Venice Italy

Venice Travel Guide

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Let me take you on a journey to amazing and romantic Venice. You will discover all that this magical city has to offer . Find top attractions, best hotels, delicious restaurants and much more advice on visiting this amazing city by reading my Venice travel guide.

Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs

Venice ItalyIn my opinion, this is the most enchanting and unique place in the world, not to mention one of the most visited. It is a city of canals, bridges and beautiful architecture.  Where else can you get serenaded on a gondola, lost in a maze of narrow cobblestone walkways and let your eyes feast on the amazing sights around you? Furthermore, Venice not only boasts spectacular scenery but is abundantly rich in art and history.

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Venice Carnival

Venice Carnival 2021

Make a dream come true and visit Venice during the Venice Carnival 2021. This is a truly amazing, one of a kind event in Venice!  First of all, the exciting and world-famous Venice Carnival is about three weeks long. During this time there are daily competitions for beautiful costumes and masks. In addition, there are also exhibitions, cultural events, ceremonies, theatrical readings and DJ Sets.   Furthermore, night visits to main museums and other places of culture are available. A festive atmosphere fills the streets and waterways.  Surely, you will encounter countless people in traditional masquerade costumes and masks.

Secondly, there are many exclusive events and dinners and available to attend. Have a magical evening at an authentic Venetian Ball.

DINNER SHOWS AND BALLS

Costume

Definitely dress up in masquerade and have the time of your life.  There is nothing more exciting than soaking up the atmosphere and becoming a part of Venice Carnival. Not only are carnival parties and masked balls held at the best hotels and palaces of Venice but they also have international entertainers, musical guests and comedians. Not to mention, there are so many to choose from, therefore learn about what each offers and the dress code before you purchase your tickets.

VENICE CARNIVAL 2021Carnival Mask

Dates: Saturday, January 30th – Tuesday, February 16th 2019

Plan your Carnival experience to perfection.  Take a look at Balls and Parties for Venice Carnival 2021 in this calendar of events! Stay tuned for comprehensive information on Venice Carnival 2021.

Highly Recommended:

Carnevale di Venezia Dinner & Ball

This is the official Dinner and Ball of the Carnival – where the pleasures of palate and party come together!

  • Saturday, January 30, 2021
  • Venice Carnival Masks

Mascheranda Grand Ball

  • Sunday, February 14, 2021 – Enjoy a sit down gala dinner in the elegant frescoed rooms of this breathtaking palace
  • Compulsory dress code for the Mascheranda Grand Ball is full period costume. Therefore, evening dresses and tuxedos are not allowed
  • Entertainment

Casanova Grand Ball

  • Saturday, February 13, 2021 
  • In the beautiful majestic Venetian Palace Ca’Zeno
  • Dress Code – precious fabrics, brocades, pearls and laces – period costume mandatory

Carnival PackagesVenice Carnival

You can even choose a Carnival Package.  Packages includes, hotel, transfers, costume rentals with fitting, lunch, dinner and Masquerade Ball, gondola tour etc.

To learn more about the fabulous Venice Carnival click here.

VENICE CARNIVAL EVENTS 2021

Amazing and thrilling performances occurred  during this 17-day event. To begin with, the official kick-off features the Marie Festival*.  The festivities started with a water procession of chosen girls. The procession departs from San Giacomo dall’ Orio and arrives in Piazza San Marco where they made their public debut in traditional costumes. At that point, the Doge crowns one lucky girl to be Maria of the year – the most beautiful maiden of the Venice Carnival.

Festivities continue with the traditional Flight of the Angel.  The Flight of the Angel is one of the most awaited events in Venice. It is held from 12 noon to 1:00pm in Saint Mark’s Square. An Angel flys along a rope from the top of San Marco bell tower to the middle of Piazza San Marco.  A multitude of participants dressed in traditional costumes welcome the Angel. In addition, the first two days also kicks off with a water parade transforming the Rio di Cannaregio canal into a water stage!

The Ballad of Masks and the beheading of the bull is performed on Fat Thursday, February 28th.  Then the final stage of the competition for the most beautiful mask. In addition was the Flight of the Eagle and performances of various musical concerts. Mardi Gras, brings the proclamation of the Maria of Carnival and the Svolo del Leon.

