20 Things to do in Venice - 14/20 Getting Lost in Venice

There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that is as important when you’re visiting Venice than just wandering aimlessly through its streets and alleys. If you only had 3-4 hours in the city, I’d recommend that you do this before you set foot inside a single museum or attraction – it’s that critical to enjoying your visit. By wandering (especially if you point yourself in the exact opposite of the direction where the herd is going) you can find Venice’s many charming and often-empty squares and streets, which goes a long way toward helping you appreciate the city. I’d almost say you could ignore basically everything else on this list and just stroll around without a map… But although I might not go that far (again, unless you’ve only got 4 hours or less), I do consider the sentence “get lost in Venice” an order, not a suggestion.

 

 

But really, the point of Venice – for me, anyway – is to wander its maze-like alleyways and bridges, getting thoroughly lost and then finding your way back to something familiar. It’s about accidentally finding a gondola workshop where the men are working their lathes into the groove of the boats outside in the sun. It’s about seeing a market boat (rather than a brick-and-mortar store) selling Venice’s few residents their vegetables and fish. And it’s quite a challenge to do any of that in a day-trip, or by staying close to the Piazza San Marco.

Fondaco Benetton or dei Tedeschi

Former trading house of the German merchants

If you look along the canal from the Rialto Bridge, you will see the remarkable Fondaco dei Tedeschi on the right-hand side. The trading house was built in 1228 and is one of the oldest buildings in Venice.

 (Marco Secchi)

The building in its present form dates from the 16th century and was built entirely according to the Venetian architectural tradition. Even from a distance you can see the five large gates at the canal side which allowed merchant ships to be loaded and unloaded easily. The 4-floor building contains some 160 rooms – including 80 bedrooms and numerous magazines. It is perfectly designed for its function as a trading house on the Rialto. Unfortunately, only fragments survive from the magnificent facade which was once decorated with frescoes by Giorgione and Titian. It used to house the General Post Office of Venice. Now sold (once again ) to the Benetton Family this is the proposed transformation...

Does Venice really need a new departments store...?? Does it really need such a transformation on an iconic building?

20 Great Things to do in Venice 13/20 – Eat seafood you've never seen before

Images from Venice  - Fotografie di Venezia...***Agreed Fee's Apply To All Image Use***.Marco Secchi /Xianpix.tel +44 (0)207 1939846.tel +39 02 400 47313. e-mail sales@xianpix.com.www.marcosecchi.com (Marco Secchi) The lagoon city has a long and glorious culinary tradition based on fresh seafood. A writhing, glistening variety of sea creatures swims from the stalls of the Rialto and Chioggia markets into local kitchens. Going with the flow of la cucina veneta requires a certain spirit of open minded experimentation. Not everybody has eaten granseola (spider crab) before, or garusoli (sea snails) or canoce (mantis shrimps), but Venice is definitely the place to try these marine curios.

20 Things to do in Venice 10/20 - Venice Handmade shoes

The women and not only them of Venice have always paid particular attention to shoes. Today Venice’s artisan shoemakers strike a balance between style and comfort, handcrafting a wide range of boots and shoes using traditional techniques revisited with creative flair. There are three currently plying their trade from workshops within a few minutes of Rialto Bridge. And all of them are women.

Venice  Daniela Ghezzo  Handmade Shoes in Venice.Daniela, who owns this workshop, decided to follow in the footsteps of the master shoemaker Rolando Segalin. Her skilled hands and imagination work together to produce a highly diverse range of handmade shoes. From classic brogues to contemporary footwear you are sure to find something to satisfy even the most eccentric tastes...***Agreed Fee's Apply To All Image Use***.Marco Secchi /Xianpix.tel +44 (0)207 1939846.tel +39 02 400 47313. e-mail sales@xianpix.com.www.marcosecchi.com (Marco Secchi)

When Daniela Ghezzo San Marco 4365, calle dei Fuseri, was studying painting at the Fine Arts Academy in Venice, she found herself constantly drawing footwear, and instinctively knew that this was her real calling. When she was 18, Ms. Ghezzo began spending her days in the Segalin atelier By the time Signor Segalin retired, Ms. Ghezzo, then 24, felt confident enough to take over. With an assistant who does the stitching, she now produces around 10 pairs of shoes a month, at prices ranging from 700€, or about $960, for women and 800€ for men. Her customers wait around six weeks for delivery.

