The colonnades and canals of Italy’s most romantic city have been immortalised in countless films, books and poems. See those hallowed squares for yourself on a city break to Venice from Glasgow Airport.
Branching off from the great trunk of the Grand Canal are hundreds of smaller waterways, each hiding their own cultural secrets. Exploring these delectable backstreets in the hush of early morning or late evening is one of the great delights of Venice. As well as visiting Venetian institutions such as the Peggy Guggenheim Museum on the Grand Canal (Dorsoduro 701) and the Gallerie dell’Accademia (Campo della Carità), take the time to soak up the atmosphere in lesser-known portions of the city. The Magazzini del Sale gallery (Via Marignana 108), housed in a line of converted salt houses, and the church of San Francesco della Vigna (Ramo Al Ponte San Francesco) are both overlooked treasures.
The famous February Carnevale is a highlight of the Venetian calendar, but the city’s fun-loving residents keep the party going year-round with a succession of colourful cultural events. From sporting festivals such as the Regata Storica (September) and Vogalonga (June) to the 10-day International Film Festival (August-September), Venice boasts a packed festive programme. If you miss the carnival, the next best thing is the Festa del Redentore in July – a weekend of music, parties, picnics and revelry.
Cafés and cocktails
Away from the tourist-centric cafés of Piazza San Marco, Venice throngs with delectable little coffee houses, bars and bacaros (typical Venetian taverns). There are the stellar eateries – the Met Restaurant (Riva degli Schiavoni 4149) leads the pack when it comes to culinary innovation and melt-in-the-mouth dishes – but the city’s speciality is its local tapas-style bars. Anice Stellato (Fondamenta della Sensa) occupies a stunning canal-side position and serves scrumptious snacks alongside a lengthy wine menu. Cosy little All’ Arco (San Polo 436) is the perfect romantic hideaway, while the flashy Skyline cocktail bar (Giudecca 810) is the hangout of choice for the Venetian jet set.