It may be after February 14th, but I am still inspired by the month of love! Love is such a wonderful motivator for travel. Whether you are embarking on an epic honeymoon, looking to get away from the kids for a quick getaway, or celebrating a major milestone anniversary – there’s nothing more romantic than experiencing a new place together. And I’m going to share with you where and why you can find the ultimate in romance in Venice.
If you’re looking for a romantic place to get away, your first reaction might immediately go to Paris. Paris – the beautiful city of lights and lovers, with its grandiose architecture and impressive boulevards. And don’t get me wrong, Paris is romance brought to life. But to me? It is Venice that easily wins the title of “Most Romantic City in the World”.
Venice simply oozes mystique and mystery. In its heyday Venice was a wealthy and powerful Republic – known as ‘La Serenissima’, or ‘the Serene’. Its fascinating history includes notable characters like the famous lothario Casanova and worldwide adventurer Marco Polo. Its romantic streets hold hidden secrets waiting to be unmasked as you explore.
Venice is an impossible city – a floating city – built out of the sea, held up by wooden platforms staked into the ground. It is made of 118 islands all connected by 400 bridges! What does that mean for the everyday traveler? It means there are no cars in Venice. The entire city is a labyrinth of bridges to be discovered on foot as you navigate the canals and narrow streets and get lost in its secrets.
Romance and mystery in tradition
Even famous Venice traditions have a certain mystique about them. From its glamorous and elaborately masked Carnival party to its simple way of ordering a glass of wine. Do you know the proper way to ask for a glass of wine in Venice? A local Venetian will say “bere un’ombra”, or “un’ombra di vino” – translating to “drink a shadow” or “a shadow of wine”. Where does this come from?
The story goes that back in the old days, the wine merchants of Venice would set up shop in Piazza San Marco. They would locate themselves in the shade of the Campanile – the Bell Tower – in an attempt not to spoil their wine. As the shadow moved, the merchants moved, too. So when the people were looking for wine, the custom became to say “go and get some shade” instead of “go and grab a glass of wine”. And this tradition continues to stick around today!
Which leads us to where you should have that romantic glass of wine or meal in this mysterious city.
If you are seeking classic Venetian food in a colorful, contemporary setting – this is the restaurant for you. Tuck into the likes of baccalà mantecato or any number of homemade pasta dishes with fresh seafood and vegetables. Great wines, desserts, and, of course, views from the “floating” terrace add to the restaurant’s appeal. Plus, you’ll revel in the romantic ambiance created through its complementary use of crystal, wood, steel, and fur.
Lineadombra is a casual ristorante offering traditional Venetian recipes. The fish of the day is definitely the highlight on the menu. It is utterly perfect for a lazy lunch in the sunshine or an intimate dinner in the evening.
This one-star Michelin restaurant is located directly above Gran Caffè Quadri and boasts a magnificent view of St. Marco’s Square. The atmosphere in the dining room is elegant yet relaxed and the lighting was designed to emphasize both the food and the allure of this historic establishment.
Quadri is housed inside a recently renovated, famous Palazzo in Venice. It serves tasting menus full of creative dishes meant to showcase the treasures found in the Venetian lagoon, strongly influenced by regional Italian cuisine.
The menu is the work of chef Massimiliano Alajmo of Le Calandre restaurant in Padua (a 3 Michelin star establishment) and is based on contemporary interpretations of traditional Venetian dishes, with a special focus on depth of flavour and lightness.
Romantic Locanda Cipriani on Torcello Island
Locanda Cipriani is famous as a tremendous location to hold elaborate events. However, it is equally as impressive for simply enjoying the pleasures of delicious food in a beautiful, tranquil setting where you can enjoy a serene and intimate meal. Ernest Hemingway is just one of the many celebrities to have passed through its doors.
It can be daunting to find a calm, peaceful oasis in the middle of tourist-ridden Venice, but Locanda Cirpriani’s unique location offers a tranquil escape. Having been in operation for 80 years, the staff and service here are at the highest standards.
Romantic Caffè Florian
Caffè Florian is the oldest coffeehouse in the world. Opened in 1720 by Florian Francesconi, it was one of the most famous Bottega da Caffè of the day. Set under the arcades of the Procuratie Nuove in San Marco Square, it is both historic yet contemporary. In fact, it may rightfully claim to be one of the city’s iconic symbols.
Sitting at Caffè Florian, you are doing so much more than enjoying a simple coffee. You are breathing in the history of its unique experience, being moved by the unforgettable sounds of the iconic orchestra, and indulging in one of the most impressive views in the world. All while being pampered by glamorous service and excellent food.
Stop by for a sweet or savory breakfast (or both if you are like me and can’t choose!) before setting off to explore. Otherwise, you can enjoy a light lunch, afternoon tea, or an aperitif before dinner. Alternatively, you can simply end your day here in the magical, romantic surroundings of St. Mark’s Square.
Experimental Cocktail Club
The brainchild of the legendary Experimental Group, Il Palazzo Experimental sits in the heart of the Dorsoduro area of Venice. The Dorsoduro remains slightly off the main tourist path, despite being home to some of the city’s greatest cultural attractions, like the Guggenheim Collection and Galleria dell’Accademia.
Il Palazzo is home to an intimate, 32-room boutique hotel, with the Canal of Giudecca out front and a secret garden in the back. The restaurant is a contemporary, bright ode to Venice. However, the crowning jewel of Il Palazzo has to be its intimate Experimental Cocktail Club, designed as a love-letter to the city by Italian artist Cristina Celestino.
The Experiemental Group is responsible for some of the most impressive cocktail bars and restaurants in city’s around the world like London, Ibiza, New York, and Paris. Likewise, in Venice, you will also discover the latest techniques in mixology in your cocktails.
Fantastic wines and tasty snacks are available, as well, and it makes a perfect stop for before or after-dinner drinks. The bar is cozy and intimate, but you can also be served in the romantic garden that enjoys views of the Ognissanti canal.
Legendary Hotel Danieli – a Luxury Collection hotel – is home to one of the most magical location’s in all of Venice – a panoramic rooftop terrace perfect for starting or ending your day. As soon as the weather allows, the doors open to this enchanting space that boasts the city’s best views – of the Lagoon, the Grand Canal, and its most storied treasures.
Open for cocktails and light snacks, the Bar Terrazza Danieli offers an exquisite setting for al fresco enjoyment. The accompanying restaurant may come with a hefty price tag but the views and the food are worth the splurge. This is the city’s most envied real estate – do not miss it!
Romantic Secrets Across Every Bridge
While these are 6 of our favorite spots to enjoy romance in Venice, there are so many more to explore. Every bridge and narrow street will introduce you to new discoveries. If you’re looking for even more Venice travel inspiration, be sure to check out our “From Grand Canals to Soaring Peaks” sample luxury itinerary, showcasing some of the region’s most exclusive and unique experiences.
And if you’re feeling inspired and ready to plan that dream trip to Italy, you can schedule a complimentary consultation call with us here!