It’s not difficult to tick off Venice’s main attractions in a day; but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hang around to explore a bit more. Once you’ve taken a trip up the Grand Canal and visited St Mark’s Square, what else should you check out? Here are our picks for the top five Venice off the beaten track sights, that you should definitely check out while you are there.
Top 5 Venice Off The Beaten Track Sights
Murano, the closest of Venice’s islands, is well known for its handmade glass and its convenient location makes it a popular stop for most visitors. Further out, Burano, with its brightly coloured homes and long tradition of lace-making, is equally if not more rewarding. Travel to Torcello and you’ll have a better chance of losing the crowds and see Venice off the beaten track sights, especially in low season. Don’t miss the mosaics at Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta and the Ponte del Diavolo, one of only two bridges in Venice that doesn’t have parapets.
Filling the gap between the lagoon and the Grand Canal, the 16th century Jewish Ghetto of Cannaregio is surprisingly quiet given how close it is to the main drag. A visit to the Jewish Museum will help you make sense of the district’s past, and from there it’s easy to tour the area’s three synagogues. Duck down the back alleys to reach shops selling everything from vintage goods to meat or veg. Cannaregio’s also got some of the best bars in town, so plan to start your cicchetti crawl here.
Rialto’s market area
The Rialto Bridge is heaving with tourists snapping selfies day and night. When you step off the bridge and into the market, the proportion of locals increases dramatically. Move away from the water; duck down a couple of alleyways; and you could find you’ve got the place to yourself. Grab a glass of wine in Cantina do Mori, the oldest bacaro (bar) in Venice and contemplate the many copper pots that hang from the ceiling as you plan your next move.
Libreria Alta Acqua
You might think it odd to travel to Venice and then seek out a bookstore, particularly if your command of Italian isn’t up to the task of reading anything. But the Libreria Alta Acqua isn’t just any bookshop. Inside, you’ll find piles of reading material stacked in redundant bathtubs and even a gondola. Pop out the back and there, from the top of a staircase fashioned from – you guessed it – a pile of books, is a fabulous view of the canal.
Every Thursday, inmates from the women’s prison on Giudecca Island spread their vegetables and sell to passers-by. The prison is housed in a former Augustinian convent which dates from about 1545. It’s not the only such building on the island; numerous convents and monasteries have been repurposed as warehouses, mills and breweries.