It may be a year-round crowd-pleaser, but Venice and its residents still hold many of the city’s secrets close to their heart. We get the lowdown….
Sitting in the Venetian Lagoon, Venice is made up of over 100 small islands, a swarm of canals and bridges, and a labyrinth of tiny backstreets. Famous for the La Biennale and the film festival, this floating city dripping in culture sees contemporary arts successfully marry with Gothic architecture and Renaissance style, along with the operas and ballets of Le Fenice. Don’t bother queuing for hours to climb the campanile of San Marco with every other tourist in town, the best views of Venice are from the opposing San Giorgio Maggiore island. Just a short ride away from San Marco, the 16-century Palladian church has the ultimate views, looking out over the the Doges Palace and the Grand Canal.
It may be one of Europe’s most popular destinations, but for an alternative experience away from the crowds, get the lowdown from those in the know. Locals like chef Enrica Rocca share her top secrets on where to buy and eat the best Venetian grub. Not only will she take you on a tour of the Rialto market, she’ll even teach you how to cook small local dishes, or cicchetti, in her home too! Venice is crazy for the tapas-style cicchetti, so make sure to try some out at a local bacari. Why not hunt one down in the Cannaregio neighbourhood in the north, which is mainly populated by locals, markets and coffee shops.
The city also conceals the secrets of its famous former residents, such as the serial philanderer and adventurer, Giacomo Casanova. Sitting pretty on Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace was once home to Venice’s political powerhouses and public organizations, and charged with the role of doling out justice. The infamous womanizer was imprisoned here, and his multiple attempts at escape finally ended in success. The “secret tour” of the palace gives you an insight into the torture chambers of the pozzi (wells) and piombi cells, like where Casanova was once held. And you can even trace the route of his escape over the roof of the palace’s attic to the world beyond.