Giovanna Zanella, Campo San Lio, 5641  30122 Venice on the other hand, has an eye-catching range of footwear on display at her colorful workshop in the Castello district. While Ms. Ghezzo favors the classic look, Ms. Zanella goes for flamboyance and delights in the outré touch. The daughter of a master glass-blower, she first opened her store 15 years ago, making hats, bags and other accessories, but shoes have been her sole focus for the past 10 years.

The third shoemaker also learned from Mr. Segalin during two extended visits to Venice before she set up her own atelier in the San Polo district in 2003. Her background, however, is otherwise entirely different. Gabriele Gmeiner   campiello del sol san polo 951 30125 Venice was born in Austria and took a diploma in footwear technology and design in London, which she followed with workshops in Vienna and Paris. Later came experience with John Lobb in London and Hermès in Paris.

Venice's Cats...where are they gone??

VENICE, ITALY - AUGUST 27:  A stray car sleeps on the "fondamenta" on the edge of a canal on August 27, 2011 in Venice, Italy. Dingo is the Anglo-Venetian association part of the AISPA,  founded in 1965 by Helen Saunders and Elena Scapabolla and is devoted to the welfare of venetian stray cats. (Marco Secchi) For a Gallery of Venetian Stray Cats click here

The Lion of St. Mark is Venice's mascot, at least among sculptors and decorators but in real life, the closest lion is probably at the Parco Natura Viva just outside Verona ;-)

With no living lions to reign over Venice, the local feline population has adopted a surrogate leonine role. Back in the 1980s, when I spent my year in Venice as part of the national army service, cats were seen everywhere in the city: sunning themselves on park benches, perched on bridges, wandering the streets, and dining on leftovers at the Rialto fish market.

Now the cat population has been limited mainly by laws and modern way of life, there are still few colonies the main ones are at Ospedale Civile (yes inside!) , at San Lorenzo near the Church, at Bacini, at Giudecca near Ponte Lungo at the Arsenale, there are quite few at the Lido and one at Torcello!

There is an Anglo Italian organization Dingo part of AISPA that works to feed, protect and maintain colonies in a healthy and modern way, they also run the "gattile" (Cattery)  at Malamocco. Despite several misconceptions and a bit of Italian racism there are no proofs (!!!) that Dingo or the Cinese people are responsible for the disappearance of cats from Venice!

In a brilliant book titled A Venetian Bestiary, Jan Morris wrote:"The cat has always been an essential scavenger in a city that depends on the tides for its hygiene, and has periodically been decimated by rat-borne plagues. It was Shylock the Venetian who declared the cat to be 'both necessary and harmless,' and when from time to time the municipality has tried to reduce the teeming feline population, the citizenry has always been up in arms in protest. Your Venetian cats are not like others. Sometimes of course they live in the bosoms of families, and are fed on canned horsemeat, and prettied up with bows: but far more often they survive half-wild, in feral gangs or covens of cats, and not infrequently some cherished household pet, observing the lives of such lucky ruffians from the kitchen window, will abandon the comforts of basket and fireside rug, and take to the streets himself."

 

Amy & Chris Portrait Session in Venice

A lovely couple with a fantastic family during a portrait session along the Grand Canal and few hidden areas of Venice Had a great fun with them!!

