Venice, Italy is one of the most romantic settings in the world. The city is a popular tourist destination because of its art and architecture. In the 18th century, the European wealthy included Venice as a major part of the Grand Tour. Considered the most elegant and refined city in Europe, it was admired for its rich culture, art, architecture and music. Over the centuries, Venice has retained its reputation as a place for the rich and famous to enjoy.
Venice’s location on the Adriatic Sea made it a major trading point with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world, making the city the most prosperous in Europe. Venice is made up of an archipelago of 117 islands. Winding canals and stately bridges connect the islands. Its position on the Adriatic helped Venice become a major commercial and naval power, and in the 15th century, the city became the printing capital of the world.
Venice has been the center of European culture and art for centuries. Its beautiful architecture remains intact despite its watery existence. Buildings in Venice are made with closely spaced piles made of alder wood. Alder trees are known for their water-resistance and submerged in the water, the wood does not have access to oxygen which causes decay. The beautiful palaces, churches and bridges of Venice have stood the test of time.
When visiting Venice, it should be a luxurious experience as in the days of the Grand Tour. Here are 10 things to do in Venice with an unlimited budget.
1. Gritti Palace – Hemingway Suite: $10,100 per night
The Gritti Palace has been reconstructed into a unique boutique hotel offering luxury in a prime location. The palace was known for its beautiful art and intimacy, and the hotel retains this. It is the place where the elite stay for events such as the Venice Film Festival and the annual Carnival. The elegant retreat has 82 opulent guest rooms and suites that retain the palaces history, an amazing wellness retreat, and the finest of culinary experiences.
The Hemingway Suite is named for the famous author who stayed at the Gritti Palace when visiting Venice. The suite features floor to ceiling French doors leading to the balconies for views of the Grand Canal. The suite’s décor is 18th century with stucco walls, decorative ceiling cornices and Rococo details. Hemingway’s club chair sits in the suite.
When not enjoying the suite, the Acqua Di Parma Spa offers a tranquil escape. The Restaurant Club del Doge and The Gritti Terrace offer local, Venetian meals in the most elegant setting. The Gritti Palace is located within strolling distance of St. Mark’s Square where there is a beautiful Byzantine basilica and the Bridge of Sighs. The hotel offers an Epicurian School tour of the Rialto markets where you can enjoy cicchetti and a glass of Prosecco.
2. Shop Calle Larga XXII Marzo – Hooded Metallic Floral-Jacquard Coat: $5,550
Those who love to shop will enjoy the shops at Calle Larga XXII Marzo. Located near St. Mark’s Square, this is where the most high end stores are located. Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton are just some of the designer stores located here. The Calle begins at the Piazza San Marco and winds its way to Campo Santo Stefano. You will not want to leave Venice without a token from Prada.
3. Venice Shore Excursion: $1,213
Travel the canals of Venice in style. A private guide picks you up by motorboat at the cruise terminal. The tour includes a 30 minute gondola ride through the canals and priority access to St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Enjoy dinner at La Carravella and shopping at Calle.
4. Rent a palace – $10,000 for 5 days
Live like royalty during your stay in Venice and rent a palace. Palazzino Alvisi is just one of the palaces available for private rental in the city. The location is perfect, just a stroll away from St. Mark’s Square. With magnificent views of the Grand Canal, the palace overlooks the beautiful Church of Santa Maria della Salute and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The house is over 7000 square feet and has 3 drawing rooms. There are 3 bedrooms. The master suite features balconies. There is an additional bedroom available for your staff or nanny.
5. Camp in luxury – $5,000 for a week
This is not just camping, it is glam-style camping. Glamping Canons of San Marco is a unique and luxurious experience. Recalling the Muslim and Byzantine influence of early Venice, glamping takes place in a peaceful setting next to a 17th century structure among orchards and olive trees.
There are 4 camps. Mulberry Lodge has a wood theme and overlooks a private garden with a mulberry tree. Lodge Kaki features Art Nouveau carpets, soft colors, antique craft accessories, and a railing from a former Sicilian convent. There are 2 suite lodges. The Bagolaro features a colonial style, and the Bamboo features designer bamboo furnishings and elegant décor.
6. JW Marriott Resort and Spa – 2 bedroom villa: $5,030 a night
JW Marriott Venice is located on the Isola delle Rose. The resort features 266 well appointed guest rooms and suites as well as villas. Four restaurants provide fine dining, and there are 4 bars on site. GOCO is the largest spa in Venice. The rooftop pool is the perfect place to relax as you enjoy the panoramic city and lagoon views.
The villa is 2367 square feet and has a master suite and a guest suite. The spacious villa is 2 stories and has its own pool and patio. The villa has all of the amenities of the hotel guest rooms including maid service.
7. Renew your wedding vows – Wedding Vow Renewal: $2,850
Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, so why not renew your wedding vows during your stay? Viator offers an experience that includes renewing vows in a palace along the Grand Canal. A luxury private boat will pick you up at your hotel. The experience includes hair and makeup, an assistant, an officiant, an aperitif and a dinner for two.
Following your romantic wedding, you can spend a day enjoying a private portrait session at romantic and scenic spots throughout Venice. Take a wine tour of the islands of Venice, and conclude your experience with private night cruise. There is no other special way to celebrate your love.
8. Belmond Hotel Cipriani – Exclusive Suite: $3,900 a night
The Belmond is located on Giuecca Island with breathtaking views of the lagoon and the Doge’s Palace. It is just a 4 minute boat launch San Marco. otecaat the elegant hotel include an Olympic sized, heated, salt water pool. There is a tennis court, fitness center and access to a personal trainer. The boutique offers beautiful Venetian fashions and accessories. For a relaxing afternoon, schedule a appointment at the hotel’s tranquil spa. Enjoy dinner in the Oro Restaurant, Cip’s Club or Enoteca.
Guest rooms overlook gardens or the lagoon. The rooms are decorated in luxurious comfort. The Palladio Suite is decorated in fine art and provides beautiful views through its full length windows. The suite includes a private boat deck, a private pool and Jacuzzi, balconies and butler service. The Dogaressa Suite is styled with 18th century charm and original artwork.
9. Piano Nobile degli Scudi – $5,000+
The Piano Nobile degli Scudi is perhaps the most grand of Venice’s palazzi available for rental. Located opposite among the city’s finest museums and within the 15th century Palazzo Loredan Dell’Ambasciatore, the palazzo offers amazing views. It has a Grand Canal entrance and is easily accessible to other parts of Venice.
Furnishing includes 17 and 18th century antiques along with more modern décor. The formal salon is filled with light and overlooks the Grand Canal. There is a comfortable sitting room and a formal dining area as well as a less formal breakfast area. The palazzo has 3 en-suite double bedrooms and an additional en- suite twin bedroom.
10. Hotel Metropole Venice – $6,000 for 5 nights
For a unique experience, the Hotel Metropole is a boutique hotel located on the island of San Giorgio near Biennale and Piazza San Marco. The eclectic hotel provides a distinctive and cozy atmosphere while staying in Venice. The building has been in existence at least since 1500. Antonio Vivaldi gave music lessons in the building in the late 1600s. Guest that stayed in the building include Sigmund Freud in 1895 and Marcel Proust in 1900. The building was extensively restored in the 1960s and became its present style in 2008.
The hotel features The Citrus Garden filled with jasmine, strelitzias, yuccas, palm and orange trees. The hotel features fine dining at Met, a breakfast buffet, the oriental bar, a wine cellar, and a tea ritual. There is a massage room and opportunities to jog or stroll along the lagoon and gardens, or golf or beach in Lido.