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Detour away from the usual tourist routes
There are not-to-be-missed ideas for experiencing Venice as a detourist and enjoying a tour in the lagoon that is out of the ordinary: travel ideas and itineraries for a day, a weekend or for as long as you like, to print and carry in your pocket or to read on your smartphone or tablet.
Even someone who has never set foot here knows the places that make Venice world-famous: St. Mark’s Square; the Rialto Bridge; the Grand Canal. But there is more to Venice. There are whole areas of the historic city to be explored, far from the places bound by tradition and the beaten track, where in every corner you can find an unexpected wonder. Through these tours you can discover the most lively and Venetian of districts, such as Dorsoduro, San Polo and Santa Croce.
The itineraries that we suggest cross the various city areas, following routes that take you to the centre of Venetian art. The common thread uniting them, is the discovery of the “true” Venice, - the 'live' city as seen and lived daily by the local people. The historical centre is divided into “sestieri” - the same as neighbourhoods. There are six of them: San Marco, Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Polo and Santa Croce.
Discover routes that take you to the centre of Venetian art:
- Dorsoduro - Classic tour
- Dorsoduro - Curious tour
- Dorsoduro - Unusual tour
- San Polo
- The Jewish Ghetto, Cannaregio
- Venice's Squeri and Gondolas
Venice is a surprisingly green city: the historic city centre is speckled with public parks – like the Napoleonic and the Biennale gardens, the Royal Gardens and the Papadopoli Gardens – and privately-owned vegetable and historic gardens, and some can also be inspected. It is surrounded by about 40 islands, and more than half of these, like Burano, Torcello and Sant'Erasmo, can be found in the northern part of the lagoon, within a striking natural park.
On the islands of Lido and Pellestrina, besides the beaches, you can also see beautiful natural reserves, like the LIPU Ca' Roman natural reserve and the WWF Dune degli Alberoni reserve. These are areas of remarkable ecological naturalistic interest. And just over the Ponte della Libertà, a bridge connecting Venice to the mainland, you can spend a day in the open air, at San Giuliano Park, a 700 hectare area of fields, woods, canals, barene - wetlands, and lagoon or in the Albanese Park next to Via Bissuola, which is geared for family outings.
Discover Venice’s greenest itineraries:
- The Gardens on the Grand Canal
- In the Public Gardens
- The Gardens of Culture
- The Lido: Liberty-style Gardens and Natural Oases
- The Gardens of Castello, from Napoleon to the Biennale
- Walking among Roses between narrow Streets and Canals
- In the Green Heart of Mestre
- The Thetis Garden at the Arsenale
To know Venice also means to taste the flavours and recognize the aromas of its cooking and to experience the typical traditional dishes of the lagoon.
For example baccalà, which in Venice is not salted cod but the stoccafisso, or stockfish, a dried salted cod rightly considered to be part of traditional Venetian cuisine; the moeche, crabs (undergoing the moulting phase) from the Venice lagoon that arrive freshly caught every morning on the market stalls of Rialto; the castraure, a Slow Food delicacy known to few, namely artichokes grown on the island of Sant'Erasmo and available only 15 days per year.
Here are some tips to help fully grasp the lifestyle of Veneziani a Tavola (a.k.a. Pierangelo Federici). Venetian himself, he works as an advertising copywriter, with a passion for all things gourmet. He has created advertising campaigns for major Italian food brands, has for many years written a column dedicated to interviews and recipes for the Venezia News monthly, and writes for international blogs.
- Cicheti and Wine: Bacari Tour with Pierangelo Federici
- Culinary History of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice
- Why Venetians love Polenta
- A brief History of Rice in Venice
- The Half-Serious Story of the Spritz, the world-famous Venetian Aperitif
- Pellestrina, mon amour!
- Lagoon Peregrination - First Part
- Lagoon Peregrination - Second part
- The True Story of the Castradina, a typical recipe for the Venice Salute Festival, 21st November
Why not get to know the lesser-known islands of the lagoon with these itineraries to follow on foot, by bike or by boat? Ancient fishing and farming villages await you, where there are traditional festivals that tell the stories of these places and you can chat with the locals, nature trails to experience slowly, and new experiences to try such as learning how to fish using traditional techniques or identifying the fish species that inhabit the lagoon.
Discover the routes to the islands of the lagoon:
- Torcello: the Origins of Venice
- Burano, the Pearl of the Venice Lagoon
- Mazzorbo, the Ancient Great Town of the Lagoon
- San Francesco del Deserto, an oasis of peace and meditation
- From Lido to Pellestrina by bike
- A trip to Pellestrina
- Lido and Pellestrina with the kids in the summer
- Fishing Tourism in the Venice Lagoon
- Poveglia: an island, a symbol, a project
- Tour to the Islands of the North Lagoon
These itineraries invite you on a slow foot or boat journey around the North Lagoon territory, away from the usual tourist routes.
- Sant'Erasmo island The biggest island in the North lagoon, a vegetable garden since “Serenissima” times, to be seen on foot or by bike.
- Torcello island - Available soon In ancient times this was the centre of Venetian life. Today it is “country-ish” and guards traces of antique rustic splendour.
- Mazzorbo island - Available soon A walk around this quite, peaceful island, with its few brightly-painted houses 'sprinkled' among the vineyards, fruit orchards and vegetable fields.
- Vignole island - Available soon Well-loved by the Venetian people, this island is ideal for country outings and visits to local inns -“trattorias” - covered with pergolas and gardens.
- Fishing places in the North Lagoon - Available soon A boat trip around the islands of Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello where you can learn about traditional fishing methods.