 (Marco Secchi)

 

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 (Marco Secchi 2012)

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20 Great Things to do in Venice 8/20 – Buy a Carnival Mask

Venetian masks are a centuries-old tradition of Venice, Italy. The masks are typically worn during the Carnevale (Carnival of Venice), but have been used on many other occasions in the past, usually as a device for hiding the wearer's identity and social status. For a list of what to do during Carnival check my previous post The mask would permit the wearer to act more freely in cases where he or she wanted to interact with other members of the society outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. It was useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit or criminal, others just personal, such as romantic encounters.

Venetian masks are characterized by their ornate design, featuring bright colours such as gold or silver and the use of complex decorations in the baroque style. Many designs of Venetian masks stem from Commedia dell'arte. They can be full-face masks (e.g. the bauta) or eye masks (e.g. the Columbina). Other types of masks are Medico della Peste, (The Plague Doctor), Moretta and Volto

Venice Masks are hand made at Ca del Sol in preparation of Carnival 2011...***Agreed Fee's Apply To All Image Use***.Marco Secchi /Xianpix.tel +44 (0)207 1939846.tel +39 02 400 47313. e-mail sales@xianpix.com.www.marcosecchi.com (Marco Secchi)

One of my favorite shops for Masks is Ca del Sol in Fondamenta Osmarin near Ponte dei Greci..

Another very nice shop is "La bottega dei Mascareri", of brothers Sergio and Massimo Boldrin, located at the foot of the Rialto bridge in Venice since 1984, offers authentic masks worked in a centuries-old craft.

if you have any recommended shop please do add it in the comments or send us an email and we will add it.....

 

 

Bacari, Ombre e Cicchetti - Venice Osterie

If there is a tradition I got accustomed very quickly since relocating in Venice is the custom of the  "ombra" (a glass of wine)....and you cannot possibly have an ombra without some cicchetti...that are small snacks or side dishes. Please do not call them "tapas"! I usually end my Venice Photo Walks with my clients in one...or two of them ;-) VENICE, ITALY - JUNE 17:  Two Venetians women enjoy a drink with "cicchetti" in front of a traditional bacaro on June 17, 2011 in Venice, Italy. The bacari are the local down to earth version of wine bars, they serve  "cicheti" a sort of Tapas, traditionally washed down with a glass of wine, and Venetians stop to snack and socialize before and after meals. ... (Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

Few photos form Bacari around Venice are here

The bacari, open just for lunch and dinner, are the local down to earth version of wine bars which serve 'ciccheti, a kind of snack  traditionally washed down with a glass of wine, and Venetians stop to snack and socialize before and after meals.

May be would be a nice idea to write in the comments a list of YOUR  favourite Bacaro!

I am working on a list of Restaurants in Venice and in the Lagoon....and is here

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Cantina Azienda Agricola or Da Roberto in Rio Tera San Leonardo in Cannaregio. Very good wines and Excellent cicheti all using top products

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices ££ Friendliness 9/10 Value for Money Excellent

Al Volto Calle Cavalli 4081 San Marco Venezia Having  moved not even “a ponte e una calle” from them, decided to test this Bacaro Choice is really good as is the quality. The Risotto was out of this world!

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices ££+ Friendliness 8/10 Value for Money Excellent

Do Spade Just behind Rialto Market Sestiere San Polo 860, 30125 Venice, Italy Another bàcaro dating back to the 15th century, Do Spade offers a great selection of traditional Venetian cicchetti in a cozy if not somewhat dark atmosphere. It is a busy little place and it is full of locals. It’s on a little calle between the Rialto Bridge and Calle dei Bottieri

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices £ Friendliness 7/10 Value for Money  Very Good

Ca’ d’Oro/Alla Vedova. Calle del Pistor, Cannaregio 3912. One of the most famous bàcari in Venice, this one’s both away from the city’s crowds and on the cheap (€1) end of things, ideal if you’re on a budget. Don’t miss the polpette, meatballs made of pork.

