SEE & DO
32. Even in peak season, there are ways to beat the crowds. Get up early and enjoy a pre-breakfast stroll around St Mark’s Square and along Rialto Bridge at 7 a.m. It will be a far more serene experience, you’ll have plenty of space to take in the view, and your photos won’t be photobombed by tour groups.
33. Cross the Accademia Bridge from San Marco for a glorious view of the Grand Canal, and then lose yourself among the narrow passages.
34. Take in the main sights from a different perspective: Enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the campanile (bell tower) of San Giorgio Maggiore, across the water from its more famous sibling in St Mark’s Square. I spent a peaceful 15 minutes gazing at the magnificent Rialto Bridge from an abandoned jetty 200 yards away that I stumbled upon, as others pushed and shoved on the bridge.
35. … Which leads us to our most important piece of advice: Get Lost. Stow your map, take the first turn off the main path that you come across and just see where it leads you. Ninety percent of tourists in Venice follow one another around the same route, ensuring the city lives up to its overcrowded stereotype. All you have to do is go off the beaten path, and you’ll find yourselves enjoying the peace of a quiet canal without another soul in sight. Remember: Venice is a collection of tiny islands … you’re not going to go too far, so be brave and wander!
36. If you want a little help in this area, take a tour with Friend In Venice. We started off our stay in Venice with a tour with Nadia on our first morning, and I can’t recommend her highly enough. She takes you to parts of the cities you would have missed, and is passionate about making you feel like a local. After an hour with her, you’ll be hooked on exploring all the hidden corners of the city. St Mark’s who?
37. Opinions are divided on gondola rides. Some say they’re tacky and ridiculously expensive (which they are), while others insist they are a must-do (which they are). We say: you’re taking a Venice honeymoon! Do you really want to spend the rest of your life explaining why you didn’t take a gondola ride in Venice? It’s a lovely, romantic (and yes, expensive, starting from €80 per ride) hour of sightseeing. We suppose you could split the fare with another couple, but this is one we recommend keeping to just the two of you.
38. For a different sort of gondola experience, you can see them being built at the Squero San Trovaso. It’s the only remaining gondola boatyard in Venice.
39. Once you’ve exhausted Venice, it’s time to explore the Venetian Lagoon. Dedicate a day to wandering the islands, accessed by water taxi or waterbus.
40. Murano is the home of glassmaking, and you can tour the glassmaking factory where you’ll witness glassblowing artisans working with blistering hot glass, and effortlessly creating stunning chandeliers, vases and stemware.
41. Burano is our favorite Venetian island. It’s famous for lacemaking but the real reason for visiting is the candy-like assortment of multicolored houses. It is said that the fishermen who lived on Burano struggled to find their homes in the fog when they returned, so they painted them bright colors.
42. Compared to the neon brightness and higgledy-piggledy crammed streets of Burano, Torcello seems sparse, sunbleached and wild. Ernest Hemingway fell in love with Torcello and he based parts of “Across The River and Into The Trees” on his time there. And if it’s good enough for him …
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