30 Resources for You to Explore Venice in 2020

How is Venice changing after a rather difficult year 2019, and what is important to know for visitors now? While outwardly, the city is beautiful as always, there are a few things you need to take into account to prepare your visit in 2020 ff. In this post, we share our favorite resources (books, travel tips, travel websites). While some resources are equally relevant for all visitors, we mention specific tips for first-time, frequent visitors and “Venice experts / insiders”.

Take some time off, bookmark this page and enjoy exploring Venice online!


Basic resources for all visitors

These are our recommended resources for you to keep up in touch with Venice, and consult before your visit. Each of these links has plenty of suggestions to dig deeper and find your personal favorite topics.

Cafe Correr: enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Venice before or after your visit at Museo Correr (image credit: MUVE – image guide here).

Resources for first-time visitors

Are planning to visit Venice for the first time, or are you returning after more than 10-15 years (a lot has changed ..). We can’t wait for you to discover the city and dive right in. Here are some resources for you:

Resources for frequent visitors / Venetophiles

You return to Venice as often as you can, once or several times a year! You love exploring art and food and enjoy Venetian lifestyle. You do (much of) your shopping in Venice, some of you write blogs, love painting, or are photographers. Most of all, you love immersing yourselves into Venetian creativity, collecting books, paintings, and all websites and newsletters out there on Venice! Here are our suggestions for you, the frequent travelers – Venetophiles, for a fresh start into your new decade with Venice!

Resources for “insiders / experts”

This is for all who call Venezia “home” or “second home”. You speak Italian and (!) Venetian fluently, plus the second and third former official languages of La Serenissima Republic, Latin and Ancient Greek (koinĂ© to be precise). Thus, you are able read the original texts and draw your own conclusions. You contribute to shedding light on forgotten aspects of Venice, being a regular at the Venetian State Archive and museum libraries. We are happy to already have met some of you, such as historian Frederick Lane, whom Lina gave access to the library of San Zaccaria to do research for his book on money and banking in Renaissance Venice.

Perhaps you would like to focus on a certain topic in 2020 and explore it from original documents? What about the urban development of our city, why and how the ancient professions made Venice unique in the world? The shelves of libraries and the State Archive are filled with forgotten books waiting for us to open!

Winter Solstice Stories and Traditions

Since times immemorial, the Feast of Santa Lucia marks the start of winter in Venice: It’s the day when we “finally recall it’s really getting so festive in town”, as we approach solstizio d’inverno, winter solstice on 22-23 December. During this quiet time, candles are lit at home and a break is taken for a couple of weeks, until early February. Like Venice is sleeping ..

Doge Enrico Dandolo, according to Legend, had the body of Santa Lucia brought from Constantinople to Venice in 1204, to an ancient church on the Grand Canal, built in honor of the Saint, even before she arived in Venice, around the year 1000 AD.

Soon, 13 December became her feast introduced in the Lagoon with the purpose of discouraging the ancient Roman rites celebrating the longest nights of the year with bonfires between 13 and 23 December, and then again, before and after New Year’s Day.

This approach didn’t work in the Levantine and independent culture that is Venice, so bonfires are still around to celebrate Capodanno – the beginning of the New Year and the day on which we celebrate the ancient Venetian Christmas, L’Epifania, on 6-7 January. And yes, we’ve got these festive days in common with the countries in the Levant and Russia.

Important for you to know if you are in Venice now! Winter solstice means that the sun comes out only after 9 am and sets before 4 pm. These short and dark days interfere with the tide cycles and winter full moon, so the acqua alta we’re currently witnessing doesn’t come unexpected. These tidal effects are more pronouced 8 days before and after full moon, and always most accentuated during winter solstice.

For the next couple of weeks, except for a few sunny spells, we expect humid and cold weather which may turn freezing in the morning. Only at noon does the fog clear up a bit, like here on Strada Nova.

As you can see in the images, Venice looks clean and dry:

Cleaning up after the floods in most public spaces is almost done, and a visitor knowing nothing about the severe floods of 12-17 November wouldn’t suspect anything. Outwardly. Of course, there’s work going on behind the scenes, like painting, changing floors, etc. in many buildings, but hotels have done fairly much during the past couple of weeks.

Thankfully, Venice is getting to grips with the flood crisis at large. The damaged furniture and electric appliances are being replaced and many bakeries are back at work.

Outside, there are the Christmas trees on the streets and in the illuminated hotel lobbies and bars, like they always are, and people are doing their shopping on “just another Saturday before Christmas” on Strada Nova. Inside, the truth is that it will take a little longer (more of that in a post soon).

Of course, this Christmas makes us more thoughtful and in particular, connect with ancient festive and solstice traditions: Lina recalls the recipes eaten in the Lagoon until 50 years ago and looks forward to preparing them for her birthday!

Festeggiando una giornata buia: On December evenings, my grandmother’s generation used to eat a sweet cake made from almond flour, figs, dried plums, apples and candied oranges called torta dolse de Santa Lucia, healthy ingredients that work to keep you warm in the Venetian humidity: It’s the season of kaki and quinces, oranges and bergamot, and dried fruit flavored with grappa and cherry liquor.

On December nights, Venetian families of the past used to lay the table for a quiet candlelight dinner, listening to the silence in front of the fireplace and eating their cakes warm with a special fig jam, spicy and enriched with cinnamon and star anise.

13 December and the winter solstice weekend is when we start baking Christmas cookies in Venice! If you’d like to introduce Venetian flavors to your house this season, take a look at the Venetian Christmas Package filled with our personal tips for you to enjoy the season here in Venice, and its culinary treats. Discover what pastry stores and bakeries offer now, and all the recipes transporting Venetian Christmas scents and flavors! Click here to access it!

Our Venetian Christmas Package: One day in Venice during Christmas, the recipes, food tasting, cookies, winter drinks, the Christmas lights, and much more. 119 pages.

Here’s the Christmas tree market in front of Chiesa San Felice on Strada Nova. It used to be in front of Chiesa della Maddalena, not far from here, the only church with a completely round layout and a few more secrets to explore .. From there, enter a maze of pictoresque calli leading towards the Grand Canal, with unexpected views that belong only to you, as you will be quite alone here in December.

It’s lovely to see the odd fir branch behind white lace curtains decorated with red ribbons, a trace of the real feast which is quiet here in Venice, with people baking pan speziĂ  honey cookies (even better with orange blossom honey!) and dark mint-cinnamon chocolates (family recipes from our Christmas in Venice Package)

And then, there’s the lively part of Christmas, in the Mercerie which become crowded in the early evening. People stop at the cafes for their caffĂ© espresso and a glass of freshly pressed orange juice (so delicious!), and they are ready to brave the humid winter night.

In any case, get a taste of those opulent Christmases long past in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Then return to the Piazza and learn about culinary secrets and cookie recipes, and to admire le luminarie, the Christmas lights!

Until the 17th century, Venice used to be illuminated with candle lights in December during the merchant fairs, the largest ones in Europe for more than 700 years, and the image above just unveils a taste of it.

You can see it all and join me for a walk in our Holiday Package here!

Cruise Ship Accident in Venice: What Happened on 02 June 2019

On 2 June, a cruise ship accident happened in Venice. Immediately afterwards, the debate on the future of these giants ploughing the Lagoon was opened. In this post, we summarize what happened, share the suggestions discussed and the solution proposed by the major expert in the field of Lagoon engineering and hydraulics, Professor Luigi d’Alpaos of the University of Padua. He also published his latest book, SOS Laguna, only two weeks ago on 19 May 2019.

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