Attractions in Venice
If you are the least interested in history, culture, beautiful buildings, magnificent churches, paintings and fascinating architecture, Venice is the place to admire attractions and sights. The town is small, but not easily accessible. Then we think not only of canals and streets that cross, but just as much of the tourist crowds that spend the days in Venice. But it’s worth it. Venice’s treasures must be admired!
Venice’s main street is truly unique, and the only right way to experience it is by boat. Hop on a vaporetto, one of the city’s buses, at Piazzale Rome and join all the way to St. Mark’s Square. Along the way, you pass over 100 palaces from the 14th to the 18th centuries. You drive under the Rialto Bridge, the Accademica Bridge, past the Santa Maria della Salute Church and finally end up in the heart of the city. Several tourists take the vaporetto up and down the canal for half the day.
Until the middle of the 19th century, this was the only bridge over the Grand Canal and is still the most important. It links San Marco to San Polo and the markets on the San Polo side. The bridge dates from the late 16th century and is a beautiful stone arch with two parallel streets and shops in the middle. There are always tourist photographers and street vendors. The Rialto Bridge is a must for any visitor in Venice.
Basilica of San Marco
This Gothic church (see picture first in the article) was begun in 830 as a private chapel for the dogs and as a resting place for the remains of St. Mark, which the Venetians had stolen from Egypt. With its five domes, the church was inspired by Istanbul’s St. Sofia, but it has been rebuilt and repaired several times over the centuries following major fires, giving it a mix of Byzantine style, Gothic style and Renaissance style.
On the balconies above the entrance you have a magnificent view of St. Mark’s Square, and many come up here to take a picture of the four famous golden bronze horses – another Venetian war booty. They have become a symbol of the city.
Be careful not to get into shorts or singlet, no matter how long you’ve been in line! Opening hours are at 0945-1600 Monday to Saturday and 1400-1600 Sunday.
This grand palace was not only the residence of the dogs, but also the seat, courthouse and prison of the Venetian Republic. It began in the 9th century, but assumed today’s form 500 years later.
The halls are lavishly decorated with mosaic floors and golden ceilings with artwork by masters such as Tintoretto and Veronese. You can also see the prison cell Casanova escaped from in 1755. The palace is open daily at. 0900-1900. The entrance fee costs NOK 250 at the time of writing, but there are various tickets that cost a little more, but which give entrance to several attractions. Doge’s Palace is located at St. Mark’s Square.
On the tour through the Doge’s Palace you will pass this small but legendary bridge Ponte dei Sospiri from 1603. The name “Bridge of Sighs” derives from the legend of the prisoners who, as they passed through here on their way from the courtrooms to the dungeons, got a last glimpse of daylight and the lagoon. Today, ironically, the bridge has become one of Venice’s more romantic attractions.
Ponte dei Sospiri is also close to St. Mark’s Square.
This 99 meter high bell tower just outside St. Mark’s is Venice’s tallest building. It is actually a copy of the original tower that collapsed in 1902. Stone by stone, it was rebuilt and reopened in 1912, a thousand years after the first. The lift up takes one minute and gives the best view of the city and the lagoon. Open daily from 2 pm 0900 –1900. The entry price is around NOK 100.
The city’s most visited attraction after the Doge’s Palace is the Accademia Art Gallery, a huge collection of five different centuries of Venetian art. The most famous works are by Titian, Tintoretto, Canaletto and Veronese. The museum only takes 180 visitors at a time, so stay out early to avoid long waits. Open Tuesday to Sunday at 0815–1915, Mondays at. 0815-1400. The entry price is about NOK 100.
When you get tired of Renaissance art, you will find one of Europe’s best collections of modern artists such as Dalí, Kandinsky and Picasso in the Guggenheim Museum just off Accademica.
This was originally a private collection owned by Peggy Guggenheim. She donated the collection to the city upon her death in 1979, and it is still on display in her former home in Venice. Open Wednesday to Monday at 1000-1800. The entry price is around NOK 200.
Tourist in Venice
If you want to see all of Venice’s attractions in a few days, you must start early both days. The consolation is that Venice is worth it!
A natural place to start after a hearty breakfast is at the city’s highest vantage point, Campanile. This 99 meter high bell tower on St. Mark’s Square gives you a glorious view of the entire city and the lagoon. But oddly enough, you won’t be able to see a single channel from the top.