*The Marie Festival

The Marie Festival harkens back to the abduction and liberation of twelve brides in the year 1039. Every February 2nd, the day of the purification on Mary – since the 9th century – twelve beautiful maidens represent the city and gathered with their betrothed in the Church of S. Pietro di Castello, to receive the Wedding Sacrament.

Costume

Carnival Costume


Venice Italy

Things to do in Venice Italy

Venice is one of the most romantic and unique cities in the world.  It is filled with art, culture and history, not to mention that the city is built entirely on water. Furthermore, there are so many things to do in Venice Italy!  With this in mind, my suggestion is to spend at least 3 full days to see all the attractions and landmarks. Likewise, allow an extra day or two if you want to see the outer islands of Murano or Burano. In addition to all the sights, here are some other suggestions to add memorable moments to your visit. By all means, there are countless things to do in Venice Italy.

Top Attractions in Venice

Venice has incredible architecture, amazing history, priceless art and a wonderful culture. Top attractions to see are: St. Marks Basilica. the Rialto Bridge, St. Marks Square, Doges Palace as well as St. Marks Tower.  In fact, for comprehensive information including tickets and hours, visit my Venice Attraction Guide.

Gondola Ride – Top of the bucket list
Venice Gondola

Your trip won’t be complete without a Gondola ride! It is romantic, unique and a wonderful way to see side canals of Venice. The gondoliers wear striped shirts and sing. Indeed, they are the classic image of Venice. In general, make sure you know the official gondola fares so that you don’t get overcharged. Additionally, my suggestion is to take your ride on the side canals, not the Grand Canal. My favorite canal is the Rio de la Palazzo o Canonica, since it is a scenic canal that runs under the Bridge of Sighs behind the Doges Palace.

 Kayaking
Venice Kayaking

Experience the enchanting atmosphere of Venice while kayaking through the canals.  Indeed, it’s a great way to admire the architecture and beauty of the city, not to mention being a hands-on experience. Although gondolas are a beautiful sight in the lagoons of Venice, I can only imagine how nice kayaking in Venice would be. On my next visit, I will definitely enjoy the opportunity of paddling the Venetian lagoons! Check out the tours available at Real Venetian Kayak.

Row Venice
Venice Things to Do

Row Venice! Get off the beaten path and onto the Venetian waterways!  You have options of a daytime rowing lesson or an evening lesson on the Grand Canal.  If you’re a foodie or wine enthusiast you can do the Cichetto Row and sample the goodies when you glide into a traditional bàcari.

Walk and Row

A hands-on activity to discover the authentic Venetian lifestyle. First you will experience a walking tour around the favorite districts of the locals.   Secondly, you will see Venice from the canals themselves, rowing your own boat. You’ll be accompanied by a local guide and assisted during your rowing class by certified rowing teachers!

I Musici Veneziani Concert
Venice Opera

Go to a show of Baroque and Opera. This is an entertaining 1.5 hour show that will not take much time from your busy vacation schedule. Enjoy costumed performers and a festive atmosphere as these talented musicians play their instruments and sing beautifully. This is an excellent way to spend an evening. Tickets prices start at E 24.00.
Address: Scuola Grande di San Teodoro, San Marco, 4810

Food Tour – Cicchetti and Wine

This is a fun and tasty 2.5 hour walking tour through the backstreet bars of Venice. Taste delicious food and wine at five different ‘enotecas’ (wine bars). At each stop, sample regional wines and Prosecco served alongside plates of the popular Venetian appetizers called ‘cicchetti.’ Group size is limited to 14 to ensure a personalized experience.

Walking Tour
Venice Things to Do

Of course I suggest taking an informative walking tour of all the major sights. But, I also suggest a small group walking tour of the hidden corners of Venice in only 2.5 hours.  As a result, you will really get to see the local sights and way of  life.

