Calling all Nancy Drew fans! If you want to travel in the footsteps of Nancy Drew, then this tour of Venice, Italy is for you! I wanted to see how realistic the locations from Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice are by creating my very own tour of the city. Plus, this is a great way to see the less crowded areas of Venice. Check it out!
Nancy Drew has video games?
First off, if you aren’t already a Nancy Drew game fan, I’m so excited to be the one introducing you to them!
Her Interactive has been making Nancy Drew Mystery games for the computer since 1998. In The Phantom of Venice, you play as Nancy Drew, the spunky and nosy teenage detective, solving puzzles and discovering clues. In the game, the Italian police enlist Nancy to help solve a string of art thefts, and her investigation takes her all over Venice.
I introduced Kevin to these games and we’ve been playing through all the games together for the past three years. We had some time on our recent trip to Venice, so I thought, why not go where Nancy Drew went and see some of the quieter parts of the city?
If you haven’t played The Phantom of Venice yet, I suggest you do so and then come back here! And if you have played the game, then let’s get to the tour!
A Nancy Drew Tour of Venice
We stayed in a hotel right off of Piazza San Marco, so that was a natural place to start the tour for us. This is the loop that we walked; you don’t have to pay for any water taxis or gondolas. It took us a couple hours to complete, but we also goofed off some.
Piazza San Marco
Above, you can see a screenshot from the game. You’ll remember Piazza San Marco from the game as the place with the ATM and the news kiosk. Here it is in real life:
Much more crowded! And no news kiosk, but there are a bunch of souvenir stands. The only way to see Piazza San Marco that clear is to come here early in the morning.
While you’re here, you can climb the Campanile di San Marco, which is that brown bell tower you can see the bottom of in the game. You can also tour the Basilica San Marco and the Doge’s Palace as well.
Campo Santa Maria Formosa
Above, you’ll see the game version of Campo Santa Maria Formosa with the costume shop where Nancy buys questionable fashion. Since the fountain is a huge plot point, I was curious if there was actually a fountain there in real life.
Sadly, there is not. There’s not much here that matches the game at all besides it being a square.
If you want to stop a while here, you can visit the Church of Santa Maria Formosa, a Renaissance-style church erected in 1492.
Above is Rialto Market in the game. This is where Nancy buys gelato, sells flowers, and digs through litter for money. Keeping it classy! Here is the real Rialto Market:
Instead of being a corner shop, the real Rialto Market is a local farmers market with rows of stalls. They have fresh produce, fish, bread, and more.
Vendors are usually only out in the morning, though. How Nancy manages to shop there all day long, I’ll never know!
Campo San Polo
Above is the Campo San Polo that Nancy visits to dance in a cat suit. Can you imagine all the weird looks she must have gotten from tourists when she strutted through the streets in that get up? Well here’s the real deal:
There’s no night club in this square. Also, that beautiful fountain is actually a covered well in real life. But still, I definitely see the resemblance.
You can visit the Church of San Polo while you’re here. And if you’re here during Carnival, this is apparently the most popular spot for concerts.
Campo dei Frari
Above is Fango’s office located in Campo dei Frari. I don’t recommend breaking into any offices while you’re here, but here’s the location in real life:
Every time I see these pictures on my camera roll, I think they’re screenshots. I’m in some of the pictures, and I still think they’re screenshots! Well done!
While you’re here, you can look into the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, and down the street there’s also a Leonardo da Vinci museum.
Campo Santa Margherita
In the game, Campo Santa Margherita is where you’ll find Tazza and play Scopa. I loved playing Scopa, so I spent a lot of time here.
Unfortunately, Casa dei Giochi does not really exist, and there weren’t any buildings on the square that really looked like it. But we did find a nice looking building as a substitute. I’d be down to play Scopa here.
Campo Santa Margherita has a lot of small shops, bars, and restaurants and is a lot less crowded than most other parts of Venice. It has a nice local feel to it.
Additional Locations and Fun Stuff
I wasn’t able to go everywhere that Nancy did, but here are a few honorable mention photos that have a Phantom of Venice vibe.
A Gondola Ride
A Flower Shop that reminded me of the Rialto Market screenshot
Mapping Your Nancy Drew Tour of Venice
You can plot out this whole tour on Google Maps and loop it back to Piazza San Marco or your chosen starting point. Use my map below for the tour exactly as I’ve outlined in my post:
If Google tries to get you to take a water taxi and you want to walk the whole thing, my suggestion is to add a stop after Campo Santa Margherita for Ponte dell’Accademia, as I’ve done in the map above. This bridge will take you back across the Grand Canal.
More Things To Do In Venice, Italy
Just can’t get enough of Venice, Italy? I don’t blame you! Check out these other Venice itineraries:
Ready to visit Venice, Italy? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight to Italy: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Venice using Booking.com.
- Get a Guide Book: Check out the guide books from Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, or Rick Steves for in depth info about traveling to Italy.
Have you ever been inspired to travel somewhere because of a video game? Let me know in the comments!