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How To Eat Like A Local In Venice

How To Eat Like A Local In Venice

Venice is a very touristy city with many restaurants, yet it often gets a bad reputation for the quality of its food. In fact, Venetian food is fresh and delicious, but the key to finding good restaurants in Venice is to get away from the main tourist sites and major thoroughfares and to heed the advice of those who know Venice and its cuisine well. In Venice, things are often not what they seem. The tiniest crowded places with basic furniture and minimal decor often turn out to be the most gastronomically delightful in this mysterious city. What follows is our hand-picked list of the hidden culinary gems, where you can eat like a local in Venice, including Murano and Burano islands.

Trattoria Corte Sconta

Mixed Seafood Dish VeniceWell-known among locals and tourists alike for its exceptionally fresh seafood, Corte Sconta is a reliable choice for quintessential Venetian dining – relaxed, authentic, and always anchored in the seasonal fresh sea-to-table ingredients. Every early morning when the seafood market opens the cooks personally select the best catch and create the menu based on the freshest most flavorful seafood of the day. The seating and decor inside is no-frills, but the highlight of this restaurant is a vine-covered hidden courtyard (which gave it its name). The courtyard is a wonderful place to eat and enjoy when the weather is nice.
Address: Calle del Pestrin, 3886, 30122 Castello, Venice, Italy

Al Mascaron

Al Mascaron Restaurant VeniceSituated in Castello district not too far from Piazza San Marco, Al Mascaron is a no-frills traditional Venetian Osteria, which for over 30 years has been a favorite place of local workers and fishermen. Al Mascaron’s symbol is a scary mask hanging above its door, and the osteria is so called thanks to the scary faces that were sculpted on the doors of the neighboring church to ward off evil spirits. Venetians have been gathering here to spend time in good company, drink lovely local wines, and have hearty meals of local specialties such as sarde in saor (sweet and sour sardines), polenta, baccalà mantecato (creamed cod), linguini al nero di seppia (linguini in squid ink sauce), and many other traditional Venetian dishes. The decor is simple, rustic yet cozy, with wooden tables and chairs, and walls covered with Venetian-themed drawings of local and international artists. Al Mascaron tends to be busy, especially during the tourist season, yet oftentimes you can still get a table after a short wait, especially for early lunch or late dinner.
Address: Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5225, 30122 Venice, Italy

Ai Barbacani

Ai Barbacani Restaurant VeniceAnother gem in Castello district, this restaurant has a wonderfully romantic atmosphere and quiet candlelit elegance and features a canal view. The restaurant is situated in an ancient seven-hundred-year-old building and has been a favorite place for Venetians and tourists alike for over 60 years. When you arrive, you’ll be served a glass of fine local Prosecco, and will be able to choose from a good selection of traditional Venetian dishes, which are always fresh, flavorful, and authentic. The best-kept secret of this restaurant is a table for two that stands in the large window, which fully opens to the canal. If you are lucky enough to get that table, you will be literally seating a foot above the water, with an unobstructed view of two bridges, and amazing people-watching with all of Venice passing or floating by you.
Address: Calle del Paradiso 5746 30122 Venice, Italy

CoVino

CoVino Restaurant VeniceContinuing a culinary tour of Venetian sestiere Castello, CoVino is one of the top choices in Venice for fresh and flavorful Italian cuisine creatively prepared and artfully presented. The menu is a 3-course prefix. There is a choice of several dishes for each course, which are crafted from only the best ingredients sourced from small Italian farms. The wine list is exceptionally good, featuring many unique selections from small vineyards, and even some great organic wines. It’s a tiny place with only a few tables, and the dishes are prepared right next to you, with the most appetizing gourmet smells filling the air. CoVino is the embodiment of the “slow food” concept, with only two seatings each evening. This is a must-try restaurant, but reservations are essential and should be made at least a week in advance.
Address: Calle Pestrin Castello 3853 30122 Venice, Italy

Algiubagiò

Algiubagio Restaurant VeniceSituated in a lively Venetian district of Cannaregio, Algiubagio exists in the same place since the 1950’s, when it was just a simple small neighborhood trattoria. Today the space is larger, brighter, and more sophisticated, with the atmosphere of elegance highlighted by beautiful Murano Glass Chandeliers. The menu has choices for all tastes, from fish and seafood to meat and vegetarian dishes, and cooking is a mix of traditional and contemporary influences. The restaurant is located on Fondamente Nove, the northern side of Venice, facing the Lagoon and the islands of San Michele and Murano. The bonus is a large wooden terrace above the water, where you can dine in warm weather and enjoy gorgeous views and fresh wind from the Lagoon. Even on colder days, you can often still sit on the terrace warmed up with the special heating lamps and reflect on the eternal beauty of Venice.
Address: Fondamente Nuove, Cannaregio, 5039, 30125 Venezia Italy

