Venice is a beautiful and mysterious city, slowly going underwater. In the city with 54 thousand inhabitants, every year comes 23 million tourists. Most of them prefer popular routes: visit the square and St. Mark’s Cathedral, swim on a gondola along the canals, climb the campanile of St. Mark’s Cathedral, go for a walk along the Grand Canal on a river tram. And it is on them that most restaurants and souvenir shops of dubious quality are designed. Today we will tell you where to go and what to do to feel like a real Venetian.
1. Relax in the romantic garden of the Palazzo Soranzo Capello
In Santa Croce, known for its grandiose palazzos (palaces) and churches, is the Palazzo Soranzo Capello. Behind the facade of the palace, where the offices of the city administration are located, hides one of the most beautiful parks in Venice. Henry James and Gabriel d’Annunzio wrote about him, and all the sculptures that adorn him are ancient Roman originals. The garden consists of a courtyard with fruit trees and statues and a pavilion surrounded by marble columns. You can get into the garden on weekdays, from 10.00 to 17.00, the only condition is not to have picnics and not make noise.
2. Go to the Cannaregio area for the Jewish ghetto, synagogues and palaces
Cannaregio is a quiet area in the northern part of the city, where a third of Venetians live. There are excellent shops, bars, and restaurants and very few tourists. In Cannaregio, there is the church of the Madonna dell Orto, where Tintoretto is buried, the Church of Geshuati with paintings by Titian, and the Jewish Ghetto – one of the oldest in Europe. There are three ancient synagogues on its territory, richly decorated with carved panels and mosaic ornaments in the fashion of the 18th century. On the territory of the ghetto, there are many good restaurants and the famous bakery Volpe (Volpe) with traditional Venetian sweets.
3. Learn about the life of medieval Venice in the historic garden of palazzo Gradenigo
In Venice, the gardens are still called “green gold” – in a city with a growing population, the area of which has not increased for centuries, and the only source of water was rain wells. Only the rich could afford the garden. The garden of the Palazzo Gradenigo is unique – it was restored in 2001 in the form in which it was for centuries – with thickets of flowers and medicinal herbs, small fountains, and gazebos. In spring, when Japanese Sophora and wisteria bloom, the ground is covered with a layer of white petals. Several times a month, tours of the garden and palazzo lead, telling about medieval Venice. Schedule of excursions and registration – on the website of the palazzo.
4. See Santa Maria dei Miracoli, one of the most beautiful churches in the city
Venetians call Santa Maria dei Miracoli the “Carved Marble Box” because inside and outside, the church is lined with pink, blue and white marble and in shape resembles a medieval box. This beautiful church was built in the 15th century for the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, painted by Niccolò di Pietro. The church is as beautiful as the outside – the walls, choirs, and altar are lined with multi-colored marble. Santa Maria del Miracoli is open from Monday to Saturday from 10.30 to 16.30. The ticket price is 3 EUR.
5. Visit the concert of classical music in the Renaissance palazzo
The problem with most chamber music concerts in Venice is that they are designed for tourists, and their performers are students of the conservatory. The Venetians themselves go to concerts organized by associations of musicians of the city. We advise you to attend the classical music concerts organized by the Societa Veneziana di Concerti at the Teatro La Fenice and in the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni building, decorated with paintings by Tintoretto and Titian. The ticket price is on average 20-35 EUR. It is also impossible not to mention the mini-concerts of music of the 14-18 centuries, held by the association Scuola di Musica Antica. Concerts are held on Saturdays, at 17.00 in the Renaissance Palazzo Vertini Stampaglia. The cost of the concert is included in the price of the museum ticket (10 EUR).
6. Try the best Venetian snacks with a glass of aperol-spritz
It does not make sense to buy pizza and pasta in Venice – these are traditional dishes of the south of Italy. Better try the traditional Venetian snacks Cicchetti (Cecchetti) with a glass of prosecco or spritz in one of the bars in Venice are called Bakari. There are hundreds of them in the city, and every year the best Bakari is chosen among them. Here are the winners and their signature Cicchetti: Al Merca (lamb meatballs and sandwiches with tuna and celery), Il Diavolo e l’acquasanta (pickled sardines, fried crab mites and cod puree), Il Bacareto da Lele (mini sandwiches with bacon and artichokes, sausage and mushrooms), La Vedova Cannaregio (cod croquettes and sardines with polenta), Osteria al Portego (mini sandwiches with artichoke and prosciutto, alla Vicentina cod and stewed cuttlefish), Osteria Enoteca al Volto (pink shrimp with polenta, salad with peppers and dried tomatoes). One chichetti cost 1-3 EUR, a glass of prosecco or spritz – 2-3 EUR.
7. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city in the ancient market squares
The market squares of Venice lie away from the tourist trails. In the mornings there are noisy markets, in the afternoon the elderly and children walk, and in the evening young people gather in the bars. Campo Santa Margherita in the Dorsoduro district has a farmers’ market every morning, and in the evening, dozens of bars open in the square, which even students can afford. Campo San Barnaba in Dorsoduro is home to the Leonardo da Vinci Machine Museum, a book market where you can find books from the 18th and 19th centuries, and a good restaurant, Ristoteca Oniga. On Campo Santa Maria Formosa, early in the morning, there is a food market, and in the shops around the perimeter of the square sell cheese and prosciutto. In the bustling Square of Campo San-Giacomo-dell’Orio, older people sit on benches under plane trees. There are two inexpensive supermarkets on the corners of the square, and next to it is an excellent ice cream parlor Gelato di Natura.