If Venice is on your bucket list, there may never be a better time to visit. With tourism numbers not expected to return to pre-pandemic level before 2024, grab the chance to see Venice with fewer crowds and enjoy some uniquely Venetian experiences.
Here are five of our favorite things to do in Venice in 2022.
1. Go to the 2022 Venice Art Biennial
This international contemporary art exhibition takes place in Venice every 2 years. The official event is divided between the Arsenale and the national pavilions in the Biennial Gardens (both in the Castello district), where different countries are represented.
But art isn’t limited to these two locations. The biennale is such an important part of Venice that there are plenty of unofficial pavilions and surprises to look out for around the city. One of our favorites was the giant pair of hands seen rising from the Grand Canal during the 2017 Biennale, intended to highlight the impact climate change is having on Venice.
The 59th Venice Art Biennial, called ‘The Milk of Dreams’, will run from April 23 to November 27, 2022.
2. Visit Saint Mark’s Basilica (at Night)
No matter how crowded it gets (and it does get crowded), a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica has to be on everyone’s list of the top things to do in Venice. The basilica, once the Doge’s personal chapel, draws thousands of visitors to Venice every year with its rich history, incredible mosaics and beautiful architecture.
If you really want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting St. Mark’s at night after the basilica has closed to the public. Not only will you get the church to yourself, but you’ll also get to see the ancient crypts, which aren’t accessible during the day.
3. Watch the Historical Regatta (Regata Storica)
If you happen to be visiting Venice on the first Sunday of September, don’t miss the most important event in the Venetian rowing calendar: la Regata Storica.
The event begins with a parade of traditional boats and costumed rowers sailing up the Grand Canal. Next come the official races. These are divided into 4 categories of different boats, with special races for kids. If you aren’t staying on the Grand Canal, get there early and find a good view of the rowers.
But if you’re traveling for New Year, stay until January 6th for one of our favorite things to do in Venice.
Epiphany is an important holiday in Italy, especially for children because la befana brings them sweets if they have been good (and coal if they haven’t!). Then she apparently heads to Venice to race along the Grand Canal as the city’s rowers put on their witches’ costumes and compete to reach the Rialto Bridge first!
4. Get out on the water
It’s not surprising that there are so many nautical celebrations as water has always been central to Venetian life. Many visitors list a gondola ride as one of their top things to do in Venice, but gondolas aren’t the only traditional Venetian boats. They would capsize on the open waters of the Lagoon, so Venetians created the flat-bottomed bragazzo to cross the shallow waters. Although not as numerous as gondolas, some of these beautiful painted boats still take visitors for tours of the Lagoon – the perfect relaxing end to a day of sightseeing.
Or are you looking for more active things to do in Venice? Then how about taking the oars yourself? If you have some experience of kayaking, why not join one of the local tours of the canals or the Lagoon? Alternatively, learn a new skill during a rowing lesson with a private instructor in the quiet waters of the Lagoon.
5. Drink wine and eat cicchetti
In Venice, even the simplest sandwich (OK, you won’t really see any simple ones) is a form of food art. So it’s not surprising that the Venetian aperitivo isn’t the buffet-style you’ll find in other Italian cities.
In Venice, your evening glass of wine in the local bàcari (wine bar) is accompanied by bite-sized snacks known as cicchetti. These tiny works of art might be sandwiches, polenta or crostini topped with meat, fish or vegetables. The options are limited only by the imagination of the chef!
If you love discovering the culinary traditions of the places you visit, check out our Wine and Cicchetti tour. As well as visiting the famous Rialto Market, you’ll also stop at two different bàcari. What better way to discover Venice than through its food, guided by a real Venetian?