Al Bottegon aka Cantine del Vino già Schiavi

Al Bottegon  Restaurant VeniceAl Bottegon is not a restaurant but it’s a Venetian staple that cannot be missed. It’s an “Enoteca”, which means a wine bar. Here is Dorsorduro district across the Grand Canal from the hustle and bustle of Piazza San Marco life is more slow and authentic, and the locals often stop for a glass wine and cichetti and a chat on their way home from work or during an evening stroll. Along the walls of the long narrow room are bottles of wine stocked on floor-to-ceiling shelves. Here you can find wines from every region of Italy, very cheap and extremely expensive, very well-known and really rare, from all grape varieties and for all tastes. However, Al Bottegon is not merely a wine shop. Besides the wine, it serves a wide variety of Venetian cicchetti, or tiny open-faced sandwiches with Venetian and Italian delicacies, from fish and seafood to vegetables, cheeses, smoked and air-dried meats (“salumi”), and many other inventive and delicious options. The atmosphere is convivial and cheery. Patrons young and old from all walks of life typically stand inside with a glass of wine in hand or spill out into the street next to canal Rio San Trovaso to get fresh air and canal-view – a completely authentic Venetian experience.
Address: Fondamenta Nani 992 Dorsoduro, 30123 Venice, Italy

Buso Alla Torre, Murano

Busa Alla Torre  Restaurant Murano VeniceA go-to place for those in the know on Murano island, Busa Alla Torre is a gem of a restaurant known as much for its wonderful cuisine, as for its owner, Gabriele or, affectinately, Lele. A big personality with a warm welcoming smile, Lele is omnipresent in his restaurant and likes to chat with the patrons while making sure that everybody is having a great time. Busa alla Torre is so called for its location on Campo Santo Stefano next to the famous Clock Tower or Torre del Orologio with the much-photographed huge blue Murano Glass comet at its foot. The restaurant is simple inside but its cuisine is sophisticated and refined, inspired by Lele’s love of gourmet Venetian food based on local fresh ingredients and seafood specialties from the Venetian Lagoon. A special draw is the piazza seating next to the Torre del Orologio and with a view of the canal, which the restaurant offers on warm days. Here you can have a wonderful light or hearty meal, stay for as long as you want, and watch Murano’s daily life unfold in front of you.
Address: Campo S. Stefano, 3, 30141 Murano (Venice Italy)

Acqua Stanca, Murano

Acqua Stanca  Restaurant Murano VeniceUnlike many other restaurant choices listed here, Acqua Stanca is a newer restaurant, opened in 2012 on Murano Island, where the old and the new mixes perfectly and where those in the know increasingly go for fine authentic dining at reasonable price. Frequented by the locals and resourceful tourists alike, this restaurant has beautiful boho-chic-meats-Venetian-tradition interior design artfully combining the warm appeal of wood and exposed brick, the sophistication of Murano Glass sculptures, and the toned down luster of old Murano Glass mirrors. The food is sheer delight, inventive and beautifully presented. The choices include the seafood delicacies from the Venetian Lagoon, such as the soft-shell crab, clams, and squid, perennial Italian favorites such as Mozzarella di Buffala, artichokes, tomatoes, and other vegetables, as well as a combination of traditional and modern touches in the pasta dishes.
Address: Fondamenta Manin 48, 30141 Murano (Venice Italy)

Al Gatto Nero, Burano

Al Gatto Nero Restaurant Burano VeniceIf your travels take you to Burano island, be sure to visit this tried-and-true local favorite. Al Gatto Nero, or “The Black Cat” has been under the same ownership since 1965 and has earned its fame by serving the freshest Adriatic fish and seafood and a wide variety of traditional Venetian and Italian appetizers, complemented with an extensive list of hand-picked wines from Veneto, Friuli, Alto Adige and many other Italian wine-growing regions. The highlights of the menu include capesante (scallops), cannolicchi (razor clams), granseola (soft shell crab), and gamberi (small shrimps) and vongole (clams). The fritto misto (mixed fried seafood) may be the best option to try all of these seafood delicacies, but the menu is full of grilled, fried, and sauteed options for every taste. The location of this restaurant is unbeatable, not far from the ferry stop and right on the canal lined with colorful houses. You can dine inside or out, the latter being the best choice for people-watching. You’ll see tourists walking by and the Buranese going about their business, or sitting on benches and chatting, just the way it has been here for hundreds of years.
Address: Via Giudecca, 88, 30142 Burano (Venice Italy)

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Acqua Alta In Venice – Dealing With Venetian Floods

Acqua Alta (high water) is a term used in Venice for the high tide in the Adriatic Sea. The water levels reach the air maximum in the Venetian Lagoon, which in turn causes flooding in Venice. This usually happens outside of the Venetian tourist season, between September and April when the tides are strengthened by seasonal winds called Sirocco and Bora that blow along the Adriatic coast.

