1. Go on a gondola ride right down the Grand Canal, into the lagoon and back through Cannaregio, an older part of the city.
2. Stay as centrally as you can afford. Will save you time, effort and sore feet. A good idea if you are more than 4 people is to rent an apartment overlooking the Grand Canal. www.OwnersRentals.com. The iconic hotels definitely worth staying in are of course the newly refurbished and ever resplendent Gritti Palace on the Grand Canal. The Westin Europa Regina with a suite (famous for being sed in the movie Talented Mr Ripley) overlooking the church of Maria della salute at the entrance to the Grand Canal, the iconic Cipriani on the island of Giudecca and the newest entrant to the luxury brigade, the St Regis.
3. Must visit the Rialto market…..open 7am to 1pm except Mondays. It’s where real Venetians actually do their marketing.
4. Must have a coffee at Florian one of the most beautiful caffes in the world….complete with a live 4 piece orchestra and the charm of being right on Piazza San Marco.
5. Visit Murano and spend some time at Glass museum there…Salem of the glass jewelry stores are astoundingly beautiful and reasonable. www.Orovetro.it.
6. Have a tramezzino, a real Venetian sandwich stuffed with mayo and white bread…quite scrumptious at la Toleta (Dorsoduro 1191)…apparently where this sandwich originated.
7. To see Palladio’s work, go to the Redentore church on Giudecca. Stay as long as you like and it’s free!
8. Avoid the theatre productions and tourist ‘shows’ and spend an evening at the Conservatory (Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello, Palazzo Pisani, near Campo Santo Stefano) where you can take in an original music recital, a guided walk around the breathtaking palace and an aperitivo for 15 euros ( only)….10 if you are a student.
9. If you are a student, carry proof with you..huge discounts everywhere.
10. Have a Bellini, Rossini or Spritz at any of the hotel bars on the Grand Canal…Gritti, Westin Europa & Regina or Bauer…the most happening bar however is in the Biennale building ( Ca’Giustinian) right next door to Monaco hotel..groovy music too.