Venice by night has a completely different character compared to the day time city as its well-known spots such as San Marco (St Mark’s Square) has said goodbye to the crowds of the day and as the moon rises, they become filled with romantic charm. There are many good restaurants to enjoy and those further away from San Marco are better priced! Venetian specialties include squid ink pasta (which is charcoal grey) risi e bisi – rice with peas, risotto, and Tiramisu which is said to have been created in the city.
1. Simply wander
Once darkness falls on Venice, the city is much quieter which makes moving around much easier. It is fun just to wander around soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the wonderful aromas of Italian food. San Marco looks very different in the glow of its street lanterns and the Rialto Bridge is beautifully lit and looks very romantic. Why not pop into one of the restaurants on a quiet street and enjoy a truly authentic meal?
2. Explore the Doge’s Palace
If you run out of time during the day to visit the Doge’s Palace (Palazzio Ducale), the good news is that it remains open on Monday and Saturday evenings until 10.00 p.m.
The Palace is one of the most instantly recognizable buildings in Venice, built in the Venetian Gothic style and containing an interesting museum. The Palace was built in the 14th century and was the residence of the Doge (the elected leader in Venice) and the seat of government with a court and prison.
3. A wonderful night at Teatro la Fenice
Designed by Giannontonio Selva, this beautiful theatre was built in 1790. Teatro la Fenice – meaning the Phoenix – is today regarded as one of the top theatres in Europe and is a prestigious venue. The theatre is opulently decorated and it is where works by Rossini, Verdi, and Bellini were premiered. Today, the theatre has a busy program with ballet, opera, and orchestral performances as well as chamber music and other dance performances. The theatre also annually hosts two major fund-raising events; a private ball in March and the Fenice Day Gala each November.
4. Be serenaded by a Gondolier
If you would like a romantic and costly experience that can only be enjoyed in Venice then why not take a gondola ride and be serenaded by your gondolier as you pass by all the famous landmarks in the moonlight? It is certainly a very novel and special way to see this beautiful city at night and for those who wish, there is the chance to travel by gondola to a restaurant and be collected a couple of hours later by your singing gondolier!
5. Sip an Espresso at Café Noir
Café Noir in San Pantalon is a popular place where people congregate to drink coffee or a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Prices are very reasonable so it is always busy with Venetians and along with drinks there are some delicious pastries and snacks to enjoy too.
6. Try your luck at Casino di Venezia
This casino is the oldest one in the world as it was established in 1538 and still attracts people from all over the world. Since 1959, the casino has been situated in the Vendramin Calegi Palazzo (Palace) in the Cannaregio quarter of the city. The casino has over 500 gaming rooms where all the classic casino games of Chemin de Feu, French Roulette, and Blackjack are played. For those who would like to dine first, there is a stylish restaurant on the first floor, dedicated to the composer Haydn.
7. Drink at the iconic Harry’s Bar
Harry’s Bar was opened in 1931 by Giuseppe Cipriani and it was such a great success that a whole chain of similar bars was opened worldwide. Its clientele has included the rich and famous -Charlie Chaplin, Woody Allen, Orson Wells, etc. It was in Harry’s Bar that the popular Venetian cocktail Bellini was first created using Prosecco and fresh peach juice and for those who feel it is vital to enjoy a Bellini in such an important place, they are available at €12 a glass! One of the bar’s most popular new cocktails is the Extremely Dry Martini which is made with ten parts gin to one part vermouth.
8. Enjoy a drink with a view at the Skyline
Situated on the 8th floor of the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice hotel in Giudecca is the stylish Skyline Bar which has a good reputation for its cocktails and an even bigger one for its amazing views of the city. Open until 01.00 every night, the Skyline is a lovely place to relax with a glass or two of Prosecco or one of its many hand-crafted traditional cocktails which include Giudecca which is the bar’s version of the Manhattan cocktail.
9. Relax with a great cocktail at the Time Social Bar
This is another good place for cocktail enthusiasts as there is a fantastic selection of cocktails to choose from – many made with seasonal ingredients. The bar also has a good selection of local wines and non-alcoholic drinks for those who would like to linger, there are good bar snacks available too. Interestingly, the seating is configured in a social way that gets everyone talking – hence the phrase ‘social bar‘.
10. Enjoy great jazz
The Venice Jazz Club is the only one in Venice so it is very popular – be sure to make your reservation! Situated near Campo Margherita, the club is small, friendly and has really good jazz musicians – including the pianist who owns the bar! The music covers the whole jazz genre including classic jazz, Latin Jazz and Bossa Nova. The place opens at 7.00 p.m. and there are two hours of great jazz starting at 9.00 p.m. there are food options including some great desserts! The entrance costs €20 and this includes your first drink.