Venetian Lagoon is a large elongated body of water around 35 miles long and 6 miles wide, which is separated from Adriatic Sea by a sand bar cut by three passages: Lido, Malamocco, and Chioggia. During high tides the water from the sea comes into the Lagoon via these three passages, raising the Lagoon level, and afterwards it goes back out to the sea. These daily tides clean up Venetian canals allowing the water to circulate, and the city to survive without special sewer systems.

Acqua Alta at San Marco Square in Venice

There is a special scale of acqua alta levels developed just for measuring tides in Venice. At Punta della Dogana, Venice’s entrance to the Lagoon there is a hydrographic station, which regularly takes measurements. The zero point was defined in 1897 when measurements started. Add 31 to 43 inches to that and you get Venetian high tide. 44 to 55 inches above 0 is very high tide. And above 5 inches is extremely high tide.

The worst acqua alta was recorded in November of 1966, with an increase of 76 inches, and was devastating for the city and its inhabitants. While it was a relatively infrequent phenomenon in the nineteenth century, with about 10 instances a year, the frequency and severity of it increased last century to reach about 60 times a year. Some people think that is because Venice is quickly sinking, but this is not accurate. The pilings on which Venice stands sunk 10cm lower in the twentieth century due to the rise of industrial activity in the Lagoon and pumping out of the groundwater, which caused rapid compression of the layers of land on the bottom of the Lagoon, which holds the pilings. Once the government realized how this was affecting the city, groundwater pumping was stopped and now Venice sinks by less than a millimeter a year mostly due to natural geological reasons.

However, a bigger problem for the city is rising ocean levels due to climate change, and it is expected that increased speed of arctic ice melting will bring even more frequent and severe floods. Much scientific, environmental, and architectural thought went into trying to protect the city from this ongoing threat, resulting in much debate and finally in approval of a large scale very ambitious construction project dubbed MOSE (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico or Experimental Electromechanical Module). The design involves 57 retractable floodgates that will be installed at the entrances from the Adriatic Sea into each of the three Lagoon inlets, which would rise once the water levels entering the Lagoon will reach dangerous levels and stop more water from coming in. Began back in 2003, the project has encountered multiple delays and budget issues, and is currently expected to be completed by June 2018.

Acqua Aklta on Venetian Street

The optimists hope that this will mark the end of infamous Venetian floods and the phenomenon of acqua alta and will ultimately prevent the destruction of Venice brought on by frequent inflows of saltwater. The pessimists worry that with the rising sea levels there is a good chance that the floodgates will stay closed for long stretches of time turning Venetian Lagoon into a marshy lake and creating dangerous pollution levels and a potential sanitation hazard in the Lagoon and the city.

Today when acqua alta hits, some lower lying areas of Venice, including its lowest point, piazza San Marco, end up under water and passage through the city becomes difficult. The city combats the issue by installing raised walkways in the most vulnerable areas, but mobility is limited limited to only a few routes. For Venetians life goes on even during most floods, and every Venetian owns a pair of special very tall rain boots, but tourists often opt for a lighter version to brave the watered streets. Produced by company called Goldon, they look like yellow plastic covers which are worn above regular shoes and are light, easy to carry, and surprisingly effective at keeping feet dry and letting you explore the city during acqua alta.

Dealing with flooding in Venice

If you happen to experience acqua alta in Venice, take it in stride. Buy the plastic boot covers or rain boots and continue to enjoy the city’s special ambiance and this unique experience that you will not soon forget.

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Highlights Of The Murano Glass Museum

The Murano Glass Museum is a major tourist attraction on Venetian island of Murano, and one that uniquely represents the rich history of glassmaking present on the small Venetian island. Many tourists wish to visit the museum, and rightly so, as the large venue houses historical artifacts and beautiful displays that are unique to Murano.

There are both permanent and temporary exhibitions open to tourists, and those who purchase tickets are granted admission to the majority of the museum, including any special or seasonal shows. The museum was renovated recently, and the building itself is almost as beautiful as the treasures kept within it. Below, we detail some of the highlights of the Murano Glass Museum, that stand out amongst all of the stunning exhibitions.

Murano Glass Museum Permanent Exposition

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Top 5 Things To See And Do On Murano Island

While Venice is a beautiful and wonderfully diverse city, it’s also rather small. After a number of days spent wondering through the stunning corridors that crisscross the the city and admiring art, you may feel inclined to visit one of the smaller islands that surround Venice, such as Murano, Burano, or Torcello.

