The serene beauty and mystery of Venice has attracted amorous visitors for centuries. In Venice, there is romance on every corner it seems, as you can stop for chocolate and prosecco, listen to chamber music, dine on rooftops, and watch the sunset from a quiet canal. Here are some of local favorite romantic things to do in Venice.
Kiss Above the Rooftops
In Venice there are several magnificent spots for taking in a birds-eye view of the Grand Canal and the rooftops and towers of the city. The vista terrace of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi offers sweeping views of the Grand Canal from a classic position near the Rialto bridge. To get to the terrace, take the elevator up from the ground floor of the building. Afterwards, enjoy a coffee or prosecco in Cafe Amo with some chocolates or an elegant macaroon.
The top of the bell tower in Piazza San Marco is another romantic place for a kiss while taking in the beauty of Venice from above. From here you can see all of Venice, the lagoon, and the Alps beyond. There is an entry fee of 8 euro to take the elevator up to the top of the tower. In the fall or winter season, try to go later in the day to catch a bit of the sunset.
For a distinctive view gazing back over Piazza San Marco, cross the Grand Canal over to the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. The church is a worthy stop itself for any visitor to Venice in appreciation of the brilliant work of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and from here you can climb the bell tower for a ticket of 3 euro. The romantic view of the Venetian lagoon from the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore will make your hearts sing.
Drink a Spritz with a Canal View
A sunset aperitivo from one of the terrace bars among the iconic grand palazzo hotels along Venice’s Grand Canal is a special way to take in the hustle and bustle of the canal from your own private corner. The terrace of the Bauer Hotel is a lovely choice as it sits on the corner of the Grand Canal and the Rio San Moise inner canal, where gondoliers pass by on their journeys every few minutes. Do as the Venetians do and order “uno spritz” the classic aperitivo cocktail in Venice, or a Veneto prosecco. The Bauer also has live music regularly in the evenings in their hip bar.
Go to the Opera
Teatro La Fenice in Venice is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. Built in 1792 and host to the premier of some of the most famous operas of the 19th century, today the theater remains renowned for its acoustics, historical setting, and amazing program of modern and classic operas and musical performances. Consider dinner before the show at the romantic table for couples around the corner at the Bistrot de Venise (when you make your reservation, be sure to ask for the special table for couples). Or try the chef’s seafood choice and gold-flecked oysters with prosecco at Antico Pizzo.
For a unique and romantic cultural experience in Venice, attend Musica a Palazzo at the historic Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto on the Fondamenta Duodo o Barbarigo in San Marco. Musica a Palazzo is a program designed to promote appreciation of opera culture through a new type of opera performance called “Chamber Opera.” In contrast to traditional opera performances in a theater, each act of the performances at Palazzo Barbarigo takes place in a different hall of the palace, amid the antique Baroque furnishings and decor of the era of opera itself. Tickets can be purchased on the association’s website for weekly performances of La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, or Rigoletto.
Each of these musical performances are among the top romantic things to do in Venice, and also a way to visit Venice respectfully by participating in its living culture.
Follow in the Footsteps of Legendary Lover Giacomo Casanova in Venice
I know that I have lived because I have felt, and, feeling giving me the knowledge of my existence, I know likewise that I shall exist no more when I shall have ceased to feel. – Giacomo Casanova
Born in 1725 to a humble household, Giacomo Casanova’s swashbuckling amorous life played out among the romantic cafes and calle of Venice. Casanova’s memoir, Story of My Life, is a vivid depiction of the decadent affairs characterizing Venice during the sumptuous 18th century. Some of the spots recounted in Casanova’s tales still exist today, and allow lovebird visitors to follow in his footsteps for some quintessential Venice romance.
Casanova was said to be born on Calle Malipiero, a narrow street near Campo San Samuele, where a plaque on the wall commemorates Casanova’s life. This area is symbolic of the life Casanova would go on to lead, as 15 years later he took up residence at the nearby Palazzo Malipiero, invited by his patron of sorts, Alvise Gasparo Malipiero, who introduced Casanova to the world of fine wines, courtesans, and gambling, acquainting him to the lifestyle of a Venetian nobleman.
Casanova was known to stop at Cafe Florian in Piazza San Marco for a coffee. Cafe Florian remains legendary today as one of the oldest cafes in Venice, and a famous stop along the Grand Tour of the 18th century. Consider that a coffee here will be expensive, but if you are following in the footsteps of Casanova, prepare to be sumptuous!
Around the corner you will find the Cantina do Spade, near Rialto, where Casanova is said to have seduced a Venice state official’s wife over dinner. The cantina is a historic landmark in Venice as it has been the site of a tavern since 1448. Today it is a nice spot for cicchetti and a drink, or dinner in a historic place where you can toast to the pleasure-seeking Casanova.
A Quiet Sunset Stroll along the Zattere
The Fondamenta delle Zattere is a long promenade along the canal in the less touristy area of Dorsoduro. Along the Zattere you can enjoy a long walk, arm in arm, on the lagoon from San Basilio to Punta della Dogana and peaceful sunset views of the water. Consider beginning your walk among some of the romantic quiet inner canals of Dorsoduro, where you will hear the gentle church bells ringing at the hour of vespers, and then take in the end of the sunset along the Zattere with a kiss as you say goodbye to the sun and begin your romantic night in Venice.
Getting lost in Venice is romantic if you have all the time in the world to wander, but is stressful if you need to get to a dinner reservation or the theater promptly! Prontopia helps you easily get around the city by connecting you with an on-demand Local. Prontopia Locals know the best way to get you and your belongings where you want to go, and help with any practical needs along the way. For help with anything you may need during your stay in Venice, use Prontopia to schedule time with a Local who can get you where you need to go.
photo credit (Palazzo opera) Alvise Nicoletti