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By Chris | June 30 2007
Venice is probably best seen at night; the day trippers have long gone, you can walk often deserted streets and savor the intimate atmosphere of this island city.
From theater to fine dining, sophisticated bars and outdoor concerts, the choice of after-dark activities in this remarkable city is endless. Here are some of our recommendations.
Designed by Giannantonio Selva in 1790, it wasn’t until the 19th century that Teatro La Fenice (The Phoenix) emerged as one of the top European theaters, with works by Italian maestros Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi premiering there.
The theater is home to a wide repertoire, hosting operas, ballets, dance productions and orchestral works. The theater also plays host to two major fundraising events each year – the Gran Ballo della Cavalchina, a private ball held in March, and Fenice Day, an annual fundraising gala held in November. Details of all performances are available on the Teatro La Fenice website.
Musica a Palazzo offers a unique operatic experience in the rooms of the 17th century Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto, a beautiful Grand Canal mansion in San Marco.
Each act takes place in a different room of the palace, and the audience follows the performers from the frescoed salon to the boudoir as they sing excerpts from La Traviata and other great operas. The palace itself is quite spectacular with six state rooms which are enriched in the first half of the 1700s by artists whose importance is still recognized today.
+39 340 971 7272
Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto, Fondamenta Duodo o Barbarigo, San Marco 2504, 30124 Venice
The oldest casino in the world was first opened in 1638 and is still attracts an international clientele.
The opulent environment provides the space for classic games all monitored by a highly professional staff. Since 1959, the Casino has been based in the Vendramin Calergi Palace providing more than 500 gaming places. Classic casino games include chemin de fer, French roulette and blackjack, and the casino is the location of many tournaments and events throughout the year. The palace is also the home of the Wagner Museum, whose Wagnerian restaurant is well worth a visit. The first floor of the palace is available for private events and dining.
+39 041 529 7111
Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, Cannaregio 2040, 30121 Venice
The oldest café bar in Venice, Caffé Florian enjoys a perfect location in Saint Mark’s Square, and serves the finest coffees and wines to the most discerning clientele.
The Caffé plays host to many cultural events, particularly contemporary art exhibitions, and there is a live orchestra each evening. Indoor and outdoor seating can be reserved for cocktails, banquets or any other event, providing a magnificent setting for your special occasion.
Located in the American collector’s former home, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal, the museum showcases Peggy Guggenheim’s personal collection of 20th century European and American art.
The collection holds major works of Cubism, Futurism, Metaphysical painting, European abstraction, avant-garde sculpture, Surrealism, and American Abstract Expressionism, by some of the greatest artists of the 20th century. The museum also exhibits works of art given to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for its Venetian museum, in addition to long-term loans from private collections. The museum is available for a private viewing, gala events or corporate events every evening (except Tuesdays) from 6.30pm, giving visitors the opportunity to view both the permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Arguably the most famous bar in Venice, Harry’s Bar was opened by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1931 and its success led to the opening of many more distinguished ‘Harry’s Bars’ around the word.
According to legend the name originates from a rich Bostonian student called Harry Pickering to whom Cipriani loaned some money. When Harry returned to repay the debt, some years later, he also gave Cipriani enough cash to open a bar. Famous patrons include Ernest Hemmingway, Charlie Chaplin, Woody Allen, Somerset Maughan, Noel Goward, Orson Wells and Peggy Guggenheim. If you are feeling adventurous, try the Extremely Dry Martini – a kidney-shattering ten parts gin to one part vermouth.
+39 041 528 5777
Calle Vallaresso, San Marco 1323, 30124 Venice
Take in the views over Venice from this eighth-floor rooftop bar. Located within the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice hotel, the bar places the focus on elegant cocktails and accompanying aperitifs.
While savoring the panoramic views of the skyline, sip on classic cocktails such as a smokey old fashioned, and the bar’s version of favorites such as the Giudecca, which is the venue’s take on the classic Manhattan cocktail.
In 1999, this former theater was transformed into an enormous club complex featuring four differently themed dance areas and 12 bars.
Thanks to its location outside the center of Venice, the club can crank up the volume and play techno, pop and dance until the early hours, without incurring the wrath of the locals. Part of the club is situated outside under glorious white canopies – perfect for warm summer nights. From hip hop to merengue, your musical tastebuds are sure to be satisfied.
+39 340 494 2863
Via del l’Elettricità, 8 Marghera, 30175 Venice