How to do Venice

Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community and welcome June! The summer season is officially here, and our calendars are loaded with outdoor activities and of course a vacation. I’m looking forward to multiple trips both domestic and international. You will be hearing about all my adventures as loyal readers of this newsletter. Recent reports have come in from my clients in Rome, Santorini, Paris, Mediterranean Sea cruise ports, California, and more – everyone is having an incredible time.

I was in Venice, Italy only two short months ago. It may be crowded in spots, but it’s magical and entirely unique! Not only is it a must-see (although it’s a place that suffers from over-tourism) but worth a repeat visit to explore beyond the busiest areas.

When you are ready to plan a trip to Italy that includes Venice, be sure to schedule a call with me. I make sure my clients have access to the best experiences through my local connections.

If your interest is peaked about Venice, read on for the scoop!

Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square)

At iconic Piazza San Marco, you will be immersed in Venice’s elegant glory. Basilica San Marco transports you back to the wealthy days of the Doges who ruled for over 1,000 years. Initially their private chapel, it’s now decorated with beautiful Byzantine mosaics.

Nearby the Campanile di San Marco bell tower offers views over the rooftops of times gone by. Take an early morning tour like I did of fascinating Doge’s Palace where justice was meted out in this stunning place with the guilty walking to their cells across the covered Bridge of Sighs.

If the crowds unsettle you at any point take two turns away from the main thoroughfares to find peace alone amid the city’s labyrinth of tiny streets.

Hidden Gem Tip: Grab a table at the Gran Caffe near the live classical musicians (if they’re playing) and sip an aperol spritz or limoncello while you watch the people walk by. Another great spot for a sip or bite that’s iconic is Florian. I will admit I enjoyed myself at both cafes.

💎 Hidden Gem Tip: If you’re already intrigued, you can simply reply to this email or schedule a chat with me here: 

The Grand Canal & Maze of Canals

There are no cars in Venice proper so traveling by boat is the way to go and an essential part of your experience. The Grand Canal is like a busy highway!

Cruise the Grand Canal to the famous Rialto Bridge which with its parade of tiny shops gives some of the city’s most iconic views.

Take a gondola ride through the maze of narrow canals as everyone does. It’s touristy but a quintessential Venice experience.

I loved taking Hotel Cipriani’s private boat from Piazza San Marco to the hotel (takes only 10ish minutes) and will cherish the memory.

💎 Hidden Gem Tip: Wondering how to navigate travel to Italy? Schedule a call and I’ll talk you through it.

The Islands of Venice

Catch a Vaporetto (water bus) or charming wooden water taxi to the local islands. Vaporettos are much less expensive than a water taxi but you’ll share it with others.

You can island-hop to Murano with its world-famous glass, Torcello with its ancient history and cathedral, or Burano with its handmade lace and delightfully colorful painted houses. Stay for an excellent meal – there are so many delicious restaurants on the islands. Haven’t heard of Torcello? It was the site of the first human settlement in the lagoon established around the 5th century.

A more off-the-beaten path island trip is to Chioggia (known as “little Venice”) with its weekly market full of every kind of merchandise you can think of. From live fish to formal gowns – the Chioggia market is something to see. It’s worth it to pay a few Euros to climb the historic tower so you can see the market from a birds-eye view from end to end.

Only in Venice – Unique Experiences

If you want to flex your artistic muscle, a Venetian mask decorating class is an ideal experience. You will create your own mask while learning about their fascinating history and the different techniques of decoration. You’ll be under the guidance of a Ca’ Macana craftsmen who will be proud to turn you into a “mascheraio.”

Another unique experience you can only have in Venice is a tour of a gondola shop where they design and build new gondolas and repair existing ones. I loved this experience and learned so much about the history of the gondola as well as how they are used today. This tour isn’t one you can DIY currently – luckily Hidden Gem Travel has connections 😊

Inspired? If you’re thinking about a bucket list trip to Italy, here’s the link to schedule a chat with me

💎 Hidden Gem TipFollow my Facebook/Instagram pages this week for more travel inspiration: or Instagram:

Wishing you and your family continued good health,


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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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