When I was a sophomore in college, I studied abroad in Venice and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Venice is a magical city and there is no where on earth like it. Below are a couple of my recommendations and favorite places from when I lived there. I hope you find them helpful!
- Enjoy a Pastry from Tonolo. Tonolo is a small pastry shop hidden off the typical tourist path and they had the BEST pastries in Venice. Most of their pastries are only one euro so don’t be afraid to have a couple different ones. Tonolo is located near the Frari Church and the San Rocco school.
- Explore other Islands in the Lagoon. In case you didn’t know, Venice is an island. While most people spend their time only in Venice proper, I recommend taking the vaparatto (the water taxi) to the islands of Murano (famous for glass blowing), Burano (a charming small island where all the houses are painted different colors), and Lido (if you want to enjoy some time on the beach.) While these islands can also be busy, they are usually less populated with tourist and can offer a nice escape.
- Don’t be Afraid to get Lost. One of the best things about Venice is the island isn’t that big and because there are no cars, it is easy to walk everywhere. One of my favorite things to do when I was there was to get lost in the city. By doing this, I was able to find all of these amazing shops and buildings that were not in the normal walking routes through the city.
- Go to Punta della Dogana at Night. (Near the Salute Church) This spot used to have an old light post and now a replacement for the original streetlamp is back up! In the time between the two street lamps there was a statue of a naked boy holding a frog (called Boy with Frog) which was not a popular art installment with the locals. For me, this spot is one of my favorites in the city and I frequented it when I lived here. It was such a peaceful spot to admire Piazza San Marco away from the crowds and to look at the stars.
- Get Gelato from Gelateria Nico. Once it got warmer, one of my favorite things to do was to get a gelato and go sit along the water’s edge on the Zattere and look out at Guidecca and the boats passing by.
- Visit St. Mark’s Cathedral. Obviously St. Marks is one of the top things to do in Venice so it will already be on most people’s list. However, in all of my travels this is probably one of the prettiest cathedrals I’ve ever seen. The gold detailing on the ceiling is absolutely breathtaking. Also, be sure to explore the catacombs down below as well as see the 4 horses on the rooftop (as well as learn the history behind these horses. It’s pretty fascinating!)
- Cross all 4 of the Bridges over the Grand Canal. A great way to make sure you see different areas of Venice is to walk around and cross all 4 of the bridges over the main canal. These bridges are: The Accademia (wooden bridge used to get to the Guggenheim Museum and the Salute Church), Rialto Bridge (the most famous bridge in Venice and it was the location of the main trading market), Scalzi Bridge (old bridge near the train station), and the Costituzione Bridge (the only modern bridgein Venice).
For anyone visiting Venice hope you have a wonderful time. For me, Venice is a unique city unlike any other. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and that you find these recommendations helpful when exploring some of the lesser known parts of Venice!