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10 Things to Do in Venice in the summer

One of the best times to travel to Venice is summer. In this season, the city shines in all its splendor and offers its visitors a wide range of activities.

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

12 min read

10 Things to Do in Venice in the summer

Beach in Venice | ©Mark Haynes

The City of Canals is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. The attractions offered by Venice are not only in its monuments, churches and palaces, as the city itself, with its canals and bridges, is an attraction for all those looking for a destination to enjoy several days.

The Venetian summer is usually hot and, in addition, the city is full of visitors. Despite these drawbacks, no one doubts that it is an essential visit and Venice responds by offering some of its most striking festivals and activities. It is also the best time to enjoy the night, especially taking a romantic gondola ride under the stars.

1. Participate in the millenary history of the Festa di San Piero of Casteo

Festa di San Piero of Casteo| ©Argomenti
Festa di San Piero of Casteo| ©Argomenti

One of the most historic celebrations in Venice is the Festa di San Piero in Casteo. Not only will you take part in this ancient tradition, but you will also enjoy live music and stalls offering typical dishes of Venetian cuisine.

The event takes place for several consecutive days at the end of June (although sometimes it can reach the first days of July). Like other festivals in Venice, this one has a religious origin and, in fact, begins with a mass in St. Peter's Basilica officiated by the Patriarch of the city himself.

The mass is followed by a procession on the water coming out of the San Giuseppe canal and the fishermen of the city offer the so-called piscatore ring to the Patriarch.

Most of the activities take place in front of the Basilica of San Pietro, located in the Castello district (sestiere), east of the historic center. You can reach it on foot or with one of the Venetian vaporettos that reach the area.

2. Join the Feast of the Redentore, the most important festival of the summer

Fireworks of the Redentore Festival| ©Karen C
Fireworks of the Redentore Festival| ©Karen C

On the third weekend of July, Venice celebrates the most important festival of the summer, with activities that extend into the following days. The Feast of the Redentore, in addition to its religious aspect, offers locals and visitors a fantastic fireworks display, dancing, traditional food and three regattas of typical Venetian boats.

This festival has been celebrated for five centuries and commemorates the end of the terrible plague epidemic that devastated the city between 1575 and 1577. At the end of it, when a third of the inhabitants of Venice had died, the church of the Redeemer was built on the island of Giudecca, in front of the city.

The Venetians begin to prepare for the festivities as early as Saturday afternoon. First they ride their boats decorated with colored lights and lanterns and with little tables to eat. All of them, in a caravan, travel through the canals of the city to stand in front of St. Mark's Bay, in front of St. Mark's Square.

The atmosphere on the water is festive, with music, food and singing. Although it won't be easy, you may find someone who will agree to put you on their boat to actively participate.

If you don't find anyone, don't worry. Large tables are set up along the banks of the canals (especially on the Giudecca Canal) where traditional dishes are served for dinner.

After this, thousands of people try to get in the best possible place to watch the fireworks display. Keep in mind that it is difficult to find a good spot, as many people wait there standing for a couple of hours. The fireworks, finally, usually start around 23:30 and last for no less than 45 minutes.

The launches take place from the island of Giudecca, which makes the shapes and lights of the fires reflect beautifully on the water. The sensation is that the entire bay is illuminated during that time.

The party, after the fireworks, continues on the Lido (another island you must visit), with dancing and music until dawn. In the morning, the Redeemer's Regatta takes place, in which a large number of typical boats participate.

3. Look for the stars of the Venice International Film Festival

At the Film Festival| ©Igor Filippov
At the Film Festival| ©Igor Filippov

If there is one event (besides the carnival) that rivals the best monuments in Venice in terms of attraction for locals and visitors, it is the famous film festival. In fact, most of those who come to the Lido, where it is held, do so in the hope of seeing one of the international stars who attend each year, but that alone is enough of a lure to draw you in.

The Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world and is usually held in the first week of September. As I said, the venue is located on the island of Lido and one of its main attractions is to see the actors and actresses arriving in gondolas to present their films, without forgetting, of course, the walk down the red carpet.

Keep in mind that there are many people who try to see these moments, so if you do not want to stay in the fifth row you should arrive early.

Of course, you can also attend some of the screenings as an audience. You just have to buy tickets for those that are not specifically for journalists.

4. Don't miss the great spectacle of La Regata Storica

The Historical Regatta| ©Dimitris Kamaras
The Historical Regatta| ©Dimitris Kamaras

The Regata Storica is one of the events of the Venetian summer that most excites and engages locals and visitors alike. If you are in Venice during its celebration, stop what you are doing and don't miss the colorful procession and the excitement of the competitions. If you can, try to get a seat in the stands overlooking the Rialto Bridge.

