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Relaxing into a Week in Venice

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Independent for 1100 years, Venice still looks and feels very distinct from much of Italy. It’s been overrun by tourists, especially cruise lines, but still has so much to offer that it’s well worth spending a few days here. The city is one massive atmospheric experience so stroll far and wide. One note about dining: Venice is overrun by tourist traps. You’ll know them by their plastic coated menus and hawkers. Look for the Slow Food snail icon in the window as a guide to quality.
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Venice is one of the most romantic cities in Italy, and some might even consider it to be the most romantic city in the world. There are only four bridges that cross the Grand Canal in Venice, and Ponte dell'Accademia is one of them. Since the...
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
As it's one of the most popular sights in Venice, you may have to wait for the perfect spot to view the Bridge of Sighs, but it's so beautiful that it's worth the effort. Part of the Doge's palace, the bridge leads to the prison, and it was said...
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Campo Santa Sofia, 4198/99, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
An ornate 15th-century private palazzo has been transformed into a lavish hotel (below) that faces the Rialto market. Artworks from the 1600s meet 21st-century amenities in the 42 rooms and suites, many of which overlook the Grand Canal. Doubles...
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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Most tourists get to Venice's famous Rialto Bridge, but how many cross to the right bank of the Grand Canal to experience the Erberia (vegetable market) and the Pescheria (fish market)? Elbowing my way through the crowds on the Rialto was worth...
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Piazza San Marco, 328, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
When planning a May trip to Italy with my husband, magical Venice was one of the cities I knew I wanted to visit. I was really looking forward to seeing all the things typically associated with Venice: gondolas, the Grand Canal, St. Mark's Square,...
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Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
Venice at pretty much any angle is a perfect shot. This photo was taken on the dock of the Guggenheim museum in Venice. The museum has one of the best collections of Surrealist art that I've seen.
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Piazza San Marco, 57, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
During the day, the Piazza San Marco in Venice is an overwhelming flurry of activity, but once the sun sets, you'd be surprised at just how much a sense of ease and languor settles in. Life simply slows down as the crowds depart. Stop by...
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Fondamenta Vin Castello, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Two things you need to know about gondola rides in Venice: They're worth it; and the price is agreed beforehand. Knowing those two things, you can happily hop aboard this traditional Venetian mode of transport and relax, because, touristy as it...
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
A must-see in Venice is the Doge's Palace in Piazza San Marco. The palace dates from the 14th century, and was the residence of the Doges of Venice. On view is the splendor of high Venetian style—Byzantine and Moorish architectural...
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Fondamenta Nani, 992, 30123 Dorsoduro, Venezia VE, Italy
If you are in Venice, you will surely get familiar with local spritz (a fizzy, refreshing aperitif) and cicchetti, or small snacks. If you want to have a local experience, be sure to stop by Cantine del Vino Già Schiavi while walking around La...
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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

This meal was delicious - the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and the seafood was fantastic. Best part of the meal though, was when our waiter brought us small shot glasses of bootlegged homemade limoncello to finish off our meal!

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Calle degli Albanesi, 4250, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
It's like the Venetians knew we'd end up lost and hungry. This mosaic placard (a tradition that dates to the Roman period) pointed us in the direction, and we wound up at a restaurant—Taverna dei Dogi, which has a relaxed atmosphere, and...
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Rio Terà de le Carampane, 1911, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
If you're looking for some of the most authentic and delicious seafood in Venice, pay a visit to Antiche Carampane. Located in an unassuming building a few minutes' walk from the Rialto Bridge, this trattoria is where the locals eat when they're...
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Every two years the world's best artists converge in Venice for a once in a lifetime exhibit of visual and performing arts. The festivities culminate with the glamorous Venice Film Festival. If you can't get a ticket to the Film Festival, do not...
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Rio Terà Foscarini, 909/A, 30123 Dorsoduro, Venezia VE, Italy
While traveling through Italy, my art history professor booked us students into religious colleges and convents. Wether it was to save money or because she thought osmosis would occur and our knowledge of Venetian Religious Art would be enhanced,...
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The Gallerie dell'Accademia, located quite close to the Rialto along the Grand Canal, offers a sweeping look at nearly hundreds of years of Italian art, including works by Tintoretto and Titian. Not to be missed.
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Dorsoduro, 2, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
Controlled by the François Pinault foundation, the same trust in charge of Christie's auction house, this is a museum-worthy gallery in the heart of Venice. Set inside a 17th-century customs house, it showcases Pinault's impressive private...
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Fondamenta Marco Giustinian, 8, 30141 Venezia VE, Italy
On the charming Venetian island of Murano, Museo del Vetro is an exemplary glass museum in a wonderful old palace that's worth exploring if you have an interest in the art of blowing glass. It's been a museum since the mid-1800s and features both...
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Piazza San Marco, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Since few areas within the city of Venice afford high perspectives of the entire city, take the elevator (no stairs) to the top of San Marco's Campanile in Piazza San Marco. You may have to put up with a few elbows to get a spot against...
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Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
With its prime setting on the Grand Canal, the 15th-century Venetian Gothic palazzo-turned- hotel was for years the go-to getaway for such cultural luminaries as Ernest Hemingway and Julian Schnabel. Its recent $45 million restoration has...
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Piazza Santa Fosca, 29, 30142 Torcello VE, Italy
Chef Cristian Angiolin heads up the kitchen at this Venetian lagoon institution, which is open year-round except for January and Tuesdays. The restaurant is no longer a part of the Cipriani franchise, which began in Venice and has since expanded...
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5174/B/517 Castello, Venezia, VE 30122, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
One of the things Venice is best known for, after its gondolas and canals, is enchanting handmade masks—and mask shops abound in the city. One standout is Gottardo Stefano, where you can find any type of mask you might want: from feminine...
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Calle Briati, 8b, 30141 Venezia VE, Italy
The Abate Zanetti Glass School has been home to masters of Murano glassblowing for 150 years. Giancarlo Signoretto teaches a five-day primer in the furnace room on how to gather glass from the kiln and use blowing pipes, tweezers, and molds to...
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Calle del Scaleter, 2794, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Carlo Goldoni was born in Venice in 1707 and went on to become one of the Italy's most important playwrights. He spent many years living and working in Paris, where he died in 1793. Ca' Centani, the 15th-century gothic palace acquired by Goldoni's...
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Dorsoduro 50, località Zattere, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
You'll find the Spazio Vedova art space along the tranquil Zattare esplanade, facing Giudecca Island. It was originally used to store salt and later boats. In the 1970s, Vedova saved the building from demolition, and between 2006 and 2009, under...
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30015 Chioggia, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

