It is no secret that Venice during the day is found to be heaving with tourists which are normally crammed into places such as the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square.
However, exploring Venice at night is a completely different story and changes its appearance: Fascinating and evocative but also a bit mysterious.
It’s lovely to walk through its deserted streets when there’s barely no one around, especially when admiring some of the city’s most iconic landmarks such as the Grand Canal and beautiful Venetian palaces in a play of lights and shadows.
After sunset, when most people leave the city for the day, you can start to enjoy an impressively quiet Venice that finally returns to its inhabitants’ hands.
Things to do in Venice at night
Are you yet to walk for miles to discover the beauties of Venice? For the sake of this guide, let’s hope that you’re not the type that wants to lock yourself in a hotel room.
Venice at night awaits you and can truly surprise you with its magical silent side.
Let’s take a look at reasons why it’s worth seeing Venice by night and if it’s safe, before looking at the best things to do in Venice at night.
Is it worth seeing Venice at night?
Maybe you’ve heard that Venice nightlife does not have much going for it. Well, the Lagoon city is certainly not famous for its movida, but there are some very good reasons behind why you may want to take some time to see Venice after sunset.
Is it safe to walk the streets of Venice at night?
Yes, it’s completely safe to walk the streets of Venice by night. There’s no reason to be concerned about this aspect and safety in Venice after dark.
After sunset, you can expect to see a completely different city as most visitors leave the city so you can enjoy the beauty of walking around empty streets and piazzas.
Even if some streets, small campi and fondamenta are faintly lit, you’ll likely be one of the few people walking around after 9/10pm. It’s also worth noting that Venice is safe for solo travellers and female travellers alike during both day and night.
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Things to do in Venice at night
With no further ado, let’s now take a closer look at the best things to do in Venice at night that make this city such a unique one for its relaxed nightlife scene.
Venetian aperitivo at the Bacaro
The bacari in Venice are small taverns where Venetians meet, have the ‘ombra de vin’ (glass of wine) or Spritz and eat cicchetti. Then cicchetti, (if you don’t already know) are single portions of local specialties generally served on a slice of bread.
If you’re looking for some of the most authentic things to do in Venice at night then you should definitely go to the bacaro and have aperitivo like a real Venetian.
Bacari are scattered all around Venice’s historic centre and they can be recognised by their dim lighting, archaic sign-writing and local crowd pouring through the door.
Some the best Bacari in Venice are located in these areas:
- Fondamenta de la Misericordia;
- Fondamenta Ormesini;
- Fondamenta dei Tolentini;
- Fondamenta Nani;
- Erbaria which is near the Rialto market.
Here you can literally ‘andar per bacari’ which means ‘go around the bacari’ and have a drink and some cicchetti in different ones.
The bacari in these areas have a wide selection of regional wines to taste, freshly prepared with seasonal ingredients cicchetti and some of the best Venetian Spritz.
Don’t have much time in Venice or don’t know where to start your bacaro exploration? Then you can join this bacaro tour accompanied by a local guide that will explain to you everything worth knowing about the aperitivo ritual in Venice.
Take an evening gondola ride
If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind experience in Venice, do not miss a romantic gondola ride at night. A gondola ride is one of the most popular things to do in Venice and the ancient traditional rowing boat is an ubiquitous symbol of the city.
There’s something special about taking an evening gondola ride. You can glide the Grand Canal and smaller deserted canals and admire the Rialto Bridge or the Bridge of Sighs illuminated and from a completely different angle!
Chase the glittering lights of noble Venetian palaces reflecting in the calm canals’ waters and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere that only Venice by night can offer.
You pay more to ride a gondola at night than during the day, the price is currently 110 euros, but I still think it’s worth it, especially if you’re a first time visitor to Venice.
Take in the best views of Venice from a rooftop terrace
Like with many other romantic cities in and around Europe, one of the best things to do in Venice at night is to enjoy a panoramic 360° view of the city from above.
Whether it’s from the famous St. Mark’s Campanile, from one of the hotel rooftop terrace bars or a fancy restaurant, there’s nothing better than getting the unique opportunity to admire the beauty of Venice and the lagoon by night from above.
If you really want to admire Venice for some of the most famous ‘altane’ Venice, have dinner or just enjoy an after dinner drink with a spectacular view, then here’s where I recommend you go. First option is the roof terrace of one of the best 5 star hotels in Venice: St. Regis that houses Gio’s Restaurant with its garden and bar.
For some of the best cocktails of the city, you can’t skip a visit to the Sky Rooftop Bar of the Hilton Molino Stucky in the Giudecca island and finally, if you don’t have enough of wonderful views of the city, you can go for a glass of wine to the modern La Terrazza bar of the 4 star hotel H10 Palazzo Canova (close to Rialto Bridge).
Opera at the Teatro La Fenice
Venice is a city that offers a great choice of musical events, dance shows and theatre performances. The agenda is full, whether you’re here in summer or winter.
Additionally, theatre and music shows take place in some of the most incredible locations: world-famous theatres, beautiful churches and lavish Gothic palaces.
When you’re looking at things to do in Venice at night, you should go to a show at La Fenice theatre. The prestigious opera theatre is one of the most important opera theatres in the world.
Back in the 19th century it hosted numerous world opera premieres by composers like Rossini, Bellini and Verdi. Today you can book a ticket to still see important operas like The Barber of Seville by Rossini and La Boheme by Puccini.
I invite you to take a close look at the theatre events calendar and see if there’s anything that piques your interest. If you don’t have the chance to go to a show, then you can always book the entry ticket with audio guide for a morning or afternoon tour and learn more about this splendid theatre and its troubled history.