Of course we can’t be impartial when it comes to choosing a Venetian island to visit, and we wholeheartedly recommend Murano – the home of the most beautiful glassware in the world and the place to experience true Venetian lifestyle of the bygone era. Murano is a tiny island in the Venetian lagoon, just north of Venice proper. Renowned for its glassmaking tradition, the island boasts a population of 5,000 people, many of whom are direct descendants of famous glassmaking families.

The island is rich with culture and tradition, and was once used as a refuge for Venetian glass-makers, who were forced by governmental officials to leave the city of Venice in the 1291 and establish their furnaces on Murano. For lovers of art, history, fine craftsmanship, or simply for breathtaking views- Murano is definitely a location to consider. here we give you the scoop on the top 5 things to do on Murano island. And, what’s great, you can actually do all of this in one day and still have time left for a nice dinner either right here on Murano or in Venice, a short vaporetto ride away.

Murano Canal

1. Take a Walk Around Town

The island of Murano consists of 7 individual islands linked together by beautiful bridges. While this sounds overwhelming, the whole island actually measures a mere 1 mile, which is easily walkable in 20 minutes.

Much like the city of Venice, Murano has a ‘Canale Grande’ (Grand Canal) that runs down the centre, and separates rows of mirrored buildings. The main and arguably most impressive building on the island is the municipal building, called ‘Palazzo Da Mula’. This dates back to the 13th century, and features a characteristically gothic facade, popular in Venetian architecture. The canals, coupled with the island’s three remaining churches, in addition to the beautiful buildings- are reasons enough to take a walking tour of Murano.
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Five Attractions In Venice Without The Crowds

Five Attractions To See In Venice Without The Crowds
When it comes to organizing a trip to Venice, the itineraries are full of famous attractions that appear on every travel advice website and every must-see list you will ever come across. Among those are The Doge’s Palace, and Basilica San Marco, Accademia Gallery and Ca’ Rezzonico, The Campanile, and The Astronomical Clock. Hunting for those top attractions, you will stand in lines for hours and run into crowds of tourists who are all hungry to see the same things you came to see. This may leave you aggravated, distressed, and wondering what you may have done better to have more authentic Venetian experience. You need not worry – we will let you in on the hidden secrets, the activities that many miss, the attractions that are still relatively quiet, not overrun with tourists, and promise a wonderfully authentic experience.

1. Get To Know Venice’s Craftsmanship: Gondola Building Workshop

Gondola Workshop Venice

Get to know one of the few remaining gondola yards in Venice. Just a few steps down the canal near the Accademia Bridge, one can find Venice’s only remaining original gondola-building and maintenance yard, the Squero San Trovaso workshop. Nowadays it works mainly as a maintenance and repair point, but during the 1600’s it was Venice’s busiest production point for the ten thousand gondolas that once traveled along its canals and into the Lagoon. The squero is not open to the public but if you visit during the working hours you can see the work from the outside, and it is a fascinating experience. Each gondola is made out of eight different types of wood, exactly as it was hundreds of years ago, and includes lots of exclusively carved elements. Because gondolas are still crafted in a traditional way, it takes over a month to build one, and it usually can be in service for about 15 years, after which it must be refinished and can last another ten years. There are woodcarving workshops that create various wooden parts for gondolas and are very interesting to visit to see this ancient craft in action. The workshop of Paolo Brandolisio a few steps behind Piazza San Marco is a great one to visit. There are several guided tours for visitors, like the two-hour Oltrex tour starting from Riva degli Schiavoni, or the one day experience Venice for Children, that encompasses a whole seminar on gondola making and a tour on vaporetto through the Arsenale and the Naval Museum. After getting to know this craft better, one will never see a gondola the same way again, for they are unique custom made vessels with centuries of history and craftsmanship, and no one is identical to another.


