The Best of Venice
In the coming weeks we will be launching our new Venice City Guide, however we want to give you a sneak preview of some of the best hotels, restaurants, nightlife and experiences that Venice has to offer.
As one of the most romantic cities in the world, Venice is a city of extraordinary beauty that will capture your heart with its winding canals, crumbling ancient buildings and its world-class art scene.
Venice’s hotel scene is characterised by a mix of old-world luxury hotels and a sleuth of chic new designer hotels. The iconic waterfront 15th-century palace, Ca’Sagredo, is one of the grande-dames of Venice’s hotel scene and has been attracting an A-list crowd for many years. One of the most notable new openings includes is the exclusive new 5-star Palazzina Grassi. The magnificent 16th century palace has received a sophisticated facelift by legendary French designer Phillipe Starck and is a magical world of mirrors, rare vintage objects and glass sculptures. Another exciting new opening is the designer-chic Centurion Palace with a spectacular waterfront position in Dorsoduro. For a more affordable option, the Ca Maria Adele is one of the most stylish, intimate and romantic boutique hotels in Venice, along with the charming DD724 bed & breakfast (B&B). Renting a private apartment is also a more personal and affordable accommodation option, where the best online agencies are Venetian Apartments and Views on Venice.
Start the day with a strong espresso at the rustic 1930s Torrefazione Marchi coffee bar piled high with sacks of coffee beans and the most sumptuous aroma of coffee. One of our favourite places for an indulgent long Italian lunch is at Lineadombra on an open air pier on the Venetian waterfront. A more casual option is the Osteria Al Mascaron which is a fun, local Italian eaterie with an inexpensive menu of Italian cuisine and local wines by the glass. If you feel like some Venetian “cicchetti” tapas-style bites, head to the Rialto markets waterfront area on Campo San Giacometto where you’ll find several intimate Venetian bacari’s such as Al Pesador, Bancogiro and Naranzaria serving delicious bite sized tastes such as polpetti meatballs, frito misti and tramezzini. When you’re craving gelato, make a stop at Alaska for some of the freshest seasonal and additive-free gelato in Venice. For dinner, we love the peaceful Da Fiore restaurant which is tucked away in the San Polo district. For traditional Venetian cuisine in a rustic setting, the charming Antiche Carampane offers a daily-changing menu of seafood-inspired Italian dishes, along with the rustic local Venetian favourite, Alle Testiere.
Venice is not typically renowned for its nightlife given its strict noise restriction and zoning laws, where everything tends to close down just after midnight. However, for a pre-dinner aperitif we love the casual wine bars found in the backstreets of Cannaregio and Castello such as Un Mondo Divino, the homely Mascareta and Al Volto which claims to stock over 1,300 wine labels. For a more glamourous atmosphere, the outdoor terrace at the Hotel Daniele tends to attract a fashionable local crowd. Osteria Enoteca San Marco and Naranzaria mentioned before are also very good places for Italian wines by the glass. Central Lounge is a dimly-lit, minimalist warehouse frequented by a hip young crowd and is a fun after-dinner party place. Otherwise, join the tourist masses and find a table at an outdoor cafe in the dazzling San Marco Square and just enjoy the spectacular view.
One of the most special experiences in Venice is to simply wander the tiny, winding streets and get yourself completely lost. Turn off the major pedestrian thoroughfares and discover another world with significantly fewer tourists, a vibrant local scene and a much slower pace of life. Another way to explore the city is to jump on any of the local vaporetti water taxis and to take in the breathtaking waterfront views of Venice’s canals. Venice also offers a wealth of spectacular art galleries and museums, where the Gallerie dell’Academia, Palazzo Grassi and the Peggy Guggenheim are our favourites. A wonderful time to come to Venice is during the annual Biennale Art Show where many of the city’s museums, galleries, private homes and public spaces feature cutting-edge contemporary art works from the worlds best international artists.