It’s hard not to love Venice, with its canals, gondolas, winding streets and glasses of Aperol Spritz.
However, losing your heart to The Floating City can be just as easy as losing your patience when deciding where to stay. Which neighbourhoods are the best for art? Which are best connected to the main sights? But what if it’s overpriced? Will it be suffocated under the same old Baroque bedspreads and Rococo candelabras? Will water splash into the bedroom from the canal?
Marta Mariani of the Italian edition of the Room5 makes things easy by tracking down the best and most reputable hotels in every sestieri (neighbourhood), all within easy reach of the main sites and available at a budget-friendly price, so that you can be sure that your wallet won’t be the next victim of a “Death in Venice”…
When to Visit Venice
As is the case with many European cities, planning your visit around the weather and crowds can either make or break your trip. Play around with your calendar while keeping the Carnevale (February), Bienalle (May to October) and the summer high season in mind.
In terms of weather, best to avoid the winter months when strong winds bring rain — and the high waters! Try mid-September through early November when you’ll need just a light jacket, and hotel prices deflate along with the crowds.
Where to Stay in San Marco
Venice Hotels near Palazzo Ducale, Piazza San Marco and Saint Mark’s Basilica
Ideal for …
- Soaking up the sights in Venice’s most touristy area, within easy reach of San Marco, the Ponte dei Sospiri and Rialto.
- Dining like an 18th Century illuminist at the famous Caffè Florian in Piazza San Marco.
- Rubbing shoulders with the VIPs at Harry’s Bar, the birthplace of the Bellini and Carpaccio, and Hemingway’s favourite spot in Venice (and he sure knew how to enjoy a good drink in his time…)
Want to stay near San Marco but don’t want to spend a fortune, nor make a deal with the devil? Well, you don’t have to. Book a room at Hotel Firenze, located less than 30 metres from Piazza San Marco. If you don’t believe us, go up to the terrace and see for yourself just how incredibly close you are from the oriental cupolas of the Basilica and the church tower. However, if you’re not feeling up to walking the short distance to the Piazza, you can always relax in one of the bedrooms with a view of the Basilica (our lips are sealed!)
Baroque meets contemporary at the Violino d’Oro, located right in the heart of Venice in the city’s most picture-perfect district. If your travel plans include an opera at La Fenice, but you’re worried about your clothes getting wrinkled as you wade through the crowds of tourists, don’t worry, this glamorous hotel is situated just three minutes from the Teatro. After the show, if you care for something a bit less cultured—you know, like a sprint through the pigeons—Piazza San Marco is just a four-minute walk from the hotel (tourists and feathered friends permitting).
Where to stay in Castello
Venice Hotels near Palazzo Grimani, Via Garibaldi and the Church of San Pietro di Castello
Ideal for …
- Being close enough to the main attractions while also enjoying the added bonus of some peace and quiet.
- Visiting the Arsenale and the Giardini during the Venice Art Biennale, showcasing the works of contemporary artists and architects.
- Relaxing beside the majestic Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo and the magnificent facade of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, now the municipal hospital.
Al Nuovo Teson
Anyone who has visited the Venice Biennale at least once will know how tiring it can be: hours and hours on your feet walking between the Arsenale and the Giardini, and little time to relax. Luckily, Al Nuovo Teson offers the perfect retreat at the end of a long day spent soaking up the culture, located close enough to the Biennale to be able to swing back later with whatever energy you have left. After spending the night snuggled up in one of the cozy beds, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to continue exploring even the furthest of pavilions scattered around the Venetian Lagoon.
Heading to Venice in search of artistic inspiration? Why not stay in the house of one of Venice’s most famous painters? Not simply named after Antonia Canal, Hotel Canaletto was actually the home of the great 18th-century Venetian artist. As well as having hosted numerous famous guests, this hotel is also distinguished by its inviting Venetian-style bedrooms and its vicinity to Rialto, making it the ideal location to explore the surrounding districts.
Where to stay in Cannaregio
Venice Hotels near the Jewish Ghetto, the Jewish Museum and Ca d’Oro Palace
- Being within easy reach of Santa Lucia station, Rialto or San Marco, via the crowded yet scenic Strada Nova.
