Three Ways to Experience Venice
Let’s face it: Venice isn’t exactly a hidden gem. So, unless you know someone with local connections, it can be really hard here to experience the real Venice – the people and places beyond the major sights. There’s so much more to Venezia than gondolas and the Grand Canal! Below you’ll find my Top 3 Ways to Experience Venice:
MAKE A CARNIVAL MASK
Walking the streets of Venice, you’ll see ornate Carnival masks hanging in shop windows. These iconic images of Venice hide centuries of history behind them. To this day, master artisans still craft Carnival masks by hand – painting and decorating them according to traditional techniques. It’s even possible to go behind-the-scenes at their workshops, observing how they take materials like wood and paper and transform them into objects of beauty. Travelers with kids can enjoy a hands-on mask-making class – decorating, instead of buying, a true Venetian souvenir!
Cichetti are to Venice as tapas are to Spain. After a day’s work, Venetians gather in their favorite bacaro -- a neighborhood bar serving drinks and bite-sized eats. Traditional cichetti (pronounced chi-ket-ee) include crostini, fried seafood and other savory morsels served on a toothpick. Venetians like to enjoy their happy-hour nibbles with a glass of wine or a spritz cocktail. Locals abound in these establishments, sharing the latest in neighborhood gossip or a hearty laugh among friends. The bacaro bar is the exact opposite of a tourist trap – it’s a home away from home for Venetians. With a local guide, you can experience this most Venetian way of ending the work day!
BOAT THE LAGOON
Venice is comprised of 118 islands – interconnected by canals and foot bridges. And, while there’s plenty to see in the main city of Venice, some of the area’s most epic views are found in the Venice Lagoon. Charter a private boat for the day – getting picked up at the canal right by your hotel! Your captain will then take you on a tour of the Venetian Lagoon – dropping anchor at scenic islands like Burano (famous for brightly-colored homes), Murano (famous for hand-blown glass) and Mazzorbo (home to an active winery!). Along the way, you’ll savor a Venice removed from the tourist crowds.