A city built on clusters of islands, connected by peaceful canals and dotted with palazzos and grandiose churches; Venice has righteously earned its title as one of the most romantic cities in the world. From the lavish interiors of St Mark’s to the ancient political hub of the Doge’s Palace, the masterpieces of Scuola Grande di San Rocco to the hidden bacari of San Polo, appreciate the sheer brilliance of Venetian history and craftsmanship while on a luxury holiday to Venice.
To help you best experience the city, the team at OROKO Travel are sharing their favourite ways to appreciate the beauty of Venice.
Discover Bacari culture
Hidden between its magnificent squares and iconic landmarks, a Venetian tradition lives on; bacari culture. Ancient Venetian tavernas; bacari are frequented by Italians looking to enjoy good wine and cicchetti, small Italian snacks similar to Spanish pintxos. As you familiarise yourself with the city and its canal-lined streets, you will quickly start to notice many bacari bars filling up with locals enjoying an aperitivo. For an authentic neighbourhood bacaro, visit All’Arco and sample seafood-themed cicchetti. The baccalà mantecato (whipped salt cod) is absolutely delicious. We also recommend sampling the truffle cicchetti and the John Dory and artichoke cicchetti.
Lunch with a view at Gio’s Terrace
One of the most beautiful sights of Venice, the Grand Canal will be the magnificent viewpoint for your meal at Gio’s Terrace, an elegant eatery within the St Regis Venice. Dine overlooking Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute and watch the many gondolas and speedboats traversing the canal. Sample contemporary Venetian dishes like bigoli pasta with duck ragù and a wine reduction, truffle carbonara and beef tenderloin with veal jus, truffle and cardoncelli mushrooms. Save space for the decadent St Regis Venice tiramisù.
Experience Venice by gondola
A holiday to Venice isn’t complete without a gondola ride. You will find many gondolas throughout the city, with each gondola station offering a different route that lasts approximately 30 minutes. To experience a lovely combination of quiet canals and the iconic Grand Canal, we recommend boarding your gondola in and around Ponte San Moise. Meander the peaceful canals, pass the magnificent Teatro la Fenise and set out onto the wide, open waters of the Grand Canal, a beautiful sight to behold. Disembark your gondola at the same stop as you embarked. If you choose Ponte San Moise, do not miss witnessing the beautiful interiors of Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Moise.
Explore the celebrated sights of San Marco
San Marco is where you will find a high concentration of landmarks and sightseers. For the most comfortable experience, we recommend exploring San Marco in the early morning or on a weekday, if possible. Of course, Saint Mark’s Basilica is a sight to behold, as is the political hub of Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, a closed bridge that connects the New Prison with Doge’s Palace’s interrogation rooms. Lord Byron bequeathed the bridge with this name as it was imagined that convicts would sigh at their last view of the beautiful city and its lagoon before they were imprisoned in their cells. A lesser-known landmark worth visiting in the area is Palacio Contarini del Bovolo, a small palazzo featuring an impressive external winding staircase. Climb the steps and be rewarded with sensational city views. After a long day of sightseeing, toast to the city with a bellini at Harry’s Bar.
Wander the streets of Dorsoduro
Dorsoduro is a beautiful area of Venice. It is home to the celebrated Gallerie dell’Accademia, Santa Maria della Salute Basilica and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. A particular highlight is Ca’ Rezzonico, a marble-fronted palazzo on the Grand Canal. It houses an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures and antique furnishings. After a morning of art appreciation, head to Squero di San Trovaso to admire the Gondola Boatyard from afar or on a guided tour. Tucked away in the neighbourhood of Dorsoduro, this 17th-century landmark is a working boatyard, providing insight into the long gondola tradition of Venice.
Rialto Bridge at sundown
Venice is renowned for its sensational views, whether it be the impressive landmarks and squares or the beautiful Grand Canal, where speedboats, vaporetto and gondola traverse its waterways, bringing tourists and citizens to and from its clusters of islands. There are so many beautiful viewpoints you must visit, Rialto Bridge being one of the finest. Though it fills with sightseers around the clock, there is something truly magical about climbing the bridge at sundown and watching the sun set on the historic palazzos that line the Grand Canal. Stop to admire the views before visiting a nearby gelateria for an afternoon ice cream. We recommend Gelatoteca Suso or Gelateria il Doge.
Seafood dining at Osteria alle Testiere
Osteria alle Testiere is a quaint restaurant tucked away in one of the side streets of Venice. The small trattoria offers a concise menu featuring the local market’s offerings as well as seasonal vegetables from their gardens. Frequented by tourists and locals alike, it manages to retain its authenticity and charm. The menu changes daily and in accordance with the seasons. If they’re available, we recommend barbequed sole, grilled scallops, razor clams and spaghetti alle vongole. For a fine dining experience, Bistrot de Venise offers seafood cuisine al fresco or in its opulent dining room.
Admire the interiors of Scuola Grande di San Rocco
A modest building from the outside, step inside its open halls and witness the magnificently preserved paintings of Tintoretto. It becomes even more impressive as you climb the Grand Staircase, lined with richly painted artworks, and enter the Salon Maggiore. To the right, there is the impressive High Altar, while to the sides and covering the entire ceilings are opulently framed artworks. Take one of the mirrors available and walk the long hall, examining the incredible paintings that lie overhead. Before leaving, climb another flight of steps to arrive at The Treasure, a room filled with religious artefacts including the monumental Reliquary of St. Andrew’s finger and one of the thorns from the Crown of Thorns.
As leaders in luxury travel, OROKO Travel Specialists know the finest ways to explore each and every destination. Luxury holidays to Italy have forever been a popular choice, with Venice trending of late. This iconic city can be enjoyed in many ways, such as on a luxury short break, combined with the art cities of Florence and Rome or as part of an ultra-luxurious holiday aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
A long weekend in Venice with OROKO Travel
OROKO is Ireland’s only dedicated luxury tailored travel business. A team of luxury travel agents passionate about the world who create experiential, personalised luxury holidays from Ireland. Having travelled far and wide to discover the world’s culinary hotspots, OROKO will tailor gastronomic experiences all over the world, from the food markets of Lisbon and Porto to the neon-lit streets of Tokyo and Osaka.
Visit www.orokotravel.ie or call 01-2600240