- Discovering the peaceful Ghetto di Venezia and savouring Jewish specialties.
- Sipping on a glass of wine, or an ómbra di vino as the Venetians would say, with a cichéto (literally, a ‘small bite’) in one of the many typical Venetian osterias.
The location of this hotel is near-perfect: Reach Rialto and San Marco in no time at all. But, what really makes Giorgione the true gem of Cannaregio is its outdoor swimming pool (because, unfortunately, paddling in the canals isn’t allowed…) In the daytime, the pool deck is the spot for perfecting your tan, while at night it becomes the backdrop for a romantic meal for two. At Giorgione, you’ll be made to feel like a true VIP.
No, we’re not suggesting you stay at Venice’s famous Ca d’Oro palace, but rather at the nearby hotel, meaning you won’t have far to walk to soak up its splendour. Like true Venetian aristocrats, before entering the hotel you’re greeted by a quaint courtyard with an antiquated little well. And, if you want to discover the surrounding area, you don’t necessarily need to leave the hotel: simply walk up to the top floor and enjoy the view from the terrace.
Where to stay in Santa Croce
Venice Hotels near Ca’ Pesaro, San Giacomo dall’Orio and San Stae
- Wandering through the peaceful backstreets and discovering a more authentic side of Venice.
- Stopping for a rest in Giardini Papadopoli Park and seeing what you make of Calatrava’s Ponte della Costituzione for yourself.
- Enjoying a panino at the legendary (among students) Bacareto da Lele in Campo dei Tolentini.
Do you only dream of Venice from its Baroque heyday? At Hotel Gardena, you can experience pure Venetian opulence, without compromising on comfort. If skimming through your guidebook under a traditional fresco is what you’re looking for, your search ends here. How about resting your head on a Baroque embroidered pillow? This is the place. Want to lean back against a gold headboard as you take in the panoramic view from the window? You have found your new home.
Where to stay in San Polo
Venice Hotels near the Rialto Bridge, the Rialto Market and the Grand Canal
Ideal for …
- Browsing the fresh fish stalls at the Mercato di Rialto and enjoying a glass of Prosecco with a view of the Ponte di Rialto.
- Gazing up at the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and stepping inside to admire one of Titian’s most famous masterpieces.
- Visiting the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and appreciating the works of Tintoretto.
Residenza Corte Molin | B&B
What could be more romantic than staying in a 14th Century palace? Staying in a 14th Century palace in the heart of Venice! At Residenza Corte Molin, not only are you just three minutes from Rialto, but you are also within easy reach of San Marco and the neighbouring districts, without having to take a single vaporetto (water/canal bus). And, as walking can be tiring work, make sure you prepare properly for a day out exploring the narrow Venetian streets by taking full advantage of breakfast served in your bedroom, oozing Venetian character with its 16th Century exposed wooden beams.
Where to stay in Dorsoduro
Venice Hotels near Zattere, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and the Galleria dell’Accademia
Ideal for …
- Getting your art fix at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Gallerie dell’Accademia, and the Punta della Dogana exhibitions.
- Strolling along the Fondamenta Zattere while admiring the island of Giudecca from across the canal.
- Mingling with the students with an Aperol Spritz in Campo Santa Margherita.
Want to feel like true Venetian nobility? Hotel Pausania near Campo San Barnaba is the place to go. Spend hours soaking up the decor in the drawing room, luxuriously adorned with Rococo mirrors, or look out from the Venetian Gothic balustrade—the ideal spot for a more “sophisticated” selfie. In the morning, prepare for the day like a true Venetian aristocrat with breakfast on the veranda overlooking the lush gardens of this 14th Century palace. And, if you want to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle, Campo Santa Margherita is just three minutes away on foot: You can never be too posh for a good ol’ Spritz!
Locanda Ca’ Zose
Calling all pastel colour lovers. With its muted hues and peaceful atmosphere, Locanda Ca’ Zose could very well be the set of a Wes Anderson film. Aside from its cinematographic furnishings, Locanda’s main selling point is its location, situated just a few metres from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection—an absolute must for all history of art fanatics—and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, where you can light a candle and seek refuge from the cold.
Which Venetian neighbourhood is your favourite to stay in?
This article was translated from Room5 Italy.