Venice, also known as “The Floating City”, is a city of dreams for many around the globe. This beautiful city is also considered to be one of the most romantic cities in the world. The city is built on a group of more than 100 islands separated by canals and connected by bridges. Venice is one of its kind and is on the bucket list for many. So if this city is on your bucket list and you want to truly experience its magic, then you have to explore Venice at night.
The city has two faces, one during the day and one during the night. During the day, exploring the city can be a bit tedious as it is packed with tourists and the crowds can take away the beauty from the peaceful Venetian experience. However, Venice at night is a completely different experience if you know where to go and what to look for. As the sun sets, the weather gets cooler, and the lights come on, and Venice looks like a painting. Now that’s something you want to experience! So here’s a list of things to do in Venice at night.
Tour Doge’s Palace and St. Marks Basilica Without the Crowd
Even if you’re visiting Venice for a day, St. Mark’s Basilica should be on the top of your list. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Venice and hence the most crowded during the day. So getting in can be a task, and the whole experience can be ruined. For a more enriching and intimate experience you should visit this place at night. The interiors of the church are embellished with Byzantine mosaics which are illuminated with beautiful lights. Even the burial crypt and the bejewelled Pala d’Doro alter piece are more accessible during the night.
Next to the basilica is Doge’s Palace, another popular landmark of the city. The place that was once the residence of the most powerful man in the city has now been converted into a museum and is open to the public. The ambiance of the palace looks glorious at night because the lights bring out the beauty of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Along with the aesthetics, the history of the palace is also something to behold.
Evening Gondola Ride
The Gondola rides in the city of Venice are highly romanticized in movies. It is a bucket list activity for anyone visiting the floating city. A Gondola ride can be one of the most romantic experiences at night, especially when you are there with your loved one. There is nothing more relaxing and serene than a moonlight gondola ride. A night under the stars in a gondola is incomparable.
The best time for the night gondola ride is right after the sunset as the city is dimly lit giving a magical look to the surroundings. At night there is less commotion, and the canals seem deserted so you can enjoy an exceptionally peaceful night tour of the city. It is dark enough for one to enjoy this other magical side of the city and the hues of blue make the evening come to life.
The ride can be a bit more expensive during the night as compared to the day. But it is definitely worth the experience. If you want a shared gondola ride, it is a good idea to book a spot in advance. You don’t require to book in advance for a private ride.
Late Evening Walk Through the City
If not the gondola ride you can always choose to walk around the lanes, bridges and piers of the floating city. A walk under the sky on the empty lanes of Venice is something right out of a movie. And you do not want to miss it!
As you walk past the popular attractions of the city at night, you will realize that the absence of a crowd results in a remarkably different experience. The ambiance of the city changes completely. So if have a chance you should choose the evening walk through the city over the day tour.
You can start your walk from the Rialto Bridge and then head over to Piazza San Marco. Don’t miss a walk by the waterfront area, Riva degli Schiavoni during the night. This can be quite peaceful and intimate making you feel one with Venice. The sound of water comes alive with all the commotion at bay and enriches your experience, which is only possible at night.
Visit Liberia Acqua Alta after dark
Liberia Acqua Alta is the most popular bookstore in Venice. It is unique and authentic in its own Venetian way. This bookstore is beautified with incredibly creative bookshelves, in the shape of like live size gondolas, canoes and even bathtubs. Interesting much? The books you find here aren’t just for reading, but also make up the furniture. This place can be on your list even if you aren’t a reader for its aesthetic architecture and interior design.
The back porch of the bookstore gives you a wonderful night view of the canal. The staircase leading the way is made out of old books that are ruined by tides and high water also known as “acqua alta” giving this bookstore a perfect name. Don’t cross it out of your list just because its a bookstore, visiting this place has its own perks.
Ghost Night Tour of Venice
Every city has a dark side which remains hidden during the day. To witness this dark side of the beautiful city, the ghost night tour of Venice is what you should be on. The guided tours take you around various sights with a paranormal history that Venice hides in plain sight.
As the tour progresses you come across places with a history of paranormal activity. Some of these stories include supernatural stories of haunted places, horrifying murders and cemeteries. Some stops on the ghost tour include casino delgi Spiriti, building in the Cannaregio area and Palazzo Grassi on the grand canal.
A fun aperitivo with a view of the canals
An aperitivo is an appetite builder that also cleanses your palate and gets it ready for the meal. Aperitivos reflect Italian culture, and it is recommended that one should try this tradition for a better Italian dining experience. It is a local tradition to meet up with friends at local aperitivo bar around 7 in the evening before dinner time.
When in Venice, enjoy a fun aperitivo with a beautiful view of the canals. It makes you feel at one with the Venetians and is an authentic local experience. Aperitivos usually include cocktails that are generally light on alcohol and can be paired with salty snacks or small bite foods. The whole affair is inexpensive and one of the fun things to do in Venice at night.
