You’ve oohed and aahed at the canals. Taken the selfies in Piazza San Marco. You’ve taken a ride on a gondola and you’re almost done paying off the mortgage you took out to fund your last visit. Me too. I loved the magic of Venice on my first visit and wanted to see the city again, with more knowledge of Italy and the language.
I wanted to escape the crowds, the long lines, the inflated prices and find some authenticity in this popular city. The good news is that the crowds dissipate the further away you move from the Grand Canal. You can find yourself wandering through small streets alone, with only one or two tourist-couples smooching gruesomely every now and then.
And despite the fact you’ve done all the tourist favourites, there are still plenty more gems to see. Here’s a list of the activities I got up to, to inspire your next Venice visit.
Ok. So we can’t really say Burano isn’t touristic. If you have an instagram, either you posted a picture of yourself in Burano, or you follow someone who went to Burano in the last two years. It’s very done. But get this – Venice clears out in the rain. It’s like the tourists evaporate on contact. And Burano, on a rainy day, is no less beautiful for it.
2. Scala Contarin del Bovolo
Tucked away on a side street near Saint Mark’s, this famous spiral staircase is fun and beautifully photogenic.
3. Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Take the vaporetto and get off at Salute or Accademia. It’s a pretty walk from the Vaporetto stops to the Guggenheim, which houses some beautiful works of modern art. Entry was €16 and you can enjoy the works of Pollock, Warhol as well as temporary exhibitions.
4. Scuola Grande San Marco
The Scuola Grande San Marco was an unexpected gem. I walked there out of curiosity, and saw what was clearly a functioning hospital. It took me several attempts to find what I was looking for before I finally asked, and the gentleman told me to take the stairs I had been ignoring the whole time. Up the stairs is a beautiful room with gruesome display cabinets detailing historical medical practices. Once you have “enjoyed” the diagrams detailing how to amputate an arm, check out the beautiful Biblioteca dei Impossibili for some of the most stunning books you’ll see.
1. Taking a day trip to Padova
Is it controversial to recommend escaping the city as a non-touristy activity? I paid just under €3, and in just under an hour, I was in Padova. This cute, chilled and understated city has so much to offer – there’s no reason not to go! Due to it being a monday, the museums, such as the Zimmerman Museum, were closed. But taking a beautiful stroll from the pretty Giardini dell’Arena down to the Prato della Valle which is great for watching the world go by. When I was there it was equipped with Street Food stands from around Italy.
What were some of your favourite unexpected Venice gems? I would love to know your favourite hideaways in this popular city!