If you’ve been to Venice you may have your mind made up on whether or not you love it or hate it. The streets are narrow and difficult to manoeuvre amongst the dense lines of tourists taking in the charming Venetian glass & mask shops and stunning architecture. Try to take a seat for an espresso in St. Mark’s Square and it could cost you four times what you’d pay in any other sestieri in Venice. This is your point of view if you hate the city. But as I found during my visit, there are plenty of places in the city to experience a more intimate Venezia. So skip the crowds. Ditch the cruise ships. Save your money. See Venice the right way…
5. Museo Correr
Authentic restaurants can also be found along the canal. No tourist food here!
In short, the Frari church, completed in 1396, is one my favourite churches in Venice because of the Tomb of Canova and Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin. I am not particularly religious but the character of this church is unforgettable with its impeccably preserved choir stalls and unique red-checkered flooring.
Additional tip: Be sure to wander over to the Scuola di San Rocco around the corner from the church and view other religious works by Tintoretto. This area is usually void of too many tourists, as is the Scuola’s own modest church which is usually empty. But be sure to refuel with a slice of delicious pizza or cappuccino from one of the corner stalls surrounding the Frari!
If you ever run this risk of tumbling into the murky canal it will most likely be when you attempt to take a close-up photo of the Rialto during the daytime when tourists and baggage handlers are running rampant. There is also a Vaporetto stop right in front of this busy bridge, completed in 1591.
During the day I recommend you take a stroll down to the Rialto market and feast your eyes on specialty meats, freshly caught fish, small sharks and octopus, however, be sure to return around dinnertime, which is around seven or so in Italy. I guarantee that this bridge will be relatively solitary with lovers sailing beneath it in gondolas and the smell of grilled seafood and fragrant pasta sauces fill the air.
Let your nose and your eyes guide you through her alleys, cafes and trattorias. If you see a dark alley (and you feel comfortable) go down it! Odds are there is the hotel I stayed in or one of the best meals of your life. Find a dead end? Turn around and keep on exploring. There are so many areas that are empty of big crowds and contain fleeting moments of daily Venetian life. The best way to end a day of exploring is to reward your self with a delicious Italian meal and a glass of spumante in the Piazza San Marco watching the rising tides.