Treat Yourself To a Delicious Italian Meal at a Family-Run Trattoria
When your taste buds are excited after an aperitivo head to a family-run trattoria for some local fare. A trattoria is a cosy family-run restaurant that is inexpensive and authentic. They are perfect to for those wanting to experience some good Italian food in the city. A nice local dinner is among the fun things to do in Venice at night.
Here you can try the best of what Italian cuisine has to offer closest to the original. Trattorias gives a vibe of the local gathering spot where you can find people from all walks of life coming together for a hearty meal. This brings the whole Venetian experience together and can be a great end to the day.
Attend a show at the Teatro La Fenice
Teatro La Fenice, a theatre built in the 1790s is considered one of Europe’s finest theatres. It was designed by Giannantonio Selva initially and has been rebuilt a couple of times since. This theater is one of the most renowned landmarks of Italian theater and an iconic opera house. The interior of the theater is quite archaically aesthetic. So if you’re a theater buff and want to experience the finest Italian theater, this place is a must-visit for you.
It is a functioning theater that stages various theatrical productions like operas, orchestral works, ballets and dance productions. The theater also premiered the works of Italian maestros Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi. Along with that, the theatre hosts two major fundraisers in the months of March and November every year. The details of shows are available on the official website of the theater.
Gamble at the Casino Di Venezia
Casino di Venezia, the world’s oldest casino attracts gamblers from all around the world. It was first opened in 1638 and was originally a theatre named Theater Saint Moses. The city of Venice bought this theater and in 1959 opened it officially as a casino in the Vendramin Calergi Palace. It presently houses classic casino games like Blackjack, French Roulette, Chemin de fir, Poker and more than 500 slot machines. Various gambling tournaments and events like the World Poker Tour are hosted here every year. The casino is managed by highly professional, well-trained staff.
The palace along with the casino is also the home of Wagner Museum. The museum presents to you the life of the world-famous composer, Richard Wagner who once lived here.
The casino has also been featured in various Hollywood movies, most notably, Casino Royale. The interior of the casino is a flagship of old school Italian design including crystal chandeliers and vintage mirrors with an exquisite view overlooking the grand canal.
Visit the famous Harry’s Bar
For a more relaxed evening in Venice when you just want to hang out, head to Harry’s Bar. It is the most famous bar is the city which was opened in 1931 by Giusseppe Cipriani. Legend has it that the bar was named after a Bostonian student named Harry Pickering, who while paying the debt to Cipriani, gave a surplus enough for him to open a bar. The bar was so successful that it branched out all around the world, and many distinguished Harry’s bars were opened. The Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs declared it a national landmark.
The bar has been visited by famous people like Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Woody Allen, Somerset Maugham, Noel Goward, Orson Wells and Peggy Guggenheim.
Spend a Romantic Evening at the Skyline Rooftop Bar
To get a fish-eye view of the Venetian skyline, you should visit the Skyline Rooftop Bar. It is one of the most iconic spots in Venice to enjoy a romantic evening with your loved one. This eighth-floor rooftop bar is located within the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice Hotel.
This isn’t some common watering hole or dive bar but is one of the more elegant establishments of Venice. Their classic cocktails accompanied by aperitifs are a must-try, and the bar also serves other recommended remakes of famous cocktails.
Getting Around Venice at Night:
Venice is a calm, peaceful city that generally shuts down before midnight. All the bars and restaurants in the city are closed by 11:00 PM. Venice is a pedestrian city, so the best way to get around is to walk. It is the most convenient way to reach your destination. However, you can also use ‘Vaporetto’, the water bus as that is the only public transportation in the city. The water buses run all round the year 24/7, and you also get easy access to the tickets in many places around Venice. You can also choose to buy a ticket on the water bus itself, but you have to pay in cash.
Other modes to get around Venice include private taxis but that can be a bit expensive. Taxis are generally used by tourists in the city. Taxis can be found at various taxi stands in the city or can be booked online. FreeNow is one app to book taxis in the major cities in Italy.
It’s a good idea to make dinner reservations in advance when in Venice. There are a lot of average restaurants in Venice, so finding good food may require a little research in advance. It is definitely recommended to reserve your table in advance at these restaurants so you don’t have to wait for hours. If you haven’t made a reservation in advance, then walk in a little early around 7:00 PM so that you can get the table before the crowds come in.
Where to Stay in Venice?
The floating city has various accommodation options for every budget. If it’s a luxury hotel that you’re looking for or a cosy Bed and Breakfast or just a simple apartment with a nice canal view, you will definitely have your pick in the city.
For more budget options, you could also choose to stay at a hostel or budget hotel in Venezia Mestre.
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