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Things to do in Venice

Eat like a local in the city's bàcaris

For those hungry after a day of punting, the re-warmed pizzas of San Marco Square will only disappoint. Try the city's bàcaris (wine bars) instead. Join local foodie Monica Cesarato's (www.monicacesarato.com) three-hour tour of a warren of side streets and canals to uncover the city's very best cichèttis (tapas) and aperol spritz (traditional aperitif cocktail).

Gondola like a local around Giudecca

Take to the waters like a local by rowing in mascarete (small gondolas), canoes and sailboats at the Canottieri Giudecca boating club (tel: +39 41 528 7409; www.canottierigiudecca.com) on Giudecca. Visitors can pay the monthly rather than annual subscription fee. The straw boaters and striped t-shirts are not compulsory.

Hide your face for the city's most exclusive party

A festival of decadence and disguise, Venice Carnevale (www.carnevale.venezia.it) is celebrated across the city with revellers donning bright 18th century costume. Dress up and join in; the Grand Masquerade Ball is the festival's most extravagant party but don't forget: without a mask you're not getting in.

Sip wine with a certified sommelier

Venice and Veneto Gourmet (www.venicevenetogourmet.com) run wine tasting courses at Venice palazzo or in a villa at the Lido; the charming, well-informed Sara Cossiga, an art historian and certified sommelier, teaches at both and can help you differentiate between a full-bodied red and a velvety one.

Watch an opera by local boy Vivaldi

It may have a modest facade but the Teatro La Fenice (www.teatrolafenice.it), one of the world's most renowned opera venues, has an achingly ornate interior, as the tours demonstrate. The venue hosts ballets and concerts but the operas should not be missed, especially those by Venice's hometown composer, Vivaldi.

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