Hi, I'll be visiting Venice. After having seen the top sites on previous trips, any off the beaten path recommendations? Quirky stores? Quirky sites? I'm completely open to any ideas. Thank you!!
Nice! I was in last summer and these would be my top three off-the-beaten path recommendations. Two of them are on their own islands off of Venice, but just a short ferry ride away!
Cimitero di San Michele -- the cemetery here on Isola San Michele is just stunning and really beautiful and tranquil. The weekend day that I went was absolutely gorgeous and my friends and I were pretty much the only people there. Its been around since the mid-1800s and there are all sorts of different kinds of burials there. Really fascinating stuff.
Glasstress -- Everyone knows to go over to Murano for some glass art, but I feel like the real treat is the Glasstress gallery. It's all the way at the end of the island away from where you'd arrive on ferry. Which isn't that far, considering the island is tiny. All the other places on the island just seem like touristy spots. Glasstress is probably one of few spots where you have to pay to get in (I think it was 5-10 Euro) and it was totally worth it. It will make you really appreciate glass art if you hadn't already before.
Note: I don't know when you're going, but Glasstress only happens certain years (it appears to have opened every other year) during certain months, so be sure to check their website!
Osteria al Diavolo e l'Acquasanta -- probably my favorite meal in Italy so far! My friends and I very randomly stumbled upon this place. It was off of the tourist grid, tucked away in a little alley. It was full of locals and full of Japanese tourists, so much so that they actually had a Japanese menu on display. Not to be making blanket comments about cultures, but my Japanophile friend pointed out that this was a good thing because this probably meant that it was written about in a Japanese guide of Venice. He said that they're a culture known to have pretty refined tastes, so we decided to gave it a try.
Out of all the places we had been in Venice, this was the only restaurant, and place, in fact, where we actually needed to wait in line -- 2 hours, be exact. And it was worth it. Great spritzes, squid ink pasta, spaghetti and meatballs, wine... yum :)
I hope you have a good time!
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I think the best parts of Venice are the hidden ones. They are quieter, more intimate, and more authentic. When I went there I made a point to just get lost on purpose. It's a small enough island, you can go that and still find your way back to civilization eventually.
I ended up coming upon some amazing gondola races near the Campo del Ghetto on my way there. The Campo del Ghetto is the old Jewish quarter of Venice with a ton of history. It's small and easy to walk through. There's the Museo Ebraico if you're interested in the history, but I just enjoyed walking through, talking to a local artist, and looking for the only Jewish gondolier in Venice. It's a neighborhood, but significant and definitely not touristy.
I found a great risotto place near the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo - the area is quiet there too and there's a small military school or something nearby that is pretty from the outside.
The inner "island" of San Polo surrounded by the Grand Canal is nice. Again, I just wandered and found things that were amazing and different. I don't remember the names of everything, but that was part of the joy is just the freedom of letting my eyes guide me instead of a map.
Take the local transport, the traghetto, if you haven't already. You can catch it at the open air fish and produce markets (beautiful to see) near the Campo della Pescaria.
Truly, I think the best thing to do is to follow your eyes and instincts. Walk, explore, open doors, and find your own treasures.
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My time in Venice was EXTREMELY limited, so I think your best bets for sighseeing off the beaten path have already been answered up above. However, I went to an AMAZING restaurant called La Zucca that was extremely hidden- I got lost for about an hour trying to find it. It's extremely cozy, seats about 15 people, and all the other diners were local Venetians that seemed like regulars. The menu is, in fact, vegetarian, and they make everything SUPERBLY. I remember I had a squash gratin, and pumpkin-chestnut soup, that I have tried to re-create on my own ever since.
I think that if you are looking for something quirky and off the the beaten path you should check the wetlands of the Po DeltaPark! They are at a two-hour drive from Venice and near that you can find another quirky place called Comacchio aka the Little Venice! It's really worth the visit!
Hope this was helpful ;)
You might have a stroll around Campo Santa Margherita - in the morning there's a small fish market. The area is usually only crowded by students and inhabitants. Also a few churches to visit in the surroundings: Chiesa dei Carmini and the one at Campo San Barnaba
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