Venice, Italy is magical, mysterious, and a photographer’s paradise. It is probably one of the most picturesque and photogenic city in the world. You will literally find something interesting to point the camera towards wherever you walk (or gondola). Each twist and turn leads you to another great photo opportunity: cobblestoned paths, church domes, winding waterways, gondolas, and bridges.
The photography possibilities are literally endless in Venice; however, it can be very tricky to photograph Venice since it’s one of the most visited cities in the world. It’s challenging to capture Venice’s beauty when the place is always touristy and extremely crowded, day and night. In this short guide I will show you some of my favorite places to take photos in Venice…
1. THE LESS TOURISTY NARROW ALLEYS & BACKSTREETS
Before arriving in Venice, you probably heard horrible stories of the heat and the crowds. Those things do exist, but only for people unwilling to look beyond the popular attractions like Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge. For wanderers, explorers, and anyone willing to drift away and get lost, it’s very easy to find narrow streets, lazy alleys, and quiet canals away from the crowds!
Wandering along the neighborhoods of this romantic city in the early morning, I found myself completely immersed in the day-to-day lives of Venetians: restaurant staff carrying groceries from the boats to the kitchens, residents stopping by their favorite café for an early morning espresso, and Gondoliers preparing their gondolas for their first passengers. I not only saw the city come to life, but also found amazing photo opportunities. These small alleys and backstreets tend to remain quiet and undisturbed during the day. In short, you need to steer away from the crowds and find your own amazing spots!
2. THE VIEW FROM THE GONDOLA RIDE
Gondoliers manoeuvring their sleek, black gondolas are the symbol of Venice. A 30-minute gondola ride will cost you about 80 euros. Yes, it’s expensive, but the amazing photographs that you will capture along this ride are well worth it! I have collected all of my best shots of Venice from my gondola ride. This is a great way to take close-up pictures of the waterways, bridges, and smaller canals, with the best time for your gondola ride being sunset!
Early evening is a magical time of day in Venice. The sun is setting, many of the tourists have left, and the lights begin to make Venice twinkle. Look for lights reflecting in the water and the setting sun glowing on the buildings that line the canals. You are sure to get some amazing shots! Gliding through the canals was a peaceful dream and if not for pictures, you should do it at least once in your lifetime.
3. QUIET SPOTS NEAR RIALTO BRIDGE
The Rialto Bridge is always crowded, day or night. However, if you walk away from the bridge in either direction, just a short distance and you will find yourself quiet areas with amazing views of the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge, and the gondolas.
4. THE RIVA DEGLI SCHIAVONE
The Riva Degli Schiavone is a lovely and beautifully wide-open promenade that is right between St. Mark’s Square and the waterfront. It is full of gondolas, gift and snack stalls, and tourists. However, there are always open spaces near gondola service areas where you can capture beautiful shots of San Giorgio Maggiore.
San Giorgio Maggiore is a beautiful little island that sits across the lagoon from St. Mark’s Square. The photos you can capture of the island from Venice, with the gondolas in the foreground, are quite beautiful. If you have time, you should hang around here until blue hour. It got much quieter, and more beautiful when the lights came on.
5. CAFE FLORIAN
Opened in 1720 in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Caffè Florian is Italy’s oldest Café. The outdoor terrace provides a breathtaking view of Piazza San Marco. Imagine yourself sipping a delicious Italian espresso in one of the most beautiful cafes in the world while listening to leading cafe-concert musicians present a rich repertoire of classical music and extracts from operas. It’s an amazing experience, and also provides you with so many beautiful snapshots.
6. PIAZZA SAN MARCO
The most iconic location in Venice is St Mark’s Square. But it’s basically the center of tourism in the city, and it gets really crowded. The lighting here is not ideal to shoot; most time contrasts are far too strong or light is simply ugly. For me, the best time to shoot here is early morning or early evening. At these times the square is deserted and the light is truly magical.
“You have to go to the islands! You have to go to the islands!” everyone kept telling me. And the islands my friends refer to are Murano, Burano, and Torcello. If your time in Venice is limited and you are mainly interested in photographing those famous colorful houses that keep popping on your Instagram/Flikr, I highly recommend you skip Murano and Torcello (unless you are interested in seeing some glass blowing or buy glass souvenirs) and just go straight to Burano.
Burano is a beautiful fishing village that’s just an hour waterbus ride from St. Mark’s Square. You take vaporetto line 14 that runs from Venice’s San Zaccaria stop (near St. Mark’s) to Burano (4 stops on the way). The one-way ticket costs about US $7.50 per person. If you want to go to Murano and Burano, then you take vaporetto line 12 which will stop at Murano on the way to Burano.
This island was picture perfect – a rainbow of colors. It’s impossible to leave this island without at least a dozen of impressive shots to show at home.
I found Venice to be the most picturesque and fascinating place I have ever had the opportunity to visit and photograph. Three days in Venice for the second time was not enough for me to see and do all of the things that I wanted to. I guess I will just have to return, and hopefully on the third visit I will have enough time to photograph everything that I want!
Do you know any other secret photography spots away from the Venice crowds? Please share with our readers in the comments below!
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