What to see in Venice: the 10 best attractions and things to do

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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It is one of the favorite destinations of tourists from all over the world, known for the processing of its precious glass, for its colorful Carnival, for its peculiarity of "city in the water". Gondolas, bridges, markets, monuments, a dream square: all this and much more is Venice.
Ready to know the 10 destinations in the Venetian capital to visit absolutely? Arm yourself with comfortable shoes and cameras, because Venice exhibits all its breathtaking beauty in every corner of the city.


  1. Piazza San Marco and the Basilica
  2. Ducal Palace
  3. Teatro La Fenice
  4. Rialto Bridge and Grand Canal
  5. Peggy guggenheim collection
  6. Accademia Galleries
  7. Acqua Alta bookshop
  8. Murano, Burano and Torcello
  9. Jewish ghetto
  10. Rialto market
  11. Other attractions to visit
  12. 5 things to do in Venice
  13. User questions and comments

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1 - Piazza San Marco and the Basilica

Real heart of Venice, Piazza San Marco is the center of culture and modernity of the city. This vast square, once a large vegetable garden, was transformed on the occasion of the construction of the homonymous Basilica which houses the relics of San Marco.
On the square there are historical monuments, such as the Doge's Palace, the Clock Tower, the Campanile of San Marco and the aforementioned Basilica: the lines to visit these attractions are very long, the priority ticket is essential, even better the combined one with priority entrance to the Doge's Palace and the Basilica, to save both time and money.

The square also hosts very "chic" clubs, unfortunately not affordable for all budgets. If you do not have budget problems, take a seat at one of the tables outside the bars, so you can observe the life that pulsates all around Piazza San Marco and enjoy a show that has no equal.

  • from Santa Lucia station in 30 minutes on foot, or in about 35 minutes with the Actv vaporetto, line 1 (€ 7,50 valid for 75 min) - Get directions
  • basilica 10: 00-18: 00; bell tower 10: 00-18: 30; Doge's Palace 10: 00-18: 00; clock tower 10: 00-18: 00
  • free basilica; bell tower of San Marco € 10,00; ducal palace € 25,00; clock tower € 12,00

2 - Doge's Palace

The "Gothic" witness of the rise, fall and birth of Venice is the Palazzo Ducale, the Doge's residence and seat of the government of the Serenissima. The palace, located in Piazza San Marco, has suffered numerous fires but, like the Venetian people, has managed to rise once again and shine, in its white Istrian stone and its rosy Veronese marble, right in the center of the main square.

Don't miss a visit to the palace, but remember that the lines can be quite long, therefore, the purchase of a priority entrance ticket is highly recommended. As for the Basilica, the ideal is to buy the combined ticket for the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica to save money and waiting times.
Inside there are 7 thematic areas: the Opera Museum, the courtyard, the loggias, the Doge's apartment, the institutional rooms, the prisons and finally the Armory.

  • located in Piazza San Marco. From Santa Lucia station it is less than 30 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • from 1 April to 31 October 08: 30-21: 00 (Friday and Saturday late closing at 23:00), from 1 November to 31 March 08: 00-19: 00. Admission allowed up to half an hour before closing
  • € 25,00 per single ticket (Palazzo Ducale, Correr Museum, National Archaeological Museum and Monumental Rooms of the Marciana National Library). Reduced € 13,00 for children aged 6 to 14, students up to 25, over 65. Free for children under 6

3 - La Fenice Theater

"Like the Phoenix you will rise from the ashes" is an adage that we often repeat, but which finds its meaning precisely when speaking of the famous Venetian theater, destroyed twice in 200 years, but immediately got up again, returning to the ancient glories of the past.

Magic, charm, history: in every corner of the theater you can breathe this pleasant "air", which takes shape during the rehearsals of the artists who have the honor of treading the legendary stage of La Fenice.

It is possible to learn about the history and curiosities of the theater thanks to a special guided tour to discover one of the most famous theaters in the world.

  • located in via San Marco, just 4 minutes walk from San Marco square and 22 minutes walk from Santa Lucia Station - Get directions
  • 9: 30-18: 00, except variations for technical or artistic reasons
  • € 10,00 full admission; € 7,00 reduced admission (for students up to 26 and visitors over 65). Children up to 6 years enter for free

4 - Rialto Bridge and Grand Canal

The Grand Canal of the Serenissima was born before the city itself, "Canalazzo" for the citizens of Venice. The Grand Canal, with its reverse "S" shape, crosses the capital for 4 km, dividing the historic center in half.

