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Top 10 romantic things to do in Venice

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Book a Venice hotel and be swept away by romantic Venice. With its gondola rides, opera and lavish baroque buildings, Venice oozes romance from every piazza, bridge and canal.

A gondola ride for two

There’s nothing more romantic than punting slowly past beautiful baroque and Renaissance buildings. Pick up a gondola at any of the main bridges – the Rialto or Accademia. Just look out for the driver’s boater hat and striped shirt.

A boat ride to the islands

Take a motorboat a few miles across the Venetian lagoon to the unspoilt islands nearby. Wander Burano’s streets of pastel houses and bargain with lace sellers or shop for signature coloured glass ornaments on Murano.

Follow Casanova’s footsteps

See romantic Venice through the eyes of one of the world’s most famous lovers, Casanova. Sip wine at Do Spade bar on Calle de Spade, near the Rialto Bridge, where he met his lovers. Or visit the Doge’s Palace, his prison home until he escaped.

Do Spade, Calle do Spade, San Polo 860, Venice

Sunset on St Mark’s Square

Wonder at the sheer scale of the domes of the Basilica San Marco and the ornate Doge’s Palace on Venice’s romantic central square. Wander between the arcades past street orchestras to Caffè Florian for tea on the terrace.

St Mark’s Square, Venice

Venetian art at the Church of the Frari

For passionate, religious masterpieces by Venetian painter Titian head to Church of the Frari. This old Gothic church in the low-key San Polo district is a Renaissance art gallery. Stroll hand-in-hand with your lover through hidden alleyways and quiet squares on the way.

Campo dei Frari, 30125, Venice

Exploring the Dorsoduro

Next to the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro district, the canals and streets narrow and the city becomes a village. Shop in quiet alleys for romantic gifts like Venetian masks and Murano glass.

Dorsoduro district, Venice

Grand Canal views from Venice’s bridges

Make sure you’re out of your Venice hotel in time to catch the Grand Canal light up at sunset from the majestic, 16th century Rialto Bridge. Meander past its archway shops selling handmade gifts. Walk over the wooden Accademia Bridge for a romantic afternoon’s browsing of contemporary art at the Peggy Guggenheim museum.

Rialto Bridge, Venice 

A lazy lunch on Torcello

Follow writer Ernest Hemingway’s wanderings and drift on a waterbus over the marshes to inspiring Torcello island, 10km from St Mark’s Square. Amble past the old Byzantine cathedral to Locanda Cipriani restaurant for an idyllic Italian lunch on the terrace under the shady pergolas. 

Piazza S. Fosca, 29-30142, Torcello, Venice 

Views from the Campanile

Look out over the maze of red rooftops and the endless lagoon from St Mark’s Campanile bell tower, 99 metres above the square. Take the lift to the top on a clear day for views of the Dolomite mountains. 

St Mark’s Campanile, St Mark’s Square, Venice 

Performances at Theatre La Fenice

Swoon over a romantic ballet or opera performance as you settle into your seat in the gold balconies of this restored opera house. Start your evening with a romantic waterbus cruise past palaces on the Grand Canal to Santa Maria del Giglio - the nearest stop to the theatre. 

Campo S. Fantin 1965, 30124, Venice