With Valentine’s Day looming, it is the perfect time to book a romantic trip away. The city of Venice, emerging from the Venetian Lagoon like a mythological entity lost in time, is for me the most romantic place on earth. Having spent a month there, and visited on numerous occasions, it holds a particularly special place in my heart. This is my guide of the most romantic things to do, in the world’s most romantic city.
1. Coffee, Croissants and the Piazza San Marco at Dawn
Strolling through the quiet Venetian alleyways at dawn, and experiencing the central Piazza with no one but your loved one, is utterly romantic. So, with a coffee in one hand and a pastry in another, head to the Piazza for 8.30am. My favorite Caffeterria is Goppion Caffeterria near the Rialto, as its apricot croissants and cappuccinos are absolutely delicious! Sit on the steps beneath Napoleon’s colonnade, and whilst tucking into your thoroughly Italian breakfast, revel in the scene before you – the Basilica, Campanile, Doge’s Palace, and Procuratie. Watch how the rising sun illuminates the golden domes of the Basilica. Listen as the bells of the Campanile echo through the quiet, empty streets. You both are their only witnesses, and for a moment, the Piazza and city are completely yours. To share in this moment is the most romantic thing in the world.
2. Dinner, Cocktails, and Dancing in the Piazza San Marco at Midnight
A delicious dinner beside one of the canals, tasting the delicacies of the Venetian seafood cuisine, is the perfect romantic way to end a day of exploring. Da Raffaele, which offers delicious food, candlelit tables, and a canal side view, is my first choice. After an exquisite bowl of freshly made pasta, stroll towards the Piazza and you will be greeted by live classical music, showcased by the competing café orchestras. Take a seat at Café Florien, the oldest Café in the world, order an aperitif (the famous Bellini’s are particularly moreish!), and immerse yourself in the moment. Enrapt in each other’s company, join the other couples dancing to the music in the square beneath the stars. Trust me, the experience is magical.
The area of Dorosduro is full of romantic things to do. The vast Church of Santa Maria della Salute offers the perfect romantic spot beside the Lagoon to soak up the Mediterranean sun. And the Peggy Guggenheim Collection boasts a beautiful balcony from which to view the Grand Canal, and famous gelaterias provide delicious gelato to indulge in. Gelateria Nico, which still serves its classic Praline with whipped cream, makes particularly yummy gelato! After exploring the area, take a stroll over the Accademia Bridge, which offers a romantic view of the Grand Canal and Lagoon. Try to go at sunset! Watch how the setting sun creates golden stepping-stones on the rippling water, and illuminates the beautiful palazzos as it creates shadows of passing gondolas. The scene is truly mesmerizing, and 100% guaranteed romantic.
5. Murano and Torcello
A visit to the islands of Murano and Torcello, situated near Venice in the Venetian Lagoon, is a perfect romantic day trip. Murano is infamous for its beautiful colored glass, and walking around the island you will come across many glass-making factories. Pop in, and you will not only be able to witness live glass making, but also take a freshly made piece home (once its cooled of course!). Once you have spent time in Murano, make your way to the island of Torcello, which founded in the 5th century, is older than Venice. Have a delicious lunch at the Locanda Cipriani, which is situated near the ancient Basilica of Santa Maria Dell’ Assunta. Enjoy the famous food and delicious wine, and then visit the 7th century Basilica, which boasts exquisite Byzantine mosaics. As the island is much quieter than Venice and offers such rich history and beauty, it is a thoroughly romantic and intimate experience.
5. Water Taxi in Venice and the Venetian Lagoon
Experiencing Venice from the water is the go to movie romance. Although expensive, hiring a water taxi and travelling by boat around the city and into the Lagoon is worth its price, particularly at night. Relax as the boat traverses up the Grand Canal, giving you a beautiful view of the medieval palazzos and their pretty balconies, often decorated with plentiful flowers. Once out into the lagoon look back towards the city, and watch as it shrinks away into the distance, its lights twinkling like little stars. If you are particularly lucky, you will have a full moon, which, casting a silver shimmering shadow on the water, will make it the most romantic thing you will ever experience.
Images sourced from Pinterest