2. Get To Know Venice’s Art: Querini Stampalia Museum

Museum Querini Stampalia Venice_Museum

Tucked away in a pretty corner of sestiere Castello is another one of Venice’s hidden jewels, the Querini Stampalia Museum. Born out of the desire to continue and share the knowledge of artistic studies, the Fondazione Querini Stampalia was created in 1869 according to the will of Count Giovanni Querini Stampalia. Having died with no heirs, Querini Stampalia, a prominent member of Venetian nobility, left all his belongings, including a gorgeous Palazzo and amazing library, to the City Of Venice, with the intent of creating a museum open to the public.  That same year the Palazzo was converted to a beautiful museum, where all of Querini-Stampalia’s original interiors, furnishings, and artworks gathered by him and generations of his predecessors, are carefully preserved.  The museum is one of the best house-museums in Europe, offering a peek into the life of Venetian nobility in the eighteenth century, from elaborate salons to elegant bedrooms, complete with frescoes, paintings, and gorgeous decor, including Murano Glass. Venice lovers and history buffs will be blown away by the museum’s unique collection of paintings that depict, in precise detail, the many Venetian celebrations, public events, holidays and historical moments as seen in the eighteenth century. The almost photographic nature of these paintings, along with excellent descriptions available in several languages, allow us to vividly imagine how Venetians lived, what they looked like, how they entertained themselves, and what they cared about centuries ago. Another feature of this museum is its unique library that contains over 350,000 books, and remains open late in the evening and even during holidays, following its founder’s will. Inside Querini-Stampalia living quarters the different artworks on display include paintings by Giovanni Bellini, Pietro Longhi, and Giandomenico Tiepolo, among others, antique Venetian furniture, sculptures, Murano glass chandeliers, mirrors, and decorative glassware, French porcelain, tapestries, and other historic pieces dating all the way back to the XIV century.


3. Explore One Of Venice’s Newer Museums

Punta della Dogana Sculpture in Venice

Punta della Dogana is the site of Venice’s historical naval customs house, or Dogana da Mar. The long Customs building we see today graced with a beautiful sculpture of Atlas holding up the globe, symbolizing the supremacy of Venice, dates from 1682. The Customs house continued to be in operation until 1980’s, becoming a link connecting Venice’s past with its present. After the building stopped being used for this purpose, it was abandoned and had been dilapidated by neglect. Finally, the city of Venice decided to put this building back into use and awarded the tender for renovating the space to François Pinault (French billionaire businessman and avid art collector). In the new hands, this building underwent a glorious restoration by architect Tadao Ando in 2008. The amazing architecture is enough for one to spend a whole morning admiring the place. It has been described as having an “industrial and minimalist soul”, thanks to its polished concrete floors, steel anchors and exposed brick walls. The museum hosts temporary art exhibitions and presents works from Pinault’s own extensive collection.


4. See The Original Venetian Ghetto

Jewish Getto Venice

If one prefers to spend the day strolling along some not-so-crowded streets while learning little-known Venetian history, the Venetian Jewish Ghetto is just the area to visit. Located in the Cannaregio district, this Venetian ghetto is actually the first Jewish ghetto in all of Europe, instituted in March of 1516. Jews were present in Venice as far back as the tenth century though they were not allowed to settle there. Later in 1290, Jewish merchants and moneylenders received permission to work in Venice conditioned upon paying a special 5% tax on their import and export transactions. Finally, forced by the needs for financing brought on by the city’s flourishing commerce, Venice’s government allowed Jewish moneylenders to settle in the city in 1385 and even gave them land to be used as a cemetery. However, attitudes towards Jews were becoming progressively worse over the following two centuries, as the growing prosperity of Jewish residents stoked fears of their influence on Venice’s Christian society. Hence after much deliberation in 1516 Venice’s ruling council decided to confine Jews to a small part of Venice called Ghetto, named after the foundries (getti) that were once located in the area. The most densely populated area of Venice in the centuries past, Ghetto was set up on an island, which provided a natural way to close it up at night and segregate its inhabitants from the rest of Venice. Ghetto features Venice’s tallest buildings where Jewish residents were forced to dwell as their numbers swelled since they were prohibited from settling beyond the confines of this small island. The Ghetto area historically had been divided into two different sections: the New Ghetto, and the Old Ghetto, the former was inhabited by the Ashkenazi Jews from Germany and Italy, while the latter was the settlement of the Sephardic Jews from the Levant. This division can turn out to be rather confusing since in the historical sense the New Ghetto is actually older than the “old” one.

Despite the horrendous devastation of Jewish life in Venice brought on by Holocaust, this part of Venice is still the center of Jewish life, although out of only 500 Jewish residents of Venice just 30 still live in the Ghetto. The area offers a peek into the rich history of Jews in Venice, the vibrant society that once sparked the interest of William Shakespeare, who described some of the local Judeo-Christian tensions in his “Merchant Of Venice”. The Ghetto is also a place to enjoy traditional cuisine in a few good kosher-certified restaurants, as well as browse Judaic shops and check out historic synagogues.


