Are you looking for the best things to do in Venice, Italy? I have been to Venice with my husband and friends during our Interrail trip. I must say that the charm of Venice really captured my heart, with its romantic vibes, great arts, grand architecture and rich history. No wonder, why many tourists flocked to this part of Italy every year. Hence, I would like to share with you some of the best things to do in Venice, Italy that I would recommend.
Venice is a city unlike any other in Italy in that it is not only extraordinarily beautiful and significant historically. In reality, Venice, the regional capital of Northern Italy’s Veneto, is made up of 117 tiny islands that are connected by a number of bridges and kept apart by a system of canals.
Venice is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the nation despite having a population of only about 250,000, making it one of the smaller cities in the Veneto region. In fact, it is one of the locations I mentioned in the article I wrote about the best places to visit in Italy.
Venice was a very stronghold and a significant financial and military hub during the Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance. Furthermore, it was a well-known location with a rich cultural and artistic history.
Today, Venice is still a significant economic hub and one of the most visited cities in the world. Attractions like St. Mark’s Basilica and the Grand Canal bring in millions of tourists every year either by land or cruise.
When you visit, you’ll realize that the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With such a fascinating past, Venice is full of lovely locations to visit and interesting things to do. Further, Venice is easy to travel around by train.
However, Venice offers more than just its most well-known attractions! Fun fact: Venice also has one of the best cocktails in Europe, so come and discover Venice now.
Best Things to Do in Venice, Italy:
1. Rialto Bridge
The oldest bridge in Venice, the Rialto Bridge (also known as Ponte di Rialto), dates to the sixteenth century. It is both one of the most well-known landmarks in the world and the most well-known bridge in the city.
It is the first of today’s four Grand Canal bridges that connect the San Marco and San Polo neighborhoods. The Ponte di Calatrava a Venezia, Ponte dell’Accademia, and Ponte degli Scalzi are the other bridges that cross the Grand Canal.
One of the world’s most distinctive bridges, the Rialto Bridge is now lined with shops. You will undoubtedly begin, end, or pass by the Rialto Bridge if you take a gondola ride.
2. San Marco Basilica (St. Mark’s Basilica)
St. Mark’s Basilica is without a doubt the most well-known and well-known structure in Venice. It is a magnificent example of architecture that has withstood the test of time since it was built in 1092 and continues to be one of the most significant religious structures in Northern Italy.
This church is amazing in every way, from the intricate carvings, sculptures, and artwork on the front facade to the exquisitely painted frescoes and Byzantine artwork inside the domed ceiling.
One of the most well-known surviving examples of Italian Byzantine architecture is the basilica, which is situated in the Piazza San Marco and is simple to reach from the grand canal.
St. Mark’s Square
The most popular Venice attraction is frequently St. Marks Square. St. Mark’s Square should be your first stop if you want to experience the true spirit of Venice. Although the heart of
Rome may be the Colosseum’s sand, but St. Mark’s Square, Venice’s most famous piazza, is where the city beats (also called Piazza San Marco). The grand square is surrounded on all sides by elaborate structures, archways, and porticos that house upscale shops and cafes.
It is one of the most recognizable squares in Europe with the Campanile (clock tower) on one side and the Torre dell’Orologio (tower of the clock) on the other, as well as other well-known Venetian landmarks like St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doges Palace, and the Torre dell’Orologio.
San Marco Campanile
The campanile, which stands at a massive 98.6 meters high, is the tallest building in Venice.
The structure that is standing today was actually rebuilt after the original one collapsed in 1902. The campanile was originally built in the ninth century and served as a watchtower.
The tower has sustained damage from fire, earthquakes, and even lightning over the years.
The main shaft is made of a straightforward red-brick design, but the bell housing and pinnacle have numerous arches and stonework, and the top has a golden statue of the Angel Gabriel.
Take the elevator to the top for what may be the best panoramic views of Venice, then admire the tower from the San Marco Square.
3. Doge’s Palace
One of the top attractions in Venice is the Doges Palace, which is situated on the Grand Canal in the city’s center. The most significant structure in Venetian history is the Palazzo Ducale, also known as the Doge’s Palace. For centuries, the Doge served as the city’s political and religious leader. He acted simultaneously as the Pope, Regent, President, and Prime Minister of Venice.
With statues of St. Mark, Venice’s patron saint, and the winged lion of Venice facing the water, the Doge’s Palace is tucked away in a corner. It takes at least 90 minutes to properly appreciate the Doge’s palace’s impressive Venetian Gothic architecture both inside and out.
