Brief Guide For A Short Break To Venice
Brief Guide For A Short Break To Venice – Those who claim they don’t like Venice usually haven’t ventured beyond Piazza San Marco and the market stalls that hawk Chinese-made “Murano” glass tchotchkes. It’s like saying you don’t care for New York City based on an afternoon in Times Square. The real Venice, with its ancient walls draped in honeysuckle and jasmine, is quiet, mysterious, and glamorous. If you venture off the beaten path, you’ll find a city dotted with low-key restaurants, cutting-edge galleries, and artisan shops. There are even a few well-priced, under-the-radar hotels. All you have to do is ask a local. So we did. Our guides gave us their lists for the best hotels, cultural sites, restaurants, and only-in-Venice shopping. Here, their top picks:
Where to Stay
Don’t to Drop $1K a Night! The are knockouts if you’re splurging for a special occasion. But these lesser-known properties are more affordable, set apart from the crowds, and a little easier on the budget.and the
Bauers Palladio Hotel & Spa: The Bauer San Marco is at the heart of the city’s action. But their sister property, thea renovated Palladio-designed convent on the quiet island of Giudecca, is downright serene. It has sunny, spacious rooms, a spa with canal views, and a well-equipped gym. Book one of their “Conventino” rooms or a Junior Suite, which open directly onto a secluded garden filled with rose bushes and old-growth trees. Plus, there’s a shuttle boat that runs between two two properties, so you’re never more than a few minutes boat ride away from the main sites.
Cima Rosa: This modern but cozy five-room bed and breakfast in Santa Croce offers a refreshing contrast to all the faded brocade, heavy velvet and foxed mirrors that you see in hotels and restaurants all over the lagoon. Rooms have a chic Restoration Hardware vibe, with whitewashed walls, neutral fabrics, and framed botanical prints. The shaded garden, with its ancient marble statues and climbing vines, is an ideal spot for a morning cappuccino.
Palazzo Venart Luxury Hotel: This restored Grand Canal palazzo nails old-school luxury without going totally over the top. Rooms at theare low-lit and moodily romantic, with wine-red fabrics and historic details—some even have expertly preserved 16th-century frescoes on the walls and ceilings. If you decide to have a meal at GLAM, the in-house Michelin-starred restaurant, make sure to ask for one of the tables in the garden that fronts the Grand Canal.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa : If you’re traveling with kids (or you’re just allergic to crowds and cramped spaces) this sleek resort is ideal. Theis on its own island (about 15-20 minutes away by boat), has massive lawns, multiple swimming pools with stellar views of the city’s bell towers and church spires, jogging paths and multiple sports facilities. Plus, there’s a kids club, so you can leave the little ones to play while you go visit the Accademia in peace. If you want absolute privacy, book one of their standalone “retreats.” We like Villa Rose, which has two bedrooms and its own private pool.
Where to Eat
When it comes to knowing where and what to eat in Venice, we trust Skye McAlpine, Traveler contributor and author of A Table in Venice: Recipes from My Home. She’s lived there on and off since she was six years old, and can often be found trawling the markets for ingredients for her famously beautiful home-cooked meals. Here’s how she would spend an ideal day eating her way through the city:
- Breakfast: Rosa Salva : This old-school pasticceria has a few locations throughout the city, but this one is the most picturesque, with its charmingly fusty interior and outdoor tables that invite you to sit and linger for a while.
- Lunch: Osteria ai 40 Ladroni : Sit by the canal and don’t even look at the menu; instead ask the chef to send out a selection of antipasti and a plate of the spider-crab gnocchi.
- Afternoon Snack: Dal Nono Colussi : If you have an afternoon sugar craving, We recommend Dal Nono Colussi, a tiny bakery on a quiet side street in Dorsoduro. They make the best *focaccia veneziana*, a sugar-crusted panettone-like cake,”
- Dinner: Al Covo : For a relaxed dinner, head to , a restaurant serving classic Venetian seafood near the Arsenale (ideal if you’re in town to see the Biennale). You must order the fried stuffed zucchini flowers and the legendary ricotta cake.
