Heading to Venice for a day or more? This post contains a Venice, Italy travel guide, especially for book lovers (since this is a book blog!), based on the one night my husband and I spent there on the first night of our honeymoon in 2019.
Venice is quintessential Europe -- the city of canals, and the former powerhouse of Mediterranean trade.
Our honeymoon was my first time traveling abroad, and it was not cheap. Based on these facts, as well as my Type A personality, I dove DEEP into my travel research to make it the best possible experience. We found that it was worth every minute of my time, and now I am sharing only the best of Venice with you.
Since we had an overnight flight into Venice, we didn't want to plan too much to do (but rather just explore) on our one full day there. Many people reading this may be in the same circumstance as us since Venice is a travel hub in light of its airport, train station and ports for cruise ships.
For these reasons, Venice can feel very crowded and touristy. Luckily, you can take any number of routes through its maze-like "streets" to let Venice more quietly come to you.
Without further ado, below is my one night in Venice, Italy travel guide, especially for book lovers with: Venice book recommendations; where to stay in Venice; what to do in Venice; and what to eat in Venice.
Fiction Books Set in Venice
One of my favorite things to do before traveling somewhere is to read books set in that place. You can also read them while you are IN Venice for bonus points. What a delightful European experience. I recommend many books set in Italy, but below are two top recommendation for fiction books set in Venice:
- A Merchant in Venice by William Shakespeare - start with a classic Shakespearean tale in historic Venice! This book has elements of comedy and tragedy, as Bassanio, a young Venetian nobleman, woos the heiress Portia of Belmont with a loan from the Merchant of Venice, for a loan. However, since the Merchant of Venice invested his money in merchandise at sea, Bassanio turns to Shylock, who agrees to make the loan under the condition that, if the loan cannot be repaid, he may take a pound of flesh from Antonio.
- The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith - move on to a modern classic next! This is the twisted tale of sociopath Tom Ripley, hired by a wealthy industrialist to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from Italy. But Ripley becomes maddeningly fascinated by Greenleaf and a dark sequence of events unfold. The movie of the same name contains some great scenes of Venice as well!
If you are doing the Around the World Reading Challenge, you can add these books to your PDF tracker for Italy.
Venice Travel Guide Book
My sister-in-law gifted me Rick Steves Italy travel guide upon learning we would honeymoon in Italy, and it (as well as Rick Steves himself) became our most trusted travel resource. He is simply the best, and his Italy travel guide is a "must" purchase, a must-read and a must re-read, highlight and underline before traveling to Italy.
Where to Stay in Venice -- Hotel Danieli
Since I was so unfamiliar with traveling outside the United States, I trusted a local travel agent with planning our travel and accommodations. We got really lucky with the agent's choice of the historically beautiful and well-located Hotel Danieli.
It's right on the water, and it's located right by the top tourist attractions. Stepping inside the Hotel Danieli, a former private palace, is like stepping into history. There's a rooftop bar as well, but unfortunately, we could not access it during our time there.
Below are some of my favorite photographs I took at Hotel Danieli:
What to Do in Venice
If you only have one day and/or night in Venice, as we did, you will have to choose wisely what you want to accomplish there.
We spent our day taking an adventurous walk, eating lunch outdoors, shopping, taking a gondola ride, relaxing in St. Mark's Square and eating dinner.
St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) is the main meeting place in Venice, and it's right around the corner from Hotel Danieli. It houses the historic St. Mark's basilica, an architectural marvel dating back to the 11th Century, and the Clock Tower.
A Venice, Italy travel guide and a visit to Venice is simply not complete without a walk through St. Mark's Square. Marvel at the architecture as you sip a cappuccino at the famed Cafe Florian (the oldest cafe in the world, visited by such important writers as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Charles Dickens ) and listen to the live cafe orchestra. Doing so was the peak of European relaxation and one of my favorite experiences in Italy.
Below are some of my favorite photographs I took of St. Mark's Square:
As for a gondola ride, simply walk up to one and jump in! Here are a few pictures from our romantic ride:
While the above is what I did during my one full day in Venice, below are a few other popular attractions you may want to visit:
- Doge's Palace - formerly the Doge's residence and the seat of Venetian government, the Palace is a symbol of Venice and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It's right by St. Mark's Square and the Hotel Danieli. I still regret not touring it!
- Rialto Bridge (Ponte Di Rialto) - the popular 16th-century bridge lined with shops. This was a long(ish) walk from St. Mark's Square, and so we, unfortunately, did not make it there in our short time in Venice.
- The Accademia (Gallerie dell'Accademia) - the famous art museum that houses Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the Vitruvian Man and more.
If you visit any tourist attraction that requires tickets, I HIGHLY recommend you buy "skip the line" tickets ahead of time. Otherwise, you will undoubtedly waste hours of precious time.
While we did not visit any ticketed attractions in Venice, we did so in other Italian cities, and we booked them through Viator. Our travel agent recommended this site and we had all positive experiences!
Where to Eat in Venice
In the (literally) months I spend researching Italy before our honeymoon, one of my biggest struggles was finding the right restaurant in Venice. So many of them are so touristy, and nothing seemed to stick. We ended up finding a restaurant on Yelp that looked and sounded good.
Ristorante Antica Sacrestia was a hidden gem! We used our iPhone maps to take several twists and turns down unmarked, corn maze-like "roads," which allowed us a peaceful break from the loud, crowded bustle of Venice.
We sat in the charming outdoor garden, where I dined on delicious gnocchi and grilled vegetables, and my husband dined on local fish. Make sure you order Venetian wine when in Venice! It ended up being one of my favorite meals in Italy, especially because they gifted us with a bag of delicious homemade Italian cookies.
I later sent some friends to this restaurant, and they also enjoyed it, and I noticed several celebrity visits on their website, including American actor Al Pacino.
I hope you enjoyed my one night in Venice, Italy travel guide, especially for book lovers! I wish you wonderful travels in this unique city.
Related Italy Travel Guide Posts
If you are traveling throughout Italy, you may also like my travel guides to:
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