Carnival of Venice: the history of a centennial festival

Carnival Venice Mask

The history of the Venice Carnival dates back to 1024, when this festival was mentioned on a document of Doge Vitale Falier, for the first time.  However, the Carnival of Venice was recognized as an official holiday by the Senate only in 1296.
This centennial festival was quite different from the one we are used to live nowadays. First of all the Carnival used to last months, from the 26th of December until Ash Wednesday, even if wearing masks were allowed since October.  
Originally the Carnival of Venice masks were used to level out the differences between the classes, since they can guarantee the anonymity of people.

Types of Venetian masks
Venetians used to wear just two kinds of carnival masks: the Bauta mask and the Moretta mask.
The Bauta mask is not only a mask, but a complete costume, composed by the traditional white mask and a black cloak, called “tabarro”. Wearing this mask gave the possibility to all Venetians to be the person they wanted to be, no matter what class they belonged to.
That is to say that rich people could act as poor and vice versa.
The Moretta mask, instead, is a typical feminine mask. Wearing this mask, women couldn’t speak, since they had to held it by gripping their teeth on a button inside the mask. In this way, women could decide when and whom to speak. As you can imagine, this masks allowed women to create an air of mystery around themselves.

How Venetians used to celebrate Carnival
During the Carnival period, Venice was full of events. Jugglers, acrobats and dancers entertained people with their performances in Saint Mark’s Square and in private parties.
Theatrical performances started to be played in cafes, private homes and theaters, becoming the perfect excuse to turn the party into a transgressive one.
Unfortunately, the anonymity gave spiteful people the opportunity of committing crimes, such as thefts and rapes. This is the reason why wearing a mask after sunset was banned in 1339.

The end of the Venetian Carnival and its rebirth
The last Carnival in Venice is dated at 1797, the year when the Venetian Republic fell. With the Napoleonic domination, many of the Venetian traditions and feasts were abolished, including the Carnival.
After almost two centuries, in 1967, the Carnival of Venice was officially restored.

Nowadays Venice Carnival is one of the most famous festival in the whole world, full of activities and parties all around the city.
You can still live the traditional atmosphere of the Venice Carnival by wearing a typical period costume and participating to a masked ball, hosted in a marvelous Venetian palace.

Venice for couples: 5 special things to do

Venice Romantic City

Venice is always Venice. It’s the romantic city par excellence, the place that every couple should visit, at least once.
Venice is where lovers find their perfect moment.  
Venice is magic. It has the power of making you feel in the right place with the right person, every day.
Venice is the flawless backdrop for your romantic getaway.

If you want to make your vacation unique and surprise your partner with something truly unexpected, here’s a list of special things to do in Venice.

A night out at Teatro La Fenice
You can go to St. Mark’s Square or just walk around the infinite streets of Venice – which are both two nice things to do in a city like this – but give yourself the chance to live a one-in-a-million night at the Teatro La Fenice is definitely even better. Close your eyes and imagine yourself stepping into this ancient and gold Venetian theatre, holding your partner’s hand. It’s a feeling that you can’t describe, you must live it.

Gondola ride for two
You can consider it a little bit too touristic, but taking a private gondola ride in Venice always worths it[link], especially if you think that it’s something you can’t do anywhere else.
You can judge the price of a ride, but remember that you’re paying for something you’re going to do once, only.
By the way, this is the most romantic way to propose.

A special dinner in a special place
A dinner is always a good idea to spend a couple of nice hours with your better half. A perfect dinner can turn into a nightmare if you don’t know a good restaurant. Here’s why we are always happy to suggest you the best places where to have a romantic dinner, with a  good atmosphere. Leave your partner having a shower up in your room and come to our reception: we will recommend you the best restaurant for you two.

Watch the sunset or the sunrise, hand in hand
Sunset in Venice is something you can’t only see in a photo, you must see it personally. Lots of photographers come from all over the world to immortalize it, but the only two places where it lasts forever are in your heart and in your memories.
Read this article to discover the best places where to watch the sunset in Venice.

A kiss from the top
Have you ever given a kiss at almost 100 meters, surrounded by an unparalleled view? You can climb the St. Mark’s tower bell till the top. Embrace your partner, look at this incredible city from above and make this moment even more special, kissing your other-half while the sun is shining in the sky.

San Giorgio Maggiore: how to get there and what to see

Chiesa San Giorgio maggiore

There’s an island in the Venetian lagoon that has the privilege to sit right in front of St. Mark’s Square, every day. San Giorgio Maggiore is the island we are talking about, a little paradise a few people know.

