Venice has a lot to offer, especially in terms of art and architecture.espite all the must-see attractions, there are also some hidden sights you won’t find if you don’t know where to look!
If it’s known that Venice is always worth a visit, it will be even more worthy after you find out these 5 hidden gems we are about to share with you!
So, pack your guidebook away, and follow our instructions to step into the secret Venetian world.
1. Venice and its secret gardens
It might seem impossible, but Venice is full of secret gardens. You can’t see them, but they actually exist and usually are behind high walls or inside private buildings. This is why we wrote an entire blog post about secret gardens in Venice that you can read and print out, so you can have your personal Venetian secret gardens guide while you’re here.
Secret gardens and one of the most beautiful hidden Venice gems we suggest not missing during your stay, especially because there’s one of them not far from our hotel and it’s also public – we are talking about Giardini Savorgnan.
This garden, which in fact looks more like a park, is just 4 minutes walk from our hotel on the way to the train station. Once in Campo San Geremia, you’ll find the way in.
2. Cannaregio district: a place to get lost
Cannaregio is a Sestiere (district) where many hidden Venice gems are located, and we are not saying that only because our hotel is situated in this area, too.
There are at least four sights you won’t expect to find in Cannaregio, but we won’t tell you more since you can easily discover all of them by reading this article we wrote.
Do you know what the best part is? You can even plan a whole itinerary around Cannaregio, we assure you that a day won’t be enough to see everything there’s to see but to make your life easier we prepared a self-guided 1-day itinerary you can use to get the most out of this sestiere.
3. Feel like reading? You can do it on a book staircase!
There’s a nice place where you can find rare books: a unique bookshop called Acqua Alta (High Water). There are two reasons why this bookshop is so famous (but hard to find), the first one is that it is the only bookshop in town with a gondola inside (full of books, can you imagine it?), and the second one is that there’s a real book staircase built inside the small rear courtyard.
Do you know why this hidden Venice gem is called Acqua Alta? Let’s discover why here!
4. Find the face that is watching you, from above
No one usually notices her, but she’s there, scrutinizing each person passing through Fondamenta della Donna Onesta.
She’s a face, the face of a girl with a story to tell. Tradition wants that the white mask you see popping out of the wall in Fondamenta della Donna Onesta represents the face of a young and beautiful woman, married to a sword maker. The legend tells us that she was so beautiful and kind that a nobleman secretly fell in love with her, and to have the excuse to see her, he ordered her husband to make a new sword for him. When the sword was ready, the young nobleman came to the shop to collect it, and to declare his love for the girl.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as he expected. In fact, she was so faithful to her husband that she kindly refused his proposal. The nobleman wasn’t used to receiving “no” as an answer, and he was so possessive that if he couldn’t have her, nobody could and so he killed her with that new sword he was about to buy.
It’s a really sad story, but to remember her honest gesture the street where the sword shop was located, was called Fondamenta della Donna Onesta, which means “honest woman’s street”.
5. How long is a Venetian step?
Did you know that Venetians had their own unit of measurement? It’s the so-called “passo veneziano” (Venetian step) which was the way Venetians used to measure things in the past.
One Venetian step is about 1,738 meters long, and five feet (0,347 meters) make a step.
At the Arsenale, there’s still a representation of the Venetian step on the left wall after the entrance, close to the caretaker’s office.
So, are you ready now to start a trip to discover all these hidden Venice gems?