Venice is a charming city, which boasts of being one of the most-visited destinations across the globe. It has artful lifestyle, grand basilicas, the Grand Canal, the mesmeric gondola ride, a vast spread of Venetian delicacies, latest fashion, rich history and literature, maze of water streams, various museums splendid structures, and various other allures for its visitors. No moment is dull here. A vacation at this lovely place is surely an unforgettable affair.
Following are the most popular tourist attractions and things to do in Venice:
A quintessential thing to be done here, Gondola ride lets you savor the peaceful vistas of Venice in a relaxing manner. As you cruise through the mesh of back canal waterways, enjoy the wonderful ambiance. You only have to sit in crescent-shaped boats as the Gondelieri manages his oars navigating through narrow water alleys. The ride on Grand Canal is generally of half an hour and includes splendid views. In the earlier times, they were an important part of transportation but today it has become a popular tourist attraction.
Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica)
Known to be the most popular church in Venice, Basilica di San Marco originally was the private chapel of Doge (the senior-most elected official of Venice). This elaborate church is positioned on the piazza with the same name and is one of the best places to visit in Venice. Byzantine art treasures and gold-backed mosaic pictures decorate the walls and domes. It is open every day from 09:45 AM to 05:00 PM. Visit to the church is free but there is a small fee for the Pala d’oro, treasury and the in-house museum.
Gallerie dell’Accademia (Accademia)
A museum on the Grand Canal, Gallerie dell’Accademia houses a vast and most important collection of Venetian paintings from 15th to 18th century. Most of