by Anne Hanley, The Daily Telegraph, February 8, 2017
Palazzi of infinite pastel shades reflected in quiet canals; footsteps echoing down intimate alleyways and sea birds calling over the vast lagoon vistas; the gentle chug of waterborne traffic along the magnificent Grand Canal and the soft splash of a gondola plying a watery backstreet: there's really no competition. For romance, Venice is the perfect backdrop.
Of course, La Serenissma can do brash too: you just have to stumble through the throng in piazza San Marco or fight your way across the Rialto bridge in high season to experience that. But no matter what's happening in the main tourist spots, turn off the main drag and the scene changes abruptly. Each alley leads to a nook or view which might have been created specially to delight the souls of passing lovers.
The perfect date:
Early-rising romantics should make their way to St Mark's Square for a sight that most visitors miss: this magnificent space with nobody in it, save the odd waiter setting out tables and chairs. To experience the acres of glittering gold mosaics inside St Mark's without the crowds, attend early mass (7am, 8am) at the basilica; for an extra special experience, with etherial voices soaring into the domes, catch a sung mass (9am Mon-Sat, 10.30am Sun).
A cappuccino at one of the pavement tables at cafés in the piazza may seem enticing but the bill might dampen your passion. Make your way through the beautiful mirrored rooms at Caffè Florian (piazza San Marco, +39 041 520 5641, www.caffeflorian.com) and perch at the intimate bar counter at the back: you'll probably have it to yourselves (and the coffee costs much less).
A quick vaporetto hop away on the island of San Giorgio, the view from the top of the bell tower (lift to the top €6) will make hearts soar.
If the sun is shining, grab the opportunity to relax along the Giudecca canal – wider and plied more by workaday craft than the Grand Canal but stunning nonetheless. El Chioschetto (cheap and snacky; Dorsoduro 1406, 00 39 348 396 8466, average €15) and Riviera (expensive and exquisite; Dorsoduro 1473, 00 39 041 522 7621, www.ristoranteriviera.it, average €80) on the Zattere bank, or La Palanca (mid-priced and jolly; Giudecca 448, 00 39 041 528 7719, https://www.facebook.com/LaPalancaGiudecca, average €30 per person) on the Giudecca side all offer gorgeous water-side lunch settings; if the weather is inclement, small tables inside at Palanca and Riviera are good for conversation à deux.
A short walk away, on the Grand Canal, Ca' Rezzonico (Dorsoduro 3136, http://carezzonico.visitmuve.it/en/home/, €10) is home to paintings of wooing, canoodling, flirting and marriage in 18th-century Venice.
A photo posted by 💟 (@mademoiselle_ciccia) on Jan 21, 2017 at 3:44am PST
No Venetian tryst is complete without a great sunset. The roof terrace of the new-for-2016 T Fondaco luxury shopping mall (San Marco, calle del Fontego, www.tfondaco.com ) offers extraordinary views as the sun dips, but you’re unlikely to have it to yourselves. For something quieter, the lagoon-side promenade by the Giardini stop is a scenic vantage point (the number 1 vaporetto takes you there). Grab an aperitivo perched at one of the tiny tables outside at El Refolo in via Garibaldi (Castello 1580, www.elrefolo.it ) before or after.
Tight spaces mean Venetian restaurants offer little in the way of romantic nooks but tiny Alle Testiere (Castello 5801, 00 30 041 522 7220, www.osterialletestiere.it, average €60) feels so all-over intimate that you can stay wrapped up in each other despite close-set tables. And the food is excellent. Book well ahead, and opt to go late so that you can linger lovingly over a voluptuous desert without the next wave of diners disturbing you.
The perfect love nest?
Ca’ Maria Adele takes Venetian vernacular to gothically stylish extremes.
This place takes Venetian vernacular to gothically stylish extremes. The five ‘concept’ rooms, two suites (one with a little balcony) and five deluxe rooms are all delightfully decorated with subtle tones, beautiful dark-wood furniture and marble bathrooms. The Sala Noire with its black Murano glass chandelier is deliciously decadent. The five rather less ornate deluxe rooms and two top-floor suites are equally plush.
Read the full review: Ca' Maria Adele
The five-room Cima Rosa.
An effortlessly elegant mix of antique and modern, the five-room Cima Rosa is the extremely stylish creation of an Italian architect and American decorator couple. Don’t be surprised to find this upmarket b&b full of returnees: guests have a habit of making their way back here whenever they can.The five well-sized rooms and suites are all beautifully decorated in Farrow & Ball pastels that pick up Venice’s water colours and enhance the classic-contemporary elegance. The sateen bed linen is luxurious; the well equipped bathrooms are delightful.
Read the full review: Cima Rosa
This article was written by Anne Hanley from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.