My review Wine 8/10 Food 9/10 Prices £ Friendliness 6/10 Value for Money Brilliant

Osteria Al Portego. Calle della Malvasia, Venice, Italy The place is tuck away in a quiet area near S Lio and the Ponte delle Paste. It is owned by a group of young guys. Cicchetti are nice and really fresh, wine is good and staff is very courteous. My only remark is that the prices are on the expensive side if you seat at a table, May just be me...I am used to  drink on the other side of Rialto!

My review Wine 8/10 Food 810 Prices ££ Friendliness 8/10 Value for Money Ok (I suppose)

Do Mori. Sestiere San Polo 429, Calle dei Do Mori. Myth has it that Casanova frequented this bàcaro, also near the Rialto Bridge. Even if he didn’t, it’s still thought to be the oldest in Venice, dating back to 1462. Ask for the “francobollo” (postage stamp)—a tiny sandwich with various fillings, it’s the house specialty.

My review Wine 7/10 Food 7/10 Prices £+ (Polpette are quite expensive) Friendliness 7/10 Value for Money  Good

Cantinone–già Schiavi. Ponte San Trovaso, Dorsoduro 992. This family-run bàcaro, located across from a gondola workshop, boasts raw fish, meats, more than 30 wines available by the glass, and much more. Crowded with Venetians in the evening!

Al Ponte. Calle Larga Giacinto Gallina. One of the cheapest bàcari—and, therefore, places to eat—in all of Venice, Al Ponte has pasta and fish plates and a welcoming atmosphere.

Banco Giro. Campo San Giacometto, San Polo 122. A Grand Canal view, a variety of cheeses, fish, and wine, and a lively atmosphere. What’s not to like?

All’Arco. Calle Arco, San Polo 436. Another one of Venice’s most-loved spots, All’Arco, near the Ponte Rialto, is packed at lunchtime with shoppers from the local fish market. Everything from calamari to liver to shrimp is on offer, and if it’s available, don’t miss the hot sandwich of boiled beef sausage and mustard.

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices £ Friendliness 9/10 Value for Money Excellent

Osteria La Ciurma Calle Galeazza, Venice,  this is a nice little wine bar on a quiet alleyway a short distance from the Rialto Mercato vaporetto stop. Wines are very drinkable and mostly 2 Euros per glass; some less, some a little more. Food offerings are tasty morsals from 1.30 Euros. A great place for a drink among neighborhood people.

My review Wine 9/10 Food 9/10 Prices £+ Friendliness 9/10 Value for Money Very Good

Osteria Ai Osti Sestiere Cannaregio, 3849 Strada Nuova, Venice, A really welcoming ( I think family run) tiny restaurant with no frills but full of real Venetian character. Great traditional food and a good chance to meet the locals

My review Wine 7/10 Food 7/10 Prices £+ Friendliness 7/10 Value for Money Very Good

Diavolo e Acquasanta San Polo 561b, Venice, Italy, Located a few steps away from the more famous restaurant "alla Madonna", this tiny Osteria is geared toward locals rather than tourists. Do not expect upscale atmosphere, or welcoming nice english-speaking waiters. But if you go beyond the unpretentious appearance and the rough manners, you'll find some genuine home-style food, priced below the Venetian average.

My review Wine 8/10 Food 8/10 Prices £+ Friendliness 8/10 Value for Money Very Good

Al Vecio Penasa (not even worth my proper review!)

If they think you are a tourist...they will try to hit you nicely. Been twice and will never get there again. I am Italian but from a different area so the accent is different... both times they charged me the wrong amount. First time was 2 Euros out of 5 E!!!  Today they asked me if I wanted a Tramezzino and Wine at the table and I said NO  still they tried to charge me the price of table service. NOT nice at all  Tramezzini can be nice but do not want to be taken for a ride!

Risotto di bruscandoli - Hop Shoots Risotto

This is a very old recipe from the Venetian countryside! “Bruscandoli” are the end tips of the hop plants. This plant can be found easily in the Venetian countryside. This risotto can only be made during April since this is the time when the hop shoots. During the month of April the vegetable stalls of Rialto Bridge are full of these plants.

