Hidden Venice

March 5, 2015 / Local Interest
Venice, Veneto
ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice (7)

Most tourists who visit Venice do so in a tour group and never get to experience what’s really there, hidden in those mysterious narrow alleyways.

ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice (8)

Venice is a city made for walkers and it is difficult to get lost for long. Simply pick up a handy pocket-sized map at the railway station or at one of the numerous newspaper stands which dot the city, and off you go.

ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice (4)

If the crowds become too much for you – season Venice often becomes a hot, jostling nightmare – then nip down a back alley and keep walking. And walking. Seems unbelievable I know, but it is truly easy to find areas of the city that are tourist free and quiet at all times of the year.

ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice (3)

Walk through the narrow, labyrinthine streets and cross some of the hundreds of small, silent bridges that criss-cross the canals.

ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice (1)

Near the Rialto Bridge and the eponymous markets, you will find lots of little streets that are unmarked on your map. These little alleyways are full of tiny bacari (wine bars) where you can pull in for a delicious cicchetti (tapas-like snacks) and an ombra (glass of the local wine).

ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice 2

Stop at a bar and have a coffee with the locals or buy a delicious pastry at one of the many pasticceria (pastry shops) which dot the city. And visit in winter when it’s shrouded in fog.

ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice (5)

Hop on a vaporetto (water bus) and head to the island of Giudecca.

ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice (2)Wander around the old – and not so old – streets and have a look around. And don’t forget the islands of Murano and Burano, where once you venture off the tourist trails you will find quiet areas too.

ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice 3

When visiting Venice, don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path. Dive down the nearest alleyway and enjoy!

ornaoreilly.com l Hidden Venice (6)

by Orna O’Reilly

Orna is a former interior designer who practised in South Africa, Mozambique and Ireland. Now writing full time, she moved from Ireland to the Veneto area of Italy in 2013.

She writes her way around Italy by blogging about it (at Ornasite) and is currently writing a novel set in Venice. You can follow her tweets @OrnaOR, and her Travel & Design page on FB.

20 Responses to “Hidden Venice”

  1. Angela De Marco Manzi

    I have only visited Venice in the winter. Mysterious, quiet, tourist free. Glorious. Thank you for the lovely post.

  2. Michael Lynch

    Some sound advice I was given aboutVenice was by an 80 year old former native.
    He said to” buy the best map of Venice I could find – it won’t help much but it will make you feel better”.
    The joy of Venice IS to get lost so you can find the hidden treasures

  3. patricia Cooney

    Wonderful photos one of my favorite places I visited. Thanks for taking me back!

  4. Gorgeous photos and great ideas — for almost any region of Italy! I just bought a little apartment in Sulmona (Abruzzo) and encourage people to do the same.

    • Deborah

      I am so interested in purchasing an apartment in that region. … but was told not to do it. . Do you have any suggestions that would be helpful.

  5. Ginny Siggia

    A change of flight plans through Venice gave me a mere overnight in town. After settling in the hotel it was too late to visit St Mark’s, but it was a grand evening for walking and excursion by vaporetto. (The canali after dark are positively spooky. Surely there is a good mystery waiting to be written in this setting …) Dinner was trickier; by the time I stepped back onto the dock, it was surprisingly late. An open-air hosteria announced its offerings, with English translation, on a small chalkboard. The most memorable item was “Drowned little octopus.” A simple, pleasant meal in a setting out of Brigadoon — did I dream it? Will it be there when I return?

  6. Gian Banchero

    Even during the summer rush it’s still possible to find hidden quite spots in Venice, one only has to take a side alley off a main route to instantly go back centuries in time, again, this can be done during the height of the tourist season, just be daring enough to get off the beaten track, there are so many historical sights of immense interest just waiting to be discovered. Interestingly in these hidden pockets it’s seemingly impossible to find another tourist.

  7. Antoinette Shapiama

    Great photos! Venice is special for me because of my family’s roots in the Veneto region, and I’ve been there several times. Many memories!

  8. Victoria De Maio

    Ah, favoloso! Si! Get “lost” indeed! I love standing on a bridge or sitting in a cafe watching travelers examine their maps and looking around a bit befuddled -I think La Serenissima finds it a bit amusing, too.
    Lovely post, Orna – grazie! (Ci vediamo li in maggio!)

  9. Teresa

    We armchair travelers have to content ourselves with reading about our fantasy destinations: a few years ago, I read John Berendt’s “The City of Falling Angels.” The author had long wanted to see the city off-season and tourist-free. He happened to arrive the day after the fire which destroyed La Fenice, the city’s opera house. He reports his many interesting findings. I only wish he’d included photos of each palazzo his visited, often detailing its history. Great book even without the photos.

  10. marianna raccuglia

    Thank you for the article AND photos. I have traveled these alleys-so lovely

  11. marianna raccuglia

    Your photos are stunning! We love Venice – our favorite place is the Pensione Accademia

  12. Thank you so much everyone for your wonderful comments. I’m afraid I don’t receive your notifications due to a glitch which must be rectified. Loving living here in the Veneto, Italy. Orna

  13. Nancy Dye

    We will be in Venice July 2016 for the first time and I wonder if it is safe to wander on our own at all hours, being active senior citizens who speak only English.


Leave a Reply