Venice photography guide
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One of the most famous historical cities in Europe (if not the world), Venice is a must-visit for a photographer. Rich history ensures that there is a lot to be photographed in the city, beautiful palaces, churches, squares and canals - it seems the city never runs short on these. From former trade glory, Venice has turned to tourism - for better and for worse. There are plenty of amazing and unique places to stay, excellent restaurants, well organised public transport (it always amazes me how smoothly everything runs on these canals!), UNESCO sights and interesting events all add up to a great experience. Venice is crowded. Millions of tourists flock into the city and on a hot and humid summer day it might be best to get out of the city. But with a little initiative and will to explore you can get away from big crowds, even in the high season.
My favourite time to visit the city is off season. The months from November to March are much more relaxed, cheaper and less crowded - all good reasons to visit at this time of year, not to mention a better chance of interesting weather, be it fog, amazing sunset or acqua alta (high tide that floods the streets).
Photography in Venice offers many diverse opportunities. Obviously architecture and cityscapes are the main draw, but I also like street photography; with setting like Venice I never get bored as a photographer!
Most churches and museums do not permit photography inside (with a few exceptions mentioned in this guide). A tripod is a necessity and besides your usual gear, I do recommend ND filters for long exposures. Other than that, photography in Venice is quite straightforward once you know how to get around.
Drones are illegal in the city and you could easily get in trouble using one!
Most popular Venice photo spots
The most famous, and for photographers most attractive, Venetian event is the Carnevale di Venezia. People from all around the world come to Venice with their individually-styled costumes to pose on the streets of Venice and to compete for the “maschera piu bella” - the most beautiful mask. See the website Carnival website for the dates as they vary every year.
Allow a minimum of two nights in the city. This way you can cover most of the classic shots of Venice plus a few others. Three nights would be even better - you can then dedicate one day to Murano and Burano islands.
If you like elevated views you have three options, St Mark’s bell tower, The bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore church and the beautiful palace Scala Contarini del Bovolo.
I really like Burano island with its colourful buildings. If you get a sunny day take a vaporetto ride to the island - you won’t regret it!
Don’t forget your gondola shot! Riva degli Schiavoni is the most classic location, but in this guide you will find a few nice alternatives as well.
A sunrise at Accademia bridge and a sunset from the Rialto bridge are two great suggestions for nice photos of Canal Grande - and again Venetian classic shots.
Most importantly, explore! There are so many opportunities that a guide like this cannot really do it justice. You need to get out with your camera, keep your eyes open and be willing to get lost in this maze called Venice.
Book a room within walking distance of the main sights (ideally in the triangle St Mark’s square, Accademia bridge, Rialto bridge or close). In low-season you can find great last minute deals online.
Venice is a safe city and there is a bigger chance you will get ripped of by a restaurant bill than get robbed on the street. Still, common sense is advised, be especially aware of pickpockets.
To get around the city buy a vaporetto ticket - it pays to get one for multiple days as this is cheaper and more convenient! You will also cover a lot of ground on foot so wear comfortable walking shoes.
Restaurants in Venice are excellent - but do your research to make sure you walk into a respectable one. Also to save some money it is worth finding somewhere off the main tourist routes.
And remember, this is Italy - a smile and a few words in Italian will make a great difference!
Venice Marco Polo Airport
Venice Tourist Website
Live webcam at San Marco Square
Best option for transfers between airports and cities in the region
Explore more photo spots in Italy
If you want to explore beyond Venice, we have 424 photo spots that you can visit in Italy.
Luka Esenko Team
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