Hidden Charms of Venice
4 days from £379 per person*
*based on sharing on a twin/double basis and a minimum of 40 paying passengers
Hiding in the elegant shadows of the Grand Canal palaces and must-see monuments are Venetians’ most beloved hangouts. On this trip our included guided tours will give us a glimpse into how the Venetians really live as well as a chance to enjoy some of the favourite museums and sights. With two tours of the “non-tourist” areas of the city, and information about how to find other lesser known parts, we will find a Venice not always seen by the visitors.
During this tour, which is aimed at the more independent traveller, we will show you the lesser known highlights of the city. Two guided tours have been included at this stage but more can be added. Alternatively visits to local galleries, museums or attractions can be organised.
Included Walking Tours:
Original Gastronomy: Rialto
When we think of the Rialto, we usually mean the Rialto Bridge. To the Venetians the Rialto is the Rialto Markets. These historic markets date from Venice’s founding circa 809AD, when Venice was just a Byzantine backwater with no palaces. The current Pescaria (fish market) is the 19th-century incarnation of an original Venetian fish market that lasted at least 600 years, until constant pounding finally wore out the paving stones. Beneath the stone fish gargoyles on the peaked roof, sustainable lagoon fishing standards are literally set in stone on a carved sign. The Rialto has food stalls and hole-in-the wall pubs that have served for up to 500 years. Venetian tapas: delectable, market-inspired bites of lagoon seafood, cured meats, cheeses and creative salads. The area is also home to artisan’s studios alongside Rialto bacari, where traditional letter-pressed stationery rolls off the antique press at Veneziastampa; and Cartevenezia illuminates handmade paper lanterns with an embossed lion of St Mark, Venice’s patron saint.
Cannaregio & the Ghetto
Tucked away behind the Strada Nova pedestrian thoroughfare is Cannaregio, a picturesque neighbourhood which is home to Venice’s loveliest brick Gothic church, the Tintoretto-adorned Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto, as well as Venice’s historic Ghetto. From the 16th to the18th century, the area housed Venice’s Jewish community. From here Italy’s Renaissance period was sparked, and the Ghetto’s doctors helped Venice develop the concept of quarantine that spared the city the worst of the bubonic plague. The history-changing contributions of this community are now captured in the Museo Ebraico, Italy’s first Jewish Museum. Unlike the rest of Venice this district is distinguished by the height of its buildings due to as many people as possible having to be housed in a limited space. The bridges to the Ghetto, that were once officially closed at night, are now open so all have the chance to browse bookstores, art galleries, antique shops and local eateries.
Alternative lesser known gems include:
Zattere – this is where we find the Magazzini del Sale, the historic salt warehouses, recently reinvented as a public gallery, hosting local talents alongside international artists. Further west is the ancient hospice that became the Academy of Fine Arts and nearby is Chiesa di San Sebastian, the tiny parish church covered floor to ceiling with masterpieces painted over three decades by Paolo Veronese. Over a bridge from San Sebastian is Calle Lunga San Barnaba, a narrow alleyway lined with some of Venice’s most affordable pizzerias and osterie specializing in meat dishes – a rarity in this lagoon city.
Just a short walk from bustling Piazza San Marco, this little-known neighbourhood has tourist-free streets an old-fashioned way of life. “Tourists Not Allowed!!! Real Travellers and Indigenous Native Venetians Only!” is written above the entrance to the Gervasuti Foundation, to sum up the local sentiment in this area. Located in the far east of the city, it offers a maze of streets and squares nestled between the Biennale Gardens and the Arsenale. Recently a handful of Venetians have rediscovered this area and are helping to revive an “Old World” way of life, which has both Venetians and savvy travellers coming to soak up its hidden charms.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco– Tintoretto spent 23 years working on this guildhall. The ground floor has scenes from the life of Mary but the masterpiece starts by mounting the grand staircase and entering the great hall where the side room contains the greatest of all Crucifixions – maybe Tintoretto’s most impressive achievement.
Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni – This is a smaller guildhall, with the ground floor decorated by Carpaccio
Venice Chorus Pass – For just a few euros this pass will admission to 16 churches in the city, including the Frari.Ticket is valid for one year.
The church of San Giorgio Maggiore – For incredible views of Venice, the Giudecca and other islands in the lagoon from sky-high.
San Zacharia – Inside the church is the sarcophagus containing the body of Saint Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, but Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna and Child with Saints Peter, Catherine, Jerome and Lucy, is the absolute highlight. Completed in 1505 when Bellini was 75, this painting is an optical illusion that brings a vista of Paradise to Earth. One of Venice’s masterpieces.
For great value for money, we recommend the Delfino Hotel in Mestre. It is well located to allow easy access to the historical centre of Venice using the convenient and frequent local transport. The hotel has a contemporary style, all rooms are pleasantly furnished and comfortable. This is officially a 4 star hotel but we would rate it as a good 3 star standard.
Or Upgrade to:
The lovely Carlton on Grand Canal. As the name suggests, the hotel is in a wonderful location on the Grand Canal with stunning views. Managed and run by a local Venetian family, the hotel lives up to expectations with traditional pastel shades, Venetian stuccoes and Murano glass wall lamps. All public areas are sophisticated and the 4 star rooms are in eighteenth-century Venetian style. A wonderful hotel to enjoy Venice from. Prices from £425 per person.
• Return flights from selected UK airports
• Return airport transfers in Italy, with local assistance
• 3 nights bed & breakfast accommodation
• Welcome drink
• 2 x 2 hr walking tours
• Free time to enjoy Venice independently
What’s not included
• Single supplement
• Travel insurance
• Public transport passes in Venice (available from the hotel)
Any of our tours can be tailored to suit your particular groups requirements.
For further details please contact one of the team on 01225 764205 or email@example.com