Valentine’s Day may seem like a while away but now is the ideal time to book up something really special for you and your loved one in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Ozel Rowland gets the lowdown on the spectacular sinking city
With a slight chill in the air, weather averages for February are at 5˚C in Venice in Italy but this only gives you the perfect excuse to snuggle up close with your partner – plus you’ll avoid the crowds (and stench) that descends on Venice come the summer.
Venice – dusk shot from the side of Ponte Rialto side © – Abhimanyu
Best places to stay
Opt to stay in an apartment for the ultimate secluded getaway. Venetian Apartments offer a range of properties to suit your budget, with one bedroom apartments starting from £351.50pp for one week. Their properties often come with gorgeous canal views and a beautiful rustic interior, setting the mood for romance. Go for this option and your special moments will go undisrupted.
If wining and dining in a hotel is more your style, Venice is filled with plenty of options that cater to romance and luxury. As voted Traveller’s Choice 2014 for romance, Hotel Moresco is loved for its opulent, spacious rooms and first class service. A bottle of chilled Prosecco awaits your arrival and rooms are sound-proofed and well equipped with a selection of luxury treats, including a Nespresso coffee machine for your morning beverage. Its location is just short a walk away from Piazzale Roma and the Rio Novo railway station allowing easy access into the city.
For a more modest stay, try the intimate settings of the Arcadia Boutique Hotel. With its contemporary designed rooms and attentive service it’s another tried and tested favourite for couples.
Things to do
See the sights
This historical city boasts a handful of world-renowned cultural sights that should top your itinerary during your stay. The magnificent Byzantine architecture of St Mark’s Basilica sitting opposite the Gothic spectacle of Doge’s Palace in Piazza San Marco, and the charming marketplaces dotted across Rialto Bridge are just a few of the typical ‘things to do’ in Venice. But ditch the public transport and make a romantic excursion by simply grabbing a map and walking to your destinations as the surroundings of Venice itself are enough to add an extra touch of amore to your trip. Enjoy a moment of solitude wandering through the medieval pathways and passing by the archaic Venetian townhouses and bridges which make up this great city.
A night of opera
Venice’s most famous opera house Teatro La Fenice is usually first choice for many couple’s seeking an evening of dramatic librettos and theatrical displays, but for a more informal night of grand opera try yourself an evening at Musica a Palazzo. Set in the time-worn Baroque quarters of the Venetian palace Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto, this is a unique opportunity to experience opera just a few feet away from the performers in an atmospheric candle-sit setting.
Touring the Grand Canal
It may be an old cliché but what better way to set the mood than a gondola ride around the Grand Canal? There are many vendors across the city that will take you through the scenic passages of this exquisite water-based city. Despite its rather costly fee, it’s a certain must for couples. Just don’t wait for your gondolier to sing as that is only reserved for the movies.
Where to eat and drink
Avoid the tourist traps around San Marco and savoir a glass of wine in true Venetian spirit in a bacaro. These are small bars where you can get a decent glass of Veneto wine and a small snack for just a couple of euros and is a great way to recoup after a busy afternoon of sightseeing.
For an evening of fine Italian cuisine visit Riviera restaurant which is conveniently situated on the Guidecca Canal in Dorsoduro making for lovely views as you dine with your beau. Fresh buffalo mozzarella topped with white truffle, herb-infused ravioli and quail’s breast stuffed with gingerbread and pomegranate are just a few of the delicious offerings available on the menu.
Otherwise, book a table at the renowned Osteria Da Fiore to experience an outstandingly fresh platter of seafood at Michelin star quality.
A more romantic atmosphere can be found at Bistrot de Venise which boasts a lavish interior and is a favourite for fine-tasting wines. The eatery serves a selection of traditional Venetian dishes and is perfect for couples looking for a dash of culture with their meal.
Time to party
Venice may not be as recognized for its nightlife scene as it is for its history and architecture but it does play host to an exciting social scene. The piazza Campo Santa Margherita in the district of Dorsoduro is a hub of activity and is renowned for its numerous bars and clubs. Start your night off with cocktails in Chet Bar and then move over to Piccolo Mondo which will guarantee you a memorable night on the dance floor.
For a more laid back evening of live music hop over to the Venice Jazz Club instead. While the club is not strictly a restaurant, it does offer a special menu for couples who can get a meal for two and a bottle of wine for 30 euros. The venue is hugely popular amongst tourists and locals alike so booking is strongly advised.