Why visiting San Giorgio Maggiore
Being located right in front of the Doge’s Palace, San Giorgio Maggiore island is an iconic place. Thousands of pictures have been taken here, with the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore as background, and now are filling several albums of memories.
But, San Giorgio Maggiore can’t only be admired from St. Mark’s Square. In fact, to get the most of it, you should go on the island and discover all its secrets.
You definitely have to visit the church of San Giorgio Maggiore and the monastery.
Inside the church, you’ll see paintings by Jacopo Tintoretto, Domenico Tintoretto, Palma il Giovane, Matteo Ponzone and many others.
The famous architect Palladio was the one who built this beautiful church.
Next to the church, you can visit the monastery. Over the centuries it became a theological, cultural and artistic center of primary importance in Europe. Today is an oasis of peace, a piece of paradise.
Don’t let your vertigos win and climb the bell tower of San Giorgio for a view you’ll never have anywhere else. The inner cloister is amazing. The ticket costs 6 euros and includes the church.
And, before leaving the island, why not getting lost in the Borges Labyrinth? We are kidding, you can only visit the labyrinth with a tour guide, but we are sure you’ll have fun.

How to get to San Giorgio Maggiore island from Venice
Getting to San Giorgio Maggiore island from Venice is easier than you think. From the train station stop, take the vaporetto line 2 and get off at the island. It takes about 45 minutes.
If you are planning to reach the island from St. Mark’s Square, don’t worry, the vaporetto line 2 is stopping at San Zaccaria and it will take you to the island in less than 5 minutes.

What to eat at the Venice Jewish ghetto

Traditional Dishes of Venice

After a long and interesting tour of discovery around the Venice Jewish Ghetto, your stomach will probably ask you to stop and get some food, before start exploring Venice again. But the question is: what should you taste at the Venice Jewish Ghetto? What kind of typical food should I eat first? Let’s start saying that the Jewish cuisine introduced several ingredients into the Venetian way of cooking food. For example, the use of raisin and pine nuts, which gave birth to the extremely famous Sarde in Saor.
Being aware of this, we can now introduce you some traditional food you must taste at the Venice Jewish Ghetto.

Classical and unavoidable, Hummus is a soft mousse made by chickpeas, olive oil, lemon and tahini. This cream is usually served with some bread, like a pita.

Haman’s Ears
These are filled-pocket cookies with jam, almonds, poppy seeds or chocolate. There are several bakeries that sell them, it won’t be difficult to find them.

This is a meat preparation. Lamb, chicken or other kinds of meat are cooked on a vertical rotating spit and then served with some lafa flatbread. Delicious.

These cookies are one of the most typical sweet treats from the Venice Jewish Ghetto. Even if they are usually prepared for Passover, you can find them almost all year around. They are unleavened cookies with an “S” form since the term “bissa” means grass snake in Venetian dialect.

Among the things you must eat at the Venice Jewish Ghetto there’s another pastry, called Impàde. It’s a long pastry biscuit filled with a sugar, eggs and almonds dough.

Matzah ball
If you are visiting Venice in winter, this soup will warm you up. This soup is made from a mixture of matzah, water, eggs and a fat.
If you have already eaten Knödel, you ‘ll find some similarities in its flavor.

Last but not least, here’s another typical pastry: the Rugelach. At first sight, it looks like a banal croissant, but in reality, it has nothing to do with it. Rugelach can be made with sour cream or cream cheese doughs, but you can even find them with no dairy ingredients.


Where to go shopping in Venice

Venice Historic Place

Shopping is a passion. Shopping in Venice is a must.
Venice is not only famous in the world for its history and architecture, but also for being full of nice and high-quality shops and brands.
Where to go shopping in Venice so? Here’s a list of places where you can find different kind of stores and beautiful handmade products.
Shopping in Venice can be expensive, but it’s always worth it.

The area from Campo San Bartolomeo to Saint Mark’s Square is called Mercerie and it’s where Venetian people used to stroll and stop by those stores where you could find everything you wanted.
Back in centuries, at the Mercerie you could find different dry goods stores and places where to buy some unique accessories. Nowaday, these streets are covered with brand shops, such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta and many others.
If you want to immerse yourself into a luxury world, this is the right place where to dream and buy something that make you feel like a modern Venetian noblewoman.
Looking for a Venetian mask? You’ll find thousands here!

Fontego dei Tedeschi
This is a brand new shopping center in Venice. The palace of Fontego dei Tedeschi is the ancient headquarters of the city’s German merchants. It was built in 1228 and during the 20th century Poste Italiane had some of its offices here. Today, the palace has been renovated and taken by DFS Group Limited, the world’s leading luxury retailer catering to the traveling public.
If you are looking for a prestigious bottle of wine, a pair of shoes, or a fascinating Murano glass vase, this place won’t disappoint you.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the beautiful rooftop terrace, from where you have a breathtaking view of the city.

Burano island
If you want to come back home with an original Venetian lace, Burano island is the place to buy one. In the city you’ll find several shops that sell Burano laces, but walking around in a colorful world, taking your time, visiting the Lace Museum and then choosing you piece of art has totally another taste.

Murano island
Do you think that a Murano Glass sculpture will fit with your living room? There’s spoilt for choice, but we suggest you to pay a visit to a furnace, to learn how those fantastic works of art are created.
The technique used for blowing and managing glass in Murano is ancient and unique, this is the reason why the cost of a chandelier or a vase is high. Don’t trust all those shops where a small prancing horse costs a couple of euros, it might be nice and cheap, but it’s not original.

Last but not least, we are sure that if you get lost, especially around Fondamente Nuove, you will find some artisans boutiques and hidden ancient shops. Are you still in doubt of where to go shopping in Venice?

