5 Hidden Gems to Visit in Venice


by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Pia V.

Last updated : Nov 28, 20227 min read

Venice is one of the most iconic cities in the world. Famed for its scenic canals, beautiful architecture, and rich history - Italy's floating city is visited by 36 million tourists annually. On any given day, you will find many of the city's most famous landmarks swarmed with people looking to check iconic sites like the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica off their travel bucket list. 

Although much of the city has been saturated with tourism, there are still parts of Venice that give you a taste of life beyond the tourist trails. The easiest way to uncover these hidden gems is by exploring the city with a knowledgeable Venice tour guide. Here are our favorite hidden attractions to help get you inspired.

Ponte De Chiodo

Ethan Doyle White, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The City of Canals is filled with bridges - about 400 of them to be more precise. The most famous bridges are of course Ponte di Rialto and the Bridge of Sighs, which was once used to transport convicts from the Doge's Palace to prison. Ponte De Chiodo is far less known than its iconic counterparts, but seeking this scenic bridge out is more than worth the detour.

Ponte De Chiodo is located in Cannaregio, Venice's northernmost district, away from the hustle and bustle surrounding the most prominent tourist attractions. Built over Rio di San Felice, the bridge is most notable in that it features no railings. The parapet-less bridge is said to be the last of its kind in the whole city! Legend has it that back in the day this was a spot for youngsters to fight each other, trying to get their opponent to fall into the canal. These days, the bridge's hands-free layout makes it the ideal spot for snapping some holiday photos.

San Giorgio Maggiore

Jean-Pol Grandmont, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

San Giorgio Maggiore is one of the small islands dotted across the Venetian lagoon, located just south of the main islands. Though it's close to all the main attractions, relatively few tourists make the effort of visiting this petite islet, probably because getting it requires visitors to hop on a vaporetto. That's a shame, as the island really is worth visiting, and zooming across the canal on a waterbus is part of what makes Venice private tours so much fun!

San Giorgio Maggiore has a rich and storied history behind it, with a church dedicated to St. George established here as early as 829 CE. Later, in the year 928, the whole island was donated to Benedictine monks who founded the Monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore. These days, the most famous landmark on the island is the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore which dates back to the 16th century. The church was designed by Palladio, one of the most iconic architects of the Italian renaissance period, and has since been a source of inspiration for countless artists. Monet's painting ’San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk’ captures the evocative beauty of the island perfectly.

Rooftop Terrace at Fondaco dei Tedeschi

Fondaco dei Tedeschi is known first and foremost as one of Venice's premier shopping destinations, representing brands like Fendi, Chloe, Cartier, Hugo Boss and many more. While many visitors head here for some high-end retail therapy, many of them remain oblivious to the fact that this beautiful 16th century building also offers one of the best vantage points overlooking the city. The best part? You can visit the viewing deck completely free of charge.

Fondaco dei Tedeschi's rooftop terrace offers sweeping views overlooking the Grand Canal, with the famous Rialto Bridge located mere meters from the shopping complex. You will get a beautiful bird's eye view over Venice's rooftops, including the domes of St. Mark's Basilica which loom in the distance. While visiting the terrace is free of charge, it's highly recommended that you make an online booking beforehand to secure your preferred time slot. Also keep in mind that visits are strictly limited to 15 minutes per person. If you’re unsure how to organize a visit, simply reach out to one of our Venetian private tour guides

Hidden Osterias 

Italy is, of course, home to some of the most delicious cuisines in the world. Who doesn't love a steaming bowl of pasta or a perfectly prepared pizza? In Venice though, it can be hard to find a restaurant that doesn't have that "made for tourists" feel to it. In practice, this usually means bland flavors and inflated prices. However, if someone tells you there are zero good restaurants in the city, ignore them! There are in fact plenty of delicious osterias (traditional taverns) dotted throughout the city. These are the places where the locals eat and which visitors are often oblivious to. 

A good way to find the hidden restaurants of Venice is to venture away from the most crowded areas. In other words, it's best to steer clear of the restaurants surrounding Piazza San Marco and Ponte de Rialto. That being said, the only fool-proof way to discover Venice's hidden restaurants is to explore the canals and cobblestone streets with one of our Venice private guides. Only a true Venetian will be able to point out all the best local eateries!

San Francesco della Vigna

San Francesco della Vigna, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Besides canals and bridges, the city of Venice is also home to numerous churches. There are said to be around 100 churches on the main island alone, and about 200 in the whole city. One of the most beautiful ones to visit is San Francesco della Vigna which amazingly, also remains relatively overlooked by the majority of visitors. The church is located in the northeast corner of Castello, the largest of Venice's six districts.

San Francesco della Vigna is one of only two Franciscan churches in the city, the other being the imposing Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Though San Francesco della Vigna is smaller in size, it really makes an impact with its beautiful Renaissance style architecture, not to mention the notable works of art housed inside. The chapel's marble reliefs are considered to be some of the most important works of early-Venetian Renaissance sculpture found anywhere in the city.


The eternal beauty and allure of Venice is undeniable. While the city is now characterized as much by its endless masses of visitors as it is by its unique scenery, there are still parts of the City of Water that fall under the radar. Uncovering these hidden wonders in a city that's visited by millions feels all the more rewarding. 

Our Venice private guides know the City of Masks like the back of their hands and will be able to introduce you to sides of the city you never knew existed. Our Venice private tours are fully customizable too, so you'll be sure to see the kind of attractions and locations that interest you the most - but would never discover without a local Italian tour guide in the know.

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