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4-Day Itinerary in Venice
7 Apr. 2023
7 Apr. 2023
Venice is one of the most fascinating cities in the world, with an urban setting that unfolds peacefully on a lagoon and forms a maze of buildings, canals and bridges.
The history of Venice began in Roman times, but it was not until the 9th century that the city became an important economic and cultural centre, earning it the nickname of La Serenissima. Over the centuries, it grew rich thanks to its maritime trade, its production of glass and its predominance in the field of art and architecture. The city became prosperous and earned the nickname of “Serenissima”, as it is known today.
For centuries, this city has been known throughout the world for the beauty of its architecture, its baroque churches, its museums containing the works of the greatest masters, the charm of its gondolas and the bustle of its markets. It is all the more astonishing that it has remained intact since the Middle Ages, offering visitors an enchanting setting and a journey through time.
Venetian gastronomy is, of course, influenced by the location of the city and its lagoon. One can, for instance, enjoy fish and seafood specialties such as fried seafood, sarde in saor (sardines in oil), fried moeche (small fried crabs), bigoli in salsa (bigoli pasta with onions and anchovies), linguini al nero di seppia (linguine with cuttlefish ink) or a la vongole (with clams). The city also offers delicious cicchetti, which are to Venice what tapas are to Spain, and which are eaten in typical Venetian bars, the bacaro, the name being derived from either the Roman God Bacchus or from the expression “far bacara“, which means “to party”.
This 4-day itinerary is the perfect way to enjoy Venice. Discover the city’s must-sees and soak up its magical atmosphere, whether it is during the day or at night; at the break of dawn, when the city is still misty, or at night, when it’s rocked to sleep by the perpetual backwash of the water and the lapping of the gondolas tied to the canals.
Once the residence of the Doge of Venice (who was the ruler of the city), the Doge’s Palace is located in the San Marco district and is accessible from Saint Mark’s street. The Palace is a splendor of Venetian Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Today, it is a museum of Venetian art and history, particularly famous for its gigantic Council Chamber which houses one of the largest paintings on canvas in the world, Tintoretto’s Il Paradiso.
Leaving the Palace, visitors can make their way to the quays, which offer a magnificent panoramic view of Venice, and in particular of the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore and the Church of Santa Maria della Salute. Once at the quays, they can walk along to find the Bridge of Sighs, the mythical bridge so called because it connects the Doge’s Palace (where the justice of the Council of Ten was administered) and the prison, where the prisoners who would walk through, would “sigh” when they would catch one last sight of Venice from the bridge, before serving their sentence. Continuing along the quays, visitors will reach the Venetian Arsenal, a complex of shipyards which were fundamental in the expansion of the Venetian empire, and which today hosts many events and fairs, such as the Venice Biennale.
Right next to the Arsenal, the Co Vino restaurant, created in 2013 by two Venetians, Andrea Lorenzon and Cesare Benelli (who were inspired by the cosy atmosphere of Parisian bistros) is popular for its traditional cuisine and local products. The restaurant sources fresh fish from the Mercato Ittico All’ingrosso Tronchetto at the entrance to Venice, picks Osti herbs and vegetables from the Orto Garden on the island of San Erasmo, and follows seasonal trends to inform its menu. The restaurant has a constantly evolving list of 100 natural wines that highlight the local vineyards.
After lunch, we recommend returning to St. Mark’s Square to visit St. Mark’s Basilica, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture with its domes, its Greek cross shape, and golden mosaics. A must-see is the Pala d’Oro, a unique high altar retable made of gold and precious stones located behind the main altar.
At the end of the visit, visitors can enjoy a spritz at the emblematic Caffè Florian, which offers a magnificent neo-baroque setting, perfect to enjoy the beauty of St. Mark’s Square.
For the second day, there is nothing better than to go and soak up the excitement of the Rialto Market, the fish market of Venice, in the San Polo district. At the end of the market is the mythical Rialto Bridge, which offers a breathtaking view of the Grand Canal and the gondolas gliding nonchalantly on the water.
A few canals away, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is one of the most beautiful and richest Scuola of the city, these institutions recognized by the Republic of Venice were religious brotherhoods comprised of lay people. Founded in 1478, and dedicated to the fight against plague epidemics, the Scuola di San Rocco built a real palace, where its frescoes are recognized as veritable masterpieces painted by the greatest artists, and in particular, Tintoretto.
In the Dorsoduro district, the Church of San Pantalon is also worth a visit. If its brick façade – which should have been covered with marble – surprises, then the interiors do so even more. Indeed, inside the church, visitors will find masterpieces such as the Martyrdom and Glory of St Pantaleon by Fumiani, as well as paintings by Veronese, Vivarini or Longhi. For lunch, El Sbarfelo is a small, friendly and trendy bacaro next to the church that offers delicious cichetti and of course, the Venetian spritz, all served with a great rock playlist playing in the background. Inspired by New York clubs, this bacaro offers live jazz and blues on Friday and Saturday.