Teatro la Fenice
Venice Teatro La Fenice

You may want to immerse yourself in an opera, ballet, concert or contemporary production at this famous Venetian Opera House. Teatro la Fenice has excellent acoustics and seats over 1000 people. It is the most recognized opera house in Italian Theatre. Go to Teatro La Fenice to peruse the many upcoming events and buy your tickets online.
Address: Campo San Fantin 1965, 30124 Venezia

 

EVENTS
Venice Carnival

Visit during one of Venice’s world-class events such as Venice Carnival.  Go to my Venice Events Guide to explore all there is to do and see.

 

PLACES TO VISIT WHILE IN VENICE

Burano
Venice Burano

Visit the colorful island Burano. Burano is listed as one of the 10 most colorful places in the world. All houses are painted pretty pastel colors that reflect in the water of the canals. In addition, Burano is very famous for its needle lace and you will see ladies embroidering while they chat in the squares. They will invite you into their shops to admire their lace working. Enjoy the cafes, boutiques, pizzerias and ice cream shops.

Murano

Venice Murano

Visit the island of Murano, known for its exquisite hand blown glass. Artisans offer demonstrations of their colorful work. Moreover, this master craft was handed down from ancestors in a constant line of artisans which reaches back to the inception of the craft itself. Murano itself is a picturesque area with sidewalk cafes and stores. In the same fashion as Venice, it has its own little Grand Canal.

Verona
Verona, Italy

Not far from Venice and perfect for a day trip, is the charming and beautiful town of Verona. It is definitely one of my favorite Italian cities. I highly suggest a visit to this city of love and romance! It was made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Not to mention that Verona is a beautiful city with large charming piazzas and many sites to see.  Join the crowds at popular Juilette’s house and visit the Roman Arena, Piazza Bra, Piazza Delle Erbe, and the Ponte Pietra. Read more about this amazing city in my Verona guide.

Train from Venice to Verona is 90 minutes or less. If you go by car, take the A4 La Serenissima motorway.

 

 

 

 

 


Venice Excelsior Hotel

Best Venice Italy Hotels

In the first place, there are so many Venice hotels to choose from, but which will be the perfect one for you?  Let me help you find the best Venice Italy hotels that you will love. Here are some things to consider.  Do you want to be in the heart of the action – San Marco – or in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts.  Are you looking for Venice hotels with pools, they are limited but available. Can you walk with your luggage over a bridge and up a few blocks, or do you need your hotel’s entrance directly on the canal.  Would you like to be in the lap of luxury or a stay at a value hotel. Answering these questions will help you find your perfect choice!
Venice Travel Guide

In m opinion, the best way to get from the airport to your hotel would be a private transfer.  It’s easy and a fast way to get to your hotel– probably right to the front door! Of course, there is the vaporetto (water bus) which is definitely great if you’re on a budget. The vaporetto will leave you at  a vaporetto stop.  You will have to walk a bit with your luggage. Read here for information on airport transfers.

Note:  If you are visiting during the Venice Carnival or Venice International Film Festival, try to book 6 months in advance to get your choice of hotel.

LUXURY VENICE HOTELS WITH POOL

Note:  Even if the hotel is open for the season, the pools may not open until end of June even if the weather is hot.  Check with your hotel for pool opening date so you are not disappointed.

Hotel Excelsior

Venice Excelsior Hotels

Luxury with Pool – Located on Lido Island – The Excelsior is a truly exceptional experience. I like the fact that it is away from all the hustle and bustle in the heart of Venice. In fact, this luxury hotel is located on fashionable Lido beach, complete with a private beach club and beautiful pool. The hotel has elegant indoor as well as outdoor terrace dining with a view of the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Even more, they offer complimentary boat shuttles to transport you across the lagoon to St. Marks Square in 10 minutes.  The Excelsior Hotel is a celebrity hot spot, especially during the Venice Film Festival.

