The Lido: Venice’s Beach

Gerald Haenel/Laif/Redux

The celebrity-strewn Venice Film Festival aside, this historic seaside destination has its quieter charms, too.

Ristorante Nicely

The dining room at Nicelli Airport—Venice’s primary airstrip from 1926 to 1967, and now used only by private planes—is unknown even to many locals, but the Art Deco gem transports diners to another time. Old flight-path maps line the walls, a terrace overlooks the grass runway and the roof gives panoramic water views. A Venetian buffet is served at lunch, and parties of ten or more can reserve a table for dinner. Lunch, $45; dinner, $60. At 9 Via Morandi; 39-041/276-0729;

Alberoni Beach

The tranquility of this picturesque beach at the very bottom of the Lido is far removed from the touristy alternatives filled with noise and flashy crowds. Located near the 90-year-old Circolo Golf Venezia (the city’s only course) and directly accessible from Venice by boat, this mile-long stretch where the lagoon meets the sea has clear waters, a few simple restaurants and bars and soft sand bordered by towering poplar trees. At Via Alberoni;

The Driftwood Sculptures of Malamocco

Not far from the quiet village of Malamocco, on the Lido’s ocean side, whimsical sculptures of driftwood and other materials washed up by the sea dot the shore. Residents create the figures at the start of each season (winter weather eventually destroys them), putting them in clothing and giving them props: A recent one wore a captain’s hat and a flannel shirt and stood under an inflatable palm tree. At Strada Vicinale Malamocco Alberoni.

Ancient Jewish Cemetery

After the city’s famous Ghetto, this 14th-century graveyard, on the northern tip of the Lido, is the other Venetian center of Jewish history. Padlocked shut for years, the tiny brick-walled cemetery was restored and opened for appointment-only visits in 2000. Crumbling gray tombstones, etched with Hebrew inscriptions and scattered among overgrown wildflowers and shrubs, give it a very romantic feel. At Riviera San Nicolò; 39-041/715-359;

Grande Albergo Ausonia & Hungaria

Of the hundreds of early-20th-century Art Nouveau houses and palazzi on the Lido, none are as stunning as this palace hotel built in 1905. Its entire façade is tiled with multicolored majolica designed by Bassano-born ceramist Luigi Fabris. The hotel is open for guests, but its inland location makes it better for day visits than for overnight stays. At 28 Gran Viale S.M. Elisabetta; 39-041/242-0060;