This is a very old recipe from the Venetian countryside (feel free to substitute the shoots with any other sort of root or shoot you like).

Ingredients: a big bunch of bruscandoli (hop shoots) about 300 gr, 300 gr. Rice Vialone Nano or Arborio, ½ an onion, 1 lt. Broth, a bit of butter, 1/2/ glass of wine, olive oil.

First of all rinse and chop in small pieces the hop shoots. Then sauté for few minutes in a large pan with a little bit of oil. Remove from eat.

Now place the butter in a sauce pan and melt it. Add the rice, sauté for a minute, add the wine and sauté then add the shoots and a bit of the broth. Stir and slowly start adding the the broth waiting every time for it to be absorbed by the rice. Keep stirring the rice until it is cooked through. Turn the heat off, add a little bit of butter and a good spoonful of parmisan.

Serve hot. This risotto must not be dry, but at the contrary quite smooth

Frozen Venice Lagoon

Does the Venice lagoon ever freeze?? If you are looking for pictures of the Frozen Venice Lagoon Feb 2012 check here

These days everybody is talking about how cold is in Italy and in Venice. But in 1929 in February to be precise the Venice lagoon froze for few days!

 

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20 Things to do in Venice 11/20 – Take a tour of the Grand Canal

Take a tour of the Grand Canal

A wonderful way to take in the Grand Canal is on board a vaporetto (a rounded 230-passenger boat). I have talked before about them here and here .The canal may no longer be teeming with merchandise-laden cargo boats, but it is still the main thoroughfare of Venice, and only a little imagination is needed to understand its historical importance. The three and a half kilometre (two-mile) trip from the railway station to San Marco provides a superb introduction to the city, telling you more about the way Venice works – and has always worked – than any historical tome.

VENICE, ITALY - AUGUST 11:  A Gondola sails the Grand Canal in front of a busy Rialto bridge on August 11, 2011 in Venice, Italy. Italian heritage group Italia Nostra warned  that Venice is facing an irreversible environmental catastrophe unless visitor numbers are capped. The acceptable maximum number of tourists for Venice is 33,000. In 2011 the average number of visitors to the city daily is 60,000 that is too high for such a fragile city and is causing the gradual destruction of the lagoon ecosystem. (Marco Secchi)

Every family of note had to have a palazzo here, and this was not just for reasons of social snobbery. The palazzi are undeniably splendid but they were first and foremost solid commercial enterprises, and their designs are as practical as they are eye-catching.

Vaporetto tickets can be purchased at most stops, at tabacchi (tobacconists, identified by a white T on a black or blue background) and at Hellovenezia offices On board, you can only buy single tickets. The fare for a shuttle journey (ie one stop across the Grand Canal, the hop across to the Giudecca, or from Sant’Elena to the Lido) is €2.

Regata Befana 2012

VENICE, ITALY - JANUARY 06:  Two of the participants sail under Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal dahead of the 34th Befana Regata on January 6, 2012 in Venice, Italy.  In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on the feast of the Epiphany on January 6 in a similar way to Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus. (Marco Secchi) VENICE, ITALY - JANUARY 06: Two of the participants sail under Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal ahead of the 34th Befana Regatta on January 6, 2012 in Venice, Italy. In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on the feast of the Epiphany on January 6 in a similar way to Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus.

Images from Venice event  and around the world about Epiphany

20 Great Things to do in Venice 4/20 - View over Venice

Get a bird's-eye view of Venice

At almost 99m (325ft), the Campanile is the city’s tallest building, originally built between 888 and 912 (in July 1902 it collapsed, imploding in a neat pyramid of rubble. It was rebuilt exactly 'as it was, where it was', as the town council of the day promised). Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III rode a horse to the top of the original in 1451; these days visitors take the lift. The view is superb, taking in the Lido, the whole lagoon and (on a clear day) the Dolomites in the distance.