- Dessert: La Mela Verde: This unassuming spot in Castello has some of the best artisanal gelato in the city, with classic flavors like stracciatella stocked next to more avant-garde stuff: “The pine nut flavor is to die for,”
Where to Shop
Venice isn’t known as a major shopping destination, but if you want to bring home a few one-of-a-kind souvenirs, skip the designer stores near San Marco and visit these boutiques and workshops instead.
- L’angolo del Passato : If you’re looking for the best Murano glass, this shop in Dorsoduro is hands down the most recommended place. They sell vintage pieces as well as contemporary designs by up-and-coming local artisans.
- Pied à Terre : This pocket-sized boutique, hidden behind a market stall near the Rialto bridge, is the place to buy furlane, those chic, floppy gondolier slippers you’ll see a lot of locals wearing. It’s stocked floor-to-ceiling with a rainbow of options, including candy-colored velvet Mary Janes, brocade slides, and simple linen flats with contrasting trims.
- Gianni Basso Stampatore : This studio in Cannaregio does custom stationery on an antique letterpress. You can get correspondence cards, invitations or bookplates done with charming motifs like Venetian lions, eyeglasses, and trees. They’re cash-only and don’t have a website, but they’ll ship finished orders anywhere in the world.
- Antonia Miletto Gioielli: Local jeweler Antonioa Miletto, whose San Marco boutique feels like the inside of an orange Hermes box, is known for her one-of-a-kind jewelry, which combines delicate diamonds with unconventional materials like polished wood and carved resin. We love her satisfyingly chunky cuff bracelets and fish-shaped cocktail rings.
- Giuliana Longo: When Venetian aristocrats need a custom carnival headdress, they go to this milliner in San Marco. She also makes gorgeous straw hats trimmed with silk ribbons and fabulously eccentric feathered accessories.
- Antica Drogheria Mascari: If you’re more into edible (or drinkable) souvenirs, this 70-year-old spice store in San Polo also sells obscure Italian liquors and sweets in retro packaging. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s worth it just to check out the spectacle of it all: piles of ground herbs, walls lined with jars of sweets, and perfectly imperfect handwritten labels.
What to Do
- Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni: Behind an unassuming white facade in Castello, the main room of this Dalmatian scuola (religious guild) is covered with intricately detailed paintings of patron saints by the Renaissance master Vittore Carpaccio.
- Casa dei Tre Oci: Called the “house of three eyes” for its distinctive rounded windows that face the lagoon, this neo-Gothic palazzo on Giudecca exhibits contemporary photography.
- Le Stanze del Vetro: “There’s a real glassmaking renaissance happening at the Annabelle Selldorf-designed exhibition space on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore,” says Andrea di Robilant, author of the historical novel A Venetian Affair. “They also organize Venice Glass Week, a citywide celebration of the craft.”
- Santa Maria dei Miracoli: Karole P.B. Vail, director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, loves this little barrel-vaulted marble church in Cannaregio that houses a painting of the Madonna and child that is said to work miracles.
- Alma Zevi: This pocket-size gallery near Palazzo Grassi shows experimental work by young, international artists like the Brazilian-born sculptor Juliana Cerqueria Leite and glass pieces by local Marcantonio Brandolini D’Adda.
Four Outer Islands Away from the Crowds
Another way to escape the madness? Have your hotel hook you up with a boat rental for the day, and explore the rest of the lagoon. Murano and Burano are on most people’s itineraries, but these lesser-known islands are worth checking out, too.
- San Lazzaro degli Armeni : There are public tours of this secluded island monastery once every afternoon, starting at 3:25 p.m. Don’t forget to hit the gift shop: Locals rave about the rose-petal jam made by the monks who live here.
- La Certosa: Instead of fighting for space on the beach on the Lido, spend a few hours exploring the forested ruins on park-like La Certosa. It’s especially popular among locals with dogs, who can run free around its 54 acres.
- Torcello: The thing to do here is have lunch at Locanda Cipriani, an old-fashioned inn run by the Cipriani family. Make sure to book a table in the garden, which is especially lovely in late spring, when all the roses are in bloom. Afterwards, take a walk through the old Byzantine Church of Santa Maria Assunta.
- Pellestrina: Another Lido-adjacent island that separates the lagoon from the Adriatic, the beaches here are a little more serene. And it’s worth coming just to try the vongole at Agriturismo Le Valli.