Venice with Caroline de Maigret

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Venice: The Floating City, straight out of a dream.


From the iconic Piazza San Marco to The Luxury Collection’s famed Gritti Palace and Hotel Danieli, there are many reasons this Italian city is so deeply revered.

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What I Love About Venice

When you go to Venice, you are entering a Renaissance masterpiece that hasn’t changed much over the past five hundred years. So, you might as well live in the moment—and go all in. Have a café at Piazza San Marco, take an early morning gondola ride, visit the outstanding museums, and listen to a Vivaldi concert in the open air. But, also, make sure you walk around, get lost and venture down the back streets to find the authenticity of this wonderful floating city. Indeed, Venice is alive with endless history and modernity combined, so try to connect to its atmosphere. Also: avoid August, as there are no Venetians in town. My favorite motto when traveling is “go where locals go.”

Venice Tips

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What are three essential things to pack for a Venetian getaway?

• Boots if you are going during acqua alta, when parts of the city end up submerged! “Acqua alta” means high water.
• A going out dress, because you never know, you might be invited to a party in a Venetian palace.
• A swimsuit if you want to escape from the city and visit Lido beach.
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What do you find surprising about Venice?

Venice wasn’t a floating city at first; it was created by man, not nature. Venice is built on a group of 118 islands.
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Do you have a favorite word or saying that people commonly use in the city?

“Ombra” translates to “shadow” in Italian, but in Venice it has a special meaning. An Ombra is a glass of wine. Workers used to drink their glass of wine under the shade of tree leaves, which is how the expression started. I suggest ordering an “ombra di rosso” with some cicchetti in a typical bacaro, like the locals do.
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What is Venice’s most famous flavor or dish?

Cicchetti. Also called “Venetian Tapas,” they are typically served in bacari, the city’s wine bars. They are often seafood-based and are especially wonderful when paired with Italian wines and cocktails. Risotto al nero di seppia is another Venetian classic that you should definitely try!
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Where to Stay

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The Gritti Palace

A breathtaking hotel with classic Venetian décor that will make you feel as if you’ve walked straight into the Renaissance. The hotel’s current aesthetic stays loyal to the building’s history while still being very modern. A number of artists and writers have stayed in the Gritti Palace over the years. The rooms have fantastic views of the Grand Canal, and looking at the Santa Maria della Salute basilica from the terrace in the evening is just incredible.
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Where to Eat & Drink

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Restaurants

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Il Paradiso Perduto

I like going to Il Paradiso Perduto for typical Venetian dishes and live music. There’s nothing better than food and a concert! It has a buzzing atmosphere. It can get busy, so make sure you book in advance.
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Osteria Ai Pugni

A hidden gem. It’s a fantastic spot to try some traditional Venetian Cichetti (and they have a great wine list!). You will have an authentic experience, and be surrounded by locals.
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Corte Sconta

A traditional trattoria, and a great place to enjoy typical Venetian cuisine. I like going in the summertime and sitting in their beautiful vine-covered courtyard. I usually order their seafood antipasto. It’s also the perfect place to try the famous pasta al nero di seppia.
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Bars

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Al Timon

This is a one-of-a-kind place to have a drink! Grab a cocktail or beer, some cicchetti, and sit on one of their boats on the canal. It’s an ideal spot for a casual evening, and, no doubt, you’ll bump into locals and get a sense of what Venice is all about. They’re also famous for their steaks, if you’re looking to have dinner with your Spritz.
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Bar Longhi

A truly beautiful bar with chic decor located at the Gritti Palace. Come here to watch the sunset on the canal while drinking a Bellini. The vista from their terrace is wonderful.
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All’arco

A traditional “bacaro” in a beautiful old Venetian building. It’s quite small and can get very busy but the potential queue is worth a visit! Have a Spritz with their delicious cicchetti after a long day of walking.
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Recharge

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Pasticceria Rio Marin

A lovely café and patisserie with a beautiful old storefront and interior. Sit at a table outside, enjoy Italian coffee or hot chocolate, and indulge in some really good pastries. The tiramisu is to die for. Need I say more?
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Da Bonifacio

The window here will definitely stop you in your tracks, it’s full of mouth-watering cakes. Go for breakfast or a takeaway snack. Try the pizzette with tomato and anchovies, a house classic. They also make a great espresso.
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CoVino

A tiny restaurant hidden along the streets of Venice, this place only has a few tables. Their concept is to serve food that’s as local as possible, with ingredients procured from local markets. Their wine list is excellent and extensive, and they give you advice on what wine to pair with your meal. Make sure you make a reservation as, as I said, it’s very small!
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What to Do and See

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Are there any popular experiences that need to be booked months in advance?

If you’re planning on seeing an opéra at Teatro La Fenice, then you should definitely look into booking in advance! It’s an unforgettable experience to see an opéra there. A once in a lifetime moment.
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Where can the best view in Venice be found?

