Where to go
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!
At every corner the direction of main points are shown : Rialto, San Marco, Accademia.
Roughly I would advice you to avoid San Marco Area, full of touristic shops and thus mass tourists (as you are going anyway to pass there). 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".
(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.
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.
What to see
The new thing in town is the opening of Fondaco dei Tedeschi 10 meters from the Rialto bridge, in the ex Venetian post (a 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..
- 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
- 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 boat the the others islands: Burano, Murano, Torcello.
- 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)
- 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! NO spritz, only good wines and futuristic cichettis.
DRINKS AT NIGHT
- 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).
- Fondamente della Misericordia(and its 2 parallel canals) are full or restaurant and bars. Best one is Vino vero. very small. Buy your drink and hang out in the streets.
- Watch the sun set from the Hilton terrace in Giudecca island. Have one of the highest point of view of the city.
Shopping //Murano Glass
Shopping // Masks
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!