Valentine’s Day In Venice
Enthralled with its playful past and completely at one with the sea, Venice is one of the dreamiest destinations for couples to visit anytime of the year. However, there is nothing more romantic than being in Venice with your partner on Valentine’s Day or ‘Il Giorno di San Valentino.’ Venice’s numerous boats instead of cars, buses, taxis, and motorbikes, winding canals instead of roads, whimsical bridges instead of crosswalks, and nonsensical medieval streets allow couples to revel in one another as they explore and get lost together. Let the magical power of Venice inspire and intoxicate. There are countless captivating places to kiss and who knows, maybe you will even find the perfect place to propose.
Celebrate Upon Arrival
As soon as you and your partner arrive, you will sense Venice’s picturesque past. Permeated with memories of bustling spice markets, thriving trade, elegant masked balls, and lavish fashions, Venice conceals the details of countless love stories, while revealing a subtle aura of sweet romance.
Whether you come by plane to Marco Polo Airport or by train to Santa Lucia Station, take a water taxi for the most romantic route to your accommodation. Buy taxi tickets at the airport’s arrivals area or book an available taxi parked outside when you exit the train station. Akin to limousines, water taxis have cushioned leather interiors and small decks with outside seating for warmer weather. Small, buy streamlined with wood-lined hulls, they are the most regal looking and fastest of Venice’s boats.
Keep in mind that water taxis are the most expensive way to get around Venice. Going from the airport to the center costs about €110 and riding around Venice can be anywhere from €40 to €80. If a water taxi is above your price range, the romantic atmosphere will not be completely lost, because you will still have to use a boat to get into town, but instead it will be a water bus or ‘vaporetto.’ One-way ‘vaporetti’ tickets cost €7.50 each and all-day passes are €20.
Best Accommodation for Couples
|Photo by Urmi (License: Creative Commons BY)
Venice is full of the finest luxury hotels, trendy boutique hotels, and elegant, bohemian apartments. The ideal accommodation for every couple can easily be found.
Along the Grand Canal, the stylish Hotel L’Orologio Venezia is offering a special Valentine’s package from February 11th to the 16th. It includes enjoying breakfast in bed and receiving a beautiful bouquet of red roses with a handwritten note, a bottle of Prosecco, and divine chocolates paired with fresh berries to share with your valentine in your room.
The Gritti Palace is also situated on the Grand Canal and has impeccable views of the lively activity on the water below. Filled with delightful antiques, rich fabrics, and period paintings, this luxury hotel has a small, but elegant spa that lovers will definitely want to utilize as a Valentine’s Day surprise.
Previously owned by a renowned art collector and only a ten minute walk away from Piazza San Marco, Hotel Palazzo Stern is a gorgeously renovated palace with a spacious terrace overlooking the Grand Canal. There is also a romantic rooftop deck with a bubbling jacuzzi.
In Venice’s modern art district of Dorsoduro and only one ‘vaperetto’ stop from Piazza San Marco lies Ca Maria Adele. It is a stylish boutique hotel with eclectic, stylized rooms and a dreamy water entrance off of the canal, so you can ride right in on a gondola.
With only nine warm rooms that have been inspired by the Mediterranean and East Asia, Novecento Boutique Hotel is the definition of intimacy, comfort, and serenity. Just off the busy Piazza San Marco, it is on a serene corner and offers couples the privacy of a small courtyard.
Depending on what you and your partner prefer, renting an apartment may be a more enjoyable and intimate choice. In an apartment, for example, couples can cook an Italian for each other after shopping at the well-stocked Rialto Market. Airbnb has plenty of cozy Venetian apartments perfect for couples. For more glamorous choices book a luxury apartment on Venice Prestige.
Most hotels are located near Venice’s main attractions; the Grand Canal, Piazza San Marco, and Rialto Bridge. These are convenient areas to be based in, they often have incredible views of the canal and are right next to the must-see attractions, but do not overlook exploring the less crowded areas with your sweetie. Some of the most authentic areas are Cannareggio, Santa Croce, Dorsoduro, and Castello. If being away from crowds and popular hotels is more you style, rent an apartment in one of these lesser known areas and feel like true Venetian valentines.
If it is your first time in Venice, get oriented with a private tour of Venice of two of Venice’s treasures; Piazza San Marco with the beautiful basilica and the magnificent Rialto Bridge. Make things exciting by opting for an evening boat and walking tour of Venice where you can peruse sites by foot, then witness a peaceful sunset from the sea, and end the tour by cruising along the infamous Grand Canal.
When in Venice, you must treat each other to a gondola ride together. Make it extra special by bringing a bottle of champagne or a thermos of hot mulled wine. February tends to be brisk, but your attentive gondolier should provide blankets and if you are lucky, his colloquial knowledge of the canals and city, and maybe even some tales of romance.
‘Ponte di Rialto’ or Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal with its white arches and three walkways should not be skipped. Bring your lover here to watch the gondolas below and shop for jewelry, clothes, and trinkets on the main walkway above. The bridge is an idyllic spot to kiss, while watching the sunset as the gentle hum of boat traffic evaporate.
