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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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The Ponte dell'Accademia is one of four bridges that span the Grand Canal, and will get you quickly from San Marco to the labyrinthine Dorsoduro neighborhood. Originally built in 1854 out of steel, the current wooden bridge was built in the 1930s...
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
The Ponte dei Sospiri was given its English name by part-time Venice resident Lord Byron, who wrote in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: "I stood in Venice on a Bridge of Sighs, a palace and a prison on each hand." Byron's travelogue nails it: When you...
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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
Near the base of the landmark Rialto Bridge, the historic Rialto Market is well worth a wander. Seek it out in the early morning when it provides an authentic local experience (and awesome social-media ops), with fishmongers hawking their fresh...
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Piazza San Marco, 328, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
St Mark's Basilica in Venice is one of my favourite buildings in Europe because it balances decadence with delicateness without being overbearing. St Peter's in Rome, for example, I thought was too much and not particularly beautiful. St Mark's on...
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Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
There's plenty of art in Venice, from the churches to the Scuoli to the Accademia. But when you just can't look at another Caravaggio, and even Titian hair doesn't move you any more, refresh yourself with a visit to Peggy's house. The renowned...
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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, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
Two things you need to know about gondola rides in Venice: 1 - They're worth it. 2 - The price is agreed beforehand, and is standard. Knowing those two things, you can happily hop aboard this traditional Venetian mode of transport and relax,...
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
This pink-marble waterfront edifice in Piazza San Marco dates back to the 14th century, when it was the residence and seat of government for the doges (rulers) of Venice. Today the ornate Byzantine- and Moorish-influenced Gothic Palazzo Ducale is...
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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
I had been skeptical of the Venetian gondola ride, thinking it too touristy and overpriced. Last summer, however, I discovered what is so special about this Venetian tradition. A gondola ride provides a unique view of Venice from the quiet...
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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 is the place to see Venice through the eyes of centuries of famous Venetians. The museum has a huge collection of paintings from the Byzantine and Gothic eras through the Renaissance and into the 18th century (including...
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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 Venice's old 17th-century customs house, it showcases Pinault's...
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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
Built in 1525 as the family home of Doge Andrea Gritti, this antique-stocked palazzo has rooms with mosaic floors, hand-painted furniture, and panoramic views of the Grand Canal. Murano glass chandeliers and sconces light up the hotel that Ernest...
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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 School of Glass has been home to masters of Murano glassblowing for 150 years, and today it provides an immersive experience into the island’s famed glass artistry. Located at the Glass Museum, a half-day program is offered...
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Calle del Scaleter, 2794, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Carlo Goldoni was born in Venice in 1707 and went on to be 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 find the Spazio Vedova art space along the tranquil Zattare esplanade, facing Giudecca Island. Historically, this art studio of Emilio Vedova was used to store salt and later boats. In the 1970s, Vedova saved the building from demolition....
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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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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
One of the best strolls through Venice begins in the neighborhood of Arsenale and finishes on the Island of Sant' Elena. Walk along the main drag of Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, a street full of shops and colourful local life, until it dead ends. Make...
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Murano, 30141 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Famous for its long history of handblown glassmaking, Murano sits just a few minutes' ferry ride offshore in the Venetian Lagoon. The main attraction is the Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro), which recounts the history of glass through the centuries,...
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Fondamenta dei Ormesini, 2804, 30121 Cannaregio, 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
Begun by the family of winemaker Gianluca Bisol, who is famous for his prosecco, the menu at this Mazzorbo restaurant is focused on seasonal and local ingredients, much of which is grown right on the estate, which is located 35 minutes from 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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Via Giudecca, 88, 30142 Burano, Venezia VE, 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.This Burano eatery is a no frills, straight forward trattoria that began as a small inn...