Venice, the city of canals, is unlike any other. I mean, Italy is certainly full of charm and charisma (and one of my absolute favourite countries), but no place is as romantic as Venice.
Here are the 12 bucket list things you ought to see, do and eat in this magnificent city.
1. Visit St Mark’s Basilica
The landmark cathedral might just be the single most iconic building in the entire city. And while you’re there, walk up the top of the San Marco Campanile, where you will enjoy the best view of the city from above – featuring those endless terracotta rooftops and canals in the distance.
2. Ride a Gondola
There’s nothing more iconic about Venice than the gondolas, so of course, you ought to ride one. Riding the gondolas are generally a bit expensive, but you pay per boat so can fill it up with more people who wants to share. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy this enchanting experience.
3. Roam the winding streets of Venice
Refrain from using your phone’s navigation for a while and just wander through the marvellous streets. Getting lost is often one of the best adventures of all, and this is completely true in Venice. I would almost say that you haven’t been walking enough if it doesn’t happen to you in Venice — as there’s a ubiquitous amount of dead-ends, limited road signs and narrow streets. Don’t worry though, the city is so small so you will never get completely lost.
4. Eat lots and lots of Italian food
There’s certainly a plethora of delicious Italian dishes. In Venice, be sure to eat pasta, risotto, mozzarella, pizza, tiramisu and more.
However don’t stay in the “safe zone” your whole stay — try something really local as well. What about Sepe al nero (cuttlefish in traditional ink sauce), or perhaps Fegato ała Venesiana (a high-class Venetian plate of chopped liver and onion).
5. Cross the Rialto Bridge
You’ll cross an ubiquitous amount of bridges in Venice, however, the Rialto Bridge is definitely among the most impressive and photographic.
6. People watch and relax in Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco is the main square in front of the St Mark’s temple and offers several cafes and restaurants. Whether you want to sit and people watch for a bit or just relax, this offers a great place for that. Unwind and relax with an espresso as you see the city burst with life.
7. See the Bridge of Sighs
Another of Venice’ great bridges to discover is the “Bridge of Sighs, an enclosed bridge made of white limestone — with great historic significance. You might even combine this with a gondola trip!
8. Don a mask at Carnival
If you so happen to be in Venice in late January – early February then you absolutely cannot pass up the opportunity to attend the Venice Carnival and don a Venetian mask.
What’s the thing with masks and Venice?
Well, Venetian masks are often today solely associated with the annual Venice Carnival. However, it generally played a significant role in the city prior to the 19th century. Especially among the Venetian nobles, who, by putting on those masks, could go to gambling halls etc. and turn “into whoever they wanted to be, and made their life an adventure”.
Masks in Venice was therefore a symbol of freedom, a way to get rid of social rules and to conceal the masked person’s identity and social status, not only during Carnival but also in the everyday life.
9. Cool down with Gelato
Shame on you if you come to Venice (or any Italian city) without eating gelato.
You’ll find plenty of flavours on offer in Venice, but a personal favorite of mine is “rum and raisin” and “tiramisu”. Try them both.
10. Catch a water taxi
Whether on the grand canal or from point to point, hop on a water taxi to truly experience the (ever receding) waterways.
11. Go on a secret wine tour
Venetians — and Italians alike — love their wine, so what better way to discover local classics and those from further afield in Italy than a secret walking tour! There are many great walking food and wine tours to discover, here’s one recommendation.
his is a fabulous experience, you get to visit some lovely little hidden gems, drink some lovely wine and taste delicious food
12. Buy glass in Murano
If you’re looking for a souvenir actually worth buying, then in Venice look no further than Murano glass. The glass is made on the Venetian island of Murano, which has specialised in fancy glasswares for centuries.
That concludes the list! What do you think? Did I forget anything?