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.