Where to take photos of Venice

Where to take photos of Venice

Avoid the summer months if you want to find a quieter Venice. Three days will give you a decent amount of time to see a fair bit of the city and visiting midweek is the best way to avoid the crowds. It’s a good idea to plan ahead, stay off the beaten path and wake up early to explore.

Venice can be a real labyrinth, but if you give yourself time to roam you’re bound to come across a few architectural gems. The city is much bigger than you might think and if you decide to explore outside the main tourist spots you won’t be disappointed.

The architecture of Venice plunges you right into a movie set. I took this image as I wandered around getting lost in the city – which is the best thing to do while exploring Venice. For specific photography location spots, keep reading.

1. Splendid Venice

It’s easiest to get to a lot of the hotels in Venice by boat. At the Splendid it’s also possible to cross a small bridge that is the only direct access by foot to the reception.

2. The Grand Canal

Travel by gondola or vaporetto and you’ll be able to capture façades like this one on the Grand Canal from up close. The symmetry of each detail is fascinating, as is the knowledge that many buildings have not changed for centuries.

3. Fondamenta dei Preti

Too much daylight can be problematic when photographing paler colours but in Venice this isn’t an issue as the buildings’ façades are really bright and come out well on the camera. Waking up early is still key though – having one or two people walking through an image is much better than a crowd!

4. Riva del Vin

From the church of San Silvestro, you can wander along the canal and get an amazing view of the Rialto Bridge and the gondolas from up close. My top tip is to stop for a coffee at the Caffè del Doge, a great place for a good cappuccino.

5. Palazzo Morosini Sagredo

Created by artist Lorenzo Quinn, Support was an artwork installed in 2017, showing a pair of hands supporting a Grand Canal-side building. It was a temporary piece, but as sea levels continue to threaten the city there are talks of bringing it back to remind residents and visitors of the critical environmental situation.

Venice is a real dream for perspective photography. The narrow streets and canals create magical effects, giving depth to the images. The subject of this shot is the beautiful palace in the background – it seems far away but the reflection it creates in the water adds interest to the scene.

6. Burano in winter

Experiencing Venice under the snow is truly magical – particularly exploring the island of Burano draped in white, when the pop of colours is even more extraordinary than usual. The boats under their frosty coverings, the bright contrast of the walls and the streets deserted in the cold create a rare photo opportunity.

The city is like a playground for photographers because practically everything is photogenic. One of the best shots to capture is the reflection of the buildings in the water and the ultimate viewpoint is on one of the many bridges in the middle of the canals.

7. Piazza San Marco

The Piazza San Marco is one of the busiest spots in the city. Except when it’s very early or – as in this case – when it snows in the morning. It’s quite rare to photograph this square empty unless you’re there at the crack of dawn. But when it has been snowing during the night? A truly unique experience.

8. Ponte dei Sospiri

Legend says your love will be everlasting if you share a kiss while sitting in a gondola as it glides under the Bridge of Sighs (ideally during sunset, as St Mark’s bells ring). But this bridge can be captured at any time of the day – it’s a famous sight that never disappoints.

9. Fondamenta Felzi/Calle Bragadin o Pinelli

This photogenic spot is located right next to the famous Acqua Alta Library. While crossing the Ponte dei Conzafelzi you’ll be facing this beautiful building, but you need a wide-angle lens to capture it as you’re really close.

10. Libreria Acqua Alta

If you’re looking for the most original and unique bookstore in the city (if not the world), here it is. Books are for sale, but they are also part of the furniture. This staircase is made of old encyclopaedias. There is also a gondola right in the middle of the bookshop that’s filled with books. As you probably guessed, this Libreria tends to be very crowded.

11. Riva degli Schiavoni

You cannot be in the wrong place to photograph the city during ‘blue hour’ (the hour right after the sun sets). This shot was taken on Riva degli Schiavoni, with the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in the background. The gondolas – even covered – are still photogenic as the last light disappears and gives way to a deep blue sky.

12. Chiesa di San Simeon Piccolo

Do not hesitate to take a vaporetto on the Grand Canal to take advantage of some distance and capture the city in a wider angle. There are many broader viewpoints of Venice, but on a vaporetto you get a boat ride and photo opportunity in one!

13. Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta

This church with its eight beautiful statues makes the perfect background for photography as you wander around the narrow streets surrounding it. Neighbourhoods such as Cannaregio, in which it sits, feel authentic and slightly off the beaten track.

14. Rio del Vin

Parallel to Rio del Palazzo, where you can admire the Bridge of Sighs, is Rio del Vin. This canal has so much history and is a peaceful place to just walk along.

15. T Fondaco dei Tedeschi

There are a few great viewpoints in the city but this one is free, and worth seeking out. Go to the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi department store and up to the rooftop terrace, which has a 360° view. There’s no need to climb a lot of steps as there are escalators and lifts. The rooftop closes at 7.15pm so it’s a great spot for sunset in the winter months.

16. Burano

Probably the most colourful island in the world, it’s located in the Venetian lagoon. Take the number 12 vaporetto to get there, and arrive early as it can get very busy.

The most incredible places to rent in Venice

But the city is not just about canals. Some neighbourhoods are completely land-bound, with hidden alleyways and beautiful dead-ends like this one. It’s true that Venice can be very crowded but venture further away from the main tourist spots and you can find yourself almost alone. Going off-season is definitely best.