Tourist in Venice day 1
From Campanile the road is short to the city’s two most visited attractions: St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. The queues outside depend on the season. Once you have entered, you should at least dedicate one hour to the church and double to the palace. The time you spend, of course, depends on your interest in art, history and architecture. Afterwards, it might be good to have a cup of coffee in the sun.
Caffe Florian has been in the middle of St. Mark’s Square for almost 300 years. The café often has string quartets that entertain guests. The prices are very high, but the atmosphere, both indoors and outdoors, is magical.
Leaving St. Mark’s Square from the northern corner and strolling up the Merc de Orologio and following the Merceria San Zulian and San Salvador shopping streets, you’ll soon find yourself on Ponte di Rialto, the city’s oldest and most important bridge over the Grand Canal. Go ahead with the camera!
On the other side is the district of San Polo, where it is a pleasure just strolling randomly without a fixed plan. It can take time to tear yourself away from the marketplaces right across the bridge, and you will constantly come across scents from various stores that will probably leave you saturated. One tip is to go in the direction of Campo San Polo. In the large red building opposite the church, Palazzo Sorenzo, Casanova must have lived once. In the church you will find Tintoretto’s painting “The Last Meal” from 1594.
Most romantics probably consider a gondola ride the highlight of a Venice visit, but be prepared to pay at least £ 500 for a quick daytime hike and pretty much more after eight in the evening. It is usually not possible to bargain at these prices; The gondolier has his professional pride and can easily be offended.
You can have up to six people in the gondola, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be that expensive. Depending on where you start, the tour will normally go through parts of the Grand Canal and the pool in front of St. Mark’s Square.
After a walk back to the hotel for a shower and a breather, it’s time for dinner. If you want to avoid the most crowded, overpriced tourist traps, Trattoria Alla Madonna is a good alternative. It is a family-run restaurant located in San Polo, just southwest of the Rialto Bridge. The restaurant has mainly local guests, plus some tourists who happen to stumble on. Fresh, grilled fish is the specialty, and the prices are very affordable. The address is Calle della Madonna, 594.
If you still have more energy left in your body when night comes, there are not many options to choose from in Venice. Discos and nightclubs sparkle with their absence. But there are many small bars and a few Irish pubs! We enjoyed the English Devil’s Forest Pub, located between Rialto and San Marco, but would rather recommend one of the many small wine bars you will find around Campo Santa Margherita.
Day 2 in Venice
Have a good breakfast at the hotel and head north until you reach Fondamenta Nueve. Here you get a day pass on the boats that travel the islands in the lagoon. The first stop is the nearest inhabited island, Murano. Here, the city’s famous glassmakers have lived for over 700 years, after the dog ordered all the factories out of town after yet another big fire was caused by their glowing aces. The Venetians were the first to make glass windows and glasses. Murano also houses the (probably) oldest church of the lagoon, Santa Maria e Donato from the 600s.
Further from Murano we suggest you go to the colorful Burano island. All houses are painted in cheerful colors such as bright red, blue, light green and yellow, in sharp contrast to the natural colors of the city and the mainland. The small fishing village is best known for its lace, which was once the most sought after in Europe. The island has its own lace museum and its own lace school. The bell tower of the island’s old 16th century church is almost as crooked as the famous tower in Pisa. It is therefore a favorite photo object. There are also several sidewalk restaurants, where you can settle down if you feel it is time for lunch. Try the family-owned seafood restaurant Ai Peascatori on the main street Via baldassarre Galuppi 474.
The next stop on the lagoon tour is Torcello, which was an important and rich island with a bishop’s seat and a population of over 20,000 in the period 700 to 1300. But after several epidemics and conflicts with the city of Venice, there are now fewer than 20 permanent residents here. The island is overgrown with vegetation. On the way from the jetty to the square you pass the railing-free Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge). In the square there are a few cozy restaurants. In the center stands a stone chair known as Attila’s Throne. Probably it has been an old judge’s chair. Torcello also has a thousand year old cathedral, and here the island’s saint, St. Heliodorus, is still on lit de parade.
On the way back to Venice, it may be interesting to stop at the island of San Michele, the lagoon’s cemetery. It was established during the French occupation during the Napoleonic period. Here are buried among others the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, the author Joseph Brodsky and the American poet Ezra Pound.
To end the day, treat yourself to a better dinner. Taverna la Fenice is a reasonably priced restaurant despite being located right near St. Mark’s Square, at Campiello de la Fenice. As usual in Venice, seafood is the specialty, but you will also find pasta and meat dishes on the menu.