Venice & The Venice Film Festival, Italy

Many idolize the idea of Venice with its centuries old architecture at waters gates, accessible only by water taxi or gondola. It is a romantic place, yet in recent years, is becoming ever more crowded with tourists, eager to see it before it’s completely under water. We spent a brief amount of time there, with most of our efforts dedicated to making it to the Venice Film Festival. In this post, we offer mostly tips on the film festival, notes about what to expect in Venice, and a link to another fantastic blog with tips for not-to-miss places to eat.

Must go – Venice Film festival

The Venice Film Festival, the oldest film festival in the world, is a classic red carpet event, with celebrities in its spotlight, attending the screening of their movies. From its genesis in 1932, it has seen legendary actors and actresses, blockbuster films, and flocks of beautiful fans.

If you plan to go, you can visit this site for the upcoming Festival schedule (although not yet posted), and to purchase screening tickets. Insider tip: Buy tickets in the balcony if available, as that’s where the actors sit. Also, do know that the show time is really when the stars appear on the red carpet, so for a good view, get there ahead of time!

To get there, take the MC water taxi to Lido Casino, which you can board at the ports near St. Mark’s Square. This is a special water taxi that runs a direct route between Venice and the Film Festival. The regular 1 and 2 line water taxis will not get you to where you need to go, so be careful not to board those as they also stop at the same station where you’ll need to catch the MC water taxi.

Must caffeinate

St. Mark’s Square in Venice is home to the world’s oldest cafe, Caffe Florian, dating back to the 1700’s. You’ll likely read that it’s expensive, and it is, but everything in Venice is expensive, and we promise you’ll find Caffe Florian worth it. On Sundays, a live jazz band plays in front of their outdoor seating area, which is beautifully set up in the heart of St. Mark’s Square. We were on a bit of a budget, so had breakfast before we came, and ordered their least expensive dessert, (the chef’s specialty, decedent chocolate cake) which was 14 Euro, and relaxed for the latter half of the morning, without being hustled out. It was one of our most enjoyable experiences while in Venice, and we highly recommend! Insider tip: Regarding pricing, you’ll pay a 6 Euro fee to sit outdoors, and prices for coffee range from 6.50 Euro for an espresso, to 9.50 Euro for a cappuccino. 

Must Visit – Sites with Tips for more restaurants

Must know – Venice Tips

  • The hospitality wasn’t as warm, welcoming, and intimate as the other villages and cities we visited in Italy.
  • Venice is beautiful but very crowded, with St. Mark’s Square being the most dense. During your stay, try to get out to the other squares, and stroll around in the early morning or late evening to experience the city with less crowds.
  • Gondola rides cost 80-100 Euro, and there are a lot of them in the water at the same time, though the evening is likely the best time to go as it’s not as crowded as mid-day.
  • At most cafes, you’ll be charged a service fee to sit down to eat.
  • Most restaurants and bars close by 11pm, midnight at the latest.

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