Venice – activity index & top tips

I had my first experience of Venice when I came to stay for eight nights in October 2020, just before the second Covid lockdown in the UK. I’m very crowd averse so my intention was to make the most of the situation and enjoy the city while it was relatively empty. Everywhere I went, the lack of visitors was very noticable, especially in the empty restaurants…


There were still people around, but they were mainly locals. I read somewhere that there are just 60,000 residents left in the city, but it typically receives more than 16.5 million tourists a year. I had a great time, absolutely loved the city, but I’m not sure whether I’d have enjoyed it as much as I did had everything had been normal.

Below are links to the 20+ posts I’ve written, beginning with my top tips. You’ll find everywhere I mention on my Google map. The key in the top left will help you.

Here are my top tips, in general order of preference…

STUFF TO SEE:

The Basilica di San Marco is one of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals. Post here.

The Palazzo Ducale is the prototype for Venetian Gothic architecture. Post here.

You have to take at least one vaporetto ride along the Grand Canal. Architectural gems to view include Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, Ca’ Cerchieri Loredan, Palazzo Dario and Palazzo Salviati. Post here.

The Cà D’Oro is another stunning example of Venetian Gothic on the Grand Canal. Post here.

I loved the Stile Liberty architecture on Lido island, particularly the Hotel Excelsior and Grande Albergo Ausonia & Hungaria, best appreciated with a negroni. Post here.

The view from the Rialto Bridge is one of the city’s most iconic vistas. Post here.

Viewing the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is essential for all lovers of Modern Art. Post here.

STUFF TO EAT & DRINK:

My best restaurant experience was at Trattoria Al Gatto Nero on Burano, followed by a walk around the island to view the colourful houses. Post here.

I really enjoyed the bars and restaurants along Fondamenta Misericordia, especially Il Paradiso Perduto for the food and Mezzopieno for a negroni. Post here.

Cantine del Vino già Schiavi or Osteria Al Squero are two great cichetti bars along picturesque Fondamenta Nani. Post here.

All’Arco near the Rialto market is a very authentic cichetti spot. Post here.

Cà D’Oro alla Vedova is one of the best bacari for cicheto and an ombra, but reservations are essential. Post here.

The Mercato di Rialto is a fantastic food market. Post here.

Antica Drogheria Mascari is good for picking up speciality food, wines and spirits. Post here.

My blog uses a geographical index but here also are my posts again, this time grouped by subject matter with contents in the brackets to make them more accessible:

ARCHITECTURE & SIGHTS:

Venice – Venetian Gothic architecture (Palazzo Ducal, Ca’ d’Oro, arches)

Venice – an architecture tour along the Grand Canal (Rennaisance, Baroque, Art Nouveau)

Venice – San Marco – a visit to Basilica di San Marco (mosaics, carvings)

Venice – San Marco – Palazzo Ducale (Porta della Carta, Ponte de Sospiri)

Venice – San Marco – a coffee and a stroll around Piazza San Marco (cafes, towers)

Venice – San Marco – a walk along the Riva degli Schiavoni (views, columns, Hotel Daniele)

Venice – a walk around San Polo (Rialto Bridge, Ponte delle Tette)

Venice – a few of the churches (Frari, Miracoli, Gesuati, et al)

Venice – a walk around Cannaregio (Jewish Ghetto, Teatro Italia, Ponte Santa Fosca)

Venice – Laguna di Venezia – an architecture tour around Lido di Venezia (Stile Liberty, hotels)

Venice – Laguna di Venezia – a walk around Murano (glass, buildings, church)

Venice – Laguna di Venezia – Torcello (church but not the mosaics sorry)

Venice – Laguna di Venezia – a perfect day out in Burano (colourful houses, Trattoria Al Gatto Nero)

Venice – Laguna di Venezia – a stroll around Mazzorbo (church, Trattoria Al Gatto Nero)

Venice – an architecture walk around Castello neighbourhood (Giardini della Biennale, Palasport)

Venice – a walk around Dorsoduro (cafes, Ponte dei Pugni)

Venice – the little things (shrines, carvings, knockers)

ART:

Venice – street art & graffiti (murals, tags, stickers)

Venice – Dorsoduro – a visit to the Guggenheim (Modern Art)

CAFES & RESTAURANTS:

Venice – Laguna di Venezia – a perfect day out in Burano (colourful houses, Trattoria Al Gatto Nero)

Venice – San Marco – a coffee and a stroll around Piazza San Marco (cafes, towers)

Venice – cicchetti by the canal in Dorsoduro (Cantine Schiavi, Osteria Al Squero, Gelateria Nico)

Venice – San Polo – a cichetti crawl in Rialto (All’Arco, Cantina Do Mori, Al Mercà)

Venice – Cannaregio – eating and drinking along Fondamenta Misericordia (Osteria Al Bacco, Il Paradiso Perduto, Mezzopieno)

Venice – Cannaregio – eating and drinking around Strada Nova (Cà D’Oro alla Vedova, La Cantina, Vini da Gigio)

Venice – San Polo – a cichetti crawl in Rialto (All’Arco, Cantina Do Mori, Al Mercà)

Venice – San Polo – a walk around Rialto food market (seafood, fruit, vegetables)

Venice – Laguna di Venezia – a stroll around Mazzorbo (church, restaurant)

Venice – good places to eat in Castello (Al Covo, Testiere, Vecchio Canton)

Venice – a walk around Dorsoduro (cafes, Ponte dei Pugni)

SHOPPING:

Venice – a spot of shopping (food, glass, paper)

Venice – Laguna di Venezia – a walk around Murano (glass, buildings, church)

Venice – San Polo – a walk around Rialto food market (seafood, fruit, vegetables)

ACCOMMODATION:

Venice – staying in Cannaregio (Hotel Ca’ d’Oro and around)

TRANSPORT:

Venice – messing about in boats (gondolas, taxis, ferries)

GENERAL TIPS:

In common with other Italian cities (especially Rome) there are drinking water fountains called ‘nasone’ (big noses) dotted all over the city. No doubt bottled water prices are extortionate in such a touristy place, so you could most likely save yourself a pretty penny by filling up your own bottle. The nasone map app called ‘Fountains in Italy’ will help you track them down.

Venice is a maze and I’m not sure how I’d have found my way around without my Google map.

If you don’t have unlimited roaming, I definitely think it’s worth investing in a local SIM for just a few euro. You will occasionally lose the signal in the narrow alley’s but I think you’d get lost more with just a paper map.

Finally, I wanted to impress someone, I’d get picked up from the airport in a mahogany speedboat.

After Venice, I went to Treviso, on the mainland of Veneto…

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