Non-touristy things to do in Venice

Venice, the capital of the Veneto region in Italy, is a unique and beautiful city that is known for its canals, bridges, and stunning architecture. Founded over 1,500 years ago, Venice has a rich history and culture that make it one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

One of the most famous attractions in Venice is the Grand Canal, a waterway that winds through the heart of the city and is lined with stunning palaces and buildings. Visitors can take a gondola ride along the canal, admiring the architecture and getting a unique perspective on the city.

Venice is also home to numerous other historic landmarks, including St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Rialto Bridge. The city is also famous for its numerous churches and cathedrals, many of which feature stunning works of art and intricate architecture.

For those interested in art and culture, Venice is home to numerous museums and galleries showcasing works by some of Italy’s most famous artists, including Titian and Tintoretto. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, located in a former palace on the Grand Canal, is particularly impressive, featuring an extensive collection of modern art.

Venice is also a great destination for foodies, with numerous restaurants and cafes serving up classic Italian dishes such as seafood risotto, cicchetti (small plates), and gelato. The city is also known for its wines, particularly Prosecco and Amarone, which can be enjoyed at the numerous wine bars and restaurants located throughout the city.

With that said, Venice is also a popular city, so below are some non-touristy things to do in Venice to avoid the crowds

Visit the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista

A Renaissance masterpiece that has beautiful paintings, sculptures, and stunning architecture.

The Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista is a historic building located in the San Polo district of Venice, Italy. Originally constructed in the 13th century as a hospital, it was converted into a scuola, or confraternity, in the 16th century. The building is known for its stunning Renaissance architecture, including intricate stone carvings and beautiful frescoes.

Visitors to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista can explore its various rooms and chapels, including the Sala Capitolare, which features an impressive collection of paintings by Venetian masters such as Tintoretto and Veronese. The scuola is also home to a small museum showcasing various religious artifacts and art pieces, and hosts concerts and events throughout the year.

Explore the island of Burano

A colorful island famous for its lace-making and picturesque canals.

Burano is a small island located in the Venetian Lagoon, famous for its brightly colored houses and traditional lace-making industry. Visitors can take a water taxi or vaporetto from Venice to Burano to explore the island’s narrow streets and picturesque canals.

The island is known for its lace-making tradition, and visitors can watch artisans at work in the local shops and factories. In addition to its lace-making, Burano is also home to a number of small seafood restaurants serving up fresh seafood dishes, as well as a few small museums and churches.

Visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

An art museum that showcases some of the best contemporary art in the world.

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a modern art museum located in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal in Venice. The museum houses the personal art collection of Peggy Guggenheim, an American heiress and art collector who lived in Venice for much of her life.

The collection includes works by some of the most famous modern artists of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Jackson Pollock. Visitors to the museum can explore its various galleries, including a sculpture garden and a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the Grand Canal. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and special events throughout the year.

Watch a glass-blowing demonstration in Murano

A unique opportunity to witness the famous Venetian art of glass-blowing.

Murano is a series of islands located in the Venetian Lagoon known for its centuries-old tradition of glass-making. Visitors can take a water taxi or vaporetto from Venice to Murano to explore the island’s various glass factories and workshops, where artisans create intricate glass pieces using techniques that have been passed down for generations.

In addition to its glass-making industry, Murano is also home to a number of historic churches and palaces, as well as a few small museums dedicated to the island’s history and culture. Visitors can also enjoy a stroll along the island’s canals and sample local seafood dishes in one of its many restaurants.

Explore the lesser-known island of Giudecca

A quiet island with beautiful architecture and stunning views of the lagoon.

Giudecca is an island located in the Venetian Lagoon, separated from the main islands of Venice by the Giudecca Canal. The island is home to a number of historic churches and palaces, as well as a few small museums and art galleries.

Visitors can take a water taxi or vaporetto from Venice to Giudecca to explore the island’s narrow streets and enjoy its stunning views of the lagoon. Giudecca is also known for its traditional restaurants serving up classic Venetian dishes, as well as a few trendy bars and cafes popular with locals and visitors alike.