5. Find Hidden Gems Among Venetian Churches

Venice Madonna dell'Orto Church

Switching the subject to Venice’s Christian history, in the same Cannaregio district we can also find little-known but very old Madonna dell’Orto Church, a beautiful brickwork construction build in the XIV century. Constructed under the direction of Tiberio da Parma (who is buried inside the church), it was built by the now-defunct religious order of the “Humiliati” and initially dedicated to Saint Christopher, patron saint of travelers. Its name would later change, dedicating the church to the Holy Virgin, thanks to a famous statue of a Madonna that was discovered in an orchard (orto) near the church. Its façade shows impressive brickwork walls, while the inside includes a nave and two isles framed with Greek marble columns. The paintings found inside are invaluable: there are a number paintings by renowned Venetian artist Tintoretto, and some works by Bellini and Titian. Tintoretto, who was born in Venice in 1518, had a long and very productive career as a painter in Venice, having executed many paintings and large-scale frescoes in Palazzo Del Doge, numerous churches, and Scuolas. Paintings “Worship of the Golden Calf” and the “Last Judgment” in Madonna Dell’Orto are the ones that brought Tintoretto initial acclaim, setting him on the path to fame and prosperity. While working on his commissions for this church, Tintoretto lived in a small Gothic house next to the church looking out to Fondamenta de Mori, which still stands today. Tintoretto died in 1594 and is buried in Madonna dell’Orto church, next to his beloved daughter Marietta who died four years before him at the age of thirty. The terracotta bust on Tintoretto’s tomb is the work of famous Murano Glass artist and sculptor, Napoleone Martinuzzi, created in 1937.

Venice is a city full of secrets that will surely marvel tourists. There is nothing as charming as walking along Venice’s back alleys and allowing oneself to get lost in the history of the city. It is not only the museums that can offer this but its palaces, its restaurants, its canals, its churches and its people. Venice is a city to be enjoyed in countless ways, we only need to learn where to look.

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Travel Tips for Eating Out in Venice: Where To Eat Like A Local

As exquisite, fresh and wholesome as Venetian cuisine may be, it is unfortunate that many travelers report unpleasant experiences of being ripped off or having bland meals when eating out in Venice. Figuring out where to eat in Venice can easily become a tourist trap for eager visitors who go looking for the most stereotypical meals, and in return get low quality dishes at grossly inflated costs. Venetian cuisine dominated by abundance of seafood is not what travelers typically associate with Italy, yet it is incredibly tasty if you happen to run into the right place. Good coffee can absolutely be enjoyed outside of Piazza San Marco’s expensive restaurants, and freshest seafood you ever tasted can be found in many unassuming local eateries called osterie.

The first and best tip is to avoid any “tourist menus” as they have limited food choices, often not of the freshest kind, and dishes that aim to please tourists en masse rather than offer authentic local experience. These kinds of menus in restaurants situated in crowded touristic areas just concentrate on one-time tourist crowds that will most likely never come back, and therefore pay less attention to quality and exclusivity. It is easy to recognize these places: they all have explicit pictures of every dish, waiters in bow ties loudly inviting customers to come in, and frequently no Italians inside.
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Venice Through The Year: The Tourist Guide to Visiting Venice In Any Season

When it comes to planning a trip to Venice, there is a seemingly simple question that needs to be answered first: when is the best time to visit Venice? Needless to say, Venice is always a beautiful place full of infinite charm, yet in different seasons the city can be appreciated in unique ways.Luckily, Venice offers marvelous sights, tourist attractions and joyful festivals throughout the whole year. As it is well known, the summer months are the most expensive when it comes to accommodation and flights, long lines are usual at tourist attractions and the heat in July and August can be rather exhausting. On the other hand, the winter months offer a magical experience, if you are up for romantic albeit chilly walks through the deserted alleys of the city. One thing, however, must be remembered when planning a visit to Venice: all moving around is done by foot, or by taking a ride, most often in vaporetto (Venetian water bus). Continue reading
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What NOT To Do in Venice – Top Five Tips for Better Travel

Venice is a gorgeous city, but to feel its beauty among the crowds which fill Venice from April to October is not an easy task. The Venetians, whose number is dropping every year, also get tired of the crowds and can sometimes be a little grumpy or impatient, not to mention the high prices they tend to charge in restaurants, bars, stores, and hotels. Therefore, to have a good time when visiting Venice and to leave with nothing but the best impressions you would need to do your research and prepare for the trip ahead of time. There are tons of resources on- and off-line on visiting Venice, but most of them focus on the things you need to do in the city. We, on the other hand, decided to give you a no-less-useful guide on what NOT to do in Venice. Read our tips, memorize them, and you will surely avoid more than a few pitfalls that await a clueless visitor to Venice.

