Where to Propose in Venice

It’s difficult to find a more romantic city than Venice. A place of legend and mystery that combines over a hundred small islands connected by a labyrinth of canals and tiny bridges. Not surprisingly many of the best places for a romantic proposal involve the water, whether you are drifting along it in a gondola, sauntering over it along one of the iconic bridges, or simply sitting next to it on the terrace of one of the superb Venetian restaurants.

Proposing on the Water in Venice

One suggestion that often comes up regarding proposals in Venice is a romantic gondola ride on one of the many canals. This would certainly be a memorable proposal and something that is totally unique to Venice. It can work very well as long as you understand your girlfriend’s personality.

If your girlfriend likes to be in the spotlight, you can plan a very public proposal, where a personalized banner with your proposal message is hung from one of the canal bridges, and you are both showered with rose petals as you pass under it. You can even have a photographer ready nearby to take pictures or a video, and a musician serenading you as you pop the question.

If you think your girlfriend would prefer a quieter and more intimate proposal you should ask your gondolier to stick to the smaller side canals of Venice, as the main Grand Canal can get quite busy. You’ll never be totally alone as you’ll always have the gondolier with you, but if you tell him before you get on that you’re planning to propose and ask him to be discreet this usually does the trick and he’ll find some great locations.

It is traditional to kiss as you pass under the bridges of Venice which should increase the romantic mood, and one local legend says that lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the stunning Bridge Of Sighs on the Rio di Palazzo.

Proposing on the Bridges of Venice

There are more than four hundred bridges crossing the river in Venice, so you can often find an unexpected spot for a romantic bridge top proposal as you wander about the town. However, there are only four bridges that cross the Grand Canal. The picturesque Rialto Bridge and the symbolic Academia Bridge are ideal proposal locations, while the 1930s stone Scalzi Bridge and the very modern Ponte di Calatrava are a little less suitable.

The Rialto Bridge is a stunning sixteenth century stone bridge and is the oldest bridge across the Grand Canal. It is said to be the place that Casanova met his lovers and it is an ideal place to be at sunset to see the Grand Canal light up. It can be a little busy during the day but is usually quiet enough for a romantic proposal by sunset and there may be street musicians to add to the atmosphere.

The Academia Bridge is another of the bridges crossing the Grand Canal at its southern end. A more modern wooden bridge, it has a little less Venetian charm than the Rialto Bridge, but there is a tradition for lovers to attach padlocks known as ‘love locks’ to the hand rails. The bridge has superb views of the Grand Canal and Salute and you could use a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum as an excuse to cross it.

If you’d prefer a more unique and spontaneous bridge proposal, have a stroll around town and you’ll find plenty of beautiful places to cross the canals, for example the Ponte dei Tre Archi at the lagoon end of the Cannaregio Canal, and the Pont Chiodo across the Fondamenta della Misericordia.

Proposing in the Piazza San Marco

As a city on the water, Venice has few of the beautiful squares that are common of the rest of Italy. However, the largest and best known, the Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square, is an ideal spot for a romantic proposal. Napoleon famously described the Piazza San Marco as the most beautiful dining room in Europe, and there are still plenty of wonderful cafes where you and your new fiance can celebrate in style after you’ve proposed.

There are a few locations for a proposal in the Piazza San Marco. The Campanile Bell Tower is a fantastic choice if you don’t mind heights, and on a clear day it will give a fantastic view of the Dolomite Mountains. You could also choose to propose near the giant columns that form the entrance to the city from the sea, or under the blue and gold clock of the Torre Dell'Orologio. Wherever you propose on the square, the evening is usually the best time when it is a little less crowded, and you will often have musical accompaniment in the form of live orchestras.

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Where to Stay in Venice

You’ll be spoilt for choice when you’re looking for romantic hotels in Venice, and there are many elegant boutique hotels located close to key proposal spots such as the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. If you’re looking to really splash out, there are also a good selection of five star and luxury hotels. Many hotels have their own mooring so you can take a gondola or water taxi from the door.

Boutique Hotels in Venice

If you’re looking for a small elegant boutique hotel just a few minutes from the Rialto Bridge, the Oltre Il Giardino is a fantastic place to start. With just six beautiful six you will receive a very personal service and the hotel has a gorgeous garden with olive trees, magnolia and pomegranate where you can eat your breakfast.

