What to do in Venice? Our tips for first visit, culture & restaurants

Here is a list of things I recommand to my friends who come 2, 3 or more days in Venice. Ladies, prepare your walking shoes: summer or winter the action happen outside.

Venice is a very well kept secret. There is LOT TO SEE as long as you are a little bit sensitive! Here I won't recommend all the classic museums and Palazzo, but just a quick selection.

DISCOVERING VENICE WALKING // GETTING LOST

First time in the city -here for a short trip-, prefer the walking ballads than spending time visiting the museum and Palazzo. It's according to me the best may to get familiar with the city and its charms. Have a map with you and take your camera out. YES you'll have to take your time and experience your way into the small canals, isn't it what you came for? Don't worry there is at almost every corner a sign showing the direction to San Marco or Rialto.. you will get lost but not for long: thrilling!

Roughly I would advice you to avoid San Marco Area (full of touristic shops and thus mass tourists). Dare to go in Dorsoduro (just the other side of the gran canal) to have another atmosphere; it's then more about "culture and silent".

Dorsoduro:

(the contemporary art area: Punta della Dogana, Guggenheim. Plus Accademia, campo San Margherita):

It goes from the "Punta della Dogana" (one of Francois Pinault two museums 'La Douane de Mer' & 'Palazzo Grassi') to a beautiful walk when weather is sunny along the Zattere facing the island Giudecca. There is the Peggy Guggenheim collection quite near. On sunny day (sunday!) walk along the Zattere and have lunch there.

Cannaregio:

North Venice is quiet. Three parallel wide canals (Fondamenta della Misericordia, Fondamenta della Sensa & Fondamenta dell'Orto) are made for a poetic ballad. They give an impression of forgetting the narrowness of the city revealing a different venice in terms of light and perspectives. Visit the jew ghetto in the middle.

the MUST DO:

The new thing in town is the opening of Fondaco dei Tedeschi 10 meters from the Rialto bridge, in the ex Venetian post (an ex Palazzo from the 13th century), it's been rehabilitated by Rem Koolhaas, it consists of a beautiful inner courtyard with differents qualitative shops, with a cafeteria run by Alajmo designed by Philip Starck, with a breathtaking rooftop terrasse to contemplate the grand canal turning down your feet.

Old Stones // You must at least enter a few classical monuments of the city, Palazzo, Museums, Scuola..

San Marco Basilic & Palazzo Ducale (bridge od whispers from inside and the jail)

La Scuola San Rocco (#1!!!)

For Contemporary Art // don't forget the Palazzo Grassi, and check out for current exhibits.

and Punta della Dogana (same website as Palazzo Grassi as there are two Museums By Pinault. You can even purchase a ticket for both places, it's cheaper).

                                                                      Way of life //

- Have a Spritz at Rialto Mercato on one of the many bars/restaurants at around 19h-20h. You will see there some real venetians standing up sipping their drinks. (I would prefer Ancorra)

- To have a drink at night: Campo San Margherita is the place where at night all students gather. It's a huge campo filed with restaurants and bars (also good for Aperitivo) (I would prefer Caffe Rosso).

- Watch the sun set from the Hilton terrace in Giudecca island. Have one of the highest point of view of the city.

- Fish market on saturday morning at Rialto mercato.

- Lido island: have a swim during summer in the Adriatic sea or rent a bike, or join the golf and Tennis clubs.

- Take a bot the the others islands: Burano, Murano, Torcello.

Shopping //Murano Glass

Shopping // Masks

 

 APERITIVO

Schiavi (in rio San Trovaso, near Accademia), taste wonderful tramezzini & finger food. It's also the Venetian wine bar!

Ancorra (Rialto mercato) (Aperitivo & restaurant). perfect to start an aperitivo & eat in the terrace outside during summer.

Vino Vero (North near Scuola Grande della Misericordia), amazing bio Wines, over a small quiet canal. Venice new secret spot!

RESTAURANTS

Here is a list of different restaurants in terms of range and places. Amonsgt the venetian dishes give a try to Baccala, pasta alla Vongole & shrimp saour, capelunghe (depending on the season) :

Il Paradiso Perduto amazing for aperitivo, lunch, dinner, or party (there is a piano on stage and the owner like to party).

Hotel Monaco Gran Canal (in San Marco) has a beautiful (expensive) restaurant, if you have a table outside on the terrace

La Calcina. (on Zattere/Dorsoduro)// Wonderful Terrace, perfect for sunny lunch.

Antiche carampane (#1 for fish)(in San Polo). Away from tourists.

Alle Testiere (incredible small restaurant near Campo Santa Maria Formosa/ need a reservation).

Ancorra (Rialto mercato) (Aperitivo & restaurant). perfect to start an aperitivo & eat in the terrace outside during summer.

A Beccafico, wonderful sicilian restaurant in the middle of Campo San Stefano. Amazing food, funny waiters.

Al Remer (major interest is the spot for the view, just in front of Rialto on a charming little campo)

- Il Refolo (Santa Croce 1459 // Campo San Giacomo de l'orio +390415240016). Amazing terrace during the summer.

Harry's bar (in San Marco) a gold for winter. (try lemon pie)

Al Giardinetto, (Castello) (very nice inner garden, a classic a people "who know").

Vecia Cavana, (Cannaregio). Between Ca d'Oro and Fondamenta Nuove (Campo dei Apostoli), this big restaurant serve a delicate cuisine.

Palazzina G, (San Marco) in a beautiful hype hotel decorated by Philippe Starck. (perfect in winter)

Trattoria Ai Cacciatori, (Giudecca). Simple to find, little terrace for summer lunch or diner. Best food so far in Giudecca island.

Venice During big events:

The city is made for that, parties events, extraordinary things. First Carnival during the winter, then Biennale and the MORE Festival and Redentore, have a look at those videos when the city is on fire!