Some fresh octopus with polenta in Chioggia

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Piazza Eremitani, 8, 35121 Padova PD, Italy
Built in 1307, Giotto's Arena Chapel, aka Scorvegni Chapel, should not be missed when visiting the Veneto. In Padua, it is often overlooked, which can mean smaller crowds during certain times and seasons. After a video in English and Italian...
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Piazza del Santo, 11, 35123 Padova PD, Italy
This massive church was one of the most impressive in size, architecture, and collection of relics—for the art that is within and surrounding the building. Before you head inside, almost as an afterthought hidden in between kiosks selling St....
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Via B. Gamba, 6, 36061 Bassano del Grappa VI, Italy
Bassano del Grappa is the home of the famous liquor, a brandy made of the remains of the wine-making process. The Poli grappa is known for its golden color that, unlike the honey-infused varieties, comes from the oak barrels in which the drink is...
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Piazza Unità d'Italia, 34121 Trieste TS, Italy
In the center of Trieste, the capital of Italy’s Friuli–Venezia Giulia region, the vast Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia looks out over the deep, blue waters of the Gulf of Trieste. This elegant seafront square is bordered on three sides by ornate...
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Bologna, Metropolitan City of Bologna, Italy
Truly one of the most distinctive cities I've seen, Bologna is a treat. You hear about the food, you hear about the university, but there are just so many surprises around each corner. Just go, get lost...
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Sant'Elena, 30132 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
"You're going to get lost in Venice regardless, so stick your map in your map pocket and just wander." Our tour manager couldn't have been more right. This was one of the narrowest alleyways we went down when we had lost ourselves in a seemingly...
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Murano, 30141 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Sky imitates art!
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Fondamenta dei Ormesini, 2804, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Since 1930, the Marchi family has been importing rich, dark coffee beans from all over the world and roasting them in their quaint coffee shop in Venice's Cannaregio neighborhood. You can come in to shop for kilos of their black gold, which they...
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Calle Chibecchi, 521, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy
This tiny Venetian bacaro (bar) is so popular that many of its patrons don’t even make it inside. Instead, they cluster around the entrance drinking wine. Sample cicchetti (bar snacks) that the locals come for, especially the meatballs. Calle del...
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Via Baldassarre Galuppi, 221, 30142 Burano,Venezia VE, Italy
Let the wind blow through your hair as you take a 30-minute vaporetto ride to Burano, an island in the lagoons of Venice. Known for its brightly-colored fishermen's homes, the island is largely free of the tourist crush of the rest of Venice....
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Fondamenta di Santa Caterina, 3, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy
It takes a bit of patience and the better part of an afternoon to have lunch on Mazzorbo Island at Gianluca Bisol's, Venissa Ristorante. But the boat ride there from Venice's Fondamenta Nuova is half the fun, and the 45-minute journey across the...
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Fondamenta Manin, 48, 30141 Venezia VE, Italy
Murano Island is best known for its numerous glassmakers, and their respective factories, shops and boutiques. The island is not itself a foodie destination, though there are exceptions, like the charming and exceptionally good restaurant,...
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Rione S. Andrea, 597, Piazzetta Vigo, 30015 Chioggia VE, Italy
Chioggia Island is like miniature version of Venice, and has one of the biggest fresh fish markets in Italy. Here, at the Hotel Grande Italia, is a well priced, elegant restaurant called Alle Baruffe Chizzotte, with a dinning room of about 100...
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30100 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
If you're planning to spend a full day island hoping from Murano to Burano and on to Torcello, this is a good spot to stop for a fast lunch between islands. The no-frills trattoria began as a small inn back in 1944 and serves hearty, toothsome...