Belmond Hotel Cipriani
Venice Cipriani Hotel

Luxury with Pool – Located on Guidecca Island – The Belmond Hotel Cipriani is in the perfect location.  It is in a peaceful setting away from the crowds. A complimentary five-minute boat shuttle to St. Marks Square adds to the charm of being in Venice.  It boasts an olympic sized swimming pool, gorgeous grounds, impeccable service and old world charm. everything about the hotel is first class and outstanding, it is expensive but will be an incredible stay! It opens for the season on March 16, 2018

SUPERIOR VENICE HOTELS

Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia
Venice Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia

Superior 4* Luxury – Fabulous Hotel Ai Cavlieri di Venezia is ideally located between the Rialto Bridge and St. Marks Square and easily walkable to all main attractions. The decor with 18th century frescos, the ambiance, and the views are wonderful here. Facing the picturesque canals of Venice on two sides of the building, the hotel features a bar with a large terrace overlooking Venice. The staff is wonderful and you will have a fantastic experience here.

Hotel Colombina

Venice Hotel Colombina

Superior – This hotel, positioned in the heart of Venice, is only a two-minute walk from St. Marks Square. It is located on the narrow, beautiful Rio di Palazzo Canal. A parade of gondolas pass by with singing gondoliers therefore try to book a room with canal view.  You can also sit on the dock in front and watch all the gondolas float by.  The canal is so beautiful and adorned with many little bridges. As a matter of fact, the Bridge of  Sighs is a few bridges down this canal. Such a lovely location!  A terrific staff and rooms furnished in elegant Venetian style. I had a unique top floor room with an outside rooftop terrace – perfect for seeing the view and all the gondolas below.

RELAIS VENEZIA
Venice Relais Venezia

Boutique Hotel – Relais Venezia stands in an old 15th Century palazzo and is perfectly located behind St Mark’s Square on one of the oldest streets in the city. It is in the heart of an authentic and  lively Venetian area with many restaurants and pubs. In addition, it is a short walk to all of Venice’s attractions. The decor is beautiful, and the staff is extremely helpful giving you personal attention.  This hotel is not on the canal, you will have walk a bit with your luggage. My advice is to pack lightly, especially for Venice. Most likely your airport transfer, or vaporetto will drop you off on the dock in front of St. Mark’s Square.
To Find Hotel: Exit St Marks square in the Basilica corner. Turn left immediately before the bridge into a narrow street. Continue until a small bridge, cross it and turn right. Then first left, first right. Continue to the end of the alley. The door is opposite you slightly to the right.

VALUE HOTELS

Hotel Filu
Venice Hotel Filu

Budget Hotel – If you are doing Venice on a budget, Hotel Filu is a good pick as you can get a room for under $150 per night in season.  The hotel is in an old building but is newly renovated and the rooms are immaculately clean and comfy. Rooms with canal views are available. It is located in the Cannaregio area of Venice which is about at 30 minute walk from St. Mark’s Square and most main attractions.  It is on a canal steps away from Ponte (Bridge) delle Guglie, in a Venetian neighborhood. Hotel Filù is easily accessible from the main arrival terminals – airport, train and vaporetto station.  From Venice airport, take the vaporetto orange line to Ponte delle Guglie, the hotel is a few buildings down on the right after the pharmacy.

 

 


Restaurants

Venice Restaurants

Finding a delicious restaurant in Venice could be challenging. Let me give you some tips and recommendations on finding some of the best restaurants in Venice Italy.  Compared to the rest of Italy, most Venice restaurants are not known for their food.  Indeed, Venice is known for its high prices and poor cuisine. This is because thousands of tourists are passing through and they do not have to hold themselves to high standards or reasonable prices.  Although this may be true, I will give you tips to navigate around this.

In the first place, avoid eating by St. Marks Square or the Rialto Bridge which are the main attractions of Venice. Stay away from touristy restaurants that have picture menus or waiters trying to lure you inside. You can ask your hotel for a few restaurant recommendations, then I suggest to read their reviews before reserving. Go off the beaten path, and you will find something worthwhile.

If you are traveling during carnival time, read my Venice Carnival Guide for information on exclusive and delicious dinners and balls to attend.

Note:  Be aware to look for the following in small print on your menu: A cover charge (coperto) which is about 1-3 euros per person – or more!   A charge for sitting at an outdoor table.  Sitting at an indoor table and not at the bar.

