I can’t tell you how many times I’ve drifted off into a day dream and found myself wandering through the streets of Venice…
Venice has always been right at the top of my list, but somehow I’ve never quite made it.
When I was a little girl my grandparents returned from a cruise to what I thought at the time was some far away land, and brought me home a small plastic gondola covered in cute little colourful lights and from there the obsession began. I always knew that I would make it to Venice someday and when I finally opened an email with an invitation to visit this beautiful Italian backdrop with the eminent watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre at the end last year, it didn’t take long to ask myself how best to spend 3 days in Venice.
Sadly though I couldn’t take you with me, so to make up for it, I have put together a little something special just for you. Below is my secret insiders guide full of the best ways to enjoy all that Venice has to offer, especially if you have a limited amount of time on the ground. I have created this ultimate to do list (and ultimate to eat list), based on tips from friends and colleagues in the industry who are in the know, as well as my personal experience from an insta-friendly perspective.
Arghhh Venice, you’re definitely one of my favourite locations that I’ve ever visited and although I’m not sure when I’ll be back, please show my favourite readers how to have a good time … xx
EAT & DRINK
When in Italy, food is of course at the very top of the to do list (and you know, just life in general). I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the food scene in Venice as tourist destinations can sometimes be a little lacking on the cuisine front. However, if my slightly too tight pants on the way home were any indication, I’d say we did just fine on the Italian carb consumption front. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Located right in the tourist centre on the outside of Piazza San Marco, it’s easy to bypass thinking it may be just a regular tourist haunt. But what you’ll find is the friendliest service you can imagine, a buzzing atmosphere, reasonable prices and delicious classic Italian food. We initially stumbled into Falciani to escape the rain and ended up finding an unexpected gem that charmed us so much, we went back for seconds on our last day to get our fix before our flight home.
While Harry’s Dolci is definitely an indulgence, it’s a stop you won’t regret. Located off the main city just a 15 minute water taxi away, it was the perfect place to escape the crowds. Sitting outside, time slipped by much too quickly overlooking the beautiful blue waters of Giudecca Canal and watching the boats pass by us. Not to mention, it’s the perfect place to sip on a Bellini, take photos and spot stylish locals. If like me you’re a seafood lover the menu here is an absolute dream.
Ristorante Al Colombo
After a long hot day of shooting, we stumbled upon this place and settled into table for an afternoon drink (or two.. maybe three). Make the most of the beautiful buildings surrounding Al Colombo and take a seat outside courtyard to enjoy your much deserved afternoon cocktail. It’s a little pricey but the cocktails were delicious and it’s a beautiful spot especially for some of that magical instal-worthy late afternoon light.
When you mention to people that you’re travelling to Venice, inevitably Harry’s Bar will pop up as a recommendation. Famous as being a favourite of Ernest Hemingway and also the home of the Bellini (definitely our new favourite beverage), you didn’t have to tell me twice. After getting slightly lost on the way, we arrived but it took a little longer and a conversion with a friendly Venetian to find the way in. A small door with an inconspicuous ‘Harry’ on the front is the entrance point to one of the most charming restaurants you’re ever likely to have. The interior of Harry’s remains the same as it was when it first opened in 1935 and you’ll spend your time soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying a view of the beautiful St Mark’s Bay waterfront. Clear your afternoon and make plans for a very long lunch, the atmosphere here really is something else and you won’t want to leave.
Paizza San Marco
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go inside to see the main attraction of Saint Mark’s Basilica, but seeing it from the outside and experiencing the Paizza gave us all of the feels. You’ll find the perfect balance of classic architecture, restaurants and pigeons to make for the dream European tourist experience. Make sure to swing by at night time en route to your water taxi, sting quartets await.
We took a few hours away from the main city to spend some time on Lido Beach to shoot a special photography project . The trip from San Marco in the main city to Lido is only 20 minutes in a water taxi and the perfect time time to wear your best sunglasses and live out your best movie scene fantasies. Set aside a few hours to explore the beach and find your favourite spot to hire a classic beach chair and umbrella… Movie scene #2 for the day.
San Clemente Palace Kempinski
We were lucky to be hosted by the wonderful team at Jeager Le Coultre in one of the most beautiful hotels you can imagine. Even if you aren’t a guest here it’s worth visiting to explore the beautiful grounds, gardens and eat at one the their on site restaurants. Instagram stories may have held proof for 24 hours of us spinning around in garden and singing the hills are alive… I believe this is mandatory behaviour when staying here.
This is the my number experience that I would consider as a must-do in Venice, serious instal-content material and also just so romantic even if you’re just cruising with your bestie. You can catch a gondola from almost anywhere in the city and if you’re lucky you can even jump on a gondola from outside the front door of your hotel. I would also recommend a walk along the Grand Canal to the Rialto bridge where you can find a plethora of gondolas waiting to take you on a tour.
The San Samuele is super cute and doted with little stores featuring local artisans and crafts. Also in this area you’ll find some really interesting jewellers and boutique art galleries. San Samuele is an excellent area to shop if you’re searching for that local experience.
If it’s luxury shopping that you’re after Le Mercerie is a beautiful area made up of lots of little streets and it located between the Ponte di Rialto bridge and Piazza San Marco. This area is where you’ll find Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and some of my other favourite luxury brands. The streets are also very pretty and super instal-friendly if you’re in the mood.
Calle Larga XXII street near Piazza San Marco is also a great area for a casual stroll and shop. There are lot’s of cute little local artisans sprinkled between the luxury stores so here you’ll find something for everybody.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a must see and easily accessible even if by gondola. The collection is so impressive with so many big name artists such as Kandinsky, Pollock, Picasso, Dali, Miro all being housed under the one roof. It’s such a beautiful experience and really is just like walking into someone’s home.
The Punta della Dogana is also well worth a visit. Private collector Francois Pinault, a French fashion magnate is thought to have one of the largest private collections of art in the world and if you love Jeff Koons you’re in for a treat.
There’s so much to see in Venice and no way to it all in just three days, especially in the midst of shooting and working with the wonderful Jeager Le Coultre team. Even though we arrived with a long list and had every intention of doing it all… Our favourite places were found by letting ourselves get a little lost and exploring the winding Venetian streets. My best advice is to just give yourself the time to explore and discover your favourite corners for yourself. Venice is full of colour and character and it certainly didn’t disappoint, even after a lifetime of dreaming.
So there you have it, Venice in a 3 day nutshell! Now go and explore and send me all of your photos .. I’m ready to return already.. x
A very special thank you to Jaeger-LeCoultre and the wonderful Illissa for showing this girl such a good time.