Travelling the backwaters: A gondola trip is the quintessential Venetian experience but rather than travelling the Grand Canal, ask your gondolier to take the route less travelled. The true spirit of the city is found on quiet backwaters where a lazy boat ride takes you into another world, away from Venice’s seemingly ever-present crowds.
Enjoying early morning in St Mark’s Square: The true enormity of St Mark’s Square is most apparent before the tourist hordes descend so set your alarm an hour or two earlier and grab a coffee in the relative quiet of an early morning. As pigeons flutter hither and yon you will see why the square attracts filmmakers like moths to a flame.
Admiring modern masterpieces: In a city where you are surrounded by old architecture and the museums are filled with works many hundreds of years old, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection comes as a bolt from the blue. Enjoy modern works by Picasso and Miro in this charmingly small riverside museum.
Taking a step back in time in a classical mask shop: Venice suffers from no shortage of mask shops. The beautiful and otherworldly masks at La Bottega dei Mascareri bewilder with their intricate craftsmanship while conjuring up thoughts of the magnificently elaborate balls of yesteryear.
Climbing up the Loggia dei Cavalli: While the Basilica di San Marco is a hugely impressive cathedral in its own right, a visit here should always take in a trip up the Loggia dei Cavalli. While the stairs put many off, getting up close and personal with the Basilica’s fabulous mosaics more than make up for a little exertion.
Sampling a Bellini in their spiritual home: The barmen in Harry’s Bar invented the Bellini, a peach and champagne concoction that is still proudly served in this stately old venue. Prices here are steep but visitors lap up the enigmatic sense of style that has drawn the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin here for well over half a century.