Self-guided walking tour in Venice: as easy as drinking water

Ca' Doro Venice

Venice is the perfect place where to take a walking tour, especially because it’s a city built on water and if you don’t want to take a vaporetto or a gondola ride, walking is the only other way to get the most of it. Here’s a virtual and self-guided walking tour in Venice, we are always happy to suggest to our guests.

Jewish Ghetto
Starting from you hotel in Strada Nuova, you can easily reach the most ancient European Jewish Ghetto.
Here, you can visit one of the three opened synagogues and the Jewish Museum, but you also can just walk around and take some photos of the uncountable glimpses on your way to our next stop.
We recommend you to read “A day in the Jewish Ghetto”, a fully dedicated article about this unusual place.

Ca’ D’oro
This amazing palace is our next stop. Its name means “Golden Palace” because its facade used to be covered with gold. Can you image how beautiful this palace must have been from the Grand Canal?
Inside you can admire a rich collection of furniture, paintings, medals, tapestries, bronzes and sculptures.

Rialto Bridge
To get to one of the most iconic symbols of Venice, Rialto Bridge, we suggest you to take the so-called traghetto. Right next to Ca’ D’oro there’s a place called Stazio Santa Sofia, where you can take a gondola to cross the canal.
In a minute you’ll be walking around the stands of Rialto Market, just few steps away from Rialto Bridge.

St Mark’s Square
We left the best for the end: St. Mark’s Square. Here you can indulge your whims and visit the Doge’s Palace, the St. Mark’s Basilica and even the Clock tower.
However, why not climbing the bell tower too? Or spending an hour visiting the ancient Marciana library?
We know, it’s difficult to decide what to see and what not, since everything worths it. But you can still come back here the day after.
If you feel like having a nice cocktail in a traditional Cafe after this walking tour in Venice, a few steps away from St. Mark’s Square there’s the famous Harry’s Bar.

Enjoy it!

Parking in Venice: where to park close to the city

veichle park

Even if Venice is famous for being a city with no cars, it doesn’t mean you cannot arrive here by car.
Venice is well connected to the mainland through the long and monumental Ponte della Libertà, which let you reach the city with your own car. But, then, you have to find out a place where to park in Venice.
Here’s what this article is for.
Parking in Venice can be expensive, but there are multiple options you can choose from, with different prices and locations.

Parking in Venice: how to choose the right park lot
First of all, be aware that Mestre is also a good place for parking your car if you want to spend a bit less. If you park here, then you have to take a bus or a train to get to Venice. Not a big deal if you consider that it takes about 20 minutes.
Apart from that, at Piazzale Roma you’ll find several parking lots with different ranges of prices. Of course, the closer you park the more you pay. What we suggest you do is consider both the price and the kinds of services the parking lot offers. Parking in Venice hasn’t to be stressful, but just the beginning of your trip in the most beautiful city in the world.

Where to park in Venice: all the parking lots close to Piazzale Roma
As we said, you can choose among a wide range of security-monitored parking lots, some of them are in Piazzale Roma, where the bus station is, and some other are in the area of Tronchetto.
Tronchetto is an artificial island, mainly used as a car park. The so-called People Mover, a public transit system, connects it to the city entrance, Piazzale Roma. You can also walk from here, to reach the city center, but it takes about 20 minutes.

Garage San Marco
This is one of the biggest and well-served parking lots in Venice. It’s open 24/7  and there’s space for 900 cars.
You can book your parking space online and if you stay at our hotel, you can get a 10% discount on the total amount when you take your car back.

Tronchetto Parking Venice
As the name suggests, this car park is situated in Tronchetto. It’s cheaper and wider than the previous one, but it isn’t the closest to the city. You can’t book a place online, but you won’t have any difficulties in finding one when you get there.

Autorimessa Comunale
It’s the public parking garage of Venice and it can host up to two hundred cars.
It’s open 24/7 and you can book your car place online, by adding this option to your Venezia Unica card.

Libreria Acqua Alta – a place you must see in Venice

Historic Library "Acqua Alta" on Venice

There’s a place in Venice, like no other: Libreria Acqua Alta. This is the most original bookshop you could find in the floating city, hidden in a street called Calle Longa S. Maria Formosa.
It’s not easy to discover it if you don’t know where to go, but losing your bearings and find yourself in front a magic world like the one you can live inside the Acqua Alta bookshop is totally worth it.

Why visiting Acqua Alta bookshop
Everyone in Venice knows about the Acqua Alta bookshop, and it’s not a case. Imagine a world apart from everything, where you can lose and find yourself at the same time, among thousands of books.
Once you enter Acqua Alta, the first impression you probably get is a sense of confusion, but don’t be deceived by appearances.
Books seem to be put randomly on shelves and boxes, but they are not. The owner knows exactly where every book is, you just need to ask for some help.

Gondolas and bathtub are part of the furniture, in fact, they don’t only help the owner collect the books, but also prevent them to be touched by water, during high tide. The name Acqua Alta, in fact, means high tide.

