ODP Adventures - Venice City Guide


Living in Italy, it is funny how you tend to ignore the touristy cities, especially in the summer as temperatures and tourist-levels rise. Yet when you receive an invitation to visit Venice during the Redentore Festival, even in record-high temperatures of July, you never turn that down.

The “Festa del Redentore” (Feast of the Redeemer) takes place every third weekend of July since 1577, celebrating the end of the terrible plague of 1576.

On the Saturday before the third Sunday of July, a long floating bridge is opened,  set up on the Giudecca Canal, allowing people to reach the church of the Redentore by foot and give their thanks.

This 2-days celebration culminates on Saturday night, as the locals set up camp along the canal of the Giudecca, which is decorated with yellow paper lanterns, to view the spectacular fireworks show.

Although the heat and humidity hit their peak in the summer, the magic of Venice never disappoints.

And to cool off, one thing the Venetians do better than anyone else is a nice spritz, usually accompanied by “Cicchetti”, which are the small-portioned snacks served in the traditional “bàcari” bars of Venice.

Due to the logistics of Venice, we divided our favorite Cicchetti/aperitivo+dinner combo suggestions into locations, which are favorites of the locals and a little off the tourist-trap areas near San Marco:

Near San Trovaso: Aperitivo at Cantinone del Vino già Schiavi, dinner at Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti

Near Canale della Misericordia: Aperitivo Vino-Vero and Dinner at Vini da Gigio

Near the Rialto bridge: Aperitivo at Naranzeria, dinner at Antiche Carampane

Burano: Although the island of Burano can feel a little touristy, the Trattoria Gatto Nero still offers traditional Venetian cuisine.

Of course a don’t miss is the historic Harry’s Bar, and the new Harry’s Dolci location in the quieter Giudecca area (reserve in advance to dine outside along the canal with a beautiful view).

Where to stay:

Ca Maria Adele: a lavish boutique hotel in Dorsoduro, the modern art district of Venice, beside the Basilica della Madonna della Salute.

Sina Centurion Palace: Also in Dorsoduro, once the Palazzo Genovese, this luxury hotel offers stunning views of the Grand Canal, yet still away from the flocks of tourists.

Hotel Flora: Owned and managed by the Romanelli family for over fifty years and three generations, Hotel Flora is a quaint boutique hotel, budget-friendly and centrally located near San Marco in a seventeenth-century Palazzo.

What to buy:

Murano glass, of course. Also look for the traditional Friulane, which are soft pointy-toe slippers made from up-cycled materials such as jute and bicycle tires for the soles, and leftover pieces of rich fabrics such as velvet or silk for the uppers. For a splurge visit the exquisite Fortuny factory, located on the Giudecca canal, with their exquisite hand-printed fabrics, as well as the Canastrelli Mirrors laboratory in Dorsoduro, where the traditional “Sorcière” bulls-eye mirrors are made by Stefano, a third-generation artisan.

Clockwise from left:  Venice Canal in the Giudecca, Harry’s Dolci, Bridge of the Redentore, Fireworks of the Redentore Festival

Top photo:  View along the Grand Canal