Join a night walking tour
Getting lost in the streets of Venice at night is a fascinating and evocative experience. The city reveals its most intimate and mysterious side, with breathtaking views and hidden corners that you can admire in complete tranquillity.
Immerse yourself in the magic of the Venetian streets and let yourself be surprised by the hidden wonders of Venice at night. Admire how iconic landmarks such as St. Mark’s Square, Bridge of Sighs or the Rialto Bridge come to new life after dark.
Seeing busy locations like these during the day, almost empty, is quite fascinating. The best way to take in all the magic of Venice at night is by going for a night walk, which can be just after dinner or right after a couple of drinks.
Alternatively, if you prefer to delve deeper into the night scenes, you can join this 2 hours private walking tour at night where you’ll be accompanied by a local guide.
Enjoy a drink in a historic bar
Italy counts on an outstanding historic bar heritage and many can be found in Venice. Thanks to its strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea and its commercial relations with the Arab world, Venice is where the coffee tradition was born.
Fast forward to today and these bars not only serve Italian coffee, but also great cocktails so you can continue your night out in Venice even after dinner!
On the top list there’s the oldest cafè in the world: Caffè Florian. Founded in the 18th century and frequented by characters like Carlo Goldoni and Giacomo Casanova, you’ll find it open till 11pm and it’s just the perfect place for a classy (and pricey) aperitivo or an after dinner drink.
In St. Mark’s Square, you can also have a drink at the Gran Caffè Quadri, quite popular among actors and film directors during the Venice Film Festival. Finally, not far from both historic bars, you’ll also want to visit the legendary 1930s Harry’s Bar.
This is where the Bellini cocktail was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani to celebrate the Venetian painter Giovan Battista Bellini. I recommend stopping by to try their Bellini maybe before dinner. Just be sure to adhere to the strict dress code.
Visit the World’s Oldest Casino
Venice Casinò was founded in 1638 and is the oldest gaming house in the world. Visiting the Casinò is one of the best things to do in Venice at night and whether you like a gamble or not, it’s worth spending a couple of fun hours in this special setting.
The Casino is based in the beautiful Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, a 15th-century palace overlooking the Grand Canal. You can play classic games like Roulette, traditional card games like Black Jack and Caribbean Poker or slot machines.
There’s also another Casinò on the mainland and not far from Marco Polo airport called Ca’ Noghera. There’s no strict dress code, both men and women can wear casual clothes but beachwear during summer is not allowed.
Just so you know, if you decide to book your stay at the Hotel Carlton On The Grand Canal you should get free access to the Casinò!
Venice Haunted Ghost Tour
Venice is a city full of mysteries and ancient legends and there are certainly not missing some scary ghost stories to the list!
For example, did you know that the Rialto Bridge was cursed for years and that every 17th of February the ghost of Giordano Bruno (Italian philosopher and poet) appears at the Mocenigo Palace?
It’s no secret that there’s a proper dark side of this city and as you start getting to know more and more stories, it will give you the chills.
The best way to do that anyway is by joining this ghost tour from Rialto to St. Mark’s Square that takes place in Venice at night. During this walking tour you’ll have the chance to uncover the most obscure side of Venice through its mysterious stories that only a few Venetians have heard of and other unexplained events.
The tour starts from the Royal Gardens near St. Mark’s Square to then proceed towards the Rialto Bridge. Your expert guide will share with you some of the scariest stories of infested palaces and enigmatic facts that happened over the centuries, part of Venice’s history.
Travelling Opera in a Historic Palace on Grand Canal
Instead of going to the theatre or attending a Baroque music concert in the San Vidal church, you can also experience the Italian opera in a completely yet unique setting: the Venetian palace.
By getting your Musica a Palazzo membership card you get the chance to watch the travelling opera in the stunning Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto overlooking the Grand Canal, near the water bus stop ‘Santa Maria del Giglio’.
Experience the salon opera as it was during the Serenissima Republic days of Venice, where each act of the opera is represented in a different hall of the palace. You’ll be surrounded by magnificent baroque furnishings that are the perfect complement to the scenography.
Based on the day of the week, you can either watch the Traviata or Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi and The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini.
Go on an after-hours tour of St. Mark’s Basilica
Have you ever thought about visiting St. Mark’s Basilica in the evening? When the stunning basilica lights up emptied from thousands of visitors, it is extremely evocative.
You can join this after-hours guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica to admire the opulence and outstanding beauty of the basilica in a quite intimate and solemn atmosphere. Your guide will meet you in St. Mark’s Square to introduce you to the history and curious facts of the basilica.
You’ll then visit the inside where you can marvel in front of 8000 square metres of golden mosaic covering its walls. You’ll see the crypt where the bones of St. Mark is kept and learns the history of this saint.
If you are considering visiting Doge’s Palace in the evening as well, then you can book this exclusive guided evening tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace.
The tour lasts 3 hours and half giving you enough time to learn about both historic sights, walk around the basilica (with not many tourists in sight) but also around Doge’s Palace and the Prisons, which during the day is usually chock-a-block.
Things to do in Venice at night
Venice at night is incredibly magical and if you’re spending 3 days in Venice or more, you should get to explore the city’s night scene after sunset.
Unlike many other cities in Europe, don’t expect to find booming night clubs, discos and parties, Venice by night is not a particularly lively place.
With all the things to do in Venice at night mentioned in this guide above, you will definitely have the best chance to experience to make the most of your time.
Be sure to read my post about the best things to do in Venice during the day too.
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