If you experience Venice in winter, you’ll see that many ground floors get flooded. This is what happens to Acqua Alta too.
A cat will probably say hello to you once in, or maybe more than one. Cats here have found their perfect home, with a lot of narrow refugees where to hide.
Make your way out to the bookshop and discover the amazing little court, in the backyard.
Here, a book-staircase is inviting you to climb it up and see what’s on the other side of the wall.
Venice’s beauty is at every corner and one of these corners is right here, behind the wall.
Acqua Alta is a place which will remain in your heart, this is why you should visit it.

How to get to Acqua Alta bookshop from Hotel Arcadia
As we said at the beginning of this article, finding Acqua Alta is not so easy. Leaving our hotel, turn on your left and go straight until you find the Santi Giovanni e Paolo Basilica. Then, take Calle Vesier, on the right side of the campo, and go on until Calle Pinelli, you’ll see Acqua Alta bookshop on your left.


What to do on Torcello island

Torcello is one of the most known island in the Venice lagoon, but few people know that it was the first Venetian colony before Venice was born. Torcello was the first place Venetians called home, since the Hunns’ invasion forced them to escape from Altino.
We suggest you to take a boat tour to the three main islands of Venice [link], but if you don’t have time to explore all of them, you can only visit Torcello, there are a lot of things to do here!

The Devil’s Bridge
This bridge was built in the 15th century and the origin of its name is still uncertain, even if there are a couple of legends that explains why it was called in this way. The peculiarity of this bridge is that it has no parapets, in fact, originally all the bridges in Venice was like this one.

Torcello Cathedral
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is the basilica of Torcello. This is an example of Venetian-Byzantine architecture and is one of the most ancient building in the whole region of Veneto.
Inside the church you can see several Byzantin mosaics, the earliest remaining ones in the Venice area.

Santa Fosca
A few steps from the Cathedral there’s another church called Santa Fosca. The internals of the church aren’t full of mosaics as the basilica, but there’s a nice octagonal portico all around it, which deserves a visit.

The Archaeological Museum of Torcello
The Archaeological Museum is tiny but rich of remains and fragments, organized in two parts: the archaeological section and the medieval-modern one. The first part is located inside a single room in the Archive Palace and shows a rich collection of pots, bronze objects and sculptures, dated back to the 11th-12th century.
The second one, instead, takes place in the Council Palace and tells the story of Torcello island itself, during its most flourishing period.

Attila’s throne
We have mentioned that Torcello was born after the Hunns’ invasion, but this is not related to the so-called Attila’s throne that you find on the island. This stone chair dates back to the 5th century and it was used by the governor of the island, during council meetings and when administering justice.

How to get to Torcello Island from Venice
If you are not going to Torcello Island with an organized boat tour, you have just another way to get there.
Unfortunately there is no direct line from Venice to Torcello, but you can still take the vaporetto line 4 from Fondamente Nove to Burano island and then change to line 9. You can easily reach Fondamente Nove from our hotel with a 20 minutes walk.

6 movies filmed in Venice you should watch

Casanova and Lupo

Venice is certainly one of the most cinematic cities in the planet, in fact, a great number of movies have been shooted here. Some of them tell about its glorious times and some others celebrate its traditions and its romantic side.  Here’s a list of 6 movies filmed in Venice, we recommend you to watch, before your journey starts. Once in Venice, looking for those places, where all these films were shooted, can be an adventurous way to discover the city.

The Italian Job
We have already talked about this movie in a previous article about the Venetian locations, where The Italian Job was shooted. One of the most spectacular scenes is a thrilling boat chase along Venice’s canals.

Casino Royale
Everyone has seen a 007 movie at least once. Casino Royale is one of the latest, where Daniel Craig, in the role of the most famous secret agent in the world, arrives in Venice to solve a case.

The Merchant of Venice
If you know Shakespeare, you know about his passion for Italy and its cities. Romeo and Juliet takes place in Verona, The Merchant of Venice, instead, in Venice. It’s a story of love, loyalty, and justice. It’s a play about a risky deal between a Jewish usurer and a Venetian merchant. 

Casanova (2005)
The story of a great lover and writer: Giacomo Casanova. This movie is entirely set in Venice and shows well how life was lived at Serenissima time.  

The tourist
Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp are the two protagonists of The Tourist, a movie about mistaken identities and deep love.
Even if it didn’t receive good reviews, it’s worth it to see several glimpses of Venice and some of its palaces’ interiors.

Indiana Jones and the last crusade
Just a few parts of this movie was filmed in Venice, but nevertheless memorable ones. Follow the steps of Indiana Jones until Campo San Barnaba and find out the sewer cover from where the professor comes out.

A day in the Jewish Ghetto

Right behind one of the most known streets in Venice, Strada Nuova, there is an area that seems to be living apart from the rest; the Jewish Ghetto. Starting from Hotel Arcadia, walking down two  or three  “calle” (street), you can  easily reach the Jewish Ghetto. The easiest way to get there from the hotel is going to Ponte delle Guglie and turning right, walking along the canal and turning right again, at Sotoportego San Giovanni. Before stepping into this world, we suggest you stop for a minute and have a look at the two sides of the sotoportego.  Look around and you will see the old hinges of the doors, which were used to close the ghetto area after the sunset. From the moment the doors close, nobody could get in or get out. Passing through this portico, you are definitely entering the Jewish Ghetto.

