful courtyards, pilgrims found peace centuries ago. From the promising restaurant VERO and from the two roof terraces you can admire the lagoon. "Gin al Sale" is the name of the gin created exclusively for Ca' di Dio, member of the 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World'. A hotspot for design lovers in a historic place.

  • Reviews and range of rooms offered on Booking.com. Castello district, ferry stop Arsenale.
Ca' di Dio Venice hotel lobby
Ca' di Dio hotel lobby
Ca' di Dio Venice Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Ca' di Dio – fabulous Italian design

 

 

TIPS FOR TYPICAL VENETIAN HOTELS (at modest prices) 

Often small hotels and guesthouses are quietly located along a small canal.

 

In Cannaregio. Alla Vite Dorata. A small, very sympathetic house on a small quiet canal. The rooms are restored with beautiful beamed ceilings, have everything you need, air conditioning, Wifi and minibar. Some rooms have canal views right from the bed, like our "Red Room". Breakfast is above average for Venice with a table even on the small terrace on the Canale.

  • Alla Vita Dorata with reviews on Booking.com. Ca D'oro ferry stop. 

 

 

In Cannaregio. Locanda Ca Le Vele. Very neat and charming 6 rooms on the 1st floor with a courtyard, windows facing the canal, in a small side street, breakfast is even brought to the room. Book early.

  • Ferry stop at Ca D'oro, Locanda Ca Le Vele via Booking.com see reviews.

 

 

In Cannaregio. Combo Venezia is a Boutique-Style Hostel in the former restored Convento dei Crociferi monastery, with a large courtyard and basic, modern rooms. It offers studios, doubles, and shared rooms at relatively reasonable rates. It is located on the lovely Campo dei Gesuiti just 10 minutes from the Rialto. 

See on Booking.com

In Cannaregio. Combo Venezia boutique style hostel
Combo Venezia Boutique-Style Hostel

 

 

In Dorsoduro. Locanda Cà Zose is on a small canal with pretty Venetian-style rooms, some have canal views (photo of the red Junior Suite), great location for the Peggy Guggenheim and Punta Della Dogana Museum, book early! Salute ferry stop. Offers and reviews on Booking.com.

Booking.com

Venice for the Art Biennale

James Lee Byars 'The Golden Tower' am Canal Grande Venedig
James Lee Byar 'The Golden Tower' Biennale 2017

The BIENNALE regularly draws me to the lagoon city, usually for the Art Biennale, which alternates biannually with the Architecture Biennale (from May-November). As one of the largest contemporary art shows in the world, it is reason enough to keep drawing visitors - and you don't have to be an art expert to be entertained. The Venice Art Biennale has been held every two years since 1895, alternating with the Architecture Biennale from mid-May to late November. In the easternmost, quiet district of Castello are the two main venues Giardini (large garden area with the country pavilions) and Arsenale (old naval arsenal). Reserve two days for visiting both, leave enough time for other art discoveries and relaxation phases. 

 

  • After 2022, next Art Biennial in 2024 from late April to late November. Exact date see Biennale Website. 
  • Biennale tickets are 25 euros and are valid for a single visit to both exhibition venues (closed Mondays).
  • We particularly recommend the accompanying exhibitions, which are spread throughout Venice with free admission! 
Swimmer at the Giardini Art Biennale Venice
Swimmer at the Giardini Art Biennale Venice

 

Must see – art with a view into private palazzi

It is not uncommon for the external (and free) Biennale exhibitions to be housed in churches or old private palaces rented out by the owners, since few can really afford the cost of maintenance. Just to get into these residences is worth a visit and sometimes feels like traveling back in time to medieval Venice. The rooms breathe history and their furniture, wallpaper, floor mosaics or wall paintings are witnesses of time. And sometimes you get a whole new view of the Grand Canal.

  • The map of all the art venues around the Biennale is available in any of the exhibitions.

 

Private palazzo as exhibition venue at biennale Venice
A private palazzo as an exhibition venue for the Venice Biennale

My favorite Restaurants in Castello near the Biennale 

 

Art is exhausting, you need a break! If you're looking for more than the expensive snacks at the Biennale cafes, there are a few alternatives for lunch within walking distance.