But my favourite view is from the Campanile of San Giorgio.....you can get there taking the Vaporetto n2 and is just one stop. The entrance is from the beautiful Church, and usually you should be able to admire as well Tintoretto  the Last Supper, 1592-94, one of the last works the artist painted. If is not there....write to Mr Vittorio Sgarbi one of the worst curator of the Italian Pavillion at Biennale...that decided to get it on loan to "sex up" his own very poor choice of "art" for 2011 Biennale Arte (Marco Secchi)

P&O Cruise Ship "Oriana" enters Canale della Giudecca

Befana or Ephiphany in Venice

The Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated January 6 with a national holiday in Italy, and the tradition of La Befana are a big part of Italian Christmas celebrations. Epiphany commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus. The traditional Christmas holiday season in Italy lasts through Epiphany. On Venice’s Grand Canal, at 11 c'clock men dressed as old witches – ‘befane’ in Italian – race towards the Rialto Bridge, standing up as they row Venetian style. This event takes place every year in January in celebration of Epiphany.

VENICE, ITALY - JANUARY 06: A  participant of the Befana Regata is seen rowing on the Canal Grande on January 6, 2011 in Venice, Italy.  In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany January 6 iin a similar way to Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus (Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

Best places to watch the race: Rialto but you must get there quite early, Riva del Vin or just around Rialto Mercato.

20 Great Things to do in Venice 1/20 - Gondola

Get around in a gondola

So obvious. No trip to Venice would be complete without a punt down one of the city's picturesque canals in a traditional gondola. The Istituzione per la Conservazione della Gondola e Tutela del Gondoliere (Gondola Board; 041 528 5075, www.gondolavenezia.it) website has recommended itineraries. Prices below are for the hire of the gondola, for six passengers or less.

8am-7pm €80 for 40mins; €40 for each additional 20mins. 7pm-8am €100 for 40mins; €50 for each additional 20mins.

 (Marco Secchi)

....xe a!...

Today I was taking few pictures at S Maria della Salute, ahead of tomorrow big celebrations for the traditional feast.....  During the day I overheard many tourists mainly Italians asking to the local where was the Basilica and the reply of the locals was all the time a vague without really pointing it or giving directions "Xe a" (It is there) I loved it! VENICE, ITALY - NOVEMBER 20:  The church of Santa Maria della Salute is seen as thick fog shrouds the city, on November 20, 2011 in Venice, Italy. Venice woke up this morning under a heavy blanket of fog adding to the atmosphere of the city.  HOW TO LICENCE THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call our offices London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright. First Use Only ,Editorial Use Only, All repros payable, No Archiving.© MARCO SECCHI (Marco Secchi)

Anyway the Festa della Salute is the least "touristy" of the Venetian festivities and evokes strong religious feelings among the city's inhabitants. The holiday is in memory of a bout of pestilence, which lasted for two years from 1630-31, and the subsequent vow by the Doge to obtain the intercession of the Virgin Mary, even today, thousands of inhabitants visit the main altar of the imposing Salute Church on November 21 to give thanks, and a strong symbolic tie remains between the city and the Virgin.

Christmas in Venice

While preparation are taking place in Venice and the Lagoon for Christmas here are few tips:A wonderful way to spend Christmas Eve is to attend midnight mass at St. Mark's Basilica. But remember, midnight mass starts at 10:30 p.m. and you should get there early to get a seat (no tickets are needed). Try to enter through the north entrance and not the west entrance often used by tourists.

VENICE, ITALY - DECEMBER 08:  Three gondoliers chat near a Christmas decorated Rialto Bridge on December 8, 2011 in Venice, Italy. HOW TO LICENCE THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call our offices in London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright. First Use Only ,Editorial Use Only, All repros payable, No Archiving.© MARCO SECCHI (Marco Secchi)

Venice's main Christmas market is at Campo San Stefano and ends on Christmas Eve. I have been told that is going to open also this year....at today there is no trace of it! There is a small market and an ice rink in Cpo San Polo

Even though December 26th is a national holiday (St. Stephen's Day), most of Venice's museums and sites will be open.