What does “ghetto” mean?
The word “ghetto”, that is commonly used nowadays, is a Venetian word. It comes from “geto” (pouring), because before being a Jewish Ghetto, there was a foundry in that neighborhood. The pronunciation of “geto” became “ ghetto” because the Jewish people weren’t able to say it with the Venetian accent.

Discovering the Jewish Ghetto
Let’s go on with our tour and start discovering this fascinating world. Follow Calle del Forno till the end, then turn right into Calle del Ghetto Vecchio. Crossing the bridge, you will be in the oldest part of the Jewish Ghetto, the oldest in all Europe. If you pay attention to the buildings you will notice that they have more floors and are taller than the Venetian houses. . Are you wondering why? The reason is simple. The priority here was to create more apartments to accommodate the higher concentration of people in a small area.
Five of the  nine synagogues are still used  by the Jewish community, who  have been keeping its traditions for 500 years. You can visit  three of the  five synagogues. Do you want to know how to recognize them? Look at the windows and count: the buildings with  five windows in a row are the synagogues! In the Ghetto there is also the Jewish Museum.
Proceeding on Calle del Ghetto Vecchio you will reach Campo Ghetto Novo, a  small and quiet square. The Ghetto Novo – “the new ghetto” – was created in 1541 to face the growing number of Jewish coming to Venice. In 1663, Venetians had to expand the ghetto area again, creating the Ghetto Nuovissimo – “the newest ghetto”.

Sit down on a bench and enjoy the people walking around. Try some traditional Jewish sweets, such as the Hamantaschen or the Rugelach.
The Ghetto is not a typical tourist area, making it unlike many other areas in Venice, enjoy it!

The Italian job (2003): all the locations in Venice

The Italian Job Film in Venice

Venice is the perfect location where to film a movie, no doubt on it, and the 2003 version of The Italian Job is one of the movies that were partially filmed here, exactly as Casino Royale  [All the locations in Venice where Casino Royale was filmed]. But, if the opening scene of the Italian Job (2003) was filmed in Venice, the rest of the movie is set in Los Angeles. In this article we are only going to discover The Italian Job locations in Venice, since we would like to give you an original idea for a self-guided tour around the city.

St Mark’s Square
The very first scene shows Donald Sutherland, as John Bridger, walking in St. Mark’s Square while on the phone with her daughter Stella. Here, we can easily recognize the Basilica of St. Mark, the two columns facing the basin and the Marciana Library, right behind John and Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg).

Campo San Barnaba
Even if John and Charlie have a short walk on Riva degli Schiavoni, they soon get to Campo San Barnaba. You might have recognized the Church of San Barnaba from the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie. Gillian (Mos Def ) and Handsome Rob (Jason Statham) are waiting for John and Charlie, the former is reading a book entitled “How to think like Leonardo da Vinci”. If you are wondering why he’s reading such an unusual book, the answer is easy to find: inside the Church of San Barnaba hosts a permanent exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions.

Accademia bridge, the Grand Canal and the Freedom bridge (Ponte della Libertà)
After having stolen $35 million in gold bars, there’s a boat chase throughout Venice. Even if the shots are really fast, you can still recognize some iconic places of Venice such as: the Accademia bridge, the Grand Canal and the Freedom bridge (the long bridge that connects Venice with the mainland called Ponte della Libertà) with the huge public parking building behind.
During the chase a boat falls on a market-boat that really exist and it’s always docked near Campo San Barnaba. You can actually go grocery shopping there!

Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute
The very last scene of the part filmed in Venice is a shot on one of the most famous and beautiful churches in Venice : the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute.

The history of the traditional aperitif in Venice: the spritz

If you like having happy hours as we do, you certainly know about the most famous and traditional aperitif in Venice; the Spritz. In the article we wrote about a bacaro tour idea [link to bacaro tour idea], we mentioned that Venetians love to have a break after work, sit down at a bar and sip a “ombra” (little glass of wine), but the truth is that we often order a spritz too. Spritz is a word that means many things to us. It represents a moment of sharing with friends, an occasion to meet people we haven’t seen for a long time and a way to end the day with a smile.  

The history of the Venetian Spritz
During the Habsburg Empire in Veneto, the Austrian diplomats and employees got used to Venetians’ habit of drinking a glass of wine after a long day at work. The fact is that they weren’t accustomed to such strong wines. The Veneto’s wine were too alcoholic for them and this is the reason why they started asking to spray a bit of water into the wine, to make it lighter.
As you see, originally the Spritz was just made by water and white wine, but when the siphons for carbonated water became available, the Venice’s Spritz Aperitif started to be the one we know and drink nowadays.
After a while, in 1919, Aperol was presented at a fair in Padua, and the idea of adding it to the traditional Spritz started to take a shape in Venetians’ minds.

A curiosity about the name “spritz”
Spritzer is the name that Austrians use to call their cocktail made by soda water and wine. This is the reason why the most famous Venetian aperitif is called Sprtiz.

