Parlour X’s in-house team share their ultimate city guide for Venice. This carefully curated list of recommendations captures both winter and summer time desires. Whether your visit is short-lived or not, your schedule will be filled with cultural heritage visits as well as unbeatable eateries to balance out your visit.
What makes Venice so unique?
Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs. There are no vehicles, cars or motorcycles in this lagoon city. In winter, there is a tranquil and quiet nature about your surrounds. In summer, the city comes alive. A must for lovers of Italy.
While there are many hotels to select from in Venice, what are the ‘best of’ luxury hotels and boutique accommodation?
Hotel PalazzinaG, Calle Grassi, San Marco 3247, Venice, 30124
This ultra-modern five-star hotel has been designed by Philippe Starck and is located in the historic centre of Venice, just off the Canal Grande canal. Visit the dedicated Krug Champagne bar.
Palazzo Venart, S. Croce, 1961, Venice, 30135
A 16th-century Venetian palace with a new lease of life – marble furnishings, parquet flooring and antiques and artworks.
Palazzo Barbarigo, 2765 Sestiere San Polo, Venice, Veneto, 30125
Dramatic contemporary décor with 1920’s deco theme.
Hop on to Mr&Mrs Smith for an edit of beautiful hotels in Venice – from luxe to boutique.
As there are no automobiles in Venice, how do we get around?
Arrive to Venice from Marco Polo Airport, which is connected to Venice’s Stazione Marittima Cruise Terminal. Either hop on a cruise port water transporter (waterbus) to your destination, or for a more luxurious and private option, facilitate a private carrier to avoid stopping at several destinations on the way and arrive to your end destination immediately.
Much of Venice can be seen by foot or for neighbouring destinations, waterbus. No trip to Venice would be complete without a trip down one of the city’s picturesque waterways in an iconic gondola.
The Istituzione per la Conservazione della Gondola e Tutela del Gondoliere (Gondola Board; 041 528 5075) website has recommended itineraries – but you may be able to negotiate with a gondolier at the end of their shift! Their lives are fascinating so make sure you ask plenty of questions, many of whom are multi-generation gondoliers’.
List your top 10 favourite eateries from restaurants, local cuisines and sweet spots.
Osteria del Bancogiro (near Rialto), Campo San Giacometto, 122, 30125 Rialto, Venezia VE, Italy
Nominated by Vogue Italia as one of their favourites, this Osteria is a brick-vaulted dining room turning out modern Venetian dishes with a canal front terrace.
Le Antiche Carampane, Rio Terà de le Carampane, 1911, 30125 Sestiere San Polo, Venezia VE, Italy
Interesting seafood-focused Venetian dishes served in a cosy, family-run restaurant adorned with photos.
Boutique del Gelato, Salizzada San Lio, Venezia, Italy
Most Venetians agree that some of the city’s best gelato is served here, a tiny outlet. Be prepared to be patient though, because there’s always a huge crowd waiting to be served
Il Ridotto, Campiello Santi Filippo E Giacomo, 4509, 30122 Venezia, Italy
Imaginative, seafood-oriented cuisine in an intimate restaurant with just 9 tables.
Harry’s Bar, Calle Vallaresso, 1323, 30124 San Marco, Venezia VE, Italy
Owned by the Cipriani group, Harry’s is an institution known for its rich history in Venice. They are said to have created the first Bellini, and it’s an amazing one at that. A reservation is necessary for upstairs dining, order the Saffron Pappardelle and Lemon Meringue to finish for dessert. Be prepared, it’s mighty pricey.
Farini Bakery, San Polo 655 30100 Venice, Italy
A local bakery with perhaps the best freshly made tarts, croissants, breads and delights a bakery can offer. Great coffee and perfect for stopping in whilst walking your surrounds. Big tick!
Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia, Italy
One of the most visited attractions in Venice, the home of Peggy Guggenheim and her respective collection as one of the most important and prolific art collectors and gallerist the world has known.
I Tre Mercanti Srl, Campo della Guerra, 5364, 30122 Castello, Venezia VE, Italy
Essentially a gourmet grocery store, this is a great stop for something sweet, a quick espresso or delightful glass of wine. The must have is their homemade Tiramisu, in multiple flavours, you won’t regret it.
Amo, Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Calle del Fontego, 30100 Venezia, Italy
Situated within Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Amo is a newer restaurant and café helmed by a star chef. Perfect against a remarkably luxurious and historic setting.
Venice is known for its art and cultural impact. List the best culturally stimulating activities when in Venice from museums to sightseeing.
