WHAT ARE THE 10 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN VENICE?
Even if we think we already know Venice from seeing it in pictures or movies, the city always provokes amazement when we discover it for the first time. The amount of things to see is impressive, between emblematic places, bridges, secret squares and hidden architectural treasures, not to mention some of the most prestigious museums in the world.
Venice is one of the most touristy cities in Italy, thanks to a rich cultural and architectural heritage that it accumulated when it was one of the greatest European powers. Attended by many tourists, the atmosphere can quickly become oppressive and you should not hesitate to move away from the main roads to find a little calm. Losing yourself in its winding alleys also allows you to discover hidden wonders.
How to get around Venice? The most romantic and quickest way to get around the labyrinth of canals in Venice is to take a gondola, but it is also the most expensive. However, Venice is a rather small city that can easily be explored on foot.
This selection of the 10 best places to see in Venice will help you to prepare an itinerary and organise your trip in Venice, showing you the main tourist sites and other must-see places to visit.
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Here are 10 must-see places to visit during a trip to Venice:
1. The Grand Canal
About sixty canals run along Venice, but the Grand Canal remains by far the most important. With its inverted S-shaped shape, it crosses the city from the Saint-Marc basin to the Liberty Bridge. It’s more than 3 km long. The best thing is to take a gondola ride to admire the beautiful architecture overlooking the banks of the Grand Canal. If you decide to walk along the Grand Canal, don’t forget to cross the Rialto Bridge. It’s not only the most visited place in the city, but also the oldest monument.
2. St. Mark’s Square
Inaugurated in the 9th century, this square owes its name to a Christian evangelist. It’s an old meadow that has become one of the most exceptional places in the world. The proof is that it receives many tourists every year. Also known as a “piazza”, it contains fabulous emblematic monuments of the city of Venice: the Basilica of St. Mark, the Palace of the Doges, the bell tower of St. Mark, the Clock Tower… It also hosts several cultural events, including the Venice Carnival and the Sagra del Redentore.
3. The Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Its imposing architecture and original décor make this one of the most prestigious institutions in Venice. Fans of Tintoretto will certainly find their happiness there, because the Scuole Grande di San Rocco contains a magnificent collection of paintings designed between 1564 and 1587, in addition to extraordinary paintings that have been painted by great artists. Even lay people will only be seduced by it. The entire building is open to the general public every day from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, and this, at only 10 euros.
4. The Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Ideally located in the San Polo district, this Venetian church was built in 1280 and enlarged in the course of the 15th century. Its authentic charm and Gothic style place it at the top of the list among the most beautiful buildings in the city. Its facades and exterior walls are majestically decorated with bricks. Inside, there are historical and cultural treasures, including the mausoleum of Titian and the tomb of Doge Giovanni Pesaro. In only 1 hour, it’s possible to visit the basilica.
5. San Giorgio Maggiore Basilica
This church reveals the architecture of the Renaissance in all its splendour. It’s located on a small island that offers a spectacular view of Venice. This building was just a simple monastery. It was completely renovated in 1566 to become one of the most important abbeys. The façade is similar to a temple overhung by columns. The interior is lined with paintings. The stained glass windows allow a warm light to filter through. Something to make your visit pleasant. From the bell tower, you can appreciate the beauty of the city as a whole.
6. The Ca’Rezzonico Palace
It’s in the Dorsoduro district that this authentic Baroque building is located. Its splendid facade features statues, balustrades and rigid columns that rise over two floors. Built in the middle of the 17th century, this palace now houses one of the largest Venetian museums. It will be the perfect place if you want to know more about the city of Venice. Many objects are on display: frescoes, period furniture, paintings of works of art, tapestries, etc. The visit is not free of charge.
7. The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute
On foot or by gondola, you will not risk missing the imposing basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. Located at the southern end of Venice, in the Dorsoduro district, it’s one of the many architectural buildings that overlook the Grand Canal. The church was built in 1631 and stands out for its baroque style. From a distance, you can see its sumptuous octagonal tower and its beautifully decorated facades with statues. The inside of this church will leave you speechless. It houses 6 chapels that the master artists have taken care to decorate with unusual paintings.
8. The Accademia Museum (Gallery dell’Accademia)
Also known as the Gallery dell’Accademia, this museum is the meeting place for art lovers. It reveals all the cultural richness of the Venetian city through an authentic collection of paintings signed by great and renowned artists (Tintoretto, Carpaccio, Bellini…). There are 800 paintings in 24 rooms with sumptuous decor. The building’s facades offer a breathtaking view of the Grand Canal. Admission is free for approved tourist guides, young people under 18 years of age and journalists. It amounts to 7.50 euros for EU citizens.
9. The Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo
It’s difficult not to be conquered by the exterior architecture of the Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo (nicknamed Zanipolo), a building made of red bricks in the heart of the Gothic style. To get there, you will certainly pass in front of the equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni. Zanipolo by its Venetian name, this sublime basilica is decorated with a marble portal. Resolutely immense, the interior is full of many treasures and paintings by the great masters. It also houses the 25 Doges of Venice. The church welcomes visitors every day, including Sundays. Admission is charged.
10. Burano, Torcello and Murano
If you want to discover Venice in a different way, you’ll have to make a little escapade by boat to the 3 most beautiful Venetian islands. Embark on board the cruise ship of your choice to reach Murano Island, which is renowned for its glass workshops. 45 minutes of visit on the island of Burano will allow you to appreciate the beauty of the fishermen’s houses. If time allows, consider a visit to Europe’s largest lace factory. The journey ends on the island of Torcello. This place is home to Byzantine churches and palaces.
MORE THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN VENICE
If you have some time in Venice, here are some other places to visit that are worth a look:
- The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri)
- The Arsenal
- Teatro La Fenice
- See the palace of the Ca’ d’Oro (more beautiful from the outside than from the inside!)
- The Rialto market
- In the surroundings of Venice: visit Treviso and Padua