Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Venice (as well as large parts of the world) are in lockdown. Depending on where you live and whether you are still allowed to work (at home or elsewhere), you might have plenty of free time to fill. Even though it’s too early to plan your next trip to Venice, you can still enjoy Venice from the safety of your own home.
In this post, I will give you some inspiration and an overview of initiatives which will help you distract your mind and dream about a magical place as Venice.
Take a virtual walk in Venice
Use Google Street View and try to find your way from one location to another and get lost, as you would do when you were really in the city. Alternatively, watch the amazing video of a desolated Venice during this corona time, created by Andrea Rizzo, or other beautiful videos of Venice on YouTube, such as the ones made by the Vagabrothers or by Oliver Astrologo. Just type Venice in the search field and you can spend plenty of time watching all these familiar places.
Book a virtual tour guide to discover Venice
Luisella Romeo is one of the best guides in Venice. She is not only a very kind person, but also a great story teller who shares very enthusiastically everything you want to know about her city. I joined a tour on gondola making with her last year and I really enjoyed it. As we cannot visit Venice at the moment, she is now organizing virtual tours on different topics. You can choose between Venice in general, Palazzo Ducale and the San Marco basilica, the lagoon, the ghetto, the Accademia gallery and so on. You can find more information about the different sessions on her site. The tours are in small groups and there’s also a possibility to interact and ask questions.
Visit the Venetian museums online
Several museums (such as Palazzo Ducale or Ca’ Rezzonico) as well as the Biennale can be visited via Google Arts & Culture. It’s a perfect opportunity to walk around the museums and spend as much time as you want, for free. Many museums also follow the Italian campaign #iorestoacasa (I stay at home) and share new information on their site or social media. Le Stanze del Vetro for instance (the glass museum on San Giorgio Maggiore) launched a special weekly newsletter, with insights about the next exhibition, game cards for children and teenagers to download and print, and a glossary about the secrets of glass-working techniques.
Follow an online workshop at Palazzo Grassi
You can join the activities by following simple instructions, meant to stimulate unique points of view on your own daily life. Each week, the activities are published on their website and on the Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #palazzograssiatyours. Last week, Italian illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli lead the workshop ‘Purple Book Meets Green Bottle’. It showed how a casual encounter between two or more domestic objects suggests an unusual color combination.
Watch an opera at La Fenice
So far, Teatro La Fenice has added 15 operas to their YouTube channel. Some examples are Don Giovanni (Mozart), Don Carlo (Verdi) and Orlando furioso (Vivaldi). It’s a unique opportunity to watch these entire operas for free. If you want to know more about the history of the theatre, you can also read my post ‘Teatro La Fenice throws you back to the golden era of Venice’.
Listen to the autobiography of Peggy Guggenheim
Karole Vail, the director of the museum in Venice and granddaughter of Peggy Guggenheim, reads from the book ‘Out of this century. Confessions of an art addict’ on Soundcloud. If you want to know more about Peggy Guggenheim and her museum in Giudecca, you can read my post ‘The artistic legacy of Peggy Guggenheim in Venice’.
Tune in to Monica Cesarato’s ‘Venice meets …’
Monica Cesarato, food blogger and cook, talks to artisans, guides, bloggers and others about Venice. She goes live every day at 6 PM CET on her Instagram account, but you can also watch the episodes on the Venice Meets channel on YouTube. And while you’re at it, you can also start following The Venice Insider on Instagram.
Read a book which is set in Venice
Reading is one of my favourite ways to relax and transport me to the city of my dreams. I am currently reading ‘Liar Liar’ of M.J. Arlidge (which has nothing to do with Venice), but the next Venetian one on my reading list is ‘The Lizard’s Bite’ of David Hewson. You can find plenty of inspiration for Venice related books in my series of book lists.
Learn about the history, the architecture or any other topic related to Venice
There are certainly plenty of topics about which you want to know more, but never found the time to do so. You can read books (such as my favourite ‘Elements of Venice’ of Giulia Foscari), read the posts of the Best Venice Guides or watch their interesting videos on their YouTube channel, or of course browse the posts on my site such as ‘A short introduction to the complicated history of Venice’. In the table of contents, you can find an overview of all the posts I ever published.
Buy products from Venetian artisans
Buy a souvenir which will be delivered to your home to have a small part of Venice close to you. Some examples are Feelin’ Venice, Eredi Jovon, Pieces of Venice, Plum Plum Creations and Small Caps, but there are plenty of artisans with an online shop who ship internationally. You can find an overview of artisans who suffered from the huge acqua alta in November via this page. Alternatively, just browse the internet to look for your favourite shop in Venice or to discover some which you didn’t know yet.
Build your own gondola, water taxi or sandolo
Gilberto Penzo sells amazing building kits for all different types of Venetian boats. It takes quite some time to make one, so it’s great to keep you busy while you’re locked inside the house. And on top of it, the result is really nice. You can find instructions as well as examples for the decoration on his site. Alternatively, you can make a jigsaw puzzle with a picture of Venice. You can either buy a standard one such as the 3D puzzle of the Rialto bridge of Ravensburger, or you can design a personalized puzzle from your own pictures of Venice.
This will allow you to talk more easily with the locals on your next trip to Venice. The Istituto Venezia organizes online courses for small groups, from Monday till Friday 10.00 CET until 11.30 CET. They also offer conservation courses if you already have a basic knowledge and literary cafes. Alternatively, you can also practice on your own by reading dual language books (my favourite one is ‘Le avventure di Alice nel paese delle meraviglie’ which I bought at La Toletta).
Drink a spritz
Buy a bottle of Aperol and prosecco and enjoy a spritz at home. The official recipe (from the International Bartenders Association) combines 6cl prosecco, 4cl Aperol, ice, a splash of soda water and an orange slice. If you prefer another combination, you can find many recipes in ‘Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes’. Afterwards, take your time to cook a Venetian recipe from ‘Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts)’ or ‘A Table in Venice’. Buon appetito!
When following one or more of the tips above, make sure to take notes when you see something which you want to discover once travel is again safe. It will be your own Venetian bucket list.
Take care and stay safe!