Aperitivo and good music:
Our Favorite Dinner:
Cicchetti (small bites, similar to tapas):
Good Seafood (family is from Amalfi area, so it's more southern-Italian style and the pizza is Neapolitan):
The BEST Traditional Pastries (if you try none of my other recs - do THIS one!)
Recommended by our guide and other travel experts that we haven't tried yet, but we WILL:
Must Try: Prosecco! Only an hour north of Venice are the rolling hills of the Prosecco region. This bubbly wine can be sweet (labeled Dry), medium (labeled Extra Dry)* or least sweet (labeled Brut). It's often drunk with the Cicchetti mentioned above. But for us, it's great anytime!
*No idea why the sweetest is called "dry" and the driest is called "brut" but that's how it works!
See my post on a popular northern Italian spritz that's NOT Aperol!
Note: I highly recommend making reservations (prenotazione) for these and any other restaurants that you want to try. Many places were fully booked on our most recent over-night trip (May 2021).
We very much enjoyed our stay at Guesthouse 40.17 San Marco. It only has a few rooms, but has everything you need and an easy location near Rialto and San Marco. If you want to be very central this is excellent.
We used booking.com and got a very good price.
We have now also spent a weekend on Murano (the island where they make all the glass) and really enjoyed our time there. I highly recommend the Hyatt Centric Murano if you want to spend the night there. It's not totally necessary to stay, unless you really want to see ALL the glass shops. And we did.
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any business mentioned on this page. These are all recommendations based on my own personal thoughts and experiences.
Remember that starting any interaction with a "Buongiorno" (morning through about 4pm) or a "Buonasera" (about 4pm until...) will make a big difference in how you are treated. You may also be greeted with "Salve" (sal-vay), which is just a more formal hello and you can respond with salve too.
"Grazie" (grah-tzee-ay) for thank you and "Prego" for you're welcome or go ahead, also come in handy. We have found that most people working in Venice speak English. Which is so helpful, of course. But still respecting their language and culture, even in small ways, is important.
Do a walking Food and Wine Tour with sommelier, Cecilia! There are several options she can talk you through and is very responsive via her gmail and/or WhatsApp. Find her contact info via FB here!
Take a gondola ride cheesy and touristy? Yes! A memory worth making? Also yes! Pricing is usually the same across the board, but we went out earlier one morning and we were offered a discount.
Go to the top of the Campanile (bell tower) in St. Mark's Square for the unbelievable views!
Tour St. Marks's Basilica and/or the Doge's Palace. We didn't do either of those this time, but plan to in the future.
For great view of the Grand Canal, book spot on the roof of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS. It's free, but must be reserved. HOT TIP: this is basically a nice department store and it has free, clean bathrooms.
Wander the Rialto Market, open from 7:30 to noon (some days later) every day except Sunday.
Take a vaporetto (water bus) to the island known for glass (Murano) or the island known for lace and colorful houses (Burano).
Explore the neighborhoods outside of the center (San Marco/Rialto) like Cannaregio and Dorsoduro to get away from the biggest crowds and more touristy shops.
See the 17th Century boatyard, Squero di San Trovaso, where they build the gondolas and wooden boats.
Visit quirky bookshop, Libreria Acqua Alta, or lovely stationary store Il Pavone Di Pelosin Paolo.
Window shopping can be a lot of fun! And go ahead and get a Carnevale mask (or whole costume!) for the fun of it! Why not? A friend got gorgeous costumes from Atelier Marega.