Venice, the historic Italian city on the water, stretches across several small islands along the Adriatic Sea in the northeast quadrant of Italy. While much more subdued in terms of noise and chaos than other Italian cities, Venice is still bustling and alive. This beautiful city is everything a gay and lesbian traveler could ask for in an Italian getaway. There are some vital things that are definitely not to be missed though, so be sure to take careful notes on our top ten things to do when visiting Venice!
1. Piazza San Marco- The city’s main square and meeting place also offers tourists three major destinations that are fundamental to Venice’s history. St. Mark’s basilica, Doge’s Palace, and Torre dell’Orologio can all be found in St. Mark’s Square, so be sure to bring your camera and get some great people watching on!
2. Ride in a gondola- Gondola rides through Venice’s network of canals is a must in this notorious water-based city. It isn’t necessary as romantic as it is made out to be in the movies, but it is a cheesy tourist option that is definitely worth doing. The best part of gondola rides is getting to see some of Venice’s most famous buildings and bridges up close and personal.
3. Have real Italian Gelato- Gelato in Venice is absolutely top of the line. There is no better way to cool off from a long day than with a refreshing treat! Nico on the Zattere and Gelateria del Doge on Campo Santa Margherita are a few of our favorites- now, what is your favorite flavor?!
4. See the Venetian masters of art- Venice is known for its rich art throughout the centuries. Gallerie dell’Accademia was established by Napoleon as a site of homage to Venetian art. Its size and collection is expansive though so if being in the presence of work by Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese doesn’t overwhelm you the labyrinth of the building will!
5. Get a bird’s eye view of the city- Campanile di San Marco is a great place to get up above Venice and really get a sense of its impressive size and layout. This bell tower is a replica of the 15th-century original that provided the site of Galileo’s first presentation of the telescope. A visit to this tower will help perpetuate its importance in Venice’s history.
6. Get a taste of true Venetian cuisine- This city, like many in Italy, is known for its mouthwatering cuisine. Restaurants around town offer the best in food for locals and tourists alike so eat as much in this city as humanly possible! Some of our favorites include oca in onto or freshwater lagoon fish done in saor at Antica Adelaide, meatballs at Ca d’Oro, antipasta with raw seafood at Vini da Gigio.
7. Contemporary art scene- The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is housed in Venice as an impressive body of contemporary art so be sure to visit the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal. Venice is also home to various art festivals that feature up and coming artists of Italy. Biennale d’Arte Contemporanea & Architettura, Mostra Internazionale d’Arte CInematografica, and Veneto Jazz are a few of our favorites!
8. See a live performance- Theatre La Fenice is one of the city’s most beautifully restored opera houses. This is a great place to soak up the richness of a romantic ballet or opera performance as you enjoy the exquisite architecture and design of the theater itself.
9. Go to a masked ball- Carnevale is Venice’s hottest event as well as the world’s largest and most famous masked ball. This ritual festivity dates back to the Middle Ages and has made its way into contemporary Venician culture. Elaborate performances, costumes, and parties make this festival a true highlight that is not to be missed.
10. Liquor up!- Like any Italian city, Venice is home to excellent wine. Bar LaMarca and Do Mori are two hidden gems of the city for all of our wine lovers out there! For more variety and some added flavor, check out La Frasca and La Cantina. Many venues in Venice serve alcohol with a full food menu so be sure to indulge all aspects of your pallet!
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