Instagram guide - Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy, is without a doubt one of the most unique cities in the world. This floating city made up of 118 islands and over 400 bridges, has been inhabited as far back as the 10th century and is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Italy is already a dream with its warm people, romance language, some of the most beloved dishes in the world and Roman history, but what makes this Italian city so extraordinary is that there are absolutely no road vehicles operating within the city; the only method of transport is by foot or via the complex canal system. Even the emergency services operate on the canals!
Venice is definitely a city that you must get lost in, which is fortunate, because thanks to its ancient network of canals and bridges, it's easy to do so. Virtually every corner of this fairytale city is photogenic, so you won't have a problem getting beautiful photos by simply wandering around. In fact, I have heard many people say it's impossible to get a bad photo in Venice, but just in case you want a few pointers for some extra special spots around the city, read on for 10 of the best places to get photos in Venice.
1. Bridge of Sighs
Legend has it that the Bridge of Sighs gained its name because it was the sound that came from the criminals walking across it who were heading to prison. The small windows supposedly offered them their last glimpse of Venice before being locked up.
It’s one of the most famous landmarks in Venice which means the neighbouring bridges - Ponte della Paglia and Fondamenta della Canonica - on either side that offer the best views/photo opportunities, get very busy. To beat the crowds arrive around 7am. Personally I believe the best way to shoot it, should you wish to be in the shot, is for you to stand on Fondamenta della Canonica and have your photographer shoot you from the next bridge along, on Calle de la Canonica.
2. Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge is not only the most famous bridge in Venice, but it is also the oldest one crossing the Grand Canal. For this reason, it gets very busy from quite early on in the day. To get a photo on the bridge, head there straight after you’ve got your photo of the Bridge of Sighs; it only takes 7mins to walk there.
The best view is south facing, as the Grand Canal stretches out further in that direction, so there’s more to see and therefore more in your photo. If you’re there in the early morning the sun will grace the tops of the buildings giving them a warm glow.
3. Grand Canal with a view of Rialto Bridge
This will be your trickiest location to shoot out of the ten in this list because it is an operating jetty all day long, and unlike many locations, the earlier you arrive won’t benefit you. These jetties are mostly used by delivery boats and they are piled high with multiple boxes which takes often close to an hour to unload so a) you don’t want to get in the way of them doing their job and b) there’s an unattractive boat in the forefront of your shot.
The only thing I can suggest, seeing as it’s what we did, is to keep returning throughout the day to check if the jetty is clear. As we only had one day, we had to settle for the delivery boat being in my shot once it had been unloaded. I don’t mind the flash of colour, but it’s not the most glamorous of boats.
To get here, you want to be on the side of the corner where the Hard Rock Café shop is. With that shop behind you, walk down the steps and the jetties are all along the right hand side. To get your bearings before you go, take a look at the screen shots from Google Maps below to know where I mean.
4. Gondola ride
You won’t have a tough time finding a gondola in Venice, they are everywhere. What is important though is where you pick it up as that will determine the route you take. We got ours in the backstreets because we wanted to travel through the little canals rather than Grand Canal as they are much more picturesque. Plus, the Grand Canal has far more traffic from bigger boats making deliveries or the water taxis which aren’t attractive to have in the background of your shots.
€80 for half an hour
If you are looking to cut down on the cost, gondola rides are paid for per gondola not person, so you could rally a few people to split the cost but I would strongly recommend you budget the €80 to have a private ride with your loved one(s).
I have been told that night time rides are the most romantic as you float under the stars, however if you are planning on taking photos, I recommend going during the daytime for better lighting. I can also tell you that half an hour is plenty of time to sit together and enjoy the ride and get your photos.
5. Libreria Acqua Alta
If you’re following a bunch of travel bloggers, the chances are you’ve seen the staircase made of books out back of the bookstore, Libreria Acqua Alta.
The outdoor area where the book-stairs are is very small so you don’t have to worry about any one getting in your shot because everyone has to wait for their turn.
Daily from 9am - 8pm
6. Bridges over the small canals
One of the most wonderful things about Venice is that virtually every corner of the city is photogenic. Stray away from Grand Canal, get lost in the back streets and snap pretty much any bridge you come across. Take the opportunity to get creative with perspective when you come across parallel or interconnecting bridges.
Whether you’re holding it towards the camera, away from the camera showing off your fresh mani or just straight up eating it, gelato with the canals as your backdrop is always going to make a good shot.
Of course if you want to eat the best gelato after you’ve got your shot, you want to be getting yours from Suso. Not only is the gelato worth the queue out of the door, but it’s steps away from a bridge so you can get that shot before it melts.
This is one of the best gelaterias in Venice so in order to avoid the queue, you want to be getting here as early as you can stomach gelato in the day.
Got diet restrictions? No problem! They have Vegan gelato and gluten free cones.
8. Jetty at the end of Piscina S.Moise
At the end of Piscina S.Moise, there is a very small jetty that looks out on a small canal with a couple of bridges. It is becoming quite the popular spot for photos because it’s a quiet area, away from the crowds that flock to the Grand Canal. Not much passes through here besides a few gondolas and delivery boats so it’s a really neat place to get a photo of a canal.
9. T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi
The viewing platform on the rooftop of T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, formerly known as DFS, offers some of the most spectacular sweeping views of Venice. Entrance to the viewing platform is free but you do need to book it in advance. To do so, arrive as early in the day as possible and head up to the top floor where the entrance to the rooftop is, here you will find a few iPads. All you need to do is book a time to return and enter your name and contact information and your tickets will be emailed to you. When you come back for your time slot, show your tickets to the security guard.
10. Ponte Chiodo
This little bridge is one of only two in Venice that doesn’t have a parapet.
What’s particularly great about this one in terms of taking photos, is that it can only be accessed from one side, so you don’t have to worry about too much foot traffic. It’s located in a much quieter neighbourhood in Venice so despite going there in the middle of the day, there was only a couple of other people in the area.
Make sure you keep good balance!
If you find this guide useful and take photos there, use #postcardsfromhawaiiblog and I will feature them on my Instagram stories!