Finally, continuing the walk in Dorsoduro, the Galleria dell’Accademia is a must-see as this museum contains an incredible collection of masterpieces by the greatest Italian masters: Carpaccio, Tintoretto, Veronese, Bellini, Giorgione, and more. To end this second intense day, what better way than to enjoy cocktails at the trendy Experimental Cocktail Club.
Peggy Guggenheim, American art patron, collector and gallery owner, was one of the leading figures in the 20th century modern art scene, renowned for her flair and for saving artists who were threatened during World War II. In May 1946, she closed her New York gallery and moved to Venice. She moved to the Palazzo Venir dei Leoni – also known as the “Unfinished Palace” because only the first floor had been completed- and brought her collection there, which would become the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation. For art lovers, it is a must-do, with its paintings from Pollock, Magritte, Rothko, Dalí and Chagall, but also for the charm of its garden, as well as the magnificent view on the Grand Canal.
When you leave this district, it is worth going to the very end of the spit. Here, you can enter the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, a splendid baroque building on the banks of the Grand Canal, but also where one can admire the view of the other side of the canal, with the Giardini Reali and the Doge’s Palace.
For lunch, turn back and head to the Trattoria ai Cugnai dal 1911, a warm, family-run restaurant serving traditional Venetian dishes that has proved popular with locals and visitors alike. For dessert, Gelateria Nico’s ice cream is a real treat.
Located just across from Venice, this picturesque island features expansive golden sandy beaches, lined with great Art Nouveau hotels such as the legendary Grand Hotel des Bains, which was the setting for Visconti’s film Death in Venice, or the Grand Hotel Excelsior with its neo-Moorish style.
On this last day in Venice, the exhibitions of the Pinault Foundation, housed in the Palazzo Grassi – the jewel of the Serenissima’s heritage – are always a pleasant surprise to discover. With more than 10 000 works of art, the foundation is always rotating the works and putting up temporary exhibitions that allow visitors to discover the rich world of the artists, who are part of the businessman François Pinault’s collection.
For lunch, the Ristorante Ca’ Dolfin offers delicious seafood!
Finally, the destiny and heritage of the city of Venice is also constituted through its work with glass, a material as delicate as it is surprising. To understand the origin of the fame of Venice’s glassworks and to watch the local craftsmen working on their blown glass pieces, go to the island of Murano, which can be reached by boat after a journey of about 45 minutes. The island has a glassmaking museum and a magnificent 12th-century Venetian-Byzantine basilica, the Basilica of Santa Maria e San Donato.
With Lartisien, a half-day Immersion is proposed in the company of the great master glassmaker and sculptor, Aristide Najean, in his workshop. As an alternative to the island of Murano, the island of Burano, a village in Venice, owes its fame to its multicoloured houses which create an almost unreal and enchanting atmosphere. The island experienced a real boom from the 16th century onwards for its production of refined lace, made by fishermen’s wives, which aroused the interest of all the nobility and rich bourgeoisie of Europe.
Sitting across the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute and San Giorgio Maggiore, along the iconic Grand Canal, The St Regis Venice offers a delightfully contemporary experience of the Serenissima. The hotel chooses to embrace the atmosphere and aesthetics of the modern age, while also celebrating its Renaissance roots of over a century and a half.
Indeed, the hotel has occupied a prime spot along the canal since 1895 (at the time, the hotel was known as the Grand Hotel Britannia), and in 2019, after a full-scale renovation, The St Regis Venice debuted its brand-new look. Venetian in essence, but cosmopolitan in execution, the hotel’s integration of modern design cues allows it to stand out from the rest of the addresses along the Canal.
Having been a favorite of artists since its inception, The St Regis Venice continues to celebrate the city’s artistic heritage by boasting a collection of contemporary artists works on its walls, such as the commissioned work of Olivier Masmonteil that take inspiration from the work of master painter Tintoretto. Elsewhere, guests can find the works from artists like Ervin Wurm, Esther Stocker, as well as the glass chandelier by Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei in the lounge.
Across its 130 rooms and suites, spread over 5 interconnecting palazzi, guests will be treated to a mid-century décor with rich materials and a soft palette of earthy tones that is innately relaxing. The handcrafted furnishing, inspired by the gondolas and the patterns present around Doge’s Palace and other landmarks of Venice, instils a sense of locality in the rooms, while the contemporary velvet-upholstered sofas emit glamour.
On the culinary front, The St Regis Venice is home to 3 stellar restaurants and bars.
Gio’s Restaurant & Terrace welcomes guests with an eclectic décor that mixes mid-century, Art Deco and Renaissance hints, bathed in light from glass doors, and a menu that is a modern journey of Venetian and Italian dishes. From the restaurant, guests may proceed to the Italianate Garden that seemingly floats over the canal. Meanwhile, The St Regis Bar’s Art Deco interiors, with its golden palladium-leafed ceiling and illuminated counter, offer a romantic setting for evening drinks. Finally, the Arts Bar is the place to go for something a little more atmospheric, with its selection of art-inspired cocktails and Italian spirits, with local artist performing each night.
The St. Regis also features a spa and a private pool.
Address: San Marco 2159, Venice
Transfer: 25 minutes from Venice Marco Polo Airport
Opening period: All year
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