How to make an Aperol Spritz
Once you have taste it in Venice, you can easily replicate it at home.
Here’s the original recipe of the Venetian Aperol Spritz, but you can also make it with Cynar, Select or Campari.
In order to make a real Aperol Spritz, you have to put the same quantity of sparkling water (or selz if you have it), prosecco (not any wine) and Aperol.

Let’s start:

  1. Take a cold glass and put some ice inside
  2. Pour the prosecco wine (⅓ )
  3. Add the sparkling water (⅓ )
  4. Add the Aperol (⅓ )
  5. Garnish with a slice of orange and a olive
  6. Served with something salty to eat

Your favourite drink is ready.

Top 5 churches to visit in Venice

Church of Madonna Dell'orto Venice

If you tried to count how many churches exist in Venice, you would probably lose count. There are more than 250 churches in Venice and each of them has a story to tell, but we are not expecting you to visit them all! Even if choosing the top 5 churches to visit in Venice can be really hard, we tried to select those we love most.

  1. St. Mark’s Basilica
    How not include St. Mark’s Basilica among the top 5 churches to see in Venice, since it’s one of the most known and beautiful attraction in the city. Visiting the St. Mark’s Basilica is free and for this reason the queue is usually quite long, but fast. If you don’t have time to queue, you can buy a ticket to skip the line, that you can easily purchase online. Inside the Basilica, you’ll be encircled by hundreds of mosaics. The ceiling is shining, thanks to all the gold Venetians used to decorate it.
  2. Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
    Usually called “Frari” from Venetians, this is the second biggest church in Venice. You can literally lose yourself, observing all the painting preserved inside, such as the Assumption, painted by Tiziano Vecellio.This is the church where the burial monument dedicated to the great neo-classical sculptor Antonio Canova is located. It’s composed by a huge pyramid, symbol of Great Architect of the Universe.
  3. Madonna dell’Orto Church
    We have already mentioned this church in the article we wrote about a self-guided tour in Cannaregio. Madonna dell’Orto (Madonna of the Orchard) isn’t the original name of the church, in fact, it used to be called St. Cristoforo Church, but when the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary, done by Giovanni de Santi, arrived at the church, the church itself took the name the people gave it. The priest of Santa Maria Formosa church commissioned to Giovanni de Santi a statue of the Virgin Mary. What happened is that the priest didn’t like the sculpture and Giovanni decided to keep it in his garden. After a while his neighbours noticed that the Virgin Mary statue emanated light. When the bishop of Venice heard about the story of the miraculous statue, he decided that Giovanni’s sculpture had to be places in the nearby orchard.
  4. Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute
    A wonderful church to remember an important, but also terrible, event. The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, also known as “Salute”, was built to thank Virgin Mary for having sent the plague away from Venice. Inside the church you’ll surely notice an unusual choice for that time: a Black Madonna painting.
  5. Basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo
    This church had a great importance during the Serenissima Republic, since it was the burial place of Doges and Nobles. The Basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo is also one of the largest of Venice.

The secrets behind the gondola

Gondola with fog

At first sight the gondola only looks like an elegant vessel, but the truth is that it hides a lot of secrets, behind its shape.
Taking a private gondola ride is an experience we suggest you to live, not only because it is something typical, but because you’ll see with your own eyes its beauty and its hidden symbols.

The length of a gondola
You might have noticed that each gondola hasn’t a symmetrical shape, in fact, it leans to one side. In this way the gondola balanced the weight of its gondolier. Back in centuries the gondola wasn’t as long as it is today, mainly because the prow became bigger too.

The symbols of the prow
The metal decoration in front of the gondola is called “fero” (literally “iron”) and its shape is not random. In fact, each part of the “fero” refers to something related to the history of Venice.
Its shape reminds of an “S”, for example, is echoing the curves of the Grand Canal, whereas the six prongs sticking out the front represent the six districts of Venice, called “sestieri”.  Specifically, the six sestieri are: Dorsoduro, Cannaregio, San Polo, Santa Croce, San Marco and Castello. The backward prong represents the island of Giudecca and those little decorations between the forward prongs stand for the islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello. 
The upper part of the “fero” recalls the shape of the Doge’s cap, also called the Ducal Horn.
Finally, the little arch between the upper part of the fero and the first froward prong represent the Rialto bridge.

Where the gondolas are built
The gondolas are custom made, based on the physique of the gondolier who commission them.
During the Serenissima Republic there were several places where the gondolas were built, these places are called “squero”.
Nowadays you can still see and visit a squero, the one of San Trovaso, located near Fondamenta delle Zattere.
You’ll notice the unusual shape of the house next to the squero, in fact, it looks like a lodge. The reason why this house looks completely different from all the other palaces in Venice is that originally the “squerarioli”, as Venetians call those people who actually build gondolas, were from Cadore, a mountainous area in the Veneto region.

See how many things gondolas hide?

