The Staycity Guide to Venice
May 22, 2019 9:15am
Ciao ragazzi! The Staycity takeover continues, and we’re delighted to report that our latest expansion sees us opening our doors in Italy for the first time.
Our brand-new 175-room aparthotel in Venice Mestre is the perfect base from which to explore the endless charms of nearby Venice, and is now taking bookings ahead of its August 10th opening.
To mark Staycity’s Italian debut, and to help you plan your stay in the ‘floating city’, we’ve compiled this handy guide, which covers all your Venice essentials such as when to go, where to eat and what to do with kids.
Things to see and do
There is an endless number of things to see and do in Venice. Some top attractions include:
- Basilica di San Marco
- Palazzo Ducale
- Teatro La Fenice
- Gallerie dell’Accademia
- Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
- The Peggy Guggenheim Collection
- Scuola Grande di San Rocco Rialto Market
The list really is endless. However, the best way to experience Venice is to throw away the guidebook and simply get lost in the city. No matter what way you turn, you’re sure to encounter all manner of delights.
What to do with kids
There’s lots for little people in Venice. First and foremost, there’s the gondola experience, which always goes down a treat. The colourful island of Murano also makes a fun daytrip. Here, you can watch local craftspeople make beautiful hand-blown creations from molten glass, which is a mesmeric sight for all ages.
Wildlife expeditions along the canals are also great fun. Believe it or not, the waterways are crawling with life, and spotting the various creatures within makes great entertainment for young wildlife spotters.
You can also spend a family-friendly evening among locals in one of the many piazzas. These are a great place for kids to run wild (and perhaps befriend some Venetian playmates) and for parents to kick back and watch this wonderful world go by.
Finally, no trip to Venice with kids is complete without sampling the fare of Gelateria Nico. This ice cream outlet is widely considered the best in Venice. Be sure to order a ‘Gianduiotto’, a secret local speciality.
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Giandiutto Having a gelato by the seaside has got to be one of the most enjoyable things to do whilst in Venice, let alone one smothered in cream. The chocolate hazelnut gelato was rich and indulgent but there might just have been too much cream! We also got to hear a live performance near the old gondola repair boatyard. #venice 3/5 Panda ate, shot and left. #pandaeatslondon #gelaterianico
What to eat
In a city with as rich a cuisine as Venice, that would be everything. But some local classics you simply must try include fegato alla Veneziana (Venice’s signature dish of fried liver), baccalà mantecato (a sublime mousse of dried cod served on bread or polenta) and risotto al nero di seppia (the distinctive-looking risotto dish made black by the addition of squid ink, but don’t let that put you off!).
Just some of the restaurants we recommend include Trattoria al Gatto Nero (a charming family restaurant on the island of Burano), Ristorante Glam (a highly inventive Michelin-starred restaurant inside the Palazzo Venart) and Al Covo (a rustic favourite just a 10-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square).
You can’t go to Venice and not eat twice your body weight in cicchetti on at least one occasion either. This is the Venetian version of tapas, and is served at the city’s many small, local bars, known as bacari.
What to drink
All of the wine, obviously. And, of course, the Venetian Spritz. This outrageously refreshing and more-ish wine-based cocktail is served throughout the Veneto region, mostly as an aperitif, though they go down all too easily any time. They’re made by pairing wine and carbonated water, or prosecco, with a bitter liqueur, and serving it over ice.
In Venice, the preferred liqueur is Select, and some of the best spots to enjoy them include All’Arco near the Rialto Market, Paradiso Perduto, where you can enjoy live jazz with your bubbles, and Osteria Bancogiro if you fancy a spritz with a view (the outdoor terrace overlooks the famed Rialto Bridge).
When to go
Venice is always worth visiting. However, each season has its own unique appeal. Winter is low season, and as locals reclaim their city, some say this is when Venice is at its most authentic. Just be prepared for the fact that the weather will be wintery. Small price to pay for almost having the city to yourself though!
With Spring, the weather improves, and the tourists begin to increase. May is widely considered the best time to visit Venice, when visitor numbers are still relatively low, the weather fine, and the shops, restaurants, cafes and attractions all reopened.
In summer, you’re guaranteed good weather, and crowds! So be prepared. Book accommodation and any ticketed events/attractions early, expect queues, and pack mozzie spray!
In Autumn, the locals have returned, the weather has cooled, and the crowds have lessened, meaning it rivals May as the best time to visit.
Venice also has many impressive events that are well worth timing your trip with. One of the most popular is the mighty Venice Biennale, which presents exhibitions across the city in contemporary art, architecture, dance, film and theatre, all of which are centred on a common theme. This year it’s ‘May You Live In Interesting Times’, and it runs from May 11th through November 24th.
Also worth travelling for are the likes of Venice Carnivale (8-25 February 2020), Festa della Sensa (1-2 June 2019), Vogalonga (June 9th, 2019), and the Venice International Film Festival (August 28th-September 7th, 2019).
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during the 58th biennale, artist melissa mcgill will launch the public art project 'red regatta', which will see venice's lagoon and canals filled with traditional, hand-painted vela al terzo sailboats. the project is aimed at calling attention to the forces that threaten the city, including climate change and mass tourism. red regatta is led by curator chiara spangaro, project manager marcella ferrari, co-organizer magazzino italian aet foundation, and the associazione vela al terzo venezia. photo via @melissamcgillstudio #biennaleBOOM. . #venicebiennale #artbiennale #biennalearte2019 #biennalearte #biennaleartevenezia #veniceartbiennale #mayyouliveininterestingtimes #melissamcgill #redregatta #venice @labiennale
Where to stay
Venice receives approximately 30 million visitors every year, putting accommodation at a premium, especially during high season. Staying nearby in the mainland suburb of Mestre is a popular alternative, as accommodation there is cheaper, more readily available and often more spacious.
Not only this, but it’s the perfect base from which to explore nearby Venice. Our brand new Staycity aparthotel in Venice Mestre is superbly located, being just a short walk (0.3km) from Venezia Mestre Station, where trains depart for Venice every 10 to 15 minutes and take just 10 to 12 minutes. Guests can also easily reach Venice by bus, taxi and water taxi. Meanwhile, Venice Marco Polo Airport and Treviso Airport are just 8.1km and 19.4km away respectively.
Furthermore, Venice Mestre itself has its own attractions, chief among them the bustling town square of Piazza Ferretto. This pedestrian-friendly hub is filled with shops, cafes and restaurants, and surrounded by interesting and historic sites such as the 18th century church, Chiesa di San Lorenzo, the restored 12th century clock tower, the Torre Civica, and stunning examples of ecclesiastical art at the Duomo di Mestre.
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Ieri pomeriggio c’è stata l’apertura ufficiale del Mestre Carnival Street Show in Piazza Ferretto 🌝 una performance spettacolare e lunare! 🚀 . . . The official opening of Mestre Carnival Street Show was yesterday afternoon in Piazza Ferretto 🌝 it was a lunar and spectacular performance! #carnevalevenezia2019 #tuttacolpadellaluna #blamethemoon #mestrecarnivalstreetshow #mestrecarnivalstreetshow2019 #carnevalevenezia #carnevaledivenezia #mestre #piazzaferretto #studiofesti #secondamateria #moon #opening #venezia #venice #venise #venedig #venicecarnival
Find out more and book your stay at Staycity Venice Mestre here.