Doge’s Palace in Piazza San Marco // © 2015 Thinkstock
Feature image (above): Consider visiting Venice, Italy during Carnival // © 2015 Thinkstock
For 10 years, Monogram’s local host Dajana has offered Venice visitors tips on where to find great coffee, how to avoid cruise-ship crowds and more. Over a lunch of freshly grilled fish and wine (naturally), she shared suggestions for a few days in historic Venice.
A tourist activity that is actually worth the hype:
A gondola ride. Gondolas are not invented boats — they were the main transportation in the region during the 11th and 12th centuries. People would dock their boats in front of their houses and enter via the canal, not through the courtyard.
I often explain to guests that it is very expensive to be a gondolier because there is a limit to the number that can operate in the canals, and licenses are often passed down from generation to generation.
Top spots for a walk or meal:
I recommend guests visit Campo Santa Margherita in the district of Dorsoduro. There is a main square here where locals, university students and travelers converge. It’s a great place for a Venetian night out. There are also beautiful restaurants and bars in Cannaregio, which is also home to the Jewish Ghetto.
An opportunity sightseers often miss:
Thousands flock to take photos of the Bridge of Sighs, but surprisingly few think to walk through it. The bridge is accessible with a general admission ticket to Doge’s Palace, one of the most important sites in the city.
Once at the palace, climb the Golden Staircase and visit the map room, where giant model globes and wall maps, created by Venetian navigators during the Renaissance, are on display.
On losing your way:
Maps are great, but please don’t walk around Venice with your face in one — you will lose the whole charm of the city. Plus, you are allowed to get lost here. There are no cars, no crazy scooters — it’s very safe, even late into the night.
At the end of the day, traveling is not about snapping photos. It’s about the experience. If you don’t get lost, what stories will you have to tell?