Survival kit: how to visit Venice with no stress

Visiting a city like Venice can be stressful, if you think that more than 2 millions of people come to visit it every year.
Streets and bridges are packed, taking the right vaporetto can be the hardest thing in you life and finding a good place where to eat a yummy traditional dish could turn into a real adventure. That’s why we create this survival kit to let you visit Venice with no stress.

  1. Check transportation lines and timetable in advance
    Venice has no car, but boats, even for public transportation. The vaporetto is like a bus, it can take you almost everywhere in the city, but only if you catch the right one. While you are planning your trip to Venice, don’t forget to check the ACTV web page to know more about public transportations lines and timetables. If you are going to visit some of the Venice Lagoon Islands , you should check the Venezia Unica website too and learn more about the Venice’s official City Pass.
  1. Walk on the right side of the street
    The majority of the streets in Venice are narrow and sometimes it could be difficult to pass through them, especially if there are people coming from the opposite side. In order to avoid a really stressful moment and keep stuck in the middle of a calle, try to walk on its right side. People coming from the opposite side, should do the same.
  1. Wear comfortable shoes
    We always suggest our guest to walk around Venice, wearing a pair of comfortable shoes. Even if walking in Venice is the best way to discover the city and to see something you won’t notice from a vaporetto, it can turn into a nightmare if you are wearing heels. Be sure to pack a pair of sneakers into your bag.
  1. Don’t stop on bridges
    We perfectly know that a bridge-view of Venice is something that must be in a photo, but try to not stay there for too long. Bridges connect the hundreds of island on which Venice is built, which means that they always need to be clear, to let people walk.
  1. If you are coming in November, bring or buy a pair of rain boots
    Another thing that will help you to visit Venice with no stress, especially between November and January, is wearing a pair of rain boots to save your feet from high tide. High tide can ruin your holiday in Venice if you don’t have rain boots, forcing you to stay at our hotel for hours. Be prevident, check online or download the Hi!Tide Venice app before coming to Venice.

What to see in Burano island

Imagine a place full of colors. A island in the Venetian lagoon where the time goes slow. This is Burano Island.
The island of Burano is situated near Torcello island, at the northern side of the lagoon, and it’s really well connected with Venice, by public transports. Burano is famous mainly for laces and its wonderful colors, but there are several other things to see and do on this island.

What to see in Burano island 
Burano will astonish you from the first sight with its bright colors and its narrow streets. We won’t be surprise if you take a picture of it, right after dropping off the vaporetto! Burano is a dreamland on earth.
Apart from its colorful houses, Burano has a lot of things to see.

Lace museum
As we said, Burano is famous for its centuries-old tradition of lace-making, it’s not a case, there’s an entire museum dedicated to it.
The Lace museum is located in a gothic palace, where the ancient lace school used to be.
The visits start with a English subtitled video showing the story of the lace tradition and ends with a rich collection of laces, from the 16th century to the 20th century.

Church of St. Martin and the leaning tower of Burano
The Church of St. Martin is located in Piazza Galuppi, the main square of the island, and houses a painting by Gian Battista Tiepolo.
Behind the church you will notice its leaning tower, but don’t worry, it won’t fall.

Bepi’s House
There’s a house in Burano, hidden among narrow streets, that is really something you have to see. It’s colorful too, but not as all the others.
The wall and even the door are decorated with geometrical shapes. It’s worth a picture.

The Pescarìa Vecia
If Venice has is own fish market near Rialto bridge, Burano has its own, called Pescarìa Vecia (literally “old fish market”).
Burano was the island of fisherman, this is also the reason why the houses are shining with different colors, since they could be seen from the lagoon even through the fog.

Remigio Barbaro’s statues
Remigio Barbaro was a sculptor, he was born in Burano in 1911 and spent all his life on this island.
His greatest wish was to turn his house into a museum, but it hasn’t happened yet, even if a lot of his masterpieces are still there.
You can admire two of his sculptures at Piazza Galuppi and near the the actv ferry stop.

How to get to Burano island from Venice
Burano is connected to Venice by vaporetto line 12, departing from Fondamente Nuove. It takes about 45 minutes to get there.

How to get to Venice from the Venice and Treviso airports

Venice has two airports, an international one called Marco Polo Airport and a smaller one, called Canova airport, located near the city of Treviso. The former is the closest to the city and the more frequented, the latter is a little bit more far, but it’s the one where Ryanair flights land. There are different option to get to Venice from both airports and it’s up to you to choose the one that fits more for you.

How to get to Venice from Venice Marco Polo Airport 
Marco Polo Airport is located about 13 kilometers from the city center, and you can get to Venice by boat, taxi or bus.
Using a private water taxi is probably the fastest way to get to Venice, but it is also the most expensive one. Taking a water taxi is also the best option to get exactly where your hotel is located or, at least, really close and the best way to get in contact with the real Venetian life.  A less expensive alternative to the water taxi is taking the Alilaguna public transport.
From the airport the Alilaguna takes about 45 minutes to our hotel, in fact, you have to get off at the Guglie stop, which is only 2 minutes from Hotel Arcadia.
The cheapest way to get to Venice city center from the airport is by bus. There are two bus companies that are doing this service: ACTV and ATVO.  The first one is a typical public city bus and takes about 35 minutes to get to the city.
ATVO, instead, is a private bus company and it takes about 20 minutes to arrive in Venice.
A one way ticket to Venice with both companies costs about 8 euros per person.

