1. Beach Day on the Lido
To beat the heat and escape waiting in lines, head to one of the Lido’s beaches and immerse yourself into the Adriatic sea. To arrive, get off at the island’s main vaporetto stop, and either continue straight along Strada Santa Maria Elisabetta which will take you to the nearest public beach (10 minute walk), or hop on a bus in the area in front of the vaporetto stop to either San Nicolò (the north-eastern part of the island) or Alberoni (the southern tip), where you will mingle with more of a Venetian crowd. All beaches rent chairs and umbrellas or you can treat yourself to a cabana at one of the luxury hotels that line the eastern shore of the island.
2. Beachfront Cocktails on the Lido
After a relaxing day at the beach, treat yourself to cocktails and/ or a meal at Blue Moon (the public beach’s bar) or Caribe (just south of the Excelsior Hotel), where you may even stumble upon live music. Though it doesn’t offer a view of the ocean, the terrace of the mosaic-dressed Hungaria Ausonia Hotel on the main street Santa Maria Elisabetta is an elegant setting for a summer spritz (surprisingly affordable too!)
3. Outdoor Festivals: Enjoy the live music and food of the city’s many Sagre
Venice is simply full of churches and during the summer months many host outdoor festivals of live rock and jazz music, dancing, local Venetian cuisine, broadcasted soccer matches and other various entertainment in their campi. It’s a lovely tradition that will have you feeling like a local in no time. Events mostly happen during the weekend, but watch out for the Sagra posters that are sprinkled around town for details.
4. Redentore: Fireworks Galore!
Every third weekend in July, the Venetians celebrate Redentore, an event created to mark the end of the plague in 1576 that killed over 50,000 of the city’s inhabitants. The Doge ruling during that time promised to build a magnificent church in thanks to the Redeemer (Il Redentore), a task given to Andrea Palladio, one of the most important figures of Western architecture, which he finished in 1592. Today, Redentore is celebrated with a fantastic fireworks display over Saint Mark’s Basin. Venetians and tourists alike park their boats in the basin or set up tables along the banks of the Guidecca and Venice proper, drinking and eating plenty before the exciting climax of the evening.
5. Enjoy a refreshing gelato or granita!
A Summer in Venice would not be complete without a delicious frozen treat. Indeed, you can’t walk for more than 5 minutes without seeing a display of colorful mounds of gelato lining the Venetian calle. Don’t even try to resist! They are efficient bodily air conditioners! Here are some of my favorites: Gelateria Ca’D’Oro (especially their granitas), Gelatone and Grom on Strada Nuova in Cannaregio, La Boutique del Gelato near Campo Santa Maria Formosa in Castello, Il Doge in Campo Santa Margherita and Nico in Dorsoduro, Alaska in Santa Croce or one of the many gelaterie that line Santa Maria Elisabetta on the Lido.