Venice is one of those places on earth where you don’t really need a list. As Arthur Symons put it “A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.”
Hence, I only prepared a list of Top 5 items (contrary to all my previous posts that included 10 to-do tips). These 5 are absolutely essential. Otherwise – improvise! 🙂
- Venice Biennale
Venice Biennale inaugurated in 1895, occurs every two years, and is arguably the number 1 International Art Exhibition in the world. This year’s Biennale, titled “Viva Arte Viva”, is the 57th edition and takes place from 13.05 to 26.11 at Arsenale and Giardini. The world-class art pavilions demonstrate not only national participations (86 countries represented this year) but also some fabulous thematically diversified exhibitions – this year focused on humanism. Consequently, the Biennale will not only satisfy the art-lovers, but will also serve as eye-opening source of inspiration for everyone, regardless of occupation and interests.
I recommend visiting Venice in September/October, when it’s less crowded but still relatively warm and the Biennale is still on.
Address: Arsenale and Giardini, Venice, Italy & www.labiennale.org/en/art/2017
- Piazza San Marco
St Mark’s Square is the principal public square in Venice boasting the breathtaking Basilica with its wonderful arches, marble decoration and Romanesque cravings. Standing in the middle of the magnificent piazza San Marco is an experience in itself: Napoleon referred to it as the ‘drawing room of Europe’. Personally, I find the outside architecture of the Basilica much more impressive than inside – therefore I’d recommend seeing the inside only if the queues are bearable.
The legendary Caffè Florian is also located at the Square. It is the oldest café in the world (opened in 1720), a place to see and be seen, listen to some live music and enjoy your coffee or a glass of good wine. Perfect on a sunny day.
Address: San Marco 328, 30124 Venice & http://www.basilicasanmarco.it/?lang=en
- Rialto Bridge & Grand Canal
Grand Canal, gondolas and the view from the Rialto Bridge (the oldest bridge in Venice) are the typical pictures of Venice in most people’s minds – and no wonder…the view from the bridge is just awe-inspiring and certainly worth few attempts to take this perfect IG photo (I hope you like the one below!).
Just walking along the Grand Canal on a sunny day is something that’s unique to Venice and worth taking the trip there, at least once in your lifetime. Totally romantic and inspiring.
Address: Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy & www.duomomilano.it/
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Peggy Guggenheim is one of the grandest and most influential personas in the history of the art world. She is famous for her resolve to “buy a picture a day” and supporting, promoting and advancing post-war art. Peggy lived in Venice for 30 years and amassed a wonderful collection of art, which can now be admired in a beautiful Grand-Canal Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, where she lived.
You’ll find some of the most famous art pieces there including Picassos, Dalis, Mondrians, Pollocks and many others. One of the finest museums of modern art in the world and one of my very favourites. Also, the views from the window are almost as good as the art ❤
Address: 704 Dorsoduro, 30123 Venice & http://www.guggenheim-venice.it/inglese/default.html
- Explore the “real” Venice
Finally, try to avoid doing only the famous touristic spots and explore the “true old Venice” to discover the city in all its beauty. Don’t miss getting lost in the zones (called Sestieri) of San Polo and Canaregio, where you can see the “real” Venice.
In San Polo don’t miss to visit Scuola Grande di San Rocco, with the triumph of Tintoretto, and then Santa Maria dei Frari, with Tiziano and other excellent pieces of art. In Canaregio a true gem is Madonna dell’orto church with some exquisite Tintoretto artwork.
People of Venezia always do “Cichetti“, which is sitting at a little table, drinking an Aperol Spritz, and eating little slices of bread with some great toppings (baccalà, prosciutto etc.) I recommend Hostaria dai Zemei in San Polo for proper “Cichetti” Venetial style 🙂
Address: San Polo, 1045, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy & http://www.italyheaven.co.uk/veneto/venice/san-polo.html
In summary, Venice is a wonderful place that’s incredibly easy to fall in love with at the first sight. The Grand Canal, view from Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco are unforgettable. To be sure, Venezia is more than that. It has its older zones of San Polo and Canaregio, which should be explored at your leisure. Finally, Venice’s treasure is its art – with Peggy Guggenheim Collection and its famous Biennale taking place for almost half a year. No excuse not-to-visit!
Have you been to Venice? What was your experience?
Let me know what you think in the comments below.