You will be richly rewarded on a December visit to Venice. It's a special time. Canals and gondolas twinkle with holiday lights, the tourists have left, and the city's cool climate and misty skies make it hauntingly beautiful. Venetian Christmas markets sell seasonal gifts like colourful glass from Murano and lace from neighbouring Burano island.
Venetian holiday menus feature suckling pig with white truffles, chestnut puree, and traditional fish dishes risotto de pevarasse (clam risotto) and branzino al forno (baked sea bass). Venice will be filled with music, so make sure to book a Christmas concert at a historic venue like Santa Maria della Pieta or at Ateneo di San Basso, one of the oldest churches in the city.
Baby, it's cold out there! So skip the lines and go directly inside Basilica San Marco to experience the majesty of this world-famous cathedral. In December you'll be rewarded with lavish Christmas decorations and a holiday feeling. Add to this an insider's tour of Doge's Palace and you have created a magical day in Venice.
December is the perfect month to explore these three famous islands of the Venetian Lagoon. Visit a glass-blowing atelier on Murano; Venice's first cathedral, Santa Maria Assunta, on the island of Torcello; and shop for handcrafted lace on Burano Island. The islands go to great lengths to celebrate Christmas as they try to outdo each other to bring in the Venetian holiday spirit.
Cicchetti, tapas-style dishes, are a long-standing tradition in the Venetian bars called bacari. Perch on a high stool or stand at the wooden bar and sample the best cicchetti in the city. You team up with a local guide who will take you off-the-beaten path for a taste of local cuisines & a glass of prosecco or wine. You make five stops in total, plus a visit to the lively Rialto Market.
Feel like an Italian movie star as you take in the sites of Venice as you cruise your way from the airport to your hotel. It's the best way to arrive in the Floating City. VIP transfer services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Experience Verdi's La Traviata, which premiered here in Venice in 1853, in this Baroque palazzo that presents operas in intimate settings. Great opera in a colourful setting.
• La Traviata
• The Barber of Seville
Celebrate Natale with Baroque music by Venetian Antonio Vivaldi, performed in this romantic. Fist built in 1084 (and remodeled over the centuries) Chiesa di San Vidal features a magnificent altarpiece, San Vidal on Horseback with Eight Saints by Carpaccio (1514).
Dedicated to Theodore, the city's first patron saint, the Scuola was built in 1580. The elegant first floor — piano nobile — features paintings from the 17th & 18th centuries. The musicians dress in 18th-century costume and will make you feel like you've traveled in a time machine.
• I Musici Veneziani: Baroque and Opera
• Vivaldi's The Four Seasons
A short walk from the Doge's Palace, this jewel of a church is a popular venue for classical music concerts. That makes sense, since Vivaldi himself was concert master here in the 18th century. Hear famous works by Mozart, Vivaldi and other masters performed by I Virtuosi Italiani.
The San Marco Chamber Orchestra will take you on a musical journey to when Antonio Vivaldi was alive and composing in Venice during the Baroque period.
• Vivaldi and Opera
• Vivaldi's The Four Seasons
Performances of opera arias with singers, orchestra, and musicians dressed in traditional Venetian masks — maschera — and 18th-century costumes. We suggest you select the Venetian dinner option and enjoy a classic dinner before the show.
• Opera & Venetian Dinner
• Musica in Maschera – Opera & Ballet
• Vivaldi's Four Seasons & Dinner
• Vivaldi's Four Seasons & Ballet
The Christmas season begins with a bang on December 8, with L'Immacolata — the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Venetians flock to Saint Mark's Basilica, where a thousand candles reflect the gold-tiled mosaics, and festive church bells are heard throughout the city.
The Natale di Vetro — Glass Christmas — is a wonderful reason to visit Murano Island. It's just a short vaporetto ride from Venice. On December 6, the island celebrates San Nicolo (Saint Nicholas), the patron saint of glass makers. Seasonal stalls are brimming with glass Christmas decorations, all produced by local artisan glass makers. You will also marvel at the handmade Murano chandeliers.
• Murano Island
• December 6, 2016 - January 6, 2017
The Peggy Guggenheim pays homage to Tancredi Parmeggiani (1927 – 1964), a painter discovered by Peggy Guggenheim in the 1950s. He's the only artist (after Jackson Pollock) to be placed under contract. Peggy promoted his work, gave him studio space, and organized exhibitions. The exhibition surveys a collection of 50 paintings. Sadly, Tancredi committed suicide in Rome in 1964.
• Peggy Guggenheim Collection
• Ends March 14, 2017