I grew up in the Venice area. My very first memories of Venice go back to my childhood when I used to go there for a day out with my parents, or with school mates for a visit to museums or to art exhibitions. I cannot count the times I have been there, however for me every single time is a unique experience as if I was there for the first time. What I like about Venice is the international artistic and cultural flair blended with its Venetian distinctive character. The absence of vehicles makes Venice a special place, for myself, ideal for exploring it on foot.
I am one of those who can walk long distances everywhere, without the need of using public transport. In fact in Venice I never use the “vaporetto”, instead I prefer strolling along the amazing Venetian calle. For me, this is the best way of finding all nooks and crannies, as well as a great way of capturing authentic fragments of daily life.
I have picked one of my preferred itineraries through the heart of Venice to share with you.
Leaving from the railway station, walk over the bridge Ponte degli Scalzi, pass the Church San Simone and turn on your left along Rio Terrra San Tomà, to reach Campo Santa Maria dei Frari and Campo San Rocco. Here, after visiting the both churches you can take a break enjoying an excellent ice cream, from the “gelateria Millevoglie” close to Scuola San Rocco, in my opinion the best ice in Venice!
Proceed your walk through Calle d. Scalater heading to Campo San Pantalon and Campo Santa Margerita. This area is a concentration of Venetian arts and crafts shops, here you can find some of the oldest shops for Venetian masks. Moreover a wonderful area packed with bars, cafè, ancient osterias and little restaurants, where the locals gather for an aperitivo or for their meal. The food here is good value and prices are affordable. Campo Santa Margherita, is a nice and quite place, ideal for a rest, you can sit at a terrace near the water and enjoy the view over the colourful canal.
From here, keep walking through the calles, pass the University Ca’ Foscari, reach on the right hand side the Fondamenta Tofetti. In this area there are some good places for wine lovers: try “Enoteca ai artisti” or “Enoteca Schiavi”. You have now reached the Brigde Accademia, a beautiful bridge, less crowded than Rialto, with a gorgeous setting for taking pictures, especially in the afternoon when the sunshine reflects on the buildings.
After descending the bridge, on your left hand side you find “Palazzo Grassi”, house of all major arts exhibitions of the world, a must see place if you love arts. After descending the Ponte dell’Accademia, it opens up to Campo Santo Stefano, another beautiful area with large bar terraces and beautiful buildings, a perfect place for a break soaking up the Venetian atmosphere. But beware: prices tend to be higher here since you are close to San Marco.
Leaving Campo Santo Stefano keep walking on your left through the little calles and you`ll soon approach an area with trendy shops. Especially along the Calla Larga XXII marzo, you will find all big names of the Italian Fashion. A few hundred meters and you have reached San Marco Square!
My tips for your visit to Venice:
- Walk instead of using the vaporetto which is in my opinion outrageously expensive and often packed with people. If you cannot help using it, then buy yourself a pass, you can choose from one day to several days, or buy a Venice saver card.
- Take a Gondola ride, this is absolutely the best way of enjoying Venice from the water perspective.
- In San Marco Square you must visit one of the ancient cafè, my fave is Cafè Florian. These cafès are expensive but offer excellent quality and the buildings are really worth a visit. Tip: avoid music hours for the heavy surcharge!
- Best areas for eating in Venice: Dorsoduro, Santa Croce, and yes avoid San Marco area!
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Michela is Italian, lives and works in the Venice area. She loves travelling, especially to her fave corner of the world: Australia! She runs a travel website about Australia, giving information, advice and consultation to fellow travellers who love to explorethe 5th continent on their own. For more information visit www.rockytravel.net or follow her on Twitter @rockytravel.