Known as ‘La Serenissima,’ Venice is one of Italy’s most magical cities, where picturesque canals, Renaissance treasures and contemporary art vie for your attention.
This luxurious newcomer in the artsy Arsenale district eschews the Renaissance opulence commonly found at the city’s five-star hotels. Instead, the sleek design by renowned architect Patricia Urquiola subtly alludes to Venetian traditions with custom Murano lamps and wood-paneled walls that recall ships.
Palazzo Venart is a 16th-century Venetian palace hotel that is hyper-luxe. Expect top-notch marble furnishings, parquet floorings, and antiques sourced from the vicinity. Sumptuous is the name of the game here. You will love the hotel’s two-Michelin-star Glam restaurant, which serves Venetian food with modern twists — it’s set in a courtyard that overlooks the Grand Canal.
This family-run trattoria serves seafood fresh from the Venetian lagoon in a charming vine-covered garden. The seafood antipasto is a must—it’s like a parade of typical Venetian appetizers, including the famous baccalà mantecato on polenta.
Dining on Piazza San Marco is generally not recommended—except for a drink at Florian. The oldest café in Italy, this legendary mainstay dates back to 1720. The interiors are an 18th-century fantasy replete with gilded mirrors, frescoes, antiques, and red velvet banquettes.
A masterpiece of Gothic architecture in pale pink and white marble, the Doge’s Palace is filled with Renaissance treasures by Tintoretto and Veronese, including the world’s largest oil painting. It’s connected to the prison by the famed Bridge of Sighs.
A hidden gem tucked away on a side street near Piazza San Marco, this 15th-century palace is now home to a small museum famous for its Gothic spiral staircase. (Bovolo means snail in Venetian dialect.) Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city.
For a break from all the Renaissance art and architecture, head to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the eccentric collector’s home on the Grand Canal. It’s full of modern art by her friends and lovers, including Max Ernst (her one-time husband) and Jackson Pollock.
Set within an unseemly Baroque palazzo that has seen its better day exterior-wise, the Fondazione Prada exhibits an ever-changing set of programming: Three floors of art installations crafted by some of the world’s most innovative artists. If you like contemporary and bold stylings, this place is for you.