Venice, Italy. Ahhhh. Just the name alone conjures idyllic images of romance. Couples serenaded by gondoliers. Arm-in-arm strolls along ancient canals. Feeding the pigeons in the famous Piazza San Marco. Lustfully licking artisanal gelato, and admiring hand-blown Venetian glass.
The word ‘romance’ may be derived from the city of Rome, but its geographic paisano, Venice, is one of the world’s most popular destinations for starry-eyed tourists.
Venice is for Lovers Loners!
So, what happens when you’ve planned a romantic trip to Italy for you and your amore, and he or she gives you the ol’ boot (pardon the Italian geography pun) before you go? You give yourself a few options, the least attractive being a) cancelling the dream vacation your travel agent worked so tirelessly to tailor-make, b) drowning your sorrows in a bucket of ice cream, or c) blasting All By Myself to drown out your sobs.
But wait! There is hope. You can keep your wanderlust and heart intact, by following our simple advice. (If you want to go your own way already, then bellissimo! Check out our current Europe vacation package deals.)
Things to do in Venice, Italy, alone
Venice may be known for lovers, but there is plenty to do for the solo traveller. (‘Solo’ is the Italian word for ‘alone’, by the way. Must be a sign!) Break-ups often lead to evaluating oneself, and travel always leads to reflection, we find. So get out your comfort zone and get going to Venezia. Andiamo!
Here are just some of Venice attractions and things to do, that you will fall in love with (because who needs a significant other when you have Italy?)
1. Get the local “scoop”
Italy is known for its 'Dolce Vita', meaning the 'sweet life', which in its literal form, includes delectable gelato.
Switch that bucket of ice cream for a delectable cone of authentic gelato. One of the joys of solo travel, you can enjoy it all to yourself without having to awkwardly share a dripping cone. With a luscious gelato in the foreground and beautiful Venice in the background, these are Instagrammable without having to try. Be sure to post photos on all your social media channels – or at least the ones your ex can see. After all, revenge is a dish best served cold, as they say. (Or in this case, frozen.)
2. Explore Veneto
Venice is the capital of the Veneto region, stretching from the stunning Dolomite Mountains to the azure Adriatic Sea. Rich in history, Veneto was a powerful player in the Venetian Republic for over 1,000 years, and you’ll still find preserved architectural marvels of the 7th and 8th centuries here. Pre-book travel, by coach bus or train, to Verona, to avoid scams. Due west of Venice, Verona is of course where Shakespeare set his famous love story, Romeo & Juliet. Admire Verona's intoxicating beauty, and visit the "Juliet balcony" which served as inspiration to the Bard. Then, use the theme as a tragic reminder of how much love sucks and be glad you’re there solo.
3. Marvel at Doge’s Palace
One of the major landmarks of Venice, Doge’s Palace is filled with masterpieces by Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto, and is an architectural masterpiece in its own right. Built in the Venetian Gothic style during the 13th and 14th centuries, the Doge was the supreme ruler of the archaic Republic of Venice, and the palace is a reflection of the period’s wealth, artistic reverence and political influence. Nothing like a bit of history mixed with beauty to ponder your solitary existence (or not!)
4. People watch in Piazza San Marco
The English translation is St. Mark’s Square, but when in Rome (or Venice) it’s nice to speak like the locals—or at least try. Speaking of speaking (!) we think Italian is the most romantic language. You don’t need a partner there while you’re wrapping your tongue around the beautiful cadences of Italian, or learning the florid meanings of everyday words that just don’t have an English counterpart.
5. Ponder upon the Ponte di Rialto
In a city with labyrinthine canals, you can imagine Venice has a lot of bridges. None are as famous as the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge if you insist on saying it in English), the oldest of the Grand Canal. Ponte di Rialto isn't lacking in colourful stories. In its original wooden state, it was burnt by Italian rebels. Later, when it was rebuilt, it collapsed several times, like under the weight of wedding guests of two important aristocratic families where they all went crashing into the water, in their best threads. (Ha! Definitely the kind of story you want to hear when newly single!) It was thought it wouldn't last due to no support in the middle, but today's bridge, now fashioned in solid marble, is almost the same as the original. The Rialto Bridge is a symbol of Venice, and let these stories of collapse and fail, now standing as strong as ever, symbolize your tenacity, too!
6. Ride in a gondola
Did you think we'd leave out this quintessential Venice must-do, just because you're travelling solo? No way! In fact, we think it's even better as a single. Take in the beautiful sights and sounds with heightened senses from being on your own. A gondolier will be more inclined to converse with you on your own than when you're distracted by a partner. You'll get valuable information and insights about the local way of life and Italian customs. Heck, you may even be serenaded. Instead of canoodling (canoe-dying?) with a lover, a solo gondola ride is sure to float your boat.
There you have it, strong, single intrepid traveller! There is no single reason to not travel to Venice on your own. Download a language app, keep your wits about you and try new things, you'll wonder why you even thought about travelling here with someone else. (Our apologies to anyone who is now thinking of ditching their partner for an impending trip to Venice.)
With an open mind and empty stomach in Italy, your heart will be full.