Venice is a beautiful city that offers many attractions and activities for visitors. Here are seven must-sees and dos when in Venice:
Visit the Palazzo Ducale, the former residence of the Doges of Venice and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. You can admire the richly decorated rooms, the paintings by famous artists, and the Bridge of Sighs that connects the palace to the prison. The Bridge of Sighs was named so because it was the last view of Venice that the prisoners saw before their execution. You can also learn about the history and secrets of the Venetian Republic and its rulers. The Palazzo Ducale is open every day from 8:30 am to 7 pm, and you can book your tickets online.
Explore the Basilica di San Marco, the most famous church in Venice and a symbol of its Byzantine heritage. The church has a stunning mosaic-covered facade, a magnificent dome, and a treasury of relics and artworks. The church was built to house the body of Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice, whose remains were stolen from Egypt by two Venetian merchants. You can also see the Pala d'Oro, a golden altarpiece adorned with precious stones, and the Quadriga, a set of four bronze horses looted from Constantinople. The Basilica di San Marco is free to enter but you must reserve your visit in advance.
Take a gondola ride along the canals of Venice and enjoy the romantic atmosphere. You can see the charming bridges, the elegant palaces, and the colourful houses that line the waterways. A gondola ride is a quintessential Venetian experience that you should not miss. You can also listen to the songs and stories of your gondolier, who will guide you through the hidden corners and legends of Venice. A gondola ride costs about 80 euros for 40 minutes, and you can find gondola stations near major landmarks or bridges.
Wander around the Piazza San Marco, the main square of Venice and the heart of its social and political life. You can see the impressive Campanile, the bell tower that offers a panoramic view of the city, the Torre dell'Orologio, the clock tower that displays the phases of the moon and the zodiac signs, and the Procuratie, the arcaded buildings that house cafes and shops. The Piazza San Marco is always open to the public. Still, some of its attractions have different opening hours and fees.
Next, visit the Rialto Bridge, one of the most iconic landmarks in Venice and a popular spot for taking photos. The bridge spans over the Grand Canal and connects two busy commercial districts. The bridge was built in 1591 and has a distinctive arch shape that allows boats to pass under it. The bridge also has shops selling souvenirs, jewellery, and leather goods on both sides.
Check out the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, one of the most important museums of European and North American art. The museum showcases the personal collection of Peggy Guggenheim, an American heiress and art patron who lived in Venice for many years. The museum features works by Picasso, Dalí, Kandinsky, Pollock, and many other famous artists. The museum also has a sculpture garden where you can see Peggy Guggenheim's grave and her beloved dogs' tombstones. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily except Tuesdays.
Next, enjoy a glass of wine at one of the many bacari in Venice. Bacari are traditional wine bars that serve small plates of food called Cicchetti. Cicchetti is similar to tapas in Spain. They include cheese, salami, olives, seafood, meatballs, and more. You can order different kinds of cicchetti and share them with your friends or family while sipping wine or spritz, a refreshing drink made with prosecco and Aperol or Campari. Bacari are usually open from noon to midnight and are scattered throughout Venice.
You can visit many islands by boat from the main islands of Venice, such as Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido, San Giorgio Maggiore, and more. Each island has its own charm and speciality. For example, Murano is famous for its glass-making industry, Burano is known for its colourful houses and lace-making, Torcello is the oldest inhabited island in Venice and has a beautiful cathedral, Lido is a popular beach resort, San Giorgio Maggiore is a tranquil island with a stunning church and a bell tower, and so on. You can find boat tickets and timetables at the main ferry terminals or online.
Next, shop for souvenirs at the Mercato di Rialto, Venice's oldest and largest market. The market is located near the Rialto Bridge. It is divided into two sections: the Pescheria, where you can find fresh fish and seafood, and the Erberia, where you can find fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The market is open from Monday to Saturday, from 7:30 am to 1 pm. You can buy local products, such as cheese, salami, olive oil, wine, or spices, or just browse and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
Finally, watch an opera at the Teatro La Fenice, one of Italy's most prestigious and historic opera houses. The Teatro La Fenice was founded in 1792 and has hosted many famous operas by composers such as Verdi, Rossini, Bellini, and more. The opera house was destroyed by fire three times and rebuilt each time. The last restoration was completed in 2003, restoring the original 19th-century style and decor. You can book your tickets online or at the box office and enjoy a night of music and culture.