1. Off-season Venice: by all means, travel outside summer season or Carnival week (unless you have tickets to one of the official balls, then you simply have to throw it all in). Venice is so full of tourists that you can hardly call any time of the year “off season”, but I discovered that La Serenissima is only serene in winter, and maybe some blissful days in early spring or late autumn. Check this out for Venice in winter. The wind in the lagoon may be chilly at times, but you’ll discover a truer, more fascinating face of Venice.
2. A room with a view: definitely look for that when you book your accommodation. Don’t ever make Venice an economy trip. Don’t fly to Treviso and do not stay on the continent or on Lido. Choose a five star palazzo – my all time favorite is Bauer-Il Palazzo, or pick an authentic hotel or vacation home far from San Marco or Rialto, in an authentic sestiere (neighborhood) like Dorsoduro or Cannaregio. Having your windows opening towards a canal is something worth going an extra mile for.
3. Giudecca: the best place in Venice is not in Venice, is on Giudecca. A 3 minutes crossing from Zattere and 10 minutes to San Marco, the neighboring island of Giudecca offers a singular perspective on Venezia, tranquil streets and very good restaurants, all outside the tourist traps.
4. Piazza San Marco at night. No further comment
5. The Giant Hands on Ca Sagredo: it’s Lorenzo Quinn’s otherwordly sculpture Support, created for the 2017 biennale
6. The Horses of San Marco: do visit the wonderful Basilica San Marco and climb up on the terrace. It’s only a flight of stairs and the feeling well… it’s one-of-a-kind.
7. The long walk: it’s an extremely picturesque city with streets of water and bridges instead of zebras. Walk it. Forget the gps, forget yourself: try on some masks, watch the true artisans at work with their feathers and brushes, maybe have one made only for you. Ca Macana is a great manufacturer of masks.
8. Burano: take the vaporetto from Fondamente Nove and go for a trip to Burano. What you’ve seen on Instagram is real, no filter
9. Peggy Guggenheim museum
10. Enjoy the real food: run like hell from the tourist menus, the restaurants and street food offering “deals”. Venice may be one of the most extraordinary places on earth, but its food is well below average – considering the gorgeous Italian standards. Look for the hidden places where the locals eat, like the osterias in Dorsoduro or the fish taverns where the gondoliers go for dinner.