 

For a quick bite or lunch on Via Garibaldi

  • Break in the Park. The Coop supermarket on the large Via Garibaldi (Map) has an antipasti counter and everything for sandwiches. Nearby are benches in the shady park avenue Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi by the monument. 
  • If you want to treat yourself to something proper, check out the menu at Nevodi on Garibaldi with modern Venetian cuisine (Google Map). Also, we had a pretty good pasta vongole for lunch at Il Nuovo Galeon

Photos  NEVODI / Castello

 

 

My favorite is OSTERIA DA PAMPO south of the Giardini | Castello District

For a relaxing Biennale break. It's wonderful to sit outside  in a quiet alley in the Osteria da Pampo with really good Venetian classics, such as the sea Fritto misto, Sarde in saor or the Baccala. Sometimes there is also trippa (tripe). Tables outside, make a reservation, only cash payment. Google Map, phone +39 041 520 8419.

 

 

TRATTORIA DA JONNY | Castello District

It may sound like a tourist spot, but it's not. The trattoria serves creative Venetian cuisine at more upscale prices. The menu makes you want more next time: risotto with leeks and calamar, baccalà with crispy bacon on polenta, mini octopus with chickpea cream and rosemary. In addition to bottle wines, there is also the good house wine.

  • Away from the crowds, table outsides, 10min walk to the Biennale/Arsenale. Trattoria da Jonny  on Google Maps.
Pulpo Salad Trattoria Jonny Venice
Wonderful Octopus Salad from Trattoria Jonny

 

Venice Finds!

 

Venice's Communist Party. Despite overflowing commercialism and tourism, they still are there!  Venice's Communist Party can be found in the Castello district. Not far from the 'Arsenale' entrance to the Biennale. Rifondazione Comunista on Google Map.

Venice Street with laundry in Castello

 

Refrigerated shelves under frescoes. 

Probably the most beautiful Spar supermarket in the world has moved into the former 'Teatro Italia'. To save the jewel from decay, the operator and the owner have each invested 2.5 million euros in the restoration of the theater palace. Despar Teatro Italia in Cannaregio, on Google Map.

 

The Libreria Acqua Alta is prepared when acqua alta, Venice floods are coming in. Bathtubs and boats serve as shelves. A cozy, unconventional bookstore with second-hand books, unique exhibits and resident cats. Near St. Mark's Basilica, info on Google Maps.

Venice for an aperitif – popular meeting places for locals

Bar Rosa Salva near the church Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice
Bar Rosa Salva at Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo also has the best pastries
Venice bars Canal Fondamenta Nani in Dorsoduro
Venice small standing bars for aperitif on Canale Fondamenta Nani in Dorsoduro

 

'Aperitif strip' at the Canale in Cannaregio

 

In Cannaregio, people like to take their aperitifs outside at the Fondamenta Misericordia with small appetizers, for example at Vino Vero (good wines) or at the Birreria Zanon or Bar Al Timon. They are lined up along the idyllic canal, the aperitif mile of young Venetians (location Google Map), one of the most beautiful canals to sit along in Venice. Along the long canal bank with its small bridges, families chug by in their boats, stopping for a chat and ordering a Spritz. No longer an insider tip, but a nice Venetian place to spend the evening.

 

One canal further up north, on the Rio della Sensa, things are a bit quieter. There is the good, slightly higher-priced Osteria Stellato with tables on the canal (Google Maps).

 

Venice Bars on the canale Cannaregio
Bars and restaurants line the canale in Cannaregio
Vino Vero Venice wine bar Cannaregio
At Vino Vero just before closing time

 

An aperitif or one for the road we have enjoyed in the friendly Bar El Sbarlefo on the way to the Hotel Alla Vita Dorata. Great wines, drinks and cicchetti, accompanied by soft jazz and blues (Map in Cannaregio).