Eat Cicchetti at a local Bacaro

A Venetian version of tapas, small plates of delicious local cuisine.

A Bacaro is a traditional Venetian wine bar, often serving small plates of local delicacies called cicchetti. These small bars are typically found in the back alleys and narrow streets of Venice, and offer a unique opportunity to sample some of the city’s most delicious and authentic food and wine.

Visitors can stop in at a Bacaro for a quick snack and a glass of wine, or spend an evening hopping between different bars, sampling different cicchetti and soaking up the lively atmosphere.

Visit the Ca’ d’Oro Palace

A stunning palace with beautiful art and architecture from the Gothic and Renaissance periods.

The Ca’ d’Oro Palace is a historic palace located on the Grand Canal in Venice. Built in the 15th century, the palace is known for its Gothic architecture and stunning fa├žade, which is decorated with intricate stone carvings and colorful mosaics.

The palace now houses the Giorgio Franchetti Gallery, which features a collection of Renaissance art and furniture, as well as a small collection of ancient Roman sculptures. Visitors to the Ca’ d’Oro Palace can explore its various rooms and galleries, including a beautiful courtyard and a rooftop terrace with views of the Grand Canal.

Walk through the Jewish Ghetto

A historic neighborhood with a rich culture and delicious food.

The Jewish Ghetto is an historic neighborhood in Venice that was established in the 16th century as a home for the city’s Jewish population. The ghetto is known for its unique blend of Jewish and Venetian cultures, and visitors can explore its narrow streets and historic synagogues to learn more about the area’s rich history.

The ghetto is also home to a number of shops and restaurants serving up traditional Jewish dishes, as well as a small museum dedicated to the history of Venetian Jews.

Visit the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

A beautiful Baroque church with stunning views of the Grand Canal.

The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is a stunning church located at the entrance to the Grand Canal in Venice. Built in the 17th century in response to a devastating outbreak of the plague, the church is known for its iconic dome and beautiful Baroque architecture.

Visitors to the Basilica can explore its various chapels and admire its impressive collection of art and religious artifacts, including works by Tintoretto and Titian. The church also offers stunning views of the Grand Canal and the surrounding city from its rooftop terrace.

Attend a performance at Teatro La Fenice

A historic opera house that has been beautifully restored and is one of the most important in the world.

The Teatro La Fenice is a historic opera house located in the San Marco district of Venice. Built in the 18th century, the theater has a rich history, having hosted some of the most famous opera performances in Italy. The theater was destroyed by a fire in 1996, but has since been rebuilt and restored to its former glory.

Visitors to the Teatro La Fenice can take a guided tour of the theater to learn more about its history and architecture, or attend one of the many performances and concerts held there throughout the year.

Take a boat tour of the Lagoon

A unique way to see the city from a different perspective and explore the surrounding islands.

Visit the Scuola Grande di San Rocco

A beautiful building with stunning paintings by Tintoretto.

The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a historic building located in the San Polo district of Venice. Built in the 16th century, the building was used as a meeting place and charitable organization for members of the Scuola di San Rocco, a lay confraternity dedicated to the veneration of Saint Roch.

The building is famous for its stunning interior, which is decorated with a large collection of paintings by the Venetian artist Tintoretto. Visitors to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco can take a guided tour of the building to learn more about its history and architecture and admire the impressive collection of art and religious artifacts on display.

Explore the Dorsoduro neighborhood

A charming neighborhood with beautiful architecture, art galleries, and restaurants.

Dorsoduro is a historic neighborhood in Venice, located on the opposite side of the Grand Canal from the San Marco district. The neighborhood is known for its picturesque canals and charming streets, as well as its many art galleries and museums.

Visitors to Dorsoduro can explore the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which features a wide range of modern and contemporary art, as well as the Accademia Gallery, which houses a large collection of Renaissance art and artifacts. The neighborhood is also home to a number of trendy bars and restaurants, as well as several historic churches and palaces, including the Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti and the Church of San Sebastiano.

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