Aside from being home to some of the finest villas in Italy, Venice also has certain ‘secret’ attractions to be enjoyed. Here are just three of them.
Booking accommodation at one of the excellent villas in Italy is just the beginning of what will no doubt be a magical holiday. If you’ve chosen to stay in or around Venice and you’re wondering how to fill an itinerary, here are some great ‘insider’ tips to start you off.
Where to Stroll
When you’re in Venice, which is home to some of the finest villas in Italy, even the simple task of taking a leisurely stroll becomes a deeply enjoyable experience in itself. Venetians love their after lunch and after dinner strolls—and who can blame them with such a wonderful city to enjoy? The art of a stroll is so revered it even has its own name: passeggiata. If you want to know where the locals prefer, seek out the lovely Riva degli Schiavoni, located just off St Mark’s Square. If you happen to be renting one of the villas in Italy in summer, you’ll find the canal filled with life as people from all parts of the world enjoy the sunshine and the stunning open views across the water.
Where to Shop
There’s shopping like a tourist and then there’s shopping like a local, and in Venice there’s no place that comes close to the color and excitement of the Rialto Markets. Located in the San Polo district of Venice, the Rialto is a bustling, extraordinarily vibrant market place where you can find the freshest and most diverse seafood, fruit, vegetables, flowers and almost anything else you’d care to buy.
The Rialto is no simple farmer’s market—the ambiance is so palpable, merely shopping for the day’s groceries becomes an ‘experience’. This is how the Venetians have done it for centuries and, surprisingly, prices at the Rialto are much lower than those in other parts of Venice, not to mention the sheer range and quality of the products being sold here. Do take note though that the stalls open at dawn, so most of the best products are gone before noon. You’ll need to arrive as early in the day as possible.
The ‘Other’ Island to Visit
Venice is a fascinating city but with so much to see and do on the so-called ‘tourist trail’, it’s easy to miss some of the lesser-known attractions. If you pay a visit to the very famous St. Marks Square (which you no doubt will), you can see the island of San Giorgio not so far away. It’s a lovely sight but surprisingly, however, it is common for tourists to pass up the opportunity to pay the island a visit—which is a real shame. There are some wonderful things to discover on San Giorgio and it is very easy to reach on a water bus – and it’s cheap too. Designed by Palladio (who is widely considered one of the best architects the Veneto has produced), San Giorgio Maggiore is a marvel of construction on the exterior and a treasure trove of art inside. It houses a number of important paintings by the great artists, including works by Tintoretto. You can also take the elevator (what a luxury!) to the top of the bell tower to enjoy a stunning panorama of Venice laid out before you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carolyn Spinks is COO of ABTOI – The Association of British Travel Organisers to Italy.
Where to stay in Venice
There are many hotels, apartments, B&Bs and guesthouses available in Venice, search and make reservations here.