If you’re planning to propose on the Piazza San Marco, the hotel Ca Maria Adele could be the perfect choice. Located in the arty Dorsoduro district, the hotel is housed within a former fifteenth century palace and offers twelve superbly designed rooms, fantastic views over the canals, and many quirky details such as a Moroccan style terrace and a 1950s style breakfast room.

Another former palace, the Palazzetto Pisani, is located right on the Grand Canal and even has its own private mooring so you can take a gondola ride from the door. It is the ideal place if you’re looking for a taste of old Venice and elegant traditional Venetian decor such as Murano chandeliers and painted ceilings.

For those that prefer a little modern luxury, the Charming House IQs offers the contradiction of contemporary design within a renaissance exterior. Made up of four luxurious suites, the location near the Piazza San Marco makes this an ideal base for exploring Venice.

Luxury Hotels in Venice

The Luna Hotel Baglioni is one of the most luxurious hotels in Venice and offers its guests a true flavor of Italy with crystal chandeliers, stunning fresco's, and glamorous antiques. The beautifully furnished rooms offer views over the lagoon and San Marco Basin and the Piazza San Marco is just a few steps away.

Another five star hotel close to the Piazza San Marco is the Hotel Danieli, which is made up of three interconnecting palaces, each with its own unique style. For a special treat book a Lagoon View room with a balcony, decorated in Empire or Venetian style.

For a luxurious hotel on the edge of the lagoon itself, the Hotel Londra Palace is an excellent choice. The large rooms and suite have elegant marble bathrooms, and offer wonderful views of the whole San Marco basin. Book a junior suite for the best views and to really impress your soon-to-be fiance.

For something extra special, why not stay on a private island on the lagoon itself when you book a room at the San Clemente Palace Hotel and Resort. The hotel has a pool and a fabulous spa, and there are regular boats to the Piazza San Marco which takes just twelve minutes.

Where to Eat in Venice

Venetian cuisine may be similar to the rest of Italy in some respects, but there are also strong influences from the east as it has historically been an important trading port. This means that there is a strong emphasis on rice dishes such as risotto, with spices such as nutmeg. Of course Venice’s location on the coast means that seafood is also very popular. While it is possible to find good international restaurants in Venice, the local cuisine is ideal for a romantic post proposal dinner.

Restaurants near the Piazza San Marco

Vino Vino is an intimate and historic restaurant and wine bar offering local specialties such as Venetian style sweet and sour sardines, seafood risotto, and calf liver with onion and polenta, alongside delicious homemade desserts.

Vini da Arturo is a very tiny restaurant near the Piazza San Marco with a fantastic atmosphere and wonderful service. The emphasis is on local meat with steak and green peppercorn sauce a particular specialty.

Le Bistrot de Venise is an elegant and romantic choice, especially if you sit out on the terrace. It offers a delicious menu featuring contemporary interpretations of historic Venetian dishes such as baccalà, which is dried salted cod.

Restaurants in Castello

Trattoria da Remigio is located on Calle Bosello near Scuola San Giorgio dei Greci. It is well known for its simple but perfectly prepared Adriatic dishes, particularly the local seafood specialties.

Al Covo is a small and cozy restaurant with both a la carte and tasting menus that focus on high quality, local, seasonal ingredients. The desserts are truly mouth watering.
Osteria alle Rivetta has a relaxed and informal atmosphere that can make the fantastic food a bit of a surprise. House specialties include the gnocchetti ai calamaretti and the scampi alla busara, and the wine list is superb.

Restaurants around Venice

Ai Tre Spiedi is located on Salizzada San Cazian in the Cannaregio district. It is ideal for fresh seafood dishes and Venetian specialties such as braised eel.

Fiaschetteria Toscana is also located in the Cannaregio district close to the Rialto Bridge, and is a great choice if you’re looking for an authentic Venetian restaurant with a great emphasis on fresh fish from the Venice lagoon.

Taverna San Trovaso is located on Fondamenta Priuli in the Dorsoduro district. It specializes in simple grilled fish, as well as other traditional Venetian dishes and has a fantastic four course menu for that special dinner.

Romantic Activities in Venice

Simply exploring Venice can provide enough romantic experiences for several days, but if you’d like to have a few activities up your sleeve to make sure you have a memorable proposal vacation, here are some you could consider: