Getting to know Venice
What you can do for free in Venice
1. Take a Stroll Across the Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge has been the main bridge crossing Venice’s Grand Canal since 1591. Take a stroll here to really understand the dynamics of this beautiful city and feel its tumultuous vibe.
2. Walk the city and get lost admiring the gondolas
Walk around the canals, that are lined with old houses and very often decked with flowers. Wandering along these streets can be an extremely pleasurable way of passing time and unwinding.
3. Visit the Venice’s Musical Museum
The Museo della Musica can be found near the Renaissance Scuola Grande di San Rocco art museum in the San Polo. There is no entrance fee and you can learn a lot about Venice’s musical history.
Top spots to visit
1. Basilica di San Marco
Founded in the 9th century, this is a Venice cathedral that you can’t miss if you visit the city. It has numerous domes and over 8000 sq metres of luminous mosaics.
2. La Fenice
Opened in 1792, La Fenice is the theater you need to visit if you go to Venice. Opera season is at its peak from January to July and September to October. If you can’t attend a performance, you can explore the theater with an audio-guide,
3. Cruise the canals
It would be a shame if one came to Venice and didn’t step into a boat to cruise the canals. Row a traditional batellina coda di gambero (shrimp-tailed boat) to get the best out of your trip to Venice. Tours must be pre-booked and commence at the wooden gate of the Sacca Misericordia boat marina.
Hidden spots to visit
1. Libreria Acqua Alta
You can find this second-hand bookshop on the waterfront in Castello. The store is home to hundreds of books both new and used, and a pet cat. This is not your typical bookstore, as its products are chaotically stacked in old gondolas, canoes, bathtubs and barrels.
2. Venice’s Ghost Walking Tour
If you want to get into the spooky stuff, try this rather unconventional tour. A guide will walk you over silent canals and past abandoned piazzas, while telling you lesser known facts about Venice and showing you all sorts of sites that have witnessed crimes and murders.
3. Ca’ Zappa
Built in 1925 by a migrant from The Netherlands, this stunning villa sits alone in the south of the lagoon. It is difficult to reach, and you would need to have or rent your own boat to get there.
If you’re looking to spoil yourself, look into some of these expensive, fine-dining restaurants, with menus mostly based on Italian, Mediterranean and seafood: Ristorante Alle Corone, Riviera, Ai Mercanti.
Best local cuisine restaurants include All’Arco, Osteria Trefanti, La Palanca and Osteria Alla Ciurma.
Spend less money but still get something tasty in your belly at Bacareto Da Lele, La Bottiglia, Arcicchetti Bakaro or Cocaeta – Non le solite Crepes.
Recommended time of visiting
Venice is a timeless city and it is extremely beautiful all year round, whether it is bathed in sun rays or lightly coated with sparkly snow. However, the summers are more crowded and temperatures can rise to 30 degrees Celsius or more. Best times to visit are late spring and early summer.
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