Campo San Margherita is likely the only place to be for an evening out in Venice.
Venice is one of Italy’s most famous and esteemed cities. It boasts beautiful churches, gorgeous winding waterways and charming piazzas. You could spend days wandering its mysterious and enchanting pathways, exploring its wealth of art and culture, or watching the vaparettos chug by under the Rialto bridge. However, the city has close to nothing in the way of nightlife.
Heading out one Friday night with some friends from my hotel, I had no idea this was the case. I was dressed to the “nines” (meaning I actually took the time to shower and put on makeup) and ready to have a good time. We crossed the main canal and wound down a few dark, narrow streets. Feeling wary of my surroundings, I followed my comrades until we rounded a corner and emerged on a giant piazza bustling with youthful energy. Students in their early twenties, some locals, and some travelers, sat in large groups at outdoor bars, laughing, joking and playing the occasional game of kings’ cup. People strolled across the piazza munching on giant pieces of pizza (which I later discovered were only two euros at a small pizzeria on the piazza; such a great deal!)
This was Campo San Margherita, and it is likely the only place to be for an evening out in Venice. We sat down at a table outside and ordered a pitcher to share. I had been looking forward to dancing the night away and was feeling let down. However, as we sat and chatted and got to know the people at the tables next to us, my disappointment faded into contentment. The night was beautiful, the company great and the atmosphere energetic but comfortable. It had the familiar glow of a warm summer night, barbequing with friends.
After a while, we got up and headed across the piazza to grab pizza with some of our newly acquired friends. Then headed to the bar next door. There was a wall where previous visitors had hung napkins sporting names and symbols of their school, fraternity, sorority, etc, and in a shameless act of touristy-ness, I printed my school and sorority name in big, highlighter yellow block letters and watched way too excitedly as the bartender hung it on the wall behind him.
As the night progressed, I met some great new people, and we sat around chatting, joking, and making fun of each other like we had been friends for years. Around midnight, everything closed, we parted ways, and I headed home with my fellow hostel residents. The “me” from the beginning of the night would have been disappointed by the early end of the evening out, but as I walked along an offshoot of the grand canal, breathing in the warm summer air and brimming with happiness, I felt entirely enamored with the night I had just enjoyed.
It was a night completely fitting of Venice’s smaller, laid back and local vibe. Everyone loves the long nights out, running around the streets of Rome or Florence at two a.m. and dancing into the early morning, but in the midst of an exciting and whirlwind Italian adventure, every young traveler needs a slight change of pace. Campo San Margherita provides the perfect mix of restful ease and entertainment and is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the youthful, effervescent energy of new friends and a delightful new perspective.