While many foundations in Venice are built on recently reclaimed land, the reputation of the capitol of Veneto is firmly entrenched in history and romance. The city that Vivaldi and Maro Polo called home is divided into six sestieri (areas) with the Grand Canal flowing through its center. The weather is fairly moderate as you would expect from an area this close to the sea. While it rains all year round, spring and autumn are the least crowded months making it slightly easier to find availability in a Venice hotel during these seasons.
Annual highlights include the internationally renowned Venice Carnival, held 40 days before Easter and the Redentore Regatta that takes place on the Grand Canal in July. Find out events and exhibitions...
Eating in Venice
Venetian cuisine is based on seafood served with polenta. Popular dishes include Risotto nero (rice coloured with cuttlefish ink) and Risi e bisi (rice and bean) soup. You can expect vegetables side dishes such as the famous fondi di carciofo (artichokes ends) and radicchio alla trevigiana (Trevisian style chicory).
Shopping in Venice
The brightly lit and well-stocked shop windows are designed to capture your attention as you stroll through the narrow streets of Venice. Since the Middle-ages, Le Mercerie, which links St. Mark’s Square to the Rialto, has been the main shopping street. It is made up of a maze of noisy, narrow streets with small workshops and boutiques and to the west of St. Marks it is full of interesting and unusual shops. The most beautiful jewelry shops are under the colonnade of St. Mark’s Square. From the Square to the Ponte dell’ Accademia (Bridge of the Academy) there are high quality stores, while souvenirs and presents can be bought north of Campo Santo Stefano. Less expensive shops are located towards Campo San Paolo, beyond the Grand Canal. There are a wealth of elegant shops specializing in modern furnishings and household items along the large boulevard viale of the Lido. The symbol of Venice, the mask, is sold all over the city. There are cheap, mass-produced masks, but also real craftsman-made masterpieces. You’ll find some delightful examples in Castello at the Laboratorio Artigianale Maschere (Artisan Mask-Making Workshop). Take a peek at how the locals shop and visit the Rialto Market for the freshest fish, vegetables, flowers and fruit (go early – it can get crowded!).
A little further afield
Via Baldassarre Galuppi is the main street of the Island of Burano where you can take a break to sample some fresh fish outdoors, as well as shopping for lace and linens. On the island of Murano you can buy blown glass directly from the workshops with furnaces and showrooms.
The city boasts a wide variety of products and a strong tradition of glass and lace craftsmanship. Venice is also famous for its elegant silk, printed velvet and sumptuous brocades. Some of the most admired fabrics are the fine pleated silks invented by Fortuny. It also offers high quality fashion, antiques, leather goods, jewelry and even marbled paper. The leading names in fashion can be found near St. Mark’s Square.
Venetian vendors are open: Mondays 15:30 to 19:30 (most shops are not open in the morning) Tuesdays to Saturdays 09:30 / 10:00 to 13:00 and 15:30 to 19:00 / 19:30 (most shops close for an afternoon break).
Armani, Laura Biagiotti, Missoni, Gucci, Krizia, Max Mara, Prada, Trussardi, Versace and Valentino all have boutiques near St Mark’s Square.
Our floating city of bridges is filled with magnificent treasures and we are proud to call it home – but we would also like our guests to have the opportunity to enjoy the greater Italian experience that can be found within 30 minutes by train from Venice. Visit Padua for the renowned frescoes by Giotto, Treviso for the inimitable Italian style of typical Italian town squares and see glorious examples of Italian architecture dating back to medieval times in Vicenza.