The Heart and Soul of Venice: Where to Eat, Stay & Explore

Advisor - Ashtin Robison
Curated By

Ashtin Robison

Icon Share


  • Venice

  • Italy

  • International Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Boutique Travel

  • City Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Luxury Travel

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Sightseeing

boats in a body of water with buildings in the background during sunset
Curator’s statement

There is a palpable romanticism about Venice. From the moment you arrive, the sheer preposterousness of the city's construction makes every turn a mystery. The maze of thousands of cozy alleyways, each containing its own special boutiques, artisans and cafes will make you wonder how a city so impossible can remain so well preserved. A loose itinerary will allow Venice to charm you, just like she's charmed me.

The Fora Difference

Book with Ashtin to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

[object Object]
Killer perks

Free upgrades, spa credits and more—we got you

[object Object]
Personalized recs

Customized travel planning for your style

[object Object]
Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay in Venice, Italy

Previous slide

Sina Centurion Palace

Contemporary hotel with stylish rooms overlooking the Grand Canal.

Fora Perks
  • $50 food / beverage credit.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

  • Breakfast daily.

Ca' Sagredo Hotel

Ultra-luxury palace hotel and museum in one transporting guests to the heyday of Venice.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The Gritti Palace

Gorgeous palazzo dating to 1475, with knockout views of the Grand Canal and a sublime spa.

Fora Perks
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

  • Daily full breakfast, for two guests per bedroom

  • $100 USD Equivalent Food & Beverage credit

Next slide
Advisor - Ashtin Robison

Unlock perks by contacting Ashtin to book your trip.

Things to do in Venice, Italy

body of water surrounded by buildings during daytime

Murano - The island that is known for its glassmaking. My personal favorite shop is Glass Think, a small shop where a young female glass maker rocks out to loud music while working on pieces in the middle of the shop. It's a vibe.

Burano - The island that is known for its pastel, multicolor homes and buildings. Find a restaurant for lunch that catches its seafood fresh daily - there are plenty!

Hit the beach on Lido - Dip your toes in the Adriatic on Lido di Venezia, a barrier island that has sandy beaches and is perfect for a day in the sun.

St Mark's Campanile - For 10 Euro, you can take the elevator to the top of THE TOWER for spectacular 360-degree city and ocean views, best enjoyed during Golden Hour.

Gondola rides - Especially if you have never been to Venice before, this is a must-do. For some, a gondola ride may feel like a tourist trap - but I would argue that with the right gondolier, you can have a taste of what real transportation was like for Venetians centuries ago. In fact, some still use gondolas to transport goods and people today!

Wander - Just wander. Ignore your map and let your heart be your guide. There are thousands of small alleyways waiting to be explored. A loose itinerary can lead you to the unexpected.

Visit Venice's Bridges - Venice is the "City of Canals", so naturally it is also the city of bridges. Academy Bridge and Rialto Bridge are grand and not to be missed. Otherwise, there are bridges literally everywhere!

Eat - Yes. Eat. I 100% endorse eating as a "thing to do". Just like the rest of Italy, there is so much to eat in Venice. Sarde in Saor. Fritto Misto. Bigoli in salsa. Mozzarella in carozza. Pizza. Wine. Aperol Spritz. Gelato. Fritole. I could go on.

Places to eat & drink in Venice, Italy

table with white tablecloth in alleyway during daytime

Cafe Florian - Pricey, but a "must-go" in Venice, right in the heart of Piazza San Marco. Cafe Florian is the second oldest coffee shop in the world and is absolutely spectacular on the inside. Their cappuccinos aren't half bad, either.

Restaurant Terrazza Danieli - Go at Golden Hour for swoon-worthy views of the lagoon and a cocktail.

Pasticceria Tonolo - The quintessential Venetian pastry shoppe. Fritelles alla crema are a favorite.

Estro - Contemporary Venetian dishes and 600+ natural wines. What's not to love? Reservations can be made online.

Antica Osterioa Cera - Two Michelin stars are well deserved at one of the most famous restaurants in Italy for seafood.

Gelato Di Natura - It's gelato. Decadent, fluffy yet dense, and oh so delicious.

Farini - A modern Venetian bakery specializing in affordable pizzas, salads and brunch dishes. This is the perfect place to let your budget breathe a little bit.

Bar Puppa - Rub elbows with locals and enjoy fresh pasta or risotto.

Need to Know

If you plan on doing a lot of island hopping (Murano, Burano, Lido, etc) away from Venice, grab a timed unlimited pass to make the most of your stay.

Venice is sinking. It is true that it floods quite regularly, and it's worse at high tide. You will see elevated platforms available to walk over to get through San Marcos Plaza when it floods, for example.

Seasonally, the best time to go is spring and fall, but note that Venice will be busy and expensive. This is really important to think about because of the consistent flooding. I just returned from a trip to Venice in December and can attest that it does rain quite a bit and floods regularly. Vendors sell large plastic boot covers, ponchos and umbrellas when it rains, but expect to pay a premium.

Italians are known for being highly fashionable, but a good pair of walking shoes is essential for exploring Venice properly. You'll need to be able to climb stairs and negotiate uneven stone paths.

Advisor - Ashtin Robison

Travel Advisor

Ashtin Robison

Get in touch with Ashtin

Did you like this guide? Reach out to customize and book your own experience. Or, just to chat about travel in general.

You can normally expect a response from Ashtin within a business day or so. You’ll also be subscribed to our travel newsletter (you can unsubscribe at any time).

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Venice, part of our larger series on travel to Italy.