Venice by Night

posted in: Italy Photo, Italy Travel | 29

Venice by night is magical. Traveling on a vaporetto along the Grand Canal, I’m mesmerized at the sight of all the architecture lit up against the night sky. The air is still and the wind blows just enough to cause a chill against my face. The daytime sounds of the crowds now take on a quieter tone.

The Rialto Bridge is such an iconic sight, and even at night, tourists can be seen on the bridge. I wonder if it’s ever totally devoid of people. Maybe at five in the morning.

St Marks's Cathedral at night Venice Photo by Margie Miklas

The city of dreams, the city of love, Venice is a romantic city. Just wander through St. Mark’s Square close to  midnight, where couples stroll arm in arm, or stand still, locked in a lovers’ embrace. The sounds of the live orchestras at Caffè Florian, Caffè Quadri, and Caffè Lavena create the ambience made for romance.

Venice at night Photo by Margie Miklas

The historic city with a  population of only 50,000 citizens, attracts between “25 to 30 million foreign visitors per year, according to the Italian tourist bureau”. Less than a third of them stay overnight in Venice. In 2017 alone, 1.4 million cruise passengers from hundreds of cruise ships descended on Venice as day trippers as hundreds of ships came to Venice in 2017. Is it any wonder more local Venetians are moving out of the city every year?

I prefer going to Venice and staying for three or four nights and really enjoying the city, especially at night.

What about you? Any thoughts from your own experiences?

I love feedback, so please leave a comment.

For more photos of Venice and other places in Italy, check out my Instagram page.

Grazie and Ciao


29 Responses

  1. Kathy Hodson

    Thank you, thank you. The people mover idea is great. We’ll think about that. We’re staying at a VRBO location, where we have access to the mgr, who can possibly assist us in finding someone. Wonderful news about the amount of time from the island to the mainland. I had visions of the Keys in Florida. If you have any tips or recommendations for central Tuscany (Siena, Florence, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, wine stops in that area. Positano, Salerno, Amalfi, etc.) Be well and thank you again.

  2. KathyHodson

    Thank you very much for your reply. How thoughtful of you to take time out of your day. We are not huge museum people and my husband has said he doesn’t want to spend all of his time visiting churches and being surrounded by a throng of tourists. Hence, booking in October, I felt the weather would be beautiful – crisp and cool mornings and evenings (similar to our weather in October here in Northern California. Pleasant during the day. We have several restaurant recommendations from friends. One is in Burano. Friends recommended taking a water taxi there vs the vaporetto. We’ll see as we prefer to be a little laid back and not book too much in advance.
    I’m wondering if you could dig into your memories of Venice and tell me if you have any thoughts/recommendations for the Venice train station. We have rented a car to be picked up on a Sunday morning at the Hertz car rental, which is supposedly located by the train station. We will be driving to Pienza (just South of Siena). It looks like we will be driving across water for awhile to get to the other side of the island. I can just see us schlepping our pull bags along the sidewalks and bridges in Venice to get to the train station. Just like all the other tourists…hah, hah.
    Appreciate your thoughts and anything else you would like to share. My best, Kathy Hodson

    • margieinitaly

      Hi Kathy…Not a problem….The drive across the water to the mainland is only 2 miles….I’m not sure where the Hertz car rental is, but as you mentioned, it is a walk from the train station to where any vehicles and parking garages are located. There is a people mover but you still have to walk. The last time I did it, a couple of years ago, it was raining, and out of nowhere, someone came with a trolley to put the luggage on. He charged us 15 euro and we had 4 bags….a real deal, believe me. I’d look for someone like that… I think you have a great plan to enjoy your trip without doing too much…

  3. Kathy Hodson

    We are about to embark on an Italy trip this October. My husband has never been to Europe so I really want to help make this trip special. I’ve booked a food and wine (two-hour) walking tour through Viator/Trip Advisor. Great reviews. It’s certainly not cheap so I’m wondering if you feel this would be a way to see a bit of the local area/ and taste a bit of wine and food, then be on our way to wander and enjoy other sights. Trying to decide if an advance booking for the Doge Palace and the Basilica is worth the time and $’s. We don’t want to be on a tour, however, if we do decide to see those two places, booking in advance is necessary. Our main objective is to see Venice, wander around, enjoy some local food and wine and possibly take a private boat to Burano. We’re in Venice three nights. Very open to suggestions.

    • Kathy Hodson

      Sorry, Venice is our first stop, then Pienza/Tuscany, Amalfi coast (Conca dei Marini) and Rome.

    • margieinitaly

      Hi Kathy… I didn’t know you were going to spend some time with Venice and I think three days is perfect. You should be able to get to Murano which I think is totally worthwhile. Doing around Venice and getting away from the main tourist attractions is a great idea… It’s my favorite thing to do there actually. Yes I do think the two hour food and wine tour is worth it… And purchasing tickets in advance to see the Basilica and Doge’s palace is probably worth it too, although it’s not something I’ve done in the past, because I prefer to be outside…. Hope this is helpful.