 

Venetian Aperitif at the Rialto market 

This Al Mercà is a hole in the wall, so to speak, and you stand with your drink on Campo Battisti Bela Vienna. Here you can find a good selection of wines mainly from Veneto, Friuli and Alto Adige, and excellent sandwiches. At cocktail time, the place is filling up and the man behind the tiny counter is churning out Campari soda, Spritz and Prosecco. In the late morning, the market people come by. Ferry Stop Mercato Rialto, closed on Sunday, infos Bar Al Mercà on Google Maps.

Bar Al Merca Piazza, Venice
At Al Merca people meet for an Aperitivo

 

Aperitivo time at the Fondamenta Zattere

 

At the small kiosk of the Bar El Chioschetto (Map) locals gather every evening for a spritz or aperitif with a view over the surging canal to the beautiful Guidecca, while mega yachts pass by.

My tip for you: Get a quick supply at the antipasti counter in the nearby CONAD markert – and then settle down by the water.

  • There is good ice cream at the Fondamenta Zattere at GELATI NICO (Google Map).
  • For a pizza. At the restaurant OKE VENEZIA you should concentrate on their pizza. The Italians like to come here when they feel like a pizza (fair prices, Map).
 Bar El Chioschetto Fondamenta Zattere Venice
Bar El Chioschetto Fondamenta Zattere
Yachts and sailors at Fondamenta Zattere Venice
Yachts and sailors at Fondamenta Zattere Venice

Venice Arrival – Parking – Getting Around

Water Taxi Venice Airport
Arrive Venice in style by water taxi

Getting around Venice by Vaporetto boat (urban water transport including islands of ACTV). You buy the ticket for 1-2-3 or 7 days. It must be scanned for each trip! Available at the airport, train station or upon arrival at Piazzale Roma before boarding the vaporetto boat. There are also vending machines at major stops.

  • Buying ACTV time tickets online in advance. As a voucher, which must be printed out and redeemed at the ticket office on site. Buses from the mainland, e.g. Mestre are included. Children up to 6 years free.
  • Also available via GetyourGuide, from a 3 day-ticket it can be canceled 24 hours in advance. 
  • The only boat line to/from Venice Airport is Alilaguna, not to be confused with the city's ACTV boats. 
  • Reader tip: With the vaporetto ticket you can travel via the Lido to Chiogga (The Little Venice) for the Thursday market! 
Venice Online Map
Click Venice map to enlarge

Venice Vaporetto urban boat service
Vaporettos are used on Venice's waterways

 

From Marco Polo Airport into Venice

  • By bus. From the airport with the  ACTV Aerobus Bus,  30 minutes to Venice Piazzale Roma or by  ATVO Airport Express Bus in 20 minutes.
  • Road taxi airport to Piazzale Roma 30min, from about 40€.
  • Nicer by private water taxi.  The most beautiful way is to approach Venice by water. Quick and easy and the most stylish way is by private water taxi from the airport to the hotel, a 44 minute treat and perhaps better than a gondola ride. Private water taxi online booking cancel up to 24 hours. 
  • Cheaper is a shared water taxi, but possibly longer waiting time (1 or 2 boats run per hour), service between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. 
  • Booking online tickets for all kind of Venice transports, offered via Getyourguide.
  • With the public ship. (Alilaguna, single trip 15€). The cheapest boat transfer is a long ride, can be enjoyable when the boat isn't filled. Departing every 30-60 minutes and with many stops - for example to St. Mark's Square it takes about 75-90 minutes, ticket sales in the airport arrival hall. 
  • Transport to/from Airport Venedig (official website).

 

Parking & garages in Venice. The drive ends at Piazzale Roma in Venice. 

  • The cheapest parking is still on the mainland in Mestre (see car parks ), e.g. near the  train station, from there continue by train in 15 minutes directly to Venice Santa Lucia station on the Grand Canal, trains leave every 10-15min until 22:45.
  • Most central, directly in Venice are the large parking garages Piazzale Roma und Garage San Marco (both with online reservations). 
  • Overview of  parking garages in Venice & Mestre.
  • Venice Parking Tronchetto is slightly cheaper and is located at the entrance to Venice,  from where you can directly change to the vaporetto boat. 

