Built on more than one hundred small islands, Venice is a spectacular city with deep history and a rich culture that dates back to 422 AD, when the Romans first settled here (or so they say). It wasn’t until the 9th and the 12th centuries that the city began to develop, becoming an important naval power.
It took several centuries later for Venice to become the city you see today. From cafes and churches, to shops and VIP tours, Venice is a magical place everyone must visit at least once in their life.
For those who plan to take a trip to Venice (or even make a stopover there), we recommend you put these top hidden gems on your list.
(Image source: Tom Floyd, Flickr)
Start your morning off at Dodo Caffe with a caffè coretto con grappa, an Italian drink with a shot of espresso and a little liquor. This is a local’s favorite, and with such a friendly owner, Dodo, along with his staff, it’s no wonder people flock here every day. If you miss breakfast, stop by for an aperitivo and snack before dinner.The location is excellent, with tables set up right along the canal—perfect for a date or dinner with friends.
Old World Bookshop
(Image source: Paradise Found Around)
Are you a book addict? Then don’t leave Venice without stepping inside Old World Books, a shop selling unique and rare books several centuries old, and some books have the original autograph of the author inscribed.
If you’re lucky enough, you may encounter a poet, philosopher or artist here—spark up a conversation that could teach you something new (as long as either of you both speak Italian or English).
Crypt of The Church of San Zaccaria
(Image source: Gerlo Beernink)
The Church of San Zaccaria was built in the 15th century, and is a wonderful display of both Gothic and Renaissance styles. Since it was constructed during the transition from Gothic to Renaissance, the blend of both is elegantly displayed both inside and out.
Below the Church is a crypt where eight doges are buried from an earlier church that stood in the same spot. This crypt is filled with water (like many other buildings in Venice), giving it an eerie feel. Nonetheless, its a site not to be missed!
St. Mark’s Basilica (At Night)
(Image source: Walks of Italy)
Rather than heading over to St. Mark’s Basilica during the day, book a night tour with Walks of Italy. The tour guide will open doors to see special areas of the Basilica such as the crypt, where the bones of St. Mark are buried (or so they say), as well as the Pala d’Oro. The best part is that you will be able to explore this glorious structure and its interiors without worrying about it being overcrowded by the general public. Who doesn’t love a semi-private tour?
(Image source: Walks of Italy)
One of the more well-known souvenirs of Venice (and other parts of Italy) are the intricately designed masks. However, there are numerous shops that sell low-quality ones from mass production. If you’re looking for a mask that’s been handmade, we recommend you visit Ca’Macana—the same shop where masks for the film Eyes Wide Shut were purchased. Ca’Macana also offers courses for mask-making, perfect for those of you who have a little more time to spare (and are looking to do something unique in Venice).
Venice is an extraordinary city with sites waiting to be discovered. Take yourself off the beaten track and explore some of these areas loved by the locals.
If this or any other destinations speak to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort and put some savings in your pocket. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!