1. Palatial opera
With one of the most famous and renowned landmarks in the history of Italian theatre and in opera as a whole, the city of Venice is stalwart for hardened opera fans. Tickets for the grand Teatro La Fenice average at 250 Euros, but a more intimate and unique experience can be found if you do your homework in advance. Musica a Palazzo offers a new way of experiencing the grand opera of Venice. Each act is set in a different hall of a fascinating Venetian palace, the intimacy between the performers, orchestra and the audience is a unique privilege. There’s even a glass of prosecco at intermission – all for 85 Euros.
2. The floating dead
Venice is no ordinary city, and neither is its cemetery. The four-acre island of San Michele is a temporary resting place, encapsulated in high brick walls, just off the mainland and accessible by a regular water bus. The cemetery has distinct sections for different religions (catholic, protestant, Greek orthodox) and professions (war veterans and gondolier makers). Each gravestone shows evidence of recent visits – colourful fresh flowers, mementos and letters.
3. Wine tasting with locals
Wine is at the heart of the low-key nightlife that Venice has to offer. Small, trendy, wine bars are surfacing across the city. Head to Dorsuduro and you’ll find Estro, one fo the most popular hang-outs. With three tall tables in the entrance and an informal dining room, they sell wine by the glass from any bottle in the shop –of which there are many, racked high across every wall.
4. Snack happy hour
The quintessential Venetian cocktail hour drink is the spritz: a mix of Aperol (a bitter rhubarb liquor), prosecco and soda – occasionally served with an olive. The locals will meander the streets by the Rialto Bridge from around 4pm to sip an aperitivo and sample the day’s cicchetti – Italian type tapas, usually made from the catch of the day at the local Rialto fish market.
5. Instagrammable nooks
It’s one of the most beautiful cities on Earth, rain or shine. Venice provides a perfect backdrop to virtually any angle of the city you’re in: dreamy, ethereal and inspiring. We follow @seventhsoul, @neumarc and @lightbulbsun for our Venice #wanderlust Instagram inspiration.
This article was written in May 2017. My target media style was Sunday Times Travel.