The front facade of this elaborate palace has a lovely arched design made of white stone and a series of diamond patterns on the walls. It is simply stunning. The palace’s interior is equally impressive, with a series of lavishly decorated rooms that are all filled with unique details, furnishings, and artwork.
Skip-the-line access to the Doge’s Palace is included in this tour of St. Mark’s Square, which is also led by a local guide. The cost of your ticket includes admission to a number of special exhibits that are held throughout the year. You can enter the Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, and Biblioteca Nazionale with the same ticket.
4. Bridge of Sighs
One of the most well-liked things to do in Venice is to observe the gondolas paddling beneath the Bridge of Sighs, which connects the Doge’s Palace, the Palazzo Ducale, and the jail. It is a small bridge that crosses the Rio di Palazzo and can be seen from the water by St. Mark’s Square.
Despite its diminutive size, it is one of Venice’s most popular attractions. The bridge of Sighs is a great vantage point to capture that famous Venice scene because there are many gondolas paddling beneath it.
According to legend, the courtroom of the Palazzo Ducale, where those accused of crimes were tried, is where the Bridge of Sighs got its name. The soon-to-be prisoner would then be carried across the bridge to jail if found guilty.
Looking out of the bridge’s tiny, intricate windows would be their final view of the world. The Bridge of Sighs got its name because here, as they caught their final glimpse of freedom, they would “sigh.”
5. Rialto Market
A great location for shopping is the Rialto Market, also known as Mercato di Rialto, which is close to the Rialto Bridge and on the opposite side of Piazza San Marco. It got its start in the eleventh century as Venice’s main food market.
Both parts of the Rialto Market exist. Fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and produce are sold at the main outdoor market. and the market for souvenirs. It’s a great place to eat some street food. My preferred activity is to purchase a miniature bottle of Bellini and sit by the bridge on the San Polo side while sipping it and people-watching.
6. Ride the Gondola
It’s hard not to picture Venice when you think of the gondolas that travel through the city. Gondola rides are without a doubt one of Venice’s most popular attractions.
Small boats called gondolas are steered by trained gondoliers who are intimately familiar with the local waterways. Particularly at dusk, gondola rides are a romantic way to cuddle up next to your special someone.
They might also be very costly. Off-season travel costs can reach €100 or more.
The Vaporetto is the primary mode of transportation in Venice. You can take a train into the main station and walk through the streets, but the best way to see Venice is from the water. One of the fastest ways to get to Venice’s various islands is to use the Vaporetto system, which is very effective.
7. Grand Canal
You can tour the Grand Canal for much less money by simply taking a ride on a water taxi, also known as a Vaporetto. Taking a gondola ride on the Grand Canal is one of the most iconic things that tourists do in Venice; however, if you would rather spend your euros on something else, you can tour the Grand Canal by taking a water taxi instead.
If you don’t want to walk, the vaporetto, which is similar to a water bus or a water taxi, is the most common mode of transportation for getting around Venice. St. Mark’s Square is served by the Vaporetto, which can be boarded at the San Marco Gardinetti stop. The stop closest to Piazzale Roma is called Piazzale Roma. Et voila! A fantastic tour of the Grand Canal for only €7.50!
If you want to have more peace and private tours the Vaporetto tour with your very own private guide and boat is going to be the highlight of your Venician trip. Although it is an expensive endeavour, I will assure to see all of Venice’s most famous landmarks and attractions in style and comfort. Not only will a private Vaporetto tour taxi water taxi tour take you around the Grand Canal, but it will also take you to Murano, Burano, and other waterways that are more peaceful.
8. Visit other Venetian Islands
The islands of Murano, Burano, and Lido are considered to be among the most well-known in all of Venice. Each one is appealing in its own unique way. During your time in Venice, these three locations are ones that are not to be missed. I wrote another article about the Beautiful Islands in Venice (Italy) That Are Worth Visiting, I encourage you to read it to know more about the lagoon region of Italy.
Another island in the Venice district is called Murano. A network of canals and bridges connects the various small islands that make up this region of land (much like Venice). Although Murano is frequently less crowded than the main areas of Venice, it has a wonderful charm.
The Basilica dei Santa Maria, Campo Santo Stefano, and the Palazzo Da Mula are just a few of the many attractions in this lovely island town. Additionally, Murano is well-known for its glassblowing, and you can witness live performances at the various factories that have been established here.
Burano is renowned for the vibrantly colored homes of its neighborhood fishermen. Visit the Church of Saint Martin, also known as Chiesa de San Martino. There are lovely churches to visit and a bell tower that leans from the 1600s.
Lace-making is a specialty of Burano, and no trip there would be complete without stopping by the Museo del Merletto, which features exhibits on the history of lace-making in the region.