It is possible to admire a breathtaking view of the canal from the very famous Rialto Bridge, a true symbol of the city. Absolutely not to be missed is the ride aboard a traditional gondola, admiring some of the most important monuments of the city from a different perspective; for a super romantic and folkloric experience at the same time, we recommend the gondola tour with music and singer, enjoying one of the most unique experiences that can be lived in Venice.

  • the Rialto bridge is an 8-minute walk from Piazza San Marco and a 19-minute walk from Santa Lucia Station. Ferries and canal boat tours depart from near the bridge - Get directions
  • take into account the schedules of ferries (5: 00-24: 00) or organized tours
  • public vaporetto L1 costs € 7,50. A full 1 hour tour costs € 30,00 per person

Cheap gondola ride: do you dream of getting on a gondola? Know that you can do it for only € 2,00. Some "gondola taxis" offer 5-minute crossings to the following boarding points: Santa Sofia (near Ca 'D'Oro) - Pescaria (fish market); San Tomà at Ca 'Garzoni; Salute to Santa Maria del Giglio. Clearly the experience has little to do with the classic "gondola ride", but for the paltry price it could be worth it ...

5 - Peggy Guggenheim Collection

The Gugghenheim museums are veritable temples of European and American art of the early twentieth century, established thanks to years of studies and investments made by the eccentric Peggy Guggenheim, millionaire, admirer and art collector.

Located within the fascinating, albeit incomplete, Venier dei Leoni Palace, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice allows you to admire aextensive review of works by Picasso, Dalì, Modigliani, Carrà and other artists our own futurists.

If you are an art lover you cannot miss the collection. Plan a visit time of at least a couple of hours, and to optimize time do not forget to buy the skip-the-line ticket online.

  • located inside the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni (Dorsoduro 701), it is just 26 minutes walk from the Santa Lucia Station. From Piazza San Marco, take vaporetto line 2, direction P. Roma, Accademia stop; or vaporetto line 1, direction P. Roma, Salute or Accademia stop - Get directions
  • 10: 00-18: 00 every day (except Tuesdays and Christmas day)
  • € 15,00 full; € 13,00 reduced for visitors over 65; € 9,00 reduced for children aged 10 to 18 and students up to 26 years. Free for under 10s

6 - Accademia Galleries

For lovers of works by important artists from the fourteenth century to the Renaissance including Tintoretto, Tiziano, Tiepolo and Longhi, a must is a visit to the Gallerie dell'Accademia.

It is a vast complex that includes the church of Santa Maria della Carità, the convent of the Lateran Canons and the Scuola Grande di Santa Maria della Carità, which houses, among others, also one of the most important works of Leonardo da Vinci, "The Vitruvian Man", carefully guarded and rarely exhibited by the curators of the Galleries, in order to avoid possible deterioration.

Whether you are passionate about art or not, such a rich museum deserves to be visited with a guided tour, which will allow you to learn about the main works, their stories, anecdotes, and above all it will introduce you to all the secrets behind the true masterpiece of this museum: the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci. Furthermore, being one of the most iconic museum complexes in Venice, there are often long queues at the entrance, so better opt for the skip-the-line ticket.

  • they are just 22 minutes walk from Santa Lucia Station. From Piazza San Marco, take vaporetto line 2, direction P. Roma, Accademia stop; or vaporetto line 1, direction P. Roma, Salute or Accademia stop - Get directions
  • every Monday 08: 15-14: 00; Tuesday to Sunday 08: 15-19: 15. Admission allowed up to one hour before closing
  • € 12,00 full; € 2,00 Reduced for EU citizens up to 25 years. Free for under 18s

7 - Acqua Alta bookshop

A place out of time, which fascinates and plunges every visitor into an "other" universe, where it is possible to get lost. The Acqua Alta bookcase, created in 2004 from an idea by Luigi Frizzo, is the perfect antithesis to today's 2.0 bookcases, made up of downloadable e-books, commercial titles only, distracted staff who track down the volume desired by the customer with the help of a PC.

Just enter this small bookshop to realize that you have something absolutely extraordinary in front of your eyes: stacks of books on the most diverse subjects, placed in perfect mess on gondolas saves volumes in periods of high water. A dream come true.

  • Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, reachable on foot in 9 minutes starting from Piazza San Marco. Santa Lucia station is a 27 minute walk away - Get directions
  • 9:00AM - 20:00PM
  • free

8 - Murano, Burano and Torcello

If the time available for a rich and pleasant trip to Venice is a lot, it is absolutely worth visiting the most important islands that gravitate around the city, that is Burano, Murano and Torcello.

The three islands can be visited independently practically for free (simply by paying the cost of the vaporettos that reach them), however to better appreciate their history and secrets, we recommend a guided boat excursion.

