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Whizzing up the Grand Canal you’ll spot countless grandiose art galleries, waterfront cafes and enticing little boutiques – the only poser is which to visit first.


astonishing Romanesque church of St Mark dominates the eastern side of the Piazza while the Venetian Gothic façade of the Doge’s Palace overlooks the lagoon. The palace is one of the largest and most fascinating museums in Venice. It is open to visitors from 8.30am until 7pm up to 31 October and from 8.30am to 5.30pm throughout the winter, but if you’re keen to get the inside track on Venetian history, then it’s worth booking into the Secret Itineraries Tour that takes place daily at 9.55am and 11.35am (palazzoducale.visitmuve.it). By late morning the Piazza is usually heaving with tourists, so it’s time to head off in search of the city’s undiscovered secrets.


Hidden gems The Dorsoduro sestiere is Venice’s chicest district, choc-a- bloc with kooky contemporary museums as well as plenty of lesser known churches and art galleries. The Old Master-packed Accademia (www.gallerieaccademia.org) and world-famous Peggy Guggenheim Collection


(www.guggenheim-venice.it) can both be found here, but there are more obscure sights to be seen too such as San Pantalon church (www.sanpantalon.it). San Pantalon is the Sistine Chapel of Venice, thanks to the Baroque painting that sprawls across its high ceiling. Take some time to admire the beautifully rendered angels and saints before wandering down to the old salt storehouses at the eastern end of the Zattere – a perfect people- watching spot. More fabulous local secrets are waiting to be


discovered in Cannaregio, which is just a little too far from the central areas for most visitors to venture. Not only does this postcard-perfect neighbourhood host Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto (www.madonnadellorto.org), one of the most stunning Gothic churches in the city, it is also home to the hauntingly beautiful Ghetto. Visit the Museo Ebraico (www.museoebraico.it), Italy’s first Jewish museum, to find out how Venice’s Jewish population shaped the


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