Off we go to the Serenissima in search of its lesser-known places, hidden corners to discover and places off the beaten track
7 May 2021
When you think of Venice, in your mind’s eye you’re bound to see gondolas, canals and Piazza San Marco. But there’s far more to Venice than this. Every corner of the city has something unique to reveal. In fact, the surprises never end, which is why getting lost among Venice’s diminutive streets is without doubt the best way of experiencing the spirit of the city on the water, in the process happening upon many unusual spots. Come with us on this tour of the city’s secret, hidden delights.
Lo Squero Tramontin - Sestiere Dorsoduro 1542
The historic Squero Domenico Tramontin & Figli was founded in 1884 by Domenico Tramontin who, having learned the gondola-making arts, made important modifications to hull shapes. Tramontin’s boatyard has been official supplier to the Royal House of Savoy, the Police Headquarters, and the Carabinieri, as well as an impressive roster of illustrious clients. A visit to the historic Squero boatmakers is like taking a step back in time. Looking around the original boatyard, still in use today, is a unique experience that will remain with you for ages.
Libreria Acqua Alta - Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5176b
The Acqua Alta bookstore is in a special corner of Venice, far from the ebb and flow of tourists; it is also close to one of the city’s most beautiful churches, the church of Santa Maria Formosa. This bookshop is truly unique and original: it protects its huge number of books from high water with typical Venetian charm, cramming its books into offbeat items of furniture such as bathtubs and boats. A wide variety of books are on sale, for the most part second-hand or out of print.
The house with three sides surrounded by water – Rio Santa Marina
When you cross the Ponte dei Conzafelzi bridge, you come to a very special house with one of the finest views in Venice. It may not be one of the most expensive properties in Venice, but it does have a rather special feature: it is completely surrounded on three sides by water, something that is true of only a handful of houses in Venice. On the spot where this odd house is located, the Rio Santa Marina branches off to form two other canals – the Rio di San Giovanni Laterano and the Rio Tetta – and it is this that makes this house one of the most unique in all Venice.
To all intents and purposes, at a mere 53 centimetres wide, Calle Varisco is the narrowest alley in Venice. That said, it is only its final part is this narrow, where it leads to the canal. Here, it is marked by a Doric column. Calle Varisco lies halfway between the Rialto Bridge and the Fondamenta Nove. Being so narrow, it can be a challenge to find; some maps don’t even show it, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you’re sure to find it.
Despar Teatro Italia – Cannaregio, 1939-1952
An inimitable setting for a truly unusual supermarket... The Despar Teatro Italia has over a century’s history behind it. The prestigious building has been used as a theatre, cinema and university. Today, it is one of the most scenic places anywhere in the world to go shopping, a must-see for people who love being surrounded by beauty and history even when they’re doing mundane, everyday things. We recommend popping in for an immersive experience of excellent Italian food and wine combined with beauty and design.
Where to stay in Venice
Enjoy luxury and charm in the heart of the Serenissima at Maison Venezia | UNA Esperienze, a prestigious building in the historic Cannaregio district that offers a truly authentic Venetian-style stay. Otherwise, come try our prestigious 4 Lions tourist accommodation at Residenza Venezia, the Gruppo UNA hotel located in the heart of the city, in a strategic position between Venezia Santa Lucia railway station and the Ponte di Rialto. A faithful example of traditional Venetian elegance, the old building in which the Residenza is located has recently been restored.