Seeing the City of Canals as the sun sets
Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, so viewing the sunset there can be an especially blissful experience. Golden and gorgeous, the sunset is special enough to be the subject of a painting, "Sunset in Venice," by famed impressionist Claude Monet. There’s so much to do and see in Venice that it’s a good idea to know the precise time the sun will be setting so you don't miss it.
The best time for sunset viewing
In the beginning of the year, the sunset comes early in Venice, around 4:30 p.m. in early January. It moves later going into March, with times between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. in February, and 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. in early March. The clocks shift in mid-March, pushing the sunset time to about 7:30, and by the end of April it's as late as 8:15 p.m.
By the end of May, sunset is pushing 9:00 p.m. and stays around that time for a while, going slowly back to 8:30 by the end of July. August sees the sunset time creeping back before 8:00 p.m. and by the end of September, it’s as early as 7:00 p.m. It continues moving earlier and sees a big jump in that direction at the end of October, when the clocks change again, and 5:00 p.m. becomes the sunset time in Venice. In November, it continues the shift earlier, so that by the beginning of December it’s at the same 4:30 p.m. seen in early January. For precise times, it's good to check online or with the local paper on the day you plan to watch the sunset.
In January and February, the weather in Venice is chilly, but the sunsets can be astonishing. That may be because, in winter, the air moves more quickly than it does in summer, so particles in the air are less likely to cause a haze that interferes with the sunset view. The temperatures get as low as 32 degrees F, but there’s not much precipitation to impede the view. But if your Italian vacation does not coincide with winter months, it doesn’t mean the sunset will not be glorious in the City of Canals. Even at the height of summer, the evening sky can be spectacular, especially from a good vantage point.
Best places to watch the setting sun over Venice
Venice is full of romantic spots from which to watch the sunset, but it's also full of tourists eager to embrace that romance. One of the best ways to see the sunset is from a gondola on the Grand Canal or maybe on the side canal under the Bridge of Sighs – local legend says that a couple that kisses under the Bridge of Sighs at sunset will love each other forever. The Rialto Bridge and the Piazza San Marco are both popular places from which to watch the sunset, but may be overcrowded with others who have the same idea.
Another way to watch the sunset is to dine at a restaurant with a good view, like the Terrazza Danieli, where the rooftop bar offers a panoramic view of the city. Want to avoid the crowds entirely? Book a hotel room in the city with a west-facing balcony and privately enjoy the gorgeous sunset view with your chosen companions.
If memorable photographs are your goal, linger an hour or so after sunset, taking advantage of the still faintly glowing sky to grab some amazing shots of this extremely photogenic city. In fact, the best way to enjoy the sunset may be to walk around the city, finding your own favorite spots, from the golden hour before sunset until well after dusk, when the crowds have dispersed and the city is quiet.