How to get to Venice from Treviso Airport
The easiest way to get to Venice from Treviso Airport is by bus. The are two bus companies offering this service: ATVO and Barzi Bus Service.  ATVO buses require 70 minutes to cover the distance between Treviso airport and the city center of Venice, whereas the Barzi Bus Service only takes 40 minutes.
The one-way ticket has the same fare for both companies (12 euros) but the former stops at Piazzale Roma and the latter, instead, at the close parking island of Tronchetto.

It doesn’t matter which kind of transport you choose, the important thing is that you take the one that fits more to your needs and let you start your trip in Venice in the best way. We are waiting for you!

What to do in venice in winter

Winter in Venice

Venice in summer is a crowded city, Venice in winter is totally another thing. The city becomes quiet and silent, and the fog, that characterizes this period of the year, makes it quite magic and mysterious.  If you are afraid that winter isn’t a good time for visiting the floating city, you’ll soon change your mind.  Of course, strolling around its streets won’t be pleasant as in summer, because of the cold temperature, but we’re sure you’ll find what to do in Venice in winter, among the things we suggest you here. 

  1. Experience the high tide in Venice  
    As you know, winter is when high tide comes, partially flooding the city. It’s an incredible and natural phenomenon, Venetians had learnt how to live with.  Visiting Venice while the water is covering its street can be thrilling, but dangerous at the same time. If you want to know more about this phenomenon, we recommend you to read this article.
  2. Visit all museums
    Trying to escape cold can be the perfect excuse to visit many museums in Venice. The city is plenty of them. You can start with our selection of the top 5 museums in Venice [link] or choose those you’re more interested in.
  3. Enjoy a night at the Venice Casino
    Why close yourself inside your hotel room during a cold and foggy night? The Venice Casino is just a few steps away from our hotel and we can give you a free entry. You can try your luck or just admire one of the most beautiful palaces in Venice, from the inside.
  4. Sip a Venetian hot chocolate
    Chocolate arrived in Venice at the beginning of the XVII century. At that time the first “botteghe del caffè” – coffee shops – were also serving hot chocolate during winter time. Casanova himself used to drink it, primarily because of its aphrodisiac features.
  5. Warm up at La Fenice Theatre
    Another way to spend a freezing night in Venice is attending a opera, inside the most beautiful theatre you’ve never seen.  Every year, La Fenice Theatre offers a rich program of operas and other kinds of shows and plays.  We are sure that you’ll find something you’d love to see.

By the way, visiting Venice in winter is not so prohibited. Besides all the things we listed here, you can basically do the same thing you do in summer, maybe except eating a good gelato, even if there are a lot of ice-cream parlors where you can taste one.

Venice Casino: curiosities and history

Even if Las Vegas is the first city with the higher concentration of casinos in the world, Venice is the one that holds the oldest one in Europe: Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, the Venice casino. The first Casino in Venice was open in 1638, but it was located in Saint Moisé, next to the current Hotel Bauer. The Ridotto of S. Moisé (as it was called) was closed in 1774, after a Council of Ten’s decision. Only in the 50s the Venice Casino moved to the present location, Ca’ Vendramin Calergi.

The history of the Venice Casino
The impressive building that houses the Venice Casino is actually one of the most magnificent palaces facing the Grand Canal.
It was designed in the late 15th century by Mauro Codussi, upon a Loredan family’s request, and its construction began in 1481 and ended in 1509. Unfortunately the Loredan’s had to sell the palace in 1581 and in 1589 it was bought by Vettor Calergi, who was about to marry Isabella Gritti. The newlywed couple only had a daughter, Marina, who married Vincenzo Grimani. The new owners of the Ca’ Vendramin Calergi decided to enlarge the right wind of the building, covering part of the garden.
The three sons of Marina and Vincenzo had such a bad attitude that they killed Francesco Querini Stampalia.
The Serenissima government discovered the murder and banish the three brothers from Venice.

A curiosity about the Venice Casino
On the main facade, the one on the Grand Canal, you may notice a weird writing: Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam (Not unto us, not unto us O Lord, but unto thy name let the glory be given). This latin writing is often associated with the Templars, since it was the beginning part of a psalm that was used as a prayer of thanksgiving and expression of humility, during the Crusades.

How to get to the Venice Casino from our hotel
Getting to the Venice Casino from our hotel is easy, you can reach it in 5 minutes walking. Once out of the hotel, follow Rio Terà Leonardo till a crossroads, then turn right into rio Terà del Cristo and the on turn left on Rio Terà de la Chiesa. The Venice Casino is just a few steps ahead.

Venice Casino dress code
The dress Code is really important at the Casino, especially for men. Men must wear a jacket, but if you don’t have it, you can still hire one  for free at the Casino. If you are going to play slot machines only, the jacket is not mandatory, but you still have to wear respectfully.
Women hasn’t such a strict code to follow, but it is important not to wear casual clothes, such as short skirts.