From Sestiere to La Giudecca, via Murano and Burano, here’s an itinerary to discover Venice on a summer’s weekend.
16 Aug 2021
Venice is an extraordinary, mysterious place that never gets stale, not even in high summer. During the most beautiful days of the year, the city takes on shades of colour never seen at other times, its alleyways and shady hidden corners becoming a precious treasure.
Venice is also a city that never stops, not at any time of year: there’s always movement, always exciting things to do. This summer tour is an original itinerary perfect for a summer weekend. Our one piece of advice is to set off early in the morning to discover Venice, not just to avoid the heat and crowds, but because the early-morning colours turn Venice into a handmade illustration of itself.
From Santa Lucia station, walk along Lista di Spagna, past Campo S. Geremia to the magnificent Ponte delle Guglie, named for the four pinnacles at the base of each handrail. Next up is another bridge not to be missed, the three-arch Ponte delle Tre Archi, with a larger arch in the middle. Palazzo Ca’ D’Oro is an exceptional expression of the Gothic, with elegant and refined decorations that is well worth the visit. Take in the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, a fine example of Venetian Renaissance architecture; the Church of the Scalzi, its Baroque art a highlight along the Grand Canal, and the Church of the Madonna dell’Orto, another fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture, featuring wonderful Tintoretto paintings inside. Cannaregio district happens to have Venice’s narrowest street, Calletta Varisco. It’s just 53 centimeters wide, so suck in your tummy and go for it!
The Jewish Ghetto.
The Jewish Ghetto is one of Venice’s most evocative districts. In 516, a law established that Jews had to reside here, within an area completely surrounded by water and with only two entrances. Take a look at the height of the houses. You’ll notice they’re much taller than the average in Venice, to be able to house the entire Jewish community. Today, the Ghetto has a quiet, peaceful atmosphere that can be hard to find elsewhere in Venice. The area contains five recently-restored synagogues and the Jewish Museum. If you like ethnic cuisines, the Kosher food is well worth tasting at the many Jewish restaurants of the highest quality.
The largest of the Venetian islands, Giudecca is connected to the centre of Venice by vaporetto boat only (just one stop from S. Marco). Perhaps because of its distance, it has maintained an authentic, original feel, one that combines innovation and tradition, making it well worth exploring on our rather original summer tour. From the vaporetto stop, take a long, leisurely walk in the shade with breathtaking views out over the lagoon and the city opposite. The houses and palazzos here tell of a glorious and noble past, and also reveal the life and homes of ordinary people and workers. Don’t miss the Chiesa del Redentore, the Chiesa delle Zitelle and the wonderful Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore, all three designed by Andrea Palladio.
Feast of the Redeemer.
Every third Saturday in July, for 400 years, Venice has celebrated the traditional Feast of the Redeemer with a huge fireworks display in St. Mark’s Basin to commemorate the end of the plague. It’s a very important holiday for the Venetians, who travel by boat to St. Mark’s, between Punta della Dogana and Giudecca, to experience this unique fireworks display together. One of the most beautiful spots for seeing the show is the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Whether you’re on sea or land, we recommend grabbing your spot early: this feast day is always very, very popular!
Murano is an island that may be reached from Venice by water bus, making it perfect for a summer tour. You can also visit it on a round-the-islands boat tour, another great option well worth taking into consideration. Murano is a superb place for lovers of art and design: the island is in fact the home of blown glass. The craftsmen of Murano have been working artistic glass for centuries, handing down expertise from generation to generation. If you’re interested in the glass arts, watch them make and create objects at one of the workshops on the island. Visit the Glass Museum, which first opened in 1861 in Fondamenta Marco Giustiniano, today a veritable historical archive for the island.
Don’t miss the Cathedral of Santa Maria e Donato and the Church of San Pio Martire, which house masterpieces by Bellini and Tintoretto.
Burano is the island where time stands still. Fishing nets dry in the sun, children play in the streets, women expertly embroidering on flower-draped balconies... Here, the little houses all in a line are famous for their bright colours, in what is one of the most colorful cities in the world… It is said that the bright colours helped guide boatmen home through the thickest fog. The heart of the island is a piazza named after Baldassarre Galuppi, which boasts a well dating back to 1500 and the Church of San Martino, with its characteristic leaning bell tower. The best way to explore the island is to deliberately try and get lost, looking for the strangest, most beautiful and colourful house. It’s not easy!
The tour starts and ends in Cannaregio, one of the most beautiful and evocative areas of the city. Maison Venezia | Una Esperienze Hotel is strategically placed for visiting the surrounding area and, equally importantly, getting to and from Santa Lucia train station and Piazzale Roma, from where the airport shuttles run. The hotel has a magnificent view over the city’s rooftops; excellent typical Venetian restaurants are within a few hundred metres, so come enjoy a weekend in Venice’s heart and soul.