Museums – the must see’s
Fondazione Prada, Calle Corner Della Regina, 2215, 30135 Santa Croce, Venezia VE, Italy
Fondazione Prada, Co-chaired by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli since 1995, is an institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture.
Punta della Dogana, Dorsoduro, 2, 30123 Venezia, Italy
Punta della Dogana is an art museum in Venice’s old customs building, the Dogana da Mar. It also refers to the triangular area of Venice where the Grand Canal meets the Giudecca Canal.
Palazzo Fortuny, Campo S. Beneto, 3780, 30126 San Marco, Venezia VE, Italy
House belonged to the brilliant Mariano Fortuny, since 1975 one of the benchmarks for the Visual Arts in Venice and masterful example of Venetian Gothic. Only open during temporary exhibitions.
Sightseeing – for couples, families or individuals
Saint Mark’s Basilica, Piazza San Marco, 328, 30100 Venezia, Italy – landmark cathedral with gilded domes
Doge’s Palace, S. Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia, Italy a gothic-style palace and museum
The Rialto Bridge –An ornate footbridge over the Grand Canal, filled with knick-knacks, jewellery, Venetian glass and an abundance of tourists!
Piazza San Marco – a landmark basilica dominate square
San Marco Campanile – an imposing landmark cathedral tower. At almost 99m (325ft), the Campanile is the city’s tallest building, originally built between 888 and 912.
Piazza San Marco – see three major sights in one square by standing in the middle of the magnificent piazza San Marco; an experience to see some of the city’s main attractions.
The Historic Sites of Dorsoduro
Bridge of Sighs – an iconic white stone enclosed bridge
Santa Maria della Salutle– an iconic 1600s church with a vast cupola
The Teatro Malibran and Le Fenice – experiencing Vivaldi in Venice is an absolute must. As well as its opera and ballet seasons, La Fenice has at least two concert seasons a year. The Teatro Malibran shares the Fenice’s programmes and has its own chamber music season.
For lovers of luxury, and those interested in shopping while in Venice, what are your top boutiques from fashion men’s, women’s, design and lifestyle?
Fondaco Dei Tedeschi is luxury encapsulated. One of the most famous buildings in Venice located at the foot of the Rialto Bridge. The space is helmed by LVMH, and has been transformed into an architecturally designed, lavish, high-end shopping centre offering a luxury edit of Fendi, Armani, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Loewe, Gucci and more. With a dedicated men’s and women’s department, an accessories and footwear salon, beauty products and lifestyle products can also be discovered. Many hours can be spent wondering on exquisite each floor, beginning from bottom, to top – it’s quite an experience within itself. Do not forget to hit the rooftop for a sensational and awe-inspiring view of Venice!
Chanel, Calle Larga XXII Marzo, 2070/a, 30124 Venezia, Italy
Balenciaga, Calle Vallaresso, 1310, 30124 Venezia, Italy
Dolce & Gabbanna, located within T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS
Missoni, Calle Vallaresso, 1312, 30124 Venezia, Italy
Saint Laurent, Sestiere di S. Marco, 1302, 30124 Venezia, Italy
Perfume Store, Santa Maria Novella, San Marco, 3149, 30100 Venezia, Italy – beautiful and bespoke, appropriate for guests or for sensory treats to indulge in!
Salizzada San Samuel, Venezia, Italy – there are admirable antique and homeware stores located around Palazzo Grassi and Salizzada San Samuel to explore and wander in.
Do you have any tips or tricks for any first-time visitors?
Getting around Venice can be challenging, especially in Summer when the city is piqued with tourists or winter as it’s freezing cold or drizzling. While in these moments you may discover unseen landmarks by foot, if you are carrying luggage or have had a long-haul flight, it’s best to either be escorted straight to your hotel by a gondolier or by boat, which of course in summer will be exorbitant. If you are planning to walk around town once reaching the port, a GPS or phone with navigation is necessary. A traditional map may seem charismatic but at the time, it can become rather difficult to find your way around the serpentine streets with minimal signage and direction. All part of the Venetian charm!
Murano & Burano – strongly advise island hopping over to Murano and Burano for day trips. Burano is an idyllic little town, with colourfully painted houses in a village setting. Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges within the Venetian lagoon. With a population just over 5,000, it is famous for its glass making. Both islands can be experienced with one full day or a few hours.
Aperitivo time – drink Prosecco canal-side or on a rooftop! The bubbly white made in the hills of the Veneto region.
The Packing List:
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