- Lido Island
The Lido is the best place to go if you want some peace and quiet and to avoid the majority of tourists. This distinct island, which separates Venice from the Adriatic Sea, has a long, gorgeous beach for you to enjoy. You can see Lido Island when you take the Adriatic Sea cruise.
The Lido, which has 20,000 residents overall, is also home to numerous neighborhoods, stores, dining establishments, and hotels. Lido is a true escape from the busy streets and waterways surrounding the grand canal and has a much calmer, more laid-back, and relaxed vibe than central Venice.
9. Visit the museums
Venice’s prosperous past as a wealthy trade center from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance has left it with no shortage of palaces that have been converted into museums. With their antiquities and hand-painted frescoes by some of Italy’s greatest masters, the imposing marble palazzi that line the Grand Canal are essentially works of art in and of themselves.
These are the best museums in Venice, featuring everything from artisanal craftsmanship to galleries filled with contemporary masterpieces.
- Ca’ Pesaro
The Venetian word “house” or “casa” is abbreviated as “ca’,” but this home away from home is actually a lavish palace on the Grand Canal that was constructed by the Pesaro family in the 17th century. The Pesaro family was avid art collectors, commissioning pieces by Titian and Tintoretto, but their collection was sold when the ownership of the palace changed. One of the known paintings that are linked to Jacobo Pesaro is the Pesaro Madonna painted by Titian, a renowned Venetian Renaissance painter.
The building was donated to the City of Venice by its previous owner, a duchess so that it could be used as a frescoed space for a modern art museum. Pieces of the art that the city has acquired at each Biennale since 1950 are on display in the museum’s main hall. There are also notable works by artists like Kandinsky, Joan Mir, and Giorgio de Chirico.
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the most prestigious private art collections in the world and is housed in the peaceful Dorsoduro neighbourhood of Venice. This one-story building appears to be an incomplete palace when viewed from the Grand Canal, which is exactly what it is.
In 1949, Guggenheim bought the unfinished structure and filled its rooms with works by renowned 20th-century artists like Mondrian, Dal, Pollock, and Picasso in the styles of surrealism, abstract expressionism, avant-garde sculpture, and more. Visit the sculpture garden of the museum early in the day before the crowds arrive to see the blooming shrubs and flowers.
- Murano Glass Museum
Plan a trip to Murano and be amazed by the traditional glass-making craftsmanship the island is renowned for. You can visit the Fornace Ferro Murano glass factory to see inside an open studio where the lovely light-altering products are still made, and you can also learn more about the industry’s history and traditional techniques at the Murano Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro).
10. Visit Venetian Churches
There are many other stunning Venice churches in addition to these well-known ones, all of which are worth visiting while you are there. Venice is known for its numerous churches, including the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore on the island of San Giorgio di Maggiore, the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in the district of San Polo, and the Basilica di San Marco in the San Marco district.
I wrote a much detailed article about the 15 Beautiful Churches in Venice (Italy) Worth Visiting, I encourage you to read it to know more about these historical and sacred places of worship by the Roman Catholic faith. In the meantime, I listed some of the churches in Venice below:
- Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, which is situated on the other side of the Grand Canal from St. Mark’s and stands out against the surrounding buildings, is arguably the second most well-known church in Venice.
This Baroque-style church, which was finished in 1687, is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a minor basilica. The main dome dominates the skyline, and the exterior is embellished with four apostle statues, taking center stage on the Grand Canal.
The interior appears to have a lot of space, and the hexagonal shape lets light stream in. This basilica has a lot of symmetry and is aesthetically pleasing, despite not being as ornamented as other churches in Italy.
- Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta
The Church of Santa Maria Assunta, also referred to as I Gesuiti, is a beautiful structure that can be found in the Cannaregio neighborhood of Venice.
The Church’s front facade has numerous stone columns, ornately sculpted statues of religious figures, and a wealth of intricate details. The main entrance is a massive bronze door.
This church, one of the more recent ones in Venice, was built in 1729, but it is still significant and the interior is home to a number of impressive works of art, including the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence by Titian.
The church’s ceiling is also covered in artwork, frescoes, and gold details, and some lovely motif artwork is displayed on the walls and columns.
- San Lazzaro degli Armeni
A Mechitarist Armenian Christian monastery is located on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni.
Due to the vibrant use of color on the ceilings and the arches between the pillars, the interior of the church stands out significantly from other churches. There are lots of shades of blue, purple, red, and gold. You’ll be astonished, I promise. Stained glass windows are equally stunning.
Furthermore, there are gardens all around the monastery, and there is a small museum right next to the church. You can see the Island of Lido and the apartments that have been constructed there along the coast directly from the garden.
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