Introduction to Venice: a pocket guide by your Venice photographer

Introduction to Venice: the basics


AIRPORT: Marco Polo Airport (VCE) Treviso Airport (TSF)

GREAT FOR: couples in love, art lovers, foodies, solo travelers

ACQUA ALTA (HIGH TIDE): from October to January

BEST TIME TO VISIT: year-round

Fun facts about Venice

  • Venice has the shape of a fish!
  • Venice is built on 121 small islands connected by 436 bridges
  • The San Marco bell tower collapsed in 1902 and was rebuilt to be exactly the same
  • The first woman in the world to graduate University was born in Venice in 1646
  • Casinò di Venezia is the world’s oldest casino and opened in 1638

Venice: a little bit of history

The best way to enjoy your time in Venice is to learn something about the history of the city.

The Republic of Venice was one of the longest lasting Republic in history (1100 years!) and one of the greatest trading powers in European history. Venice was the European end of the Silk Road trade route which moved goods all the way from China.

The architecture here is stunning: Venetian Gothic is a confluence of Italian Gothic and Byzantine architecture, with elements from the Middle and Far East.

Top 5 things to do in Venice

  • Get lost in the narrow roads at night or in the early morning: you’ll find magic
  • Visit Piazza San Marco and discover the Castello neighborhood behind it
  • Try Venetian rowing and learn about traditional boats
  • Visit at least one museum: there’s one for each taste
  • Have a long aperitivo with spritz and cicchetti

To learn more about Venice and keep the Pocket Guide with you, visit my Instagram account:

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Did you know that Venice has the shape of a fish? And that the oldest casino in the world is the Venice Casino? Or Maybe you are more interested in knowing what are the best restaurants and osterie in Venice? Here is an introduction to Venice! I tried to condense some basic info, some history and a lot of stuff that will make your time in Venice easier. Written by a local (me) with inputs from other locals. For anyone planning a visit: read it, save it and use it. _______________ #guide #veniceguide #venice #veniceitaly #visitvenice #travelinspiration #venicecanals #wheretoeatitaly #italy #honeymooninitaly #italyhoneymoon #venicepocketguide #veniceitaly #veniceinspiration

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Sustainable Venice: 5 things you can do to be a good tourist in Venice

Sustainable tourism in Venice: why it is necessary right now

Sustainable tourism in Venice is not a recommendation anymore, but a necessity. Venice has lived through coronavirus, as any other city in the world, and it is looking forward to a different approach to tourism. There was also the exceptional high tide in November 2019 and it happened in 2018 too: you have probably seen photos of people almost sinking in Piazza San Marco.

Venice is magical and frail: it is built on a very complicated and marvelous system of wood and bricks. If you are going to visit Venice, you might not know a lot about the acqua alta. Tides are perfectly normal, but the extreme water level, covering all squares and ground floor houses, is not normal and it can be very dangerous in the long term.

There are many factors leading to the worsening of the high tides through the years. One of those is certainly global warming. And each one of us can help with that: you can do little things everyday to make it better and advocate for responsible environmental policies as well.

Another one is the excess of cement in the Veneto region. We have one of the worst environmental situations in Italy. We have seen many times that when you mess with the rivers, this is what you get: floods. It happened everywhere, from mountain villages in the Dolomites to the venetian lagoon: this is not limited to Venice.

But Venice is special because it is not just a property of the people who live here: it is an incredible world heritage. We really don’t know how long it will be before Venice sinks

5 things you can do to be a good tourist in Venice

A lot of people ask me: what can we do, as tourists? There are some simple things you can do to be a good tourist in Venice. Here are five points:

1. First of all spend more time in Venice

We have too many one-day tourists, who don’t get to see what the city offers. Even The Economist talks about this trend. A good way to spend time here is booking experiences with locals, such as the couple photoshoot (that’s me!) or a bacaro tour.

2. Avoid platforms like Airbnb and Booking, choose a hotel and call to book directly

An incredible number of houses in Venice is now rented on Airbnb, thus making it impossible for locals to find housing at a reasonable price. Airbnb is known for pushing permanent residents out of historic city centres and aiding a trend in ‘Disneyfication’ in places such as Venice (read the article on The Telegraph). Booking is a company based in the Netherlands, a fiscal paradise, that evades local taxes. They push the prices down and make the tourism industry worse.

3. Find an Osteria or Bacaro with real Venetian food

Here you can find some tips, and one day I will write my own guide to help you choose. Avoid chain restaurants that are turning Venice into a big mall. Venice has so much to offer for a truly amazing culinary experience, you really don’t need Burger King.

4. Don’t buy cheap souvenirs

If it’s glass and it’s cheap, it’s not made in Venice! Sorry!!! Those shops are replacing all other locals shops, like the shoemaker or the minimarket, places where you can meet real Venetians and have an authentic experience. Less local shops, less inhabitants, and less people to take care of the city. As simple as that.

5. Explore beyond Venice

Start from the islands tour, Murano, Burano, Torcello; then visit the Lido, Venice’s own beach, the place where the oldest Film Festival was born and where you can still meet your favourite movie stars every year at the beginning of September. Then you can do a wine tasting tour in the prosecco area, go ski on the Dolomites, and explore nearby cities like Verona and Vicenza. It will take you less than 2 hours to reach most of these cities and it is really worth it!

Zhi Qi + Yunwei | Marriage proposal for a young couple in love

Marriage proposal for a young couple in love

Yunwei carefully planned his marriage proposal in Venice on his girlfriend’s birthday. We exchanged emails for a couple of months to be sure we could find the right spot and the right time of day. As usual, I am happy to give guidance: most of the couples who write me have never been to Venice before! We decided to meet in San Giorgio island and then have a gondola ride on the Grand Canal. He wanted to plan a fun day with Zhi Qi and ask her to marry him in the most romantic possible way.