1. Do not spend your hard-earned cash on a Gondola trip

Gondola in Venice, Italy
Sure, the gondolas are beautiful, romantic and one of the top things we associate with Venice. So why not have a great $100 trip along the canals (of course, if you can afford it)? Well, in the recent decades gondolas have become extremely commercialized. While there is still no better way of seeing Venice than from water, spending so much cash on gondolas is simply not the best idea. Oftentimes the gondoliers are not the smiling easy-going types you have imagined. They may not have the best voices and if they sing you something it’s likely not a local Venetian song but rather a famous Neapolitan cliché like “O Sole Mio”. The gondolas nowadays are packed with camera-toting foreign tourists, not the romantic lovers of the bygone days. A fairly short trip along the canals, a large part of which will be spent getting out of multiple gondola traffic jams, will cost you no less than $80 during the day and even more in the evening. The gondolier will likely only tell you a couple of words about some of the most famous buildings, nothing that could amount to a “tour” they may have sold you.

Instead, go to one of several Traghetto stops and cross the Grand Canal in an authentic Venetian Gondola for mere pennies! Traghetto is a no-frills real gondola that carries passengers between the picturesque banks of the Grand Canal in places where there are no bridges. It’s the transport frequently used by Venetians who often catch a traghetto to do their daily shopping or return home with the bags of produce. Venetians typically stand in the traghetto, but you can sit and take in the gorgeous sights – no one will frown. The best routes are between the Fish Market near Rialto to Santa Sofia and from Punta della Dogana to Piazza San Marco. Continue reading

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Insider Tips for Travel to Venice

Panorama of Venice

When it comes to visiting Venice, our favorite city in the world, you can count on GlassOfVenice.com for some good unbiased advice. Unlike the travel agencies, whose recommendations always try to sway you toward using their services, we just want you to enjoy this amazing city and keep it in your heart long after your trip is over. Having been to Venice many times, we criss-crossed it leaving no corner unchecked, visited the attractions on and off the beaten path, stayed at various hotels and apartments, ate at all kinds of restaurants and cooked ourselves, befriended the locals, and connected with the city of our dreams on a whole different level. Now we are happy to share our knowledge and experience with all current and future Venice fans. After thinking long and hard we selected 10 best recommendations for Venice visitors. Here are the first five. Look for more in our next post, coming up soon.

1. Come Off-Season


Venice is beautiful any time of the year, but most people visit it in the Summer when it’s warm enough to roam around all day and dine at the outside tables at pretty canal-side restaurants. So what’s not to like about the Summer in Venice? Well, for one it’s the crowds. You will feel suffocated moving with the huge crowds through narrow alleyways and little bridges, not to mention trying to board the vaporettos. The best restaurants (and even the mediocre ones) will be perpetually full making that coveted canal-side dining an unreachable dream. The hotels will be fully booked and expensive, just like the flights, and the heat and humidity of the Summer will have you gasping for air well before mid-day. So heed our advice and head to Venice in the shoulder season (May or September), or better yet, visit in March-April or October. The flights will be much less expensive, the city will not be overrun by tourists and you will be able to enjoy it in a leisurely fashion and take away wonderful memories of a relaxing time in an enchanted place.

2. Stay in an Apartment

Stay in an Apartment in Venice
Venice has over a thousand hotels, but they get booked up very quickly, especially in high season (see point 1 above), and even middle-of-the-road Venetian hotels are quite expensive. Instead of going through the stress of finding a good central hotel at the right price and getting a tiny impersonal room (if you are lucky), we suggest you try an apartment rental instead. Your own apartment in Venice may sound like it is a hassle, but have no fear. We promise that it will actually be an amazing experience, which will let you feel at home in Venice and explore it like locals do. There are many good websites offering apartment rentals where you can specify the time period, see apartment offers complete with photos and maps, and directly contact the owners (many of whom speak English). Homelidays is one such company the services of which we’ve used in the past to get connected with apartment owners in Venice.

3. Avoid Dining near Main Tourist Attractions

Restaurant in Venice
Venice has an incredible variety of dining options, including Michelin star-rated restaurants, low-key family-run osteria’s, trendy bar-style eateries, traditional trattorias, and of course lots of pizzerias on every corner. However, far from making life easy for a hungry traveler, this mind-boggling restaurant scene makes a visitor confused and either looking for direction or settling for the first place they see. It is, of course, best to research ahead of time and seek reviews and recommendations on such sites as Tripadvisor, but if you haven’t, here are a few simple rules to live by when it comes to dining in Venice. Avoid restaurants located near main tourist attractions. It is a bit difficult in Venice, where some feel the entire city is a tourist attraction, but at least try to avoid the area near San Marco and the Grand Canal, Rialto, restaurants on the main piazza’s, near museums, and (with few exceptions) restaurants with canal-side seating. Also avoid the immediate vicinity of the train station, and any traffic-heavy streets where massive crowds move between San Marco, Rialto and the train station. The restaurants located in these areas are usually expensive and offer inferior food, counting on the unadventurous traveler or those unwilling to move away from the beaten path.