Giardino D’Inverno

Fine Dining: This outstanding restaurant is located in the Hotel Papadopoli. You will indulge in delicious food paired with a great selection of local wines. Not only is the food amazing, but the presentation is excellent. Giardino D’Inverno has particularly beautiful ambiance which is enhanced with live music.
Address:  Santa Croce 245   Phone +39 041 710400

Osteria alle Testiere
Venice Osteria alle testiere

Fine Dining: The menu at Alle Testiere depends on the availability of fresh fish at the market.  Menu varies from shrimp, lobster, razor clams and whole fish to pastas with clams, prawns, etc.  The food is amazing and the Venetian wines are delicious. Reservations are a must. If you love seafood, Osteria alle Testiere is definitely worth a visit.
Address: Calle del Mondo Novo , Castello Venice

La Zucca 

Moderately Priced: Fresh seasonal food that is always delicious and creative. The house wines are also delicious. La Zucca is a small restaurant with outdoor dining and is right off a pretty foot bridge and canal in the Santa Croce area. Note that this is a popular restaurant, by all means, remember to make reservations.
Address: Sotoportego del Tintor 1,  Santa Croce 1762    Phone:  +39 041 524 1570

Trattoria Bar Pontini

Casual:  Away from the touristy area of San Marco, this little restaurant sits on a side canal in the Cannaregio area. Enjoy the delicious food and the waterfront table views. Definitely try the eggplant and zucchini parmesan. Since this is a small restaurant, don’t forget to make reservations or you will wait for a table.
Address: Fondamenta Cannaregio, 1268   Phone: +39 041 714123

WINE BARS

Cantina Arnaldi
Venice Cantina Arnaldi

Cantina Arnaldi has delicious wine and a warm, cozy atmosphere.  There is a good variety of fine wines, delicious food, abundant cheese & meat boards and a terrific, knowledgeable staff.  A good value for great wines.
Address: Santa Croce 35, Venice

 

 


Venice Rialto Bridge

Venice Italy Attractions

Venice is a treasure trove of wonderful art and architecture. Discover many popular attractions as well as countless things to do in Venice Italy. Your trip will not be complete without seeing the following Venice Italy attractions.Take an informed tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doges Palace. You will be enlightened about the history and culture of this amazing city. Venice Piazza San MarcoEnjoy lively St. Mark’s Square as you sip a cappuccino and watch the parade of people pass by. Taking an informed walking tour of Venice is also a fun way to spend a few hours seeing this spectacular city. Interests as diverse as kayaking the waterways, floating down the Grand Canal in a gondola or taking in an Opera are at your fingertips.
Venice Travel

Tip: To avoid crowds in Venice, visit these popular Venice attractions first thing in the morning, during lunch when other tourists are in restaurants, or right before closing. You can book your tickets online if you are not doing a guided tour.

St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)

Venice San Marco Basilica

St. Mark’s Basilica is the most popular Venice attraction and one of the world’s most majestic cathedrals. To begin with, St. Mark’s Basilica has so much history, legend, amazing treasure and artifacts. It is a true masterpiece of Byzantine art. With this in mind, I definitely recommend a guided tour to this must-see sight so that you can soak up its history and legend.
Open: 9:45 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. on Sundays and holidays)

    St. Mark’s Tower (Campanile di San Marco)

Venice St. Marks Tower

This beautiful bell tower is 325 feet high and is one of the most recognizable symbols of Venice. Crowned by a spire,  you can see the spectacular views of the entire layout of Venice. Luckily there is an elevator that takes you to the top. Ticket price is 8E per person.
Open: 9:00am – 9:00pm ( Nov-Mar  9:30am – 3:45pm)

Doges Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

This Venetian Gothic style palace was home sweet home to the Ruler of Venice. It is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The grand scale of the rooms, works of art and ornate furniture are a treasure trove of magnificent wonders. Absorb yourself in history when you walk across the Bridge of Sighs and see the prison dungeons where Casanova was held prisoner. Additionally, many various exhibitions and events are held here. Click here for upcoming events.
Open: 8:30am-7pm April – October.
Tickets: I MUSEI DI PIAZZA SAN MARCO ticket includes admission to four attractions; Palazzo Ducale, Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale e Biblioteca Marciana 
Prices: Single E20.50 – Children, Students, 65+ E13.50

FAMOUS LANDMARKS

St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco)

This is the main piazza and central landmark of Venice. A grandiose and famous gathering place, St. Marks Square is alive with worldwide visitors, lovers, photographers and countless pigeons!  Lining the arcade, below the arches, you will find rows of restaurants and shops to keep you busy.  On the other hand, relax at a café and watch the crowds stroll by. During the evening, enjoy the live music that enlivens this tremendous square.

Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) 

The Rialto Bridge is an iconic landmark of Venice. This pedestrian bridge has impressive views of the Grand Canal, therefore make sure you get some great photos of the gondolas and boats passing by! When you walk up the steps (note that there are no ramps), you will find it crowded with tourists and shops selling souvenirs, fine jewelry and Murano Glass.

Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri)

Venice Bridge of Sighs

Significant in Venetian history, this bridge was a passage-way from the court in the Doges Palace to the prison dungeons or even death. As the convicted walked across they would often sigh as they took their last look at beautiful Venice. Tourists from everywhere in the world photograph this beautiful, iconic bridge. The Rio di Palazzo canal that runs under the bridge is my favorite. It is adorned with little bridges and gondoliers singing in an endless parade.  A feast for the eyes and ears!

These are the main attractions and landmarks of beautiful Venice. There are so many other things to see and places to go for a day trip.  Read about them HERE.

Venice Travel Guide

 


Venice Rooftops

Venice Airport to Venice City Hotels

VENICE AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION

The official international airport in Venice is called the Venice Marco Polo Airport.  It is an extremely busy airport and is very easy to reach by plane from all over the word. From Venice airport, it is convenient to get Venice City Centre and the surrounding islands.  Many questions surround the topic Venice Airport to Venice city hotels.  Read this page for transportation information on Private Transfers and Vaporetto tickets and prices.

AIRPORT NAME:  Marco Polo International Airport

AIRPORT CODE: VCEVenice Transfers

Marco Polo Airport Transfers

Depending on your wallet, the best and most convenient way to to get from the Venice airport to your hotel is a private water taxi.  Book in advance especially during busy season between May and October. When you come out of the arrivals gate, you will be met by someone holding a sign with your name on it.  You will be walked to the dock, your luggage will be put on board and you’re off to your hotel. The usual cost is about a 110 euros if your hotel is in the city and about 125 euros if on Lido Island. The ride takes approximately 25-30 minutes. Here are some recommendations:  Venice Quality Transfers, Consorzio Motoscafi,

Semi-Private Boat Transfer
Venice Boat Shuttle

Shared transportation is a pre-paid, cost effective way to reach the closest boat stop near your hotel. Once you’ve cleared customs, you’ll be greeted by your driver in the arrivals hall and climb aboard your boat. It is a great alternative to the high cost of a private transfer, waiting in long lines for taxi boats or squeezing on the Vaporetto.  Book early especially during high season. For more information, go to VeniceLink.com.

Marco Polo Airport Vaporetto
Venice Vaporetto

You can also take the Vaporetto  (Water Bus) to your hotel.  This option is probably less money depending on how many people you are paying for.  You should keep in mind that the Vaporetto is very crowded, you will have to haul your luggage on and off the bus and then to your hotel. In addition you will have to walk from the bus stop to your hotel. Packing light would be a wise thing, since you will probably have to walk a few blocks and navigate a few bridges.

Vaporetto Tickets:  REMINDER! Validate your tickets in the ticket machines by boat embarkation before you board! If not, you will get fined.
Ticket Prices:  From airport to the city of Venice –  $14 one-way  or $25 Round-trip per person.  Return ticket is good for 30 days.
Buying Tickets: You can purchase your tickets at the ticket office in the Arrivals Hall or the ticket office on the boat dock.  There are also ticket machines in Arrivals by Carousels 3 and 5.  In addition, you can also buy tickets on board.  If you want to save time, you can also purchase tickets online at Alilaguna.it
Getting to the Vaporetto: From the Arrivals Hall exit, go left and walk seven minutes until you reach the boat dock.  There you will find the Vaporettos.  Make sure you get on the one that goes to your destination and don’t forget to validate your ticket.

Once you arrive, enjoy the magic!

Venice Travel