A beautiful love story of 8 years

Yunwei and Zhi Qi met while in high school, in Singapore. I photographed them and created a video to celebrate their love, and make memories of their big decision to get married. It was a pleasure to see such a beautiful couple!

Happy to spend the rest of their lives together, exploring hand in hand. ⁠They have been together for 8 years now (and yes, they are still as young as they look!). He had spent some time in Europe to complete his naval studies at University, so he knew a lot about Venice and its history!

It felt right for them to be taking the first photographs in the island of San Giorgio. Here there are two harbours managed by Compagnia della Vela, and an incredible view over St. Mark’s Basilica. After San Giorgio we headed to the other side to take a gondola.

Once we reached the Grand Canal, Zhi Qi was amazed by the view of the Rialto bridge. Here Yunwei proposed. She knew it was going to happen, but she still couldn’t stop the tears. It was so raw and emotional, a beautiful moment.’t stop the tears. It was so raw and emotional, a beautiful moment.

Mo + Note | Honeymoon photoshoot at sunset

Honeymoon photoshoot in a magical Venice

Honeymoon in Venice is something you will always remember. A couples photoshoot to celebrate the occasion is a great idea! Especially if you have been waiting a long time for this trip, and you want to bring some of those memories home with you.

Mo and Note are a beautiful couple from Thailand who got married almost a year ago. At that time they couldn’t go on a proper honeymoon: Note is a soldier for the King of Thailand, and he didn’t have a lot of time to travel. When they finally decided to do it, they chose southern Europe and Italy was the destination they were dreaming about. They saw a lot of Switzerland and northern Italy in just a couple of weeks: the Dolomites, Verona, and finally Venice. Venice was the perfect location for a honeymoon photography session.

San Marco Venice Elegant honeymoon in Venice magical spring sunset photoshoot Venice photographer

A spring sunset in Venice has so many nuances

Since they were traveling by car, they ended up being late than we anticipated. Luckily the sunset at the end of May, in Venice, is very long. I love it when I am to be able to photograph at this time of the day: all the colors are changing so fast and every minute is different from the one before.

Mo and Note booked a room at the beautiful Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace, a place I know very well because it used to be the main building of my University when I was studying in Venice! It is now completely restored and so different from the palace I once knew. The hotel is close to Fondamenta Zattere ai Gesuati, and here we started our photoshoot.

A warm and orange sunset lit every picture. Both of them were tired from a day of travel, but they managed to immerse themselves in the beauty of a brand new city, Venice. We walked between the area of Accademia and San Marco, crossing the Accademia bridge with its famous view over Salute Church. Saint Mark’s square was very busy but that didn’t take away the magic.

Piazza San Marco Venice Elegant honeymoon in Venice magical spring sunset photoshoot Venice photographer

We ended our tour with a fun taxi ride back to the hotel, when the sun was almost out of the sky. I gave them a lot of recommendations for restaurants and places to visit during their short time in Venice.

Venice Elegant honeymoon taxi boat ride magical spring sunset photoshoot Venice photographer

Katie + Geoff | Romantic honeymoon in Venice

Romantic honeymoon photoshoot at sunrise in Venice

Honeymoon in Venice is such a classic. A quiet spring morning in the heart of the city, Piazza San Marco with a shining sun and a little breeze to keep us happy, after weeks of rain. Venice during the month of May can be both incredibly warm or rainy and impossible. But this was just a perfect early morning.

This romantic walk with Katie and Geoff started in St. Mark’s square and ended in the Santa Croce neighborhood, more than a couple of hours later. When the company is good, you don’t realize how time flies! We talked about the city, what to do and where to eat, what it’s like to really live here, and I gave them a few ideas on places to visit afterwards. Their smiles and their wonder in front of  the beauty of Venice’s architecture was so sincere, I took a lot of candid pictures for them to bring home.

[By the way, if you want to know more about Venice’s neighborhood, check out this Guide compiled by Culture Trip, to which I contributed with my photographs]

A honeymoon spent exploring the North of Italy

Katie and Geoff explored more than one city. Katie works as a wedding planner in Washington DC so she knows all about ceremonies and celebrations (check out her website if you live in the area). Geoff works for an Italian company in the US. This company has offices in Bassano del Grappa, not far from Venice, and Geoff has a lot of friends there. So they spent most of their Italian honeymoon in the north of Italy and they loved it. When we met, they had been married for less than a couple of weeks and emotions were so easy to capture with photography.

Romantic honeymoon photoshoot in Venice Couple in Castello Neighborhood Venice spring sunrise couple photography Venice Photographer Love + Adventure Photoshoots in Venice
Just married and enjoying every moment in Venice

The honeymoon trip to Venice was just an excuse for a romantic photoshoot. As they told me, they have a photoshoot every year, to make memories of their relationship through the years.  I made them walk so much I had to ask them to stop me! As it happens with most couples photoshoots, we decided to take photographs in Piazza San Marco, Riva degli Schiavoni. Then we walked inside the Castello neighborhood. We got to the Rialto bridge and had an amazing coffee at Caffé del Doge, founded in 1952 and still the best hidden coffee in Venice.

Once we decided to say goodbye, I walked with them inside the Santa Croce neighborhood, one of the main sestiere in Venice. There is no shortage of things to do here: you can choose to spend your day lounging in beautiful gardens, exploring museums, discovering the cuisine or gliding through the canals. Our romantic couple photoshoot was just the beginning of a magical day in Venice.

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