4. Visit Rialto Market

Rialto Market in Venice
Amid hundreds of Venetian attractions, most of them several centuries old, it is easy to overlook the more mundane places that are essential to Venetians’ everyday lives. One such place is Rilato Market. However, Rialto Market deserves its own chapter in the book of Venetian history and attractions, and it really is anything but mundane. The Market, one of the oldest in the world, was established in 1097, and in the 12th century the first Rialto bridge was built to make access to the Rialto market easier for pedestrians from all over the town. The market served both retail and wholesale clientele and became famous far beyond Venice. Today Rialto is still a big busy market, with the daily Erberia (green market), and the Pescheria (fish market) visited by many Venetians every day. But beyond offering something for dinner to Venetians, the Rialto is a wonderful experience for a tourist and deserves a close look. Visit Rialto in the morning to witness this ancient Market come alive with merchants praising their goods to discerning buyers. Lively, bustling, and always busy, Rialto is Venice’s beating heart. A stop at the Rialto is a must to feel the soul of Venice, and understand that the city, defying all cries about it dying a slow death, is alive and well.

5. Check Out Gallerie dell’Accademia Museum

Canaletto Paintings are found in Gallerie dell'Accademia
Ever wonder what Venice looked like 500 years ago? There is a place where you can see just that! One of the best Italian museums, Venice’s Gallerie dell’Accademia is the place to see the masterpieces of the Venetian painters from the 14th to the 18th century and to enjoy the world’s best collection of Venice views from the middle ages. Standing in front of Canaletto’s paintings depicting familiar places in Venice, you will be tempted to play the game of “find ten differences” between Venice of centuries ago and the city of today. You will try hard and only find a few. After the initial amazement has passed, spend some time in front of the world-famous paintings by Paolo Veneziano, Tiepolo, Bellini, and Titian, which will make the visit to this gem of a museum the highlight of your Venetian trip.

6. Make an outing to Teatro La Fenice

La Fenice Venice Opera House
When you tell your friends that you are going to Venice you will often hear advice to visit San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, famous museums and wonderful restaurants. But there is more to Venice. Far from simply being an open-air museum and a culinary heaven, Venice is a living breathing city offering much more than its streets, canals and restaurants to the curious tourist. For centuries Venice has been famous around the world as an important cultural and artistic center, continuously innovating and discovering new creative frontiers, be it in painting, architecture, artisanal forms, or theater. The latter flourished in Venice thanks to the rich heritage of Roman religious festivals through advent of Venetian Carnival and unique theater forms, such as Commedia del Arte and Grand Opera, and became favorite pastime of Venetians and enlightened tourists alike in the last 300 plus years. Take an evening to witness the magic of Venetian theater at one of the most famous opera houses in the world- Teatro la Fenice (translated as Phoenix), which, like the mythical Phoenix Bird rose from the ashes of three fires, which ruthlessly burnt it to the ground in 220 years of its existence. As you will see when you step into this opulent gem of a theater and hear the opera divas on stage, La Fenice offers not just a fine operatic production but a unique Venetian experience and an enchanted evening that you will not soon forget.
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Finally, a perfect way to learn about Murano glass and experience its magic!

Numerous times on various travel websites, forums, and blogs, including ours, travelers to Venice ask the question of whether and how to see a demo of Murano glass making without wasting precious time in Venice and experiencing an annoying sales pitch. GlassOfVenice is happy to report that finally there is a way for most people to learn more about this fascinating art and experience it first-hand in the studio of a famous Murano maestro at very reasonable cost and without being pushed into buying anything. This definitely makes it worthwhile to make a trip to Murano and see the world of artistic glass making with your own eyes.

The Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and Murano Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro) together with Abate Zanetti Murano Glass School present GLASS IN ACTION, a comprehensive overview of the ages of Murano glass history. This one-of-a-kind begins with a guided tour of Murano Glass Museum, which has on display a unique and extensive collection of glassware from ancient Rome through Murano glass of the Renaissance period to modernity. After that it’s on to the Murano Glass School, for a glass working demonstration with an accomplished Murano glass maestro, and the viewing of a documentary film.

Use this unique opportunity to learn more about Murano glass at its birthplace and get enchanted by the birth of glass from the magic of fire and the skill of an artist. The cost of the entire program is just 15 euro per person, and it runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. English tours start at 2:30pm at the Murano Glass Museum (Fondamenta Giustinian 8, 30121 Murano, Italy).

Learn more about this program at the Murano Glass Museum’s website.

Learn more about Murano glass and its history at GlassOfVenice – About Murano Glass

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