Before you embark on your trip you may want to watch movies like The Italian Job, Casino Royale, The Merchant of Venice, Casanova or some romance from Venice in a thriller The Tourist. Personally, for me, visiting Venice was about indulging in Italian food, culture, discovering another beautiful Italian city and spending there my dolce week. Italy was always attracting me for many reasons which Elizabeth Gilbert described perfectly in her memoir Eat Pray Love. 

Photo from Guidecca in Venice overlooking San Marco and Dorsoduro districts. This couple definitely picked the best spot !

I was staying in Guidecca, one of six areas or sestieri of Venice together with Dorsoduro. In 20th centrury an industial area with shipyards, factories, film studio and huge flour mill. As with many places similar to this one, over the time it was transformed and now it became the hippest place in Venice. During the week time I regularly stopped to get my breakfast in Bar da Monica cute little place. Morning started usually with ‘’Eih, come stai’’, grilled panini to die for and of course creamy Cappuccino. I cannot think of better way to kick start the day! Because Guidecca is separated from the rest of sestieri with Guidecca Canal I had to buy vaporetto (water bus) ticket and commute daily, which I was completely fine with as long as I had my slow start in the morning with no crowds rushing from everywhere. If you, however, only plan to stay in the city center, everything is accessible there by walking so you won’t need to buy it.

Canalle della Giudecca in its best colours.

Evenings in Venice are especially charming. This photo was taken from Guidecca and you can see Santa Maria della Salute together with Piazza San Marco. You must visit the island for sunset, so you can experience the full atmosphere with ringing bells of the church, water beating to the shore, people cheering with their drinks on the benches and terraces…this all makes up for a perfect evening. In the morning I recommend you to visit impressive neo-gothic building Casa dei Tre Oci which is three-floor gallery dedicate to photography.  

Jazzy Piazza San Marco.

Next, obvious stop is San Marco with its Doge’s Palace museum where it is possible to walk through beautiful loggias and stunning halls, up a brilliant golden stucco staircase. Palace used to be residence of supreme authority of Venetian Republic. Continue with your visit of Palazzo Grassi which gathers private collections of 20th and 21st century art. Check if you can buy tickets for Teatro La Fenice Venice’s opera house dating from 1792. Stop to take some photos on Ponte Balbi and nearby Ponte dei Bareteri or Ponte del Lovo. During the eve, piazza Saint Marco is truly dazzling with twinkling lights of the venetian antique street lamps and people gather outside to listen to free classic music concert in front of Caffè Quadri. Opposite to that you can find Caffè Florian which is the world’s second oldest coffeehouse where icons like Lord Byron, Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens were frequent visitors.

Dorsoduro district and one of its streets full of beautiful window flowers.
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Dorsoduro.

Dorsoduro area of Venice may be my favorite for interesting galleries and different type of art on display. I could walk there for hours. Actually, if you start walking from Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute crossing tiny bridge to the Calle del Bastion streetthen you will see many galleries and shops with murano glass jewellery, porcelain or wooden arts and sculptures. Even artworks from iron wastes and paintings in wax. There is also Guggenheim collection, which is must see museum, because it was here where Peggy Guggenheim lived for majority of her life. This museum gathers a small collection compared to other Guggenheim museums worldwide, but here you can find works from Mirò, Magritte, Kandinsky, Picasso and Dalí that makes it one of the most-visited sites in Venice.

Girl looking at Rinaldo e Armida painting in Gallerie dell’Accademia.

You can continue your visit further to Gallerie dell’Accademia, pre-18th century art and collection of Venetian art, it is here where you can see Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci. If you get hungry walk to Calle Dietro Ai Magazzini to Dorsoduro’s vegan place La Tecia Vegana. It will not disappoint it is delicious and cheap. If you prefer shorter walk, then just go to Campo Santa Margherita square where are plenty of eateries to choose from. Remember this square, because it is also known for its nightlife!

Not far from Rialto bridge, climb to the top of the shopping mall T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS to get one of the best views on Venice 🙂 

From Dorsoduro cross to San Polo passing by Santa Maria Gloriosa dei frari church. Continue further up to Palazzo Pappadopoli untill you reach Rialto Bridge. Probably the best viewpoint of Venice is near Rialto Bridge, the place is a shopping mall named T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS. There are usually shorter queues for entry in the morning, but it is definitely worth to wait, the view is priceless. On the way back, walk to Ruga dei Oresi and continue straight till the end till you see Mercato di Rialto market, which is opened every day since 7.30 except Sunday and Monday. If you would walk on the bridge from the other side, you would pass by famous Amorino ice cream shop and plenty of souvenir shops with masks are more. My tip for restaurant here is Bar All’Arco which has amazing cicchetti (like Spanish tapas).

Somewhere in Venice.

If you continue straight you will eventually get to Santa Croce. Visit Bevilacqua tessuti d’arte an artisanal weaving workshop in Venice. Ca’Pesaro Ca’ is the Venetian abbreviation for casa or “house”, Pesaro was a wealthy family who lived there in 17thcentury. Now it is a modern art house, with collection of 19th and 20th century paintings and sculptures. Great place to stop for a bite here is La Zucca restaurant with fresh seasonal dishes. 

North sestieri Cannaregio has also a lot to offer. Spend some time strolling Ponte degli Scalzi, to Ponte delle Guglie towards Jewish Ghetto and stop for some homemade crêpes at Cocaeta. If you feel lucky, in Cannaregio is also Casino of Venice

Strolling in Castello Venice.

Hidden well behind the boat market and restaurant Trattoria alla Rampa, you can find studio called Oi Va Voi. There you will have a great opportunity to transform photos you made in Venice into piece of art by printing them onto a unique textile bag. What a great souvenir! In Castello, I also stumbled into a lovely restaurant with beautiful terrace framed with blooming tree which serves very nice seafood Osteria alla frasca. Pretty much anytime of the year is bursting with tourist mingling all over Venice. If you want to slow down a bit and escape the crowds there are some nice park like Giardino della Marinaressa with outdoors arts and architecture to admire and not far away from it is another park Giardini della Biennale. 

Photo from Burano island. Italian ragazzi 🙂
Splash of colours in Burano streets.

Islands are very special in Venice, there are three I recommend for different reasons. Burano for its tasty cookies called Bussolà, colorful houses and traditional laces shops. In Murano famous for its Murano glass, you can see demonstration of glass art production (for free). Just ask for the closest one when on the island.

Lido beach. Complete relax with glass of apero on the Italian sun.

Probably my most favorite was Lido di Venezia where you can go to Lido beach, you can easily bike the island, sit on the sun having glass of Aperol Spritz or Bellini and with that, you will feel like your vacation is not missing anything!