Venice Vacation Ideas
Venice is one of the best romantic cities in the world. It's surrounded by water, so getting around involves taking water taxis, gondola rides and a lot of walking. Stay in a romantic hotel overlooking the Venetian Lagoon, visit the famous St. Mark's Square and have a romantic dinner outside in a historic square. If you are pressed for time, here is a one day itinerary to follow and see the major attractions. At the bottom of this article, look for travel tips on getting to and from the airport, getting around the Grand Canal and more. If you are looking for a place to stay, read our article on hotels in Venice. Here are some honeymoon ideas as well.
1. The Doge's Palace
Located on the eastern end of St. Mark's Square right next to St. Mark's Church, the Doge's Palace is a beautiful Gothic building that used to be the home of the Venetian doges. Today, the building it open to visitors on most days.
Inside the palace, visitors can view the Great Council Hall, the Chamber of the Council of Ten, the torture chamber, prison cells and other rooms. The famous Bridge of Sighs connects the Doge's Palace with the state prisons. You can find the current opening times and admission information in English at www.museiciviciveneziani.it. Ticksts cost 11 euro. Once you purchase your ticket to the Doge's Palace, you will also get access to the nearby Museo Correr.
If you don't have the time to tour the Doge's Palace, stroll around the building and note some of the details. The 15-century Gothic Porta della Carta use to be the main entrance to the palace. It leads to the internal courtyard which you can enter even without a ticket to the museum. The balcony facing the Piazzetta features a lion, a symbol of Venice. The main entrance to the palace is around the corner.
2. Shopping in Venice
The most famous shopping area in Venice is the Mercerie, a set of narrow streets that links St. Mark's Square and the Rialto. Here you can purchase anything from designed clothing, glass products, handbags, footware, linens and books. For the greatest selection of traditional glass pieces and lace, take a boat to the islands of Murano and Burano. Shop Hours Shop are usually open in the morning from 9am to 12:30 pm, and from 4pm to 7:30pm. Some places may be closed on Wednesdays, so call before you go or ask your hotel concierge.
3. St. Mark's Church
St. Mark's Church is spectacular. Ornamented with golden facade mosaics, marble and bronze statues, and five domes, this basilica is unlike any other. It stands on the eastern end of St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy. The interior of the church is open to visitors on almost all days for a few hours. You can find the current schedule in English at www.basilicasanmarco.it. If you are planning a visit in the summer, be sure to wear a shirt with sleaves and a skirt or pants that fall below your knees, or you will not be allowed inside. There is no admission fee to enter the church.
4. Venice Film Festival
Venice Film Festival is an annual event that promotes the awareness of international film. The 69th Venice Film Festival will take place between August 29 and September 8, 2012. Venice Film Festival is a competitive event with several awards presented to the winning films, including the Golden Lion for best film. Films presented at the festival range from small independent films to big production movies. Many celebrities attend Venice Film Festival every year. Film screenings can be attended by the public in several theaters in Lido of Venice. Visitors can purchase individual tickets or combination passes with access to all the screenings that take place in a particular theater. For ticket information and a schedule of events, visit www.labiennaledivenezia.net.
5. Santa Maria della Salute
Whether you traveling down the Grand Canal by boat or exploring Venice on foot, you will notice the imposing church of Santa Maria della Salute. If you stand in Piazzetta San Marco, the church can be seen across the Grand Canal. Take a romantic gondola ride on your getaway to Venice. Santa Maria della Salute is a baroque building which was completed in 1687. Its white facade and a hug cupola faces the water. It's one of the top romantic views in Venice.
6. The Carnival of Venice
The Carnival of Venice brings two weeks of parties, cocktails and exotic costumes to Venice every February. Streets and squares in Venice fill with people wearing unique costumes and traditional masks. Venetian cafes organize parties and balls where everybody who wants to get in has to wear a traditional costume.
Masks and costumes have been an important part of Venetian living during the past centuries. Masks initially had practical uses - they were used by gamblers to avoid creditors, by doctors who believed that wearing a mask will prevent them from getting plague, and by poor noblemen who begged on the streets of Venice. Masks were also used at banquets and parties to preserve anonymity.
The Carnival of Venice traditionally begins with a parade in St. Mark's Square. After the parade, costumed participants can choose from numerous events and parties in the 18th century style. There is dancing, tasty dinners, cocktails and even a competition for the best costume. Reservations are required for most events.
Hotels are always full during the Carnival and reservations should be made months in advance. Prices to attend the Carnival events range from Euro 45 to Euro 380. Most events require a historic costume. For a complete list of events during the Carnival of Venice and for event reservations, call +39-041-717-065.
7. Ristorante Masaniello
Located in Campo Santo Stefano, about 15 minutes on foot from St. Mark's Square, Ristorante Masaniello serves delicious Neapolitan cuisine. We loved their colorful plates, table decor and open-air seating. The atmosphere was very romantic when the night fell and the little blue oil lamps were lit at the tables. The restaurant serves fabulous pasta cooked al dente as well as meat, fish and moutwatering deserts. Our waiter spoke English well and helped us with the Italian menu. After the meal, the waiter brought home-made liqueur which was on the house. Flavors include lemon, orange and chocolate. Dinner for two is around 90 euro, excluding wine.
8. Romantic Themed Rooms in Venice
Ca Maria Adele is a quiet 14-room boutique hotel located across the main canal from St. Mark's Square. The hotel has a small breakfast room and a terrace, and with so few rooms it's never crowded.
It's the rooms at Ca Maria Adele that really make a true romantic vacation. The hotel has five theme rooms which have all been designed to reflect a different historical Venetian theme. Leave the hotel and enjoy a gondola ride, have a romantic dinner, or take a stroll along the Riva degli Schiavoni.
The bright red brocade that covers the walls of the Dodge's room make it the perfect room for a romantic escape. If red is not your color, try the Fireside room which is decorated in white marble, or La Sala Noir with its rich hues of pepper, cocoa, clover.
For more information and room rates, visit our page on Ca Maria Adele and plan your romantic getaway.
Renting a costume for the Carnival:
There are several shops in Venice that rent or sell costumes. Rental fees are around US $100 to US $200 for the first evening and half that for every day thereafter. If you are looking to purchase, costumes start at US $1,000 and masks start at about US $60.
Ballo Tiepolo Venezia - rents costumes and evening dresses
Sestiere San Marco 4706, Venice 30124, Italy
Atelier Pietro Longhi - rents and sells costumes; samples shown on their web site
San Polo 2604/B, 30125 Venice, Italy
Web site: www.rialto.com/pietrolonghi/
La Venexiana Atelier - sells masks, women's and men's costumes, shoes and cloaks
Frezzeria San Marco 1135, Venice 30124, Italy
Web site: www.lavenexiana.it
Arriving at the Venice Train Station:
Once you arrive at the Santa Lucia train station in Venice, Italy, look for a water taxi or public water transport (a vaporetto or a motoscafo) to get to your hotel. The water taxi is faster but also much more expensive than public transportation.
When you exit the train station, you will have to get to the right vaporetto stop that will take you to your destination. Before getting onto the platform to wait for the boat, purchase your ticket at the ticket booth and punch it at the automatic machine of the landing stage.
The main routes down the Grand Canal in Venice are number 1 and number 82. Number 1 stops at every landing stage and takes the longest to get to St. Mark's. The Number 82 is the faster route down the Grand Canal.