Most itineraries for a trip to Venice start with the obligatory visit to the Piazza San Marco with its host of glittering monuments, followed by an overpriced trip in a gondola down the Grand Canal towards the Rialto Arch.
But if the thought of jostling for a photo opportunity among the crowds leaves you longing for a taste of the real Venice, there are plenty of hidden gems to be found in the city’s backwaters.
Exploring the twisting maze of streets where the real Venetians live and work, will lead you to a variety of little-visited but fascinating museums and galleries that offer an alternative insight to this magnificent city.
Palazzo Querini Stampalia Musem
Barely a few steps away from the bustling crowds in the Piazza San Marco, is one of the most interesting collections of art in Venice. Visitors to this beautiful building are instantly transported to the 1700s for a glimpse of life in a Venetian palace of the time.
Twenty sumptuously decorated rooms display period furniture, fine porcelain, musical instruments and paintings by artists from the 14th-18th centuries, including Longhi, Bellini and Raphael.
Museo Storico Navale
The watery city of Venice was once renowned for its naval prowess and the Naval History Museum near the Arsenale, is a fitting tribute to this.
The entrance to the museum is flanked by two enormous anchors that were seized from Austrian battleships during the First World War. Providing an overview of life in Venice prior to the arrival of motorized boats, the museum is home to an array of vessels, as well as exhibitions and displays charting a long and rich maritime history.
Museo del Merletto
A short ferry trip across the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano and you will find the Museo del Merletto – a showcase museum dedicated to the intricate and delicate art of lace making.
Founded by designer Patrizia Piccaluga and displaying much of her own work, as well as donated and borrowed pieces, this is a fascinating study of the traditional craft.
Museo del Vetro
The Glass Museum in Murano is home to hundreds of priceless, fragile pieces of breathtaking craftsmanship, including collections by Correr, Cicogna and Molin.
A highlight of the museum is a huge candelabra composed of 356 individually hand-blown pieces, weighing more than 300kg (600 lbs). Visitors can also see explanations of the many ancient glass working techniques such as blowing, beading and mirrors.
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Photo by llamnudds