This regatta (regattas actually) is a tribute to the city's dependence on the waterways that form many of its streets. It usually takes place on the first Sunday in September and the four races involve different types of boats, including gondolas.

Many of the participants, especially the gondoliers, dress up in period costumes to make their way along Venice's Grand Canal.

Both the pre-race parade and the races themselves are accompanied by musical performances, traditional food and drink, especially wine.

Book your cruise on the Grand Canal

5. Relax on one of Venice's beaches

Venice Beach| ©Linus Henning
Venice Beach| ©Linus Henning

Touring Venice in summer, with the crowds of tourists and the lines to enter the Basilica of San Marco or the Doge's Palace can be exhausting. The solution is to dedicate a morning or afternoon to relaxing on one of the beaches near the city.

The best known are those located on the island of Lido, which you can reach by vaporetto. These beaches were chosen by the European bourgeoisie to spend the summer and today are considered the best in the area.

The beaches of the Lido are of fine sand and the landscapes are quite beautiful and picturesque. Of course, the influx in July and August is usually quite high.

Those who prefer to escape from the crowds (although only a little) can choose the beaches located on other islands, such as Jesolo, Eraclea or Cavallino. The best rated is Jesolo, where you can also visit its beautiful lighthouse.

Buy your tickets for the Doge's Palace

6. Take a romantic evening stroll along the canals of Venice

Venice by night| ©Luca Sartoni
Venice by night| ©Luca Sartoni

If a gondola ride during the day is already an incredible experience, imagine being able to do it at night, with the buildings and bridges dimly lit around you. This activity, which the cold of winter in Venice would not allow, is highly recommended if you travel in summer.

Once it gets dark, the heat of the season begins to descend and it is the best time for interesting activities. Among them, especially if you are traveling as a couple, is to take a walk along the canals of the city of Venice and enjoy the reflections that the lights leave on the water.

In addition, the evening is the ideal time to visit the less frequented canals, as well as areas away from the center. If you can, ask the gondolier to pass under the Bridge of Sighs as he takes you on this wonderful journey.

Book a gondola ride in Venice

7. Go to the summer cinema in Arena di Campo San Polo

Cinema in Campo San Polo| ©Martin Pettitt
Cinema in Campo San Polo| ©Martin Pettitt

Going to a summer cinema is, for many, a way of returning to childhood. If, moreover, it can be done in a city like Venice, the sensations are multiplied. The Cinema Arena Campo de San Polo is the ideal place to experience a few hours of cinema, socializing and meeting people in the City of Canals.

The place where the screenings take place is located in Campo San Polo, in the San Polo district. It is an open-air cinema with a long history in the city and only operates from the end of July to the last days of August in Venice.

The screen of the open-air cinema is the largest in the whole city and usually shows reruns of the year's blockbusters. Occasionally, however, you may find a premiere.

Although the experience is worthwhile even if you don't know Italian, some of these movies are shown in their original version.

8. Experience the Venetian night at bacari and terraces

Viewpoint of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi| ©LVMH
Viewpoint of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi| ©LVMH

Summer is the best time of the year to enjoy the Venetian night. There are two types of locals who star in these nights: the bacari and the terraces of some buildings. Spending a few hours in them is a great moment of relaxation after having endured the heat of the day.

If you are looking for a familiar and popular atmosphere, the bacari are for you. These are typical Venetian taverns, with few seats and a long counter. The usual thing to do is to order a glass of wine or a
spritz, the most appreciated aperitif by the locals.

To accompany the drink, nothing better than the popular cicchetti, the Italian version of tapas. Among other specialties I recommend the croutons with cod, mozzarella in carrozza and sardines in saor.

Although you will find bacari all over the city, the most appreciated by Venetians are those in the San Polo and Cannaregio neighborhoods. They are also a good alternative for dinner without having to go to a more formal restaurant. In fact, the popularity of their appetizers has led to the offer of guided tours dedicated to them.

The terraces are another alternative for having a drink. The main advantage, which is no small thing, is the wonderful views you will enjoy. Of course, the price is usually much higher, as they usually belong to luxury hotels such as the Danieli.

Book a tour in Venice to discover traditional appetizers

9. Say goodbye to summer with the Sagra del Pesce and the Regata di Burano

At the Sagra del Pesce| ©Carlo M
At the Sagra del Pesce| ©Carlo M

The best place to bid farewell to the Venetian summer is on a nearby island famous for its textile works: Burano. There, in the third week of September, two highly recommended events take place, not to mention that the island itself is a must-see for those traveling to Venice. Attending the Sagra del Pesce and the Regata di Burano is a good excuse to get to know the rest of its attractions.