The first, known for the famous embroidery and lace, has a very particular architecture, with all its bright and colorful houses; the second needs no introduction, thanks to the production of works in blown glass and Venetian murrine who made it so famous to the world. Torcello, perhaps the least known, is worth a visit as much as the others for the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, the Ponte del Diavolo (a bridge without a parapet) and the stone Throne of Attila.

  • ferries depart from the F.te Nove "B" (Murano) and F.te Nove "A" (Burano) terminals. The two terminals are adjacent and are about 24 minutes from Santa Lucia Station and 20 minutes from Piazza San Marco
  • usually, the ferry and vaporetto lines to the islands are accessible every day from 6:00 to 22:00
  • vaporetto tickets to reach the islands have different rates, depending on the choice of the "package": € 12,00 for a 12-hour tour; € 20,00 for 24 hours; € 25,00 for 36 hours; € 14,00 for the single route

9 - Jewish Ghetto

Another universe apart from the city of Venice. The term "ghetto" found its origin in the Venetian city, to refer to real "other" neighborhoods, far from the center both from an architectural and cultural point of view. The Jewish ghetto deserves a stop for its very special houses, designed to accommodate large families, for its three synagogues, because it is a clear example of successful coexistence between different religious and social "extractions".

A visit to the Jewish Ghetto allows you to admire churches, bridges and places of interest. Several agencies combine the tour with an excellent gastronomic experience that allows you to taste Venetian specialties in some typical restaurants of the Cannaregio district. Find more information on the culinary tour Let us know if you have any suggestions

  • Cannaregio district area. It is just a 7-minute walk from Santa Lucia Station and about a 25-minute walk from Piazza San Marco - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

10 - Rialto Market

During your stay in Venice, mostly characterized by visits to the most suggestive museums, districts and neighborhoods, reserve a morning for a few hours of shopping in the characteristic Rialto market! From gastronomy to textiles, you can find and buy just about everything, perhaps tasting, between a look at a spice stand and an oriental silks stand, some exquisite typical Venetian dish.

Of course you can get lost in the colors of the market for free. But if you want a memorable tourist experience, book a real food and wine tour to discover authentic and genuine flavors.

  • from Piazza San Marco it is just 12 minutes on foot, from Santa Lucia station it is 17 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • the fish market Tuesday-Saturday 7: 30-12: 00; the fruit and vegetable market Monday-Saturday 7: 30-13: 30
  • free

Bacaro Tour: one of the most loved traditions by the Venetians is to go around the center between cicchetti and Bacari. The cicchetti are the Venetian equivalent of the Spanish Tapas, or snacks that accompany alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, the Bacari are instead the typical places in which these are served. During your visit do not forget to treat yourself to an "itinerant" aperitif to discover the best Bacari. Special street food tours based on this "tradition" are also available.

Other attractions to visit

Choosing only 10 attractions to visit in Venice is not an easy task, it is necessary to exclude some beauties that still deserve to be mentioned. Among these we point out historic buildings and palaces such as the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the Casino Venier (a small noble house dating back to the time of the Republic of Venice), Cà d'Oro (which houses the art collection of Baron Franchetti), Cà Pesaro (houses the International Gallery of Modern Art), Cà Centani (Carlo Goldoni's Cassa Museum), Cà Foscari (seat of the university) and Palazzo Vendramin (seat of the Venice Casino).

We also mention some important museums such as the Correr Civic Museum, the Naval History Museum and the Natural History Museum.
Finally, some are also worth visiting pretty islands in the lagoon such as Pellestrina, Sant'Erasmo, San Francesco del Deserto, San Giorgio Maggiore and Giudecca.

5 things to do in Venice

  1. Build your own Venetian mask: there are several workshops, you can participate in the seminar and create your own Venetian mask, very similar to those used in the cult film Eyes Wide Shut.
  2. Take a Gondola tour: ok, it costs a little (starting from € 30,00 per person for just over half an hour), but it's absolutely worth it. Even just to enjoy Venice in a unique way and take some highly instagrammable photos.
  3. Photographing the Bridge of Sighs: you cannot leave Venice without having photographed one of its most famous bridges. This famous passage connected the prisons and the offices of inquisition, therefore it takes its name from the sighs of the inmates who passed through it.
  4. Sip a drink at Caffè Florian: a renowned and sumptuous 700th century bar with neo-baroque and modern works of art, frequented by writers, artists and historical figures of the caliber of Ugo Foscolo, Charles Dickens and Casanova.
  5. Admire the rooftops of Venice: enjoy the unique panorama of the city during your visit. Where is it? We recommend two places: the terrace of the Fontego dei Tedeschi or the top of the Scala Contarini del Bovolo.

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