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Venice Off the Beaten Path Attractions You Shouldn’t Miss

Island of San Michele

Venice is an exceptionally beautiful destination that comprises of 118 islands connected with 400 bridges. It is tightly packed with attractions in every corner that is worth admiring. Take time to soak up the essence of Venice and you will be overwhelmed with the fascinating sights around. The ‘Floating City’ flaunts several hotspots that are frequented by tourists and travelers alike. But if you are an explorer who wants to take the path less traveled, there are a number of alternatives that can satisfy your wanderlust soul.

Let Tour Italy Now take you through the off the beaten path for a different kind of experience in the ‘City of Water’.

The Arsenal

Venetian Arsenal | Tour Italy Now

The Arsenal is a historic complex that was once the heart of the naval industry in Venice. It occupies a sprawling 45 hectares and has a historical significance dating back to the 12th century. This shipyard is regarded as the first-ever factory in the world and employed around 16,000 individuals at that time. Porta Magna, Arsenal’s land gate is one of the earliest examples of Renaissance architecture which is designed with exquisite lion carvings. Even today, the Venetian Arsenal is managed by the navy and is usually closed to the general public. Some parts of the complex are open during the iconic event of Biennale.


Cannaregio is one of the six ancient districts that stretch over the northern part of the city. The picturesque neighborhood of Cannaregio is an eclectic mix of colorful buildings, Venetian traditions and splendid sights. This region flaunts a rich history and is often ignored by mainstream tourists. It houses the second most important canal in Venice after the Grand Canal and is a sight to behold. Another highlight is the Ghetto where the Jewish population was forced to live between the 16th and the 18th century. There are a number of restaurants located here where you can munch on delicacies and see the world pass by.

Island of San Michele

Lying in the heart of the Venetian lagoon, San Michele Island is one of the most intriguing places to visit in Venice. A short Vaporetto ride will take you to this island that houses a beautiful cemetery dating back to the 19th century. During the reign of Napoleon, he declared San Michele an official cemetery where the dead and deceased from the main island should be buried. This is a non-residential area that flaunts a remarkable church as well as historic tombs of scientists, mathematicians, aristocrats, and ordinary residents. Explore this tranquil heaven and embrace solitude away from the city’s chaos.

Squero di San Trovaso

If you want to absorb the everyday rhythm in Venice, head to Squero di San Trovaso. It is one of the oldest boatyards where skilled craftsmen build and repair the legendary gondolas that symbolizes Venice. Sit at the bar with a glass of wine and look across the waterway to enjoy the unique sight that you have never witnessed before. Unfortunately, Squero is not open to the general public and you can only get a sneak peek from a distance. If you visit on a bright day, you might be lucky enough to see the boat-builders in action.


The coastal town of Chioggia offers a peaceful gateway away from the hustle of the city. It is nestled on the Adriatic Coast that allows you to unwind and enjoy the local way of life. With bridges and narrow canals, this region is less touristy and uncovers the raw beauty of Venice. Chioggia is dotted with some of the best seafood restaurants where you can immerse in the Venetian lifestyle at a slower pace. Makes sure to walk around the fish markets and take pictures of the idyllic beaches and brightly-colored buildings.

Scala Contarini del Bovolo

Scala Contarini del Bovolo is a 15th-century palazzo that is not known to many of the tourists. This palatial monument stands tall in the heart of Venice not far from the iconic St. Mark’s Square. It features an unusual spiral staircase that looks like a snail. This heritage landmark is an effortless blend of Renaissance, Gothic and Byzantine architectural style. You can climb to the top and admire the breathtaking view of the city. This historic palazzo was featured in Orson Welle’s 1951 adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, Othello.

Ponte de Chiodo

Ponte de Chiodo venice | Tour Italy Now

The small footbridge of Ponte de Chiodo comes from a time when the bridges had no handrails. It is one of the two bridges in this region that gives an adrenaline rush when you cross it. The bridge leads to a building and is a great place to take some beautiful pictures. It is an exquisite structure that teleports you to the 18th century Venice. While making your way to Ponte de Chiodo, enjoy the beautiful sight of the backstreet lined with vintage goods and bars that are loved by locals.

San Francesco della Vigna

Away from the tourist circuit, San Francesco della Vigna is an architectural delight that will allow you to drift in oblivion. This church is also a monastery where silence is the norm. The Renaissance interior is carefully preserved and adds an irresistible charm to this monument. Explore this sacred landmark and marvel at the sight of detailed frescoes adorned on its walls and ceilings. San Francesco della Vigna also features two massive courtyards packed with orange trees which is an ideal place to embrace the serenity.

Sant’Andrea Island

Nestled in the Venetian Lagoon, the Island of Sant’ Andrea is one of the best-kept secrets in Venice. This slice of paradise is often overlooked by tourists who flock to the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. It is the home to a palatial fortress that was constructed in the 16th century to protect Venice against foreign invasions. Most of the island is unkempt and offers an unparalleled view over the blue lagoon and the city.

San Zaccaria Church

The Gothic-style San Zaccaria Church is an architectural marvel designed by Antonio Gambello. This historic landmark took nearly 70 years to complete and features arched windows, ornate interiors and spectacular artwork that depict sheer magnificence. If you are a heritage buff, make sure to pay an additional fee and explore the chapels. Here you get to see some of the ancient tombs that have a history dating back to the centuries.

When are you planning to explore these lesser-known attractions? Let us know in the comments or check our next , Escorted Tours of Italy

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By Priscila Siano (266 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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