The regatta has similar characteristics to the Regata Storica. Men and women participate in it with different types of boats. Thousands of Venetians come to cheer on the participants, as do the tourists in the area.

In addition to its aesthetics, this event attracts these spectators because of the simultaneous celebration of the Sagra del Pesce, a festival dedicated to fish. Numerous stalls are set up on the island selling fried fish, always accompanied by a good white wine.

The inhabitants of Burano, Venetians and tourists join in the celebration and enjoy the fish dishes among the characteristic colorful houses of the island.

Book your excursion to Murano and Burano

10. Enjoy Venetian gelato in the summer heat

Gelato| ©JÉSHOOTS
Gelato| ©JÉSHOOTS

If Italy is the land of gelato, or rather gelato, Venice is the capital of gelato. During the hot summer days you should never miss tasting one of its varieties.

It is said that, after a time when it lost its popularity, gelato regained its splendor when the Venetian merchant Marco Polo returned from his trip to China. The route opened by Polo brought to Venice a number of gelato recipes that fascinated the nobility of the city and from there spread to the rest of Italy.

Today, Venice has a large number of ice cream parlors where you will find all kinds of flavors. Among the most outstanding are the following:

  • Bacaro del Gelato: offers totally handmade ice cream at a very affordable price. One of the most popular flavors is chocolate and pistachio.
  • Suso: located very close to the Rialto, in this place you will find ice creams with very original flavors and with Venetian names such as Opera or Bellini.
  • La Mela Verde: located not far from St. Mark's Square, La Mela Verde offers a good variety of flavors, all handmade.
  • Gelato Fantasy: some consider it the best ice cream parlor in town. Its most popular ice cream is the pistachio cremino, although the gianduiotto cup, a Venetian specialty, is not far behind.

Weather in Venice in summer

Packing| ©Craig Adderley
Packing| ©Craig Adderley

Summer in Venice is usually quite hot and humid. At the beginning, at the end of June, there may be episodes of rain, but precipitation decreases as the season progresses. Temperatures often exceed 30 degrees Celsius. In any case, don't forget to check the weather forecast shortly before your trip to make it more reliable.

  • June
  • Last days of the month
  • High 27ºC
  • Low 16ºC
  • Rain: 7 days of the month
  • July
  • Full month
  • High 30ºC
  • Low 19ºC
  • Rain: 5 days
  • August
  • Full month
  • High 29ºC
  • Low 18ºC
  • Rain: 5 days
  • September
  • First three weeks
  • Maximum 25ºC
  • Minimum 14ºC
  • Rain: 5 days

Is there a dress code for churches?

Inside St. Mark's Basilica| ©Michael Vadon
Inside St. Mark's Basilica| ©Michael Vadon

It is common knowledge that tourists visiting the Vatican must follow certain dress code rules, but is this also the case in Venetian churches?

In principle, most of the churches do not establish any obligation in this regard, although it can always happen that they tell you something. Where this happens most often is in St. Mark's Basilica. There you will probably be asked to cover your legs and shoulders and, in fact, there is usually a stall where they sell brown fabrics for you to wear as a scarf or sarong.

Buy your ticket for St. Mark's Basilica

Advantages and disadvantages of traveling to Venice in the summertime

Gondolas in Venice| ©Pedro Szekely
Gondolas in Venice| ©Pedro Szekely

Although visiting Venice is always a good idea, each season has its advantages and disadvantages.

The pros of traveling to Venice in summer are as follows:

  • More hours of sunshine: not only does it rain much less, but there are many hours of daylight and, therefore, you can lengthen your tours.
  • You can go to the beach: Venice is not usually considered a beach destination, but if you can not go without lying on the sand and take a dip you will find several beaches on the nearby islands.
  • More atmosphere: the city's bars start to fill up when the evening falls. It is the time to have a snack on the terraces and enjoy the music that enlivens the evening.

On the other hand, you will also find some inconveniences if you travel in summer:

  • The heat during the day: the Venetian summer always leaves some days of excessive heat. The humidity, moreover, does not help to make the atmosphere pleasant.
  • Higher prices: as it is high season, the prices of flights and accommodations go up quite a bit. My advice is to try to book well in advance.
  • Large influx of tourists: the city is full of visitors during the summer months. The visits will not be as comfortable as you would like and there are long queues to get into the most popular places.