Amongst the crumbling charm of the architecture are plenty of high end shops and boutiques to peruse. Murano glass items are available almost everywhere. These pieces are traditionally made in the kilns on the Island of Murano by master glass blowers using a technique that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Another popular crafted piece in Venice are decorated masks made from terracotta. Both make for great Venetian keepsakes. Make sure you shop around for good quality curios as Venice is saturated with tacky souvenir shops.
Mercerie, the city’s main shopping street, you can find high-end designers like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Cartier.If these luxury brands aren’t what you’re looking for then you will have to have a real explore – Venice has a few boutiques and supermarkets but on the whole shopping is essentially a pastime the city can only provide on a limited scale.
There is a widespread belief amongst tourists that Venice’s cuisine leaves a lot to be desired and that finding a good meal in the city is like finding a needle in a haystack. This, however, is not necessarily the case but more likely that this understanding is based on the struggle to find a restaurant that offers reasonable prices for their meals but contrary to this there are in fact restaurants and bacaros where you can indulge in local specialities that are affordable but they may be located further astray from the average touristy tracks than other, bigger restaurants.
Snack bars dotted around that sell paninis and pizza for as little as €4 so a light lunch amidst sightseeing is a viable option. Recommended budget restaurants include Arte Della Pizza; an extremely cheap pizza place tucked away off the Strada Nova, Da Luca e Fred; this characterful eatery is often bustling and full of locals, and it’s no surprise considering a two course meal can cost as little as €13, and for a slightly more expensive option but authentically Venetian visit Dalla Marisa; there is no menu, you simply eat what is made but the courses are extensive, expertly cooked and the majority of it is homemade.
Venice isn’t renowned for its heaving clubs or lively bars but this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy post-8pm entertainment in the city. You just might have to leave your party-animal tendencies and expectations at home.
The locals consider their nightlife to be a late meal and a few glasses of wine by the canal side admiring the elegance and faded opulence of the surroundings. And there are a vast number of places you can do this peppered amongst the streets.For a more up-beat experience it is worth visiting Santa Margherita area as it’s the closest you’ll get to a buzzing scene. There’s around 15 bars selling cheap cocktails and ‘spritz al bitter’ which is not for the faint hearted. Orange Lounge Bar, Picolo Mondo and Raging Pub are also worth stopping by for a drink and boogie.
Venice doesn’t fall short on offering a more relaxed nightlife experience; jazz lounges, chilled out bars and restaurants that don’t close until midnight are everywhere.
What to Do
Sight-seeing hot spots
Palazzo Ducale; stunning gothic architecture and an enchanting courtyard, Basilica di San Marco; impressive stone structure, friezes, shimmering mosaics and marble floors (a walking tour is also available to soak up the history of the building), Torre dell’Orologio; a clock tower with striking carvings, bronze figures set in an enchanting gallery.
Murano glass and Burano lace tour
Take half a day out to explore the Venetian islands of Murano and Burano and discover the age-old crafts that helped put this islands on the map. During the tour you’ll see the glass and the lace made and learn more about their origins.
You cannot visit Venice, famous for its waterways, without taking a ride on one of its may Gondolas that serenely travel down the canals. There are varying options when it comes to choosing what kind of Gondola ride you want and it’s worth shopping around before or during your trip to see what you want – although it’s likely you’ll want to travel by Gondola more than once.
Some of the tour packages include food and wine, a serenade or a commentary tour of the sights you’ll be passing by.