Several Venice restaurants are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and even on the 23rd and 26th. Most hotel restaurants and Harry's Bar are open. Be sure to do your homework and make reservations ahead of time for Christmas meals. We hear Caffe Quadri and the restaurant - Piazza San Marco's famous cafe - is open on Christmas Day. Good place for Christmas breakfast and coffee!

Remember that the vaparetto schedule changes on major holidays. Check the signs posted on the platforms for schedule information.

Each year on December 26, the Frari Church in San Polo (in the Campo dei Frari) offers a free concert at 4:00 p.m. The church is filled with magnificent art, including Titian's Assumption of the Virgin, Canova's Tomb and a carved monk's chair from 1468.

For an incredible seafood dinner and a warm celebration at midnight, go to Trattoria Antiche Carampane on New Year's Eve. (San Polo 1911; (39) 041 524-0165) The price for dinner runs about £70 per person. No matter where you go that night, you must make reservations.

Another restaurant recommendation: Antica Trattoria Poste Vecie (Rialto Pescheria Venezia; (39-041-721-1822) is open on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. This restaurant also has excellent fish and a larger menu as well. The soups and Venetian-style calf's liver are terrific. Fireplaces keep the restaurant warm on cold nights.

If you're in Venice on January 6, don't miss the Befana races. Men clad in long skirts, wigs and babushkas climb into boats for races on the Grand Canal. The best views are from the Rialto Bridge.

How does Venice work?

Venice, Italy, "stretching across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy," may be one of the most amazing places in the world to live. Fans of Donna Leon's fictional detective Guido Brunetti come to know it as a land of good food, water taxis and alleys that dead-end at the water. Having said that Venice is not just a stage set. It is also a city with a resident population, which has productive activities, transportation and services. But how does the “Venice system” work? How do the tides in the lagoon behave? How are the canals formed? And the embankments? What’s under the buildings?

Venice Backstage. How does Venice work? from Insula spa on Vimeo.

Venice Photo Tour

During your Photo Tour of Venice your professional photographic guide will point out details invisible to the untrained eye and reveal the best vantage-points on your chosen route. Learn to tell a story through images, take great shots of iconic monuments and capture atmospheric images off the beaten track.

Venice Photography Workshop

So bring your walking shoes and be prepared to discover the mysteries of the city. Bring your camera and learn how to have more fun with your camera.

• Discover parts of Venice less traveled by tourists. • Hear interesting tales and stories • Take better photos • Turn your photos into exciting stories. • Have fun !

Let a Creative Italian Photographer walk you through the city of Venice in an unforgettable Photo Walk capturing real candid moments of your stay in beautiful pictures. Enjoy a relaxed vacation and bring home remarkable pictures of your visit.

Touring Venice can be a very exciting experience, but it can also be quite an adventure if you are unsure of which places to visit and how. Language barrier may also represent a curious obstacle but it can also be frustrating. We offer innovative and unforgettable Photographic Tours to welcome you in the most fascinating and romanitc place in the world. Experience Venice through the eyes of a native Italian Professional Photographer. He will guide you in an exclusive tour through the most interesting Venice landmarks and monuments.

All city excursions are exclusively custom-made to fit your needs. You can explore the sites whichever way you like and at your own pace.

Walking around Venice together with a professional photographer is an enlighten experience. He will show you all the tricks of the game but it is also a fun and new way to visit a city like Venice. You will be able to visit, see, experience and tour places, situations, people that would be otherwise difficult to come across. The Photo Tours will take you through off-the-beaten tracks to the most important monuments and landmarks. You will avoid the tourist pedestrian highways and will take more secluded, intimate and truly Italian passageways. Let it be romantic, creative, fun and friendly, the astounding imagery will do the rest. We will show you the right places to eat, where true Italian dwell and the hidden beauties of the wonderful city.