Start exploring Venice with Italian Breaks and let’s discover together the top things to do while you’re here. Venice never loses its capacity to enchant every tourist! START la bea vita (the beautiful life)!
Venice is dotted with campi, historic piazzas with monuments and splendid religious buildings, from which the campi often take their name. The streets are called calli (Italian singular is calle). The Venetians say that the best way to explore their fantastic city is to take any calle and walk with your “nose in the air.”
Start with Piazza San Marco
With its imposing Campanile Bell Tower, the Basilica, Palazzo Ducale and Museo Correr for the art lovers, Piazza San Marco is the beating heart of Venice. From here, you can take whatever direction and the calli (Venetian streets) will lead you to enchanting parts of the city.
Located in the Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica is the most renowned and famous building in Venice and one of the most important religious buildings in Northern Italy. To avoid the long line you can purchase online your ticket for 3 Euros per person (free for children up to 5 years old). When you visit St Mark’s Cathedral, you cannot avoid gazing at the vast amount of decorations, mosaics, architectonic structures and precious objects. Enjoy the beauty of this place and all the interesting stories and legends behind it. Note! Enter the basilica at different times of the day to see how the light transforms the colors and how the scenes look different.
San Marco Campanile is a towering building that stands at a colossal 98.6m high. From the top, you can admire the best panoramic views of this city. Also, Doges Palace or Palazzo Ducale is the very symbol of Venice and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Capture a piece of history by visiting this beautiful building and be sure to purchase a ticket ahead online.
Venice is divided into six zones: Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo and Santa Croce. Every corner has remained remarkably intact and unchanged for many centuries.
Take your loved one on a gondola tour
Venice, named by many a “museum under the sky”, can be seen in all its glory as one sweeps through the waters of the Canal Grande, the city’s main thoroughfare that begins at the triangular Punta della Dogana, the ancient port of this Marine Republic. Exactly four bridges across the canal: the Ponte dell’Accademia, the Rialto Bridge (the oldest and most famous of the bridges), Ponte degli Scalzi and Ponte della Costituzione.
Originally a wooden bridge, Rialto was used to be a drawbridge that allowed the crossing of the canal to sailing ships, when it was the ancient port of the city. These four bridges are not the only way to cross the Canal Grande: a quite cheap gondola (traghetto) service takes people from one side to the other.
You can, for instance, walk over the Bridge of Sighs to enjoy a breathtaking view of the lagoon. Known as the Ponte dei Sospiri in Italian, it’s one of the most famous bridges not just in Venice, but in the world. For a closer look at its exterior, we suggest to take a gondola tour with your beloved. It’s said that if a couple in a gondola kisses as they pass under the bridge at sunset, as the bells of St. Mark’s toll, their love will last forever.
Artistic jewels are Santa Maria dei Miracoli and San Zaccaria churches. The church of Miracoli was decorated by only one artist, being originally built to house a small miraculous image of the Virgin and Child painted around 1409. Don’t miss the magnificent church of San Zaccaria which houses the most famous painting of Bellini’s last Madonna with child and saints, painted in 1505.
Continuing a walk through the calli, visitors will come across the Arsenale, for centuries the largest shipyard and naval depot in the world. Constructed in the 12th Century and then expanded along with the city’s important political and commercial development, today it hosts the Biennale, a contemporary visual art exhibition, so called because it is held biennially.
For the art lovers, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is not to be missed; located inside the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, it holds important artworks from the 20th Century. Nearby are other important museums, such as the Galleries of the Accademia and Ca’ Rezzonico. Gallerie dell’Accademia hosts a fine collection of pre-19th century art and features works by artists such as Bellini, Canaletto and Titian. Other notable works include the Resurrection by Tintoretto, Virgin and the Child by Titian, and the Battle of Lepanto by Veronese. The best way to see all the palaces is by water bus: sit back, relax and enjoy the splendor passing by!
Visit Libreria Aqua Alta! This is a unique library decorated with authentic gondolas and old bathtubs. Everything is about books here, even the stairs are made of books which you can walk on. Even if you don’t know how to read in Italian and you’re not interested in buying a book or a souvenir, you should, at least, live the experience. It’s like a museum!
Visit the famous Venice islands
Around Venice there are more than one hundred small islands. The most popular are San Giorgio Maggiore, with masterpieces by Andrea Palladio, Burano, world-famous for its lace, Murano and its glass production and Torcello, one of the oldest human settlements in the area. For only 27 Euros/person, you can visit Torcello, Murano and Burano — three islands in the Venetian Lagoon. You’ll watch glass being blown at a Murano glass factory, see historical cathedrals on Torcello and admire exquisite handmade lace on Burano. Also, you’ll enjoy a cruise on the water.
After visiting all these impressive buildings, fantastic churches and magnificent masterpieces of art, you must experience Venice from the water. Catch the Vaporetto and enjoy all the sights and sounds that you will encounter. Also, a gondola ride is the first thing to do for any tourist! A couple hundred years ago there were about 10 000 gondolas, but today there are only about 500. We suggest to take a gondola ride on the quiet back canals, rather than on the crowded Grand Canal. If you want to ride on the Grand Canal, it’s much better to take the Vaporetto.
There’s a lot of things to do while you are in Venice! Sights like St. Marks’s Basilica and the Grand Canal attracts millions of visitors every year. No matter what beautiful attraction is on your scheduled travel plan, be sure that you’ll be seduced by the contemporary art scene of the whole lagoon and every single calle. Say YES to new adventures! Book your next holiday with Italian Breaks!