 

By train directly to Venice to Santa Lucia train station. From there you can board the vaporetto boat directly towards your accommodation. Good long-distance train connections , super cheap if you book well in advance. (e.g. from Vienna or Munich to Venice by night train with sleeping compartment).

 

Good restaurant near the station! 

Before we get on the train home from Venice train station, we regularly head straight for the Trattoria Bar Pontini (Google Map) with our trolley case. Here we had some of the best seafood bigoli in a lovely sauce. Other dishes tried were also really good, as was the price. You should not be irritated by the many Korean guests, the reason is a Korean food blog that brings everyone here, and the host offers them free wifi! The Pontini has a few tables outside on the Canale, +39 041 714123

 

Must see culture tips. Modern Art Museums on the Grand Canal

Museums of modern art Punta della Dogana Venice
Exquisite art and architecture can be found at the tip of Venice - Museum Punta della Dogana

 

World-class contemporary art on the Grand Canal.

 

Fashion luxury conglomerates like to act as patrons of the arts, like François Pinault (Gucci, Brioni, Saint Laurent, etc.) with his two outstanding museums Palazzo Grassi & Punta della Dogana.

The Punta della Dogona museum is located in the former customs office and an experience alone because of its redesign by star architect Tadao Ando and its special location at the tip next to Santa Maria della Salute, the church commemorating the plague epidemic (on Google Map).

  • Both museums are closed on Tuesday, buy the combined ticket for both museums. 

 

The Fondazione Prada in the Palazzo Ca' Corner della Regina on the Canale Grande always has good exhibitions of contemporary art. It is worth to look at the program.

 

Punta della Dogena Museum Venice
Punta della Dogena Damien Hirst exhibition in 2017
Museum Palazzo Grassi Venice
Museum Palazzo Grassi

 

The Guggenheim Museum Venice – A class of its own

 

Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice is one of the first museums in Europe dedicated to modern art. Permanent exhibition of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the striking and beautiful white villa on the Grand Canal (Google Map). Peggy Guggenheim, who had an unerring sense of art, gathered around her the art avantgarde of the 20th century. She was married to the German painter Max Ernst for 5 years. In addition to the permanent collection, there are current special exhibitions.

Guggenheim Museum Venice Canale
The Guggenheim Museum Venice
Biography Peggy Guggenheim

 

I have no regrets! The extraordinary life of Peggy Guggenheim

 

The best and most entertaining biography of the fascinating as well as eccentric Peggy Guggenheim, who made a splash as an art collector and gallerist. She generously supported many talents including some lovers with her fortune. An emancipated personality with an exciting life in intellectual high society. 

 

Her father died when the Titanic sank. She was married to Max Ernst for several years, Samuel Becket was her lover. In Venice she had fallen in love forever, bought the Palazzo on the Grand Canal in 1949 and moved in (today's Peggy Guggenheim Museum.  Amazon* (*promotional link)

 

 


Venice museums Piazza San Marco

The Venice Phenomenon

It amazes me every time again how quiet this city is. This is due to the lack of car traffic, because even the cruise giants glide silently along the waterways. Stressed minds come to rest in Venice. All you have to do is avoid the crowded places: around St. Mark's Square, the Rialto Bridge and the gateway Piazzale Roma - and by no means come to Venice's Carnival (an invention for the tourists). On New Year's Eve, on the other hand, the Italians come and toast the New Year in St. Mark's Square. 

 

There are enough quiet corners, just a few streets or canals further, souvenir shops and international chain stores are no longer to be found. The city is divided into six districts 'Sestiere', the house numbers, often four-digits, are numbered here not per street, but quarters, sometimes we lose ourselves in a labyrinth of alleys until we have found our restaurant 

 

Always take enough time to "get lost" for new discoveries on the way to your goal.

 

The current population of Venice we can be seen on the display at the Morelli Pharmacy (Map) on Campo San Bartolomeo. Last time it was under 53,000. Connected to the Residents' Registration Office, it shows in real time the registered inhabitants of Venice. More and more Venetians have to move to the less expensive mainland. The downside of tourism.

 

Text: Edel Seebauer  | Photos: Jürgen Mahler

 

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