Venice is one of the top 3 most-wanted tourist destinations in the world. As such, Venice is also one of the most “tourist-infested” places. Almost all of its most popular sites have very long queues of people. Where could one find a good place in Venice away from the crowd?
The answer is simple. Go to places in the opposite direction where the crowds are going. Walk around a couple of corners away from the Rialto-Accademia-San Marco triangle. From there, take any direction and you will find peace and quiet.
Another good alternative would be to visit the city during off-season, when the tourists are not as many, the streets not so crowded, where you enjoy your coffee in some small shop overlooking the famous canals, watching the world glide by.
Roads less traveled
Many tourists always take well-worn destinations. They would stick to Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace, the Basilica and sometimes venture out to Murano to watch glass-blowers at work.
How about going north east to a church named San Francesco della Vigna in Castello? It has the best collection of fine sculptures by Pietro Lombardo and several paintings of Paolo Veronese, Bellini and many other masters.
Like Cannaregio, Castello is home to many Venetians. It has good restaurants, bakeries, shops and many other places of interest.
It also has La Pieta (Santa Maria della Visitazione) where the famous composer Vivaldi was choir master in an earlier building, San Giorgio dei Greci, a Greek Orthodox church; and in the far East of the sestiere, the church of San Pietro in Castello.
Castello is also home to the Pavilion of the Venice Biennale exhibition (Biennale D’Arte Contemporanea & Architettura), located in the Giardini di Castello.
In Cannaregio, the places to go are not limited to the Jewish Ghetto and Museo Ebraico. This was the home district of Titian, Marco Polo and Tintoretto. The church of Madonna dell-Orto has several of Tintoretto’s paintings.
The sestieres of San Polo and Santa Croce is where you can smell fish in the morning from the Rialto market. Get your fill in Chinese restaurants as well as in many excellent osterias and trattorias with traditional Italian fares.
They have their share of galleries and churches, too: Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Modern, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, with the famous Madonna by Bellini and another by Titian, and the unforgettable “Sistine Chapel of Tintoretto” in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Tintoretto spent the remainder of his life painting the ceiling of this church.
Mestre is the last place a tourist would like to go in Venice. This is where most Venetians live and it is in the mainland. However, it has a lovely district around Piazza Ferretto lined with shops, bars, and restaurants which are alive all day and night. This is where hotels abound with much lower prices than in the lagoon, with parking lots if you arrive by car.
Lido is the place to go if you enjoy the beaches, the sun and 5-star hotels along with gold courses.
In Burano, looking at the colorful painted houses set in a tranquil fisherman’s village is worth the hour-long trip by waterbus.
Finally, one last secret in getting away from the crowd in Venice is to get up early in the morning and walk through the streets or duck into a cafe and get your hot latte. At this time, everything looks truly magical. That’s what you came for, right?