Venice is one of those cities that is on everybody's radar. Everyone has seen those pictures of bloggers eating pizza next to a canal or sipping on a glass of wine with a giant bowl of pasta in front of them. It just has a certain allure. So for many people, when they actually get to Venice and see the hoards of tourists and the crowded allies, it can be a bit overwhelming and disappointing… don't let it be! I am here to tell you that there is still a way to enjoy the romance of Venice, Italy without letting the streams of people get in your way! Here are my tips for a successful 24 hours in Venice, Italy!
1. Find a hotel off the beaten path:
I know you may be tempted to stay in one of the famous hotels along the Grand Canal or a place that is close to an attraction like St. Marcus Square. DON'T DO THAT! Yes, those hotels are stunning and have amazing reputations, but if you are trying to go out, you will be pushing and shoving your way past tours guides and their groups. Instead, find yourself a hotel in a lesser-known area. It will be just as beautiful with only a fraction of the people. As an added bonus, there will be a ton of local spots with amazing food since you are in a less touristy area.
2. Eat like a local:
That brings me right to my second point, local cuisine! Of course, there are going to be a ton of restaurants in the popular areas and I am by no means saying that they aren't good, all Italian food is good! But if you want to eat with a bit more peace and quiet, try walking down some allies that lead away from the tourist streets. I guarantee you will find some amazing hole in the wall restaurants. We found this great spot completely by accident and had ourselves a great lunch!
3. Take the time to wander:
Obviously, you are going to want to see landmarks like St. Marcus Square and the Grand Canal but if you have some free time, just start walking. Now I don't mean follow the crowds or the people with their little flags up in the air, I mean walk awaaaay from them! Take some random turns and walk down some random paths! Venice is such a gorgeous city with so much history. We had a blast just sipping on a bottle of wine and walking criss-cross through the city. There is nothing better than taking a turn and coming to a dead end because there is suddenly a canal in front of you!
4. Don't be afraid to get fancy:
Venice has some of the most prestigious and elegant restaurants around. If you are looking to have a special, once in a lifetime kind of experience, have dinner on the Grand Canal! We decided to go all out and reserve a table at the Gritti Palace restaurant, Club Del Doge. This restaurant and its insta-famous view did not disappoint. Everything from the service to the food made you feel like royalty. And even though the prices are a bit up there, the view really is one of a kind!
5. Buy a mask:
Have you ever see those fancy masks? The ones that make you want to put on a ball gown and make an appearance at the next Masquerade ball? Well, they are quite literally all over Venice! Make a quick stop at one of the shops and try one some masks until you find the perfect one. We decided to have a bit of fun with it and wear them out and about for the entire night!
6. Eat as much gelato as you can!
Surprisingly we only made one ice cream stop during our 24 hours. I know, I was quite disappointed in myself too. But we were filled up to our eyeballs with wine and spaghetti that more than one gelato stop just didn't seem possible. Lucky for us, we found a really fun place that makes eggettes! Basically, it is a warm waffle as the cone with ice cream and toppings inside. Super yummy!
7. Go out for a drink:
Venice nightlife is something else, it really is! As much as I tell you to avoid the touristy spots, at night they are a blast. Make your way over to the shopping center of Venice and I guarantee you'll find some fun spots. We accidentally stumbled into this hilarious bar filled with hanging bras and giant beers. Definitely a must-see!
8. Just have fun with it:
I think my biggest tip to you if you are trying to enjoy the romance of Venice is to just enjoy it. Instead of getting annoyed at the crowded streets, take your time, goof off, and just have some fun! If you let yourself not be in a rush and not get overwhelmed by the people, you will find yourself having a good time… even in the tourist traps! Just take things step by step!