  4. Kathleen Bello

    I really appreciate your article,very nicely executed. You obviously put a lot of effort into it. Awesome Pictures! Keep it up!

  5. dollygoolsby

    Although Florence is my favorite city in Italy, I always enjoyed being in Venice. On my first trip to that city, we only stayed 2 nights, but fortunately, we had a hotel room that looked right down onto the Grand Canal, near the Accademia Bridge. I spent quite a bit of time both nights we were there, standing at the window, looking down at the activity along the Canal, and seeing the lights across the way. Venice is indeed a magical city, different in so many ways from the other major cities in Italy. Venice has so much charm, while remaining mysterious. I do love Venice, and have stayed longer than 2 days every time I have visited since that first trip. I still get lost in Venice, though, every single visit.

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you Dolly for sharing your experiences..It’s hard to decide on a favorite place in Italy. So many places are beautiful in their own magical ways. I am so happy you get to travel to Italy as often as you do. I love reading of your experiences.

  6. Tony Staffaroni

    Great photos! I loved Venice at night too, unlike almost any other place I have ever been. I would gladly return someday, hopefully when the cruise ships are banned.

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you, Tony. I wish they’s initiate the ban on the cruise ships. It seems like they talk about it and pass laws, yet nothing happens.

  7. littleshirley

    You just took me back to one of the most unforgettable nights of my life, which was in Venice. I stopped by a small jazz band in the square: a tinny piano, a clarinet and 2 or 3 more instruments. They played Gerschwin’s Rhapsody in Blue like I never heard it before. Never will I forget that sound and that brilliant performance..

    • margieinitaly

      Oh my God, Shirley, that sounds heavenly. I’m glad my post and photo triggered some wonderful memories for you. Thank you for commenting

  8. Nancy Ferrier

    The cruise ships have to go. They are a blight on this beautiful city. We rented a charming apartment in a “normal” neighborhood, Celestia, with a view of Murano and Burano from our kitchen window, We would walk to the touristy areas and enjoyed dinner at one of the finest restaurants in Italy, Il Ridotto, where the staff made the experience unforgettable. Walking through the city brought us to one beautiful campo after another with very few tourists and wonderful neighborhood restaurants and shops where the residents go,
    Getting lost in Venice, with no timetable provides a visual and culinary feast far beyond the day trippers experience.

    • margieinitaly

      Perfect advice, Nancy…and I agree about the cruise ships. One of my favorite things to do in Venice is get lost in all the narrow alleys with no agenda. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment

  9. Bonnie Davis

    Yes, it can be difficult to live with the tourists. Coming from Miami we once had that problem and I would remind my fellow locals that they did not bring their nasty factories with them. The heat in summer gave us back our town for several months a year and it was an excellent trade off. Perhaps Venice could develop an imaginary problem to scare them off for several months of the year to give the people a chance to recover. Typhoid fever perhaps.

    Yes, that was a jest of sorts but perhaps there could be a head tax on summer or winter tourists. Pick any two months and help the locals rather than the cruise ship and the rest of the tourist profiteers. Another idea is to subsidize the families that do remain in Venice. Let them share the profits as well as the nuisance.

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks Bonnie…Some good ideas. Venice actually has enacted a tourist tax to enter the city, but I think they only impose it at specific times of the year.

  10. Andrew Petcher

    I remember getting up very early one morning and walking to the Rialto market, it was really lovely at that time of the day.
    Last time I visited Venice I stayed in Padua – a lot cheaper and not nearly as many people.
    Need to stop those grotesque cruise ships getting so close!

    • margieinitaly

      I have yet to visit Padua, Robin, despite being close enough several times. I agree with you about the cruise ship situation.

  11. Robin Chalkley

    We stayed in Venice in 2015, and while there were plenty of folks there, it felt less crowded than Florence. I’m glad I got to see Venice, but I have no desire to go back. There’s so much more of Italy to explore that feels more genuine.

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective, Robin. You’re right about Italy having so many places to explore. I like the small towns where most tourists don’t even go. Enjoy your next trip

  12. Kickin' It With Rae

    So very true Margie.
    Great photos! I am so glad I went out after dark on my last trip. The city truly does take on a whole different ‘light’ and character. Loved it! Can’t wait to do it again in 3-1/2 months.

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks so much, Rae. I am thrilled to hear you are returning to La Serenissima soon.

  13. marilyneb

    Venice looks magical by night In your wonderful photos Margie. A place I haven’t made it to yet, but posts like this make it tempting!

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks so much, Marilyn. I find people either love Venice or hate it. As you can see, I love it. I hope you can get t here sometime soon. I think you’ll enjoy it.

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.