Shining a brilliant white between a palace and a prison, Venice’s most romantic bridge is definitely ’Ponte dei Sospiri’ or the Bridges of Sighs. In the past, this enchanting bridge was the last view of Venice that criminals got on their way to imprisonment or execution. Legend has it that this final image of such delicacy and beauty overhanging the shimmering blue sea water caused prisoners to sigh with longing.
Although not every dish involves fish, naturally Venice is famous for delicious seafood. A typical dish, ‘spaghetti in nero di seppia,’ is freshly caught squid that has been intricately slow-cooked so that the squid ink dyes the pasta black. Another favorite, served with bread for dipping, is ‘baccala mantecato,’ which is dried cod cooked until it is soft enough to whip with oil into a creamy paste.
Order this and some wine to share with your love at a Venetian bar known as a ‘baraco’ before enjoying your main meal. Away from the tourist traps, locals often go for a bite to eat and a drink at ‘baraci’ before lunch or dinner or in the place of eating at a restaurant as they are inexpensive, absolutely authentic, and mouthwateringly good.
To start, try Ca’ d’Oro alla Vedova where you can order piping hot ‘polpette,’ bite-sized pork meatballs, perfect to pair with red wine, or a tasty fish appetizer with a chilled white. There are many restaurants that cater to tourists, so if you see a restaurant with many Italians inside, it is a safe bet that it will have fantastic food.
Constructed in 1792, ‘Le Fenice’ is one of the oldest opera houses in the world. The highceilinged Venetian theater hosts a variety of the most exquisite operas. Even if you and your partner have never seen an opera, it is the perfect excuse to dress up together and be mesmerized by the music.
‘Musica a Palazzo’ stages opera and other musical acts throughout separate halls in the ornate 15th century palace, ‘Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto.’ For the full experience, the audience must wander and waltz from room to room. The small space with different rooms breaks the boundaries between the performers and the audience, allowing people to experience opera from an insider’s perspective.
If you prefer the theater, treat yourselves to a candlelit dinner and live show with musicians, singers, dancers, and acrobats, depending on the evening, at ‘Teatro Avanspettacolo.’ The theater will also be hosting a series of jazzy galas complete with 18th century Carnival costumes and typical Venetian Carnival dishes on the 8th, 10th, and 13th of February.
Italy’s Carnival or ‘Carnivale’ ends on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, so everyone in Venice will already be joyously celebrating before the 14th. Join in by tasting some traditional carnival treats with your sweetie, such as the sugary ‘fritelle’ or small fried doughnuts that date back to the Renaissance.
Spice things up by shopping for Carnival masks with your love, so you can go out at night in disguise. For the real deal, head to Ca’ Macana, one of the few specialist shops which only sells its own gorgeous handmade masks. There are three locations in the area of Dorsoduro, where they also host group mask making courses.
Fully embrace your inner Venetian and ask your partner to a grand ball, the typical celebration of Carnival. The grand Renaissance palace, ‘Palazzo Ca’ Vendramin Calergi’ is hosting Carnival balls complete with extravagant dinners from the beginning of February to the 13th. On the evening of the 14th, they are hosting a classy, casino-themed evening paired with dinner for couples.
Magical Day Trips
If you are in Venice for more than a few days, plan a quick getaway with your partner, by heading to one of the islands in the Venice lagoon.
A popular destination for tourists who have already explored the rest of Venice is ‘Murano,’ the group of seven islands linked by bridges . They are famous for centuries of blowing glass, so buy your sweetheart a handmade glass souvenir to remember your trip for years to come.
The tiny, seemingly untouched island of ‘Torcello’ is attracts visitors with it’s lovely church, ‘Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta’ which has Venetian-style Byzantine mosaics and a tall bell tower flaunting views of the nearby island of Burano. Walk hand in hand over the bridge, ‘Ponte del Diavolo,’ which is said to have been built by the devil centuries back and admire the solid, 5th century stone thrown, ‘Trono di Attila.’
The adorable island of Burano has an array of rainbow colored houses occupied by fishermen and their families. Often there is colorful washing hanging outside and locals conversing while the fish of the day are being brought in. Even the church, ‘Chiesa di San Martino,’ seems to be in good spirits, with its jaunty, leaning bell tower from the 17th century. The island is known for developing lace-making, so it is a perfect place to buy your love something delicately decadent like a traditional lace pillow known as a ‘tombolo.’
As the biggest island in the Venice lagoon, Giudecca is a haven for true Venetians. It is an island for all kinds of lovers, but especially art lovers. Wander the streets filled with inspiring art galleries and exhibition spaces, such as ‘Galleria Michela Rizzo’ and ‘La Casa Dei Tre Oci.’ With your partner, admire the angelic domes of the churches, ‘Il Redentore’ and ‘Le Zitelle.’
Enjoy the romance of Venice! Happy Valentine’s Day!