Ah, Venezia, the City of Water! Could there be a more romantic rendezvous? Built on a group of 118 islands, linked by over 400 bridges, you might not know where to wander first. But that’s what we’re here for – sit back as we steer you through 72 hours in gondola-ville.
Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why not hotfoot it from your hotel and partake at the pasticceria instead? A Venetian breakfast is short and sweet: literally. An espresso and a pastry will do the trick. Favor a fritelle, a typical Venetian sweet treat. Just don’t ask for it ‘to go’: in Venice they eat breakfast standing up at the counter or a table.
Once satisfied, go get your bearings. With a pre-booked pass to the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, you can skip the ticket line and climb straight to the top. From here, gaze down upon the labyrinth of streets and waterways, and look out upon the stunning skyline. On the way back down, take a closer interest in the intricate spiral staircase known as the Scala Contarini del Bovolo (meaning ‘Of the Snail’). The Gothic, Renaissance, and Byzantine architecture will have your eyes on stalks.
You could stop for lunch in St. Mark’s Square. The most iconic part of Venice, it was declared ‘the drawing room of Europe’ by Napoleon. People watch with a prosecco against the backdrop of stately arcades. Of course, the main attraction to draw your eye here is the soaring spire (or campanile) of St. Mark’s Basilica.
After a bite to eat, why not digest some essential Venetian culture with a visit to the Basilica itself? With 4,240 square meters of glistening golden mosaics, the treasures of this former chapel are hugely popular. Don’t waste precious time waiting; bypass the lines with a Byzantine guided tour. Marvel at the marble floors, and hear first hand how St. Mark’s remains were brought to Venice in 829, making the church an important religious landmark.
Alongside the Basilica is the Doge’s Palace, the other most iconic building of the Floating City. With its intricate stone facade and flowing arches, the palace (or Palazzo Ducale as it’s translated) is a fantastic example of Venetian Gothic architecture. Inside, there are yet more treasures to behold. With a private tour you can be sure to skip the queues and make the most of your time. Wonder at the famous works of Bellini and Carpaccio, and savor Sansovino’s golden stairway. You’ll be in art heaven in the Sala del Maggior Consiglio (the Hall of the Great Council), where Tintoretto’s Il Paradiso adorns the wall from top to bottom.
Head back to your hotel happy, ready to relax, before finding a romantic ristorante to while away the night.
Once breakfasted, meander back to St. Mark’s Square where your gondolier awaits around the corner. A private tour of the canals slows down your trip, contrasting the hustle and bustle of the city streets. Relax and unwind while you’re transported (literally and figuratively) into another world. Float away under the world-famous Bridge of Sighs, then along the Rio di Santa Maria Formosa, admiring the elegant apartments of shops on either side. Could it get even more romantic? Yes, if you add a musician and singer to serenade you. Better still, capture the magical moment with a professional photoshoot while you sail.
Rather than getting lunch somewhere, why not combine eating and exploring at the same time? A food tour will satisfy your appetite for culture. Sample some Cicchetti: tapas-style traditional Venetian snacks.Tiny sandwiches, olives, seafood, vegetable, and meat dishes served in the authentic bacàri are a perfect way to immerse yourselves in the culture. Wash it all down with a spritz while you escape the crowds in a quaint Venice tavern.
Burn it off afterwards with a tour of the San Polo area. Discover the world of merchants, courtesans, and painters at the site of the city’s main market since 1097. Soak up the scenery, admire Renaissance works, and take in the impressive Rialto Bridge while you’re at it. If you stay until sunset, you’ll get some stunning selfies.
Begin with another breakfast of caffe and cornetto, then head along to your very own Venetian experience: a glass artwork workshop. Enjoy a masterclass with one of the city’s most famous artists, Massimiliano Caldarone. Discover the ancient artisanal process and create something special as a souvenir of your time.
Just a 15-minute walk away is the Jewish Ghetto, an area steeped in history. Join a local expert on a leisurely stroll around its landmarks, and see parts of the city most visitors don’t. This hidden niche of Venetian culture has antique shops, bakeries, artisanal stores, and a rich story to tell.
Continue exploring the lagoon with a boat tour of the islands. Travel between Murano, Torcello, and Burano, to see a lace-making workshop, sample classic delicacies such as Bussolà cookies, and find your perfect profile picture against a backdrop of colorful houses.
What better way to wrap up your Venice vacation than with Vivaldi? Enjoy an evening of classical music performed by an entire ensemble. Travel back in time to the 18th century when Venice’s composers were making history. Relax in the ambient acoustics to round off your trip.