Hotel Danieli is a long standing hotel with beautiful architecture that will make you feel like you are living in “old” Venice. It’s located just off of Piazza San Marco, which makes it very central. The views from the rooftop are stunning. Sit there and have a drink.
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Where do you like to go for some peace and quiet?
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The Lido

A great way to escape from the city is to take a Vaporetto to Lido Island and chill at the beach. Lay in the sun, go for a swim. Finish the day with a walk around the town and an ice cream at Magiche Voglie. You may not find complete peace and quiet at the beach (as it can get busy), but, all the same, it’s a good way to relax!
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Fondamenta delle Zattere

Sit and walk along the quays, watch the water and the boats go by. It’s not necessarily quiet but it’s nice to chill along the canal.
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Baia Del Re

Far from the tourist mainstays, you’ll find the Baia Del Re Quarter in Cannaregio. Walk around the little corners and find a spot to gaze out onto the northern canal. Kick back, relax and enjoy the view.
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What are some of your favorite places for celebrations?
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Tempor Aliquip

Il Mercante

Il Mercante is just a really cool bar. Each cocktail is paired with small cicchetti designed to complement the beverage. Go for an aperitivo, or stay all night!
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Teatro La Fenice

The perfect place for a special evening in Venice. Seeing an opéra is always an incredible experience, but in such an elegant space, it’s even better. If you’re not planning on attending a performance, you can always visit the Teatro during the day. It’s a magnificent building, breathtakingly beautiful.
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Glam Enrico Bartolini

This beautiful period palazzo is home to a Michelin star restaurant that serves modern Italian cuisine, all with a view of the canal. Make sure you try their 10-course meal. Dining there is a special experience, making for an intimate night.
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Where do you like to see art?
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The Peggy Guggenheim Art Collection

You can’t go to Venice and not visit The Peggy Guggenheim Art Collection! It’s a classic. The gallery is filled with superb modern art pieces. Even though I have been a few times, I always love going back. Not only is the collection beautiful, the terrace has great views of the Grand Canal.
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Gallerie Dell’Accademia

This museum holds a lot of history. Its collection is composed largely of Venetian art. I adore going there to see the work of Venetian Renaissance artists like Titian, Bellini or Giorgione. 100% a must-see when in Venice!
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Ocean Space

This is a cultural center built to raise awareness on global warming and its effects on the ocean. It hosts regular art exhibitions; you can expect to see impressive installations. If you like political art, this is the place to go. There’s a lot to learn here.
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Where to Shop

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Mercato Di Rialto

Visiting local markets when I travel is a must. Mercato Di Rialto is a standout place to walk around. It is renowned for its fresh fish, dried fruits and local vegetables. Experiencing the market’s bustling atmosphere is a great way to start your day.
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Vintageria Venezia

We all know that a good vintage piece can really complete an outfit or look. This shop always has a wide collection of vintage designer and luxury pieces. You’ll definitely find a unique souvenir here!
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Libreria Acqua Alta

Libreria Acqua Alta is a must-see! It’s a wonderful little bookshop filled with second hand books and prints. I can spend hours looking through piles of books, which are kept in little boats and bathtubs. You will also see the shop’s cats, who like to lay down on top of the books. Libreria Acqua Alta is a truly unique place; an adventurous literature lover’s paradise!
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Atelier Marega

Venice is world renowned for its Carnival, and the beautiful traditional masks worn for the yearly event. Here, you’ll see handmade masks that will transport you back in time. They also make hand-sewn costumes. Venetian masks kind of freak me out, but if there is one place to go to, it’s here. It’s a really beautiful shop.
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Drogheria Mascari

The oldest “épicerie” in Venice, which has been passed on through generations. You’ll find spices, sweets, truffles, pasta and products that were traditionally bought in these kinds of shops hundreds of years ago. Get everything you need in order to cook a Venetian dish at home (though, it will be hard to beat what you tasted in Italy)!
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Attilio Codognato

This is such a cool place. I adore their jewelry, they make amazing statement pieces. Their skull and snake jewels that are decorated with gems are breathtakingly beautiful.
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Additional Recommendations

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Murano Island

A beautiful little island where traditional Venetian glass is made. The glassblowing demonstrations are highly recommended. There’s also the glass museum, which you can visit if you want to learn more about the craft. I like going to Murano to have a calm day, which generally means walking around the island and visiting the little shops. Murano is full of colorful houses; it’s always nice to sit in a café, order an Italian coffee, and watch people go by. I also visit the Church of Santa Maria and San Donato, which is known for its mosaic floor, and supposedly has the bones of a slain dragon. For an authentic lunch, you can go to Osteria la Perla ai Bisatei, it’s off the main tourist streets. It’s full of locals, so you know it’s good!

Burano Island

Burano is a small fisherman’s island in the Venice lagoon. Go there for a break from the city’s hustle-and-bustle. Take a walk around the island, and visit the lace museum. Have lunch at Riva Rosa, a restaurant in a fisherman’s house and a view on the canals. Do I need to tell you to try their seafood?
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Gelateria Nico

This is the place to go for a coffee or a sunset Spritz and ice-cream combination. Enjoy the beautiful view of the Giudecca Canal with their unique Gianduiotto ice-cream. It can get busy, so you can always take your ice-cream to go.
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Cannaregio

Despite its dark history, Cannaregio, the former Jewish Ghetto, is a beautiful area. It’s one of the six historic sestieri of Venice. Cannaregio is where the Venetian Jewish population had to live between the 16th and 19th centuries. This quarter holds an important part of Venetian history and is a must-see. After visiting, Panificio Giovanni Volpe is a great place to stop by for typical Jewish baked goods.
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