Here is my perfect nighttime walk in Venice. Venice gets packed during the day, but at night, especially if the fog rolls in off the Adriatic Sea, the city becomes private and magical all over again. This nighttime walk passes through Venice’s hippest nightlife locations, along the open sea, and past many of Venice’s most beautiful buildings. Venice is an exceptionally safe city, and this nighttime walk will stick to well-populated areas. To make sure we don’t over exert ourselves, I’ll recommend several cafes, gelaterias, and bars along the way.
The nighttime walk begins in St. Mark’s Square, winds through the happening Dorsoduro neighborhood, and passes the beautiful churches of the San Polo neighborhood, before making a full loop and returning to St. Mark’s Square. As pictured below, the walk takes up to two hours. I recommend adapting it to fit your time schedule and location, and make sure to bring a detailed map.
St. Mark’s Square is home to Venice’s most commanding architecture, most of which dates between 1300-1600. This was once the seat of the Venetian Empire, and it can get a bit eerie thinking about all of the kings, queens, troops, and jesters who’ve strolled through the piazza. If the wind’s blowing, you might even be able to hear their voices.
Heading west, stroll beneath the long portico that wraps around the piazza and exit onto the street, Santa San Moise. Continue straight until reaching Campo Santo Stefano. Walk past the famous Galleria dell’Accademia art museum and across the Academy Bridge, then continue straight until reaching the Fondamenta Zattere Ai Gesuati. This part of Venice can be downright freaky on a foggy night: the distant lights on the island of Giudecca are nearly obscured, making the sound of the lapping waves seem all the stronger. The adventuresome can walk to the elaborate, domed church, Santa Maria Della Salute, which guards over the entrance to the Grand Canal. The rest of us will be eating gelato at Gelateria Nico. Turn left on Fondamenta Zattere Ai Gesuati and you can’t miss it (the gelateria stays open late during the summer months).
Continue on Fondamenta Nani, located just past Gelateria Nico. Take the second bridge, admiring the stunning Venetian glass artworks in the windows of Massimo Micheluzzi’s gallery, located at the foot of the bridge. Wind your way to Campo San Barnaba, and continue onto the street Rio Terá Canal. Here you’ll find Imagina Café, a wine bar and art gallery that features Veneto-region wines beginning at 2.50€ a glass. Campo Santa Margherite, one of Venice’s most happening nightlife scenes, is another hundred steps past Imagina. Every night, university students and revelers fill this piazza, either spilling out of the cafes or standing among the statues swigging wine or beer.
Exit the piazza on the opposite side from which you entered, continuing on Chiesa San Pantalon. This area is one of the most maze-like in Venice. Carefully wind your way to Campo Dei Frari and the Frari church, which is one of the city’s most stunning, featuring Italian Gothic architecture. Now head for the Rialto Bridge. Along the way, enter Campo San Polo and stand in the middle: Imagine the hundreds of bullfights that were held here.
Finally, cross the Rialto Bridge—the most iconic of Venice’s bridges—but don’t dawdle: It has collapsed several times throughout history (just kidding; it’s stayed strong since 1591). Returning to St. Mark’s Square, you’ll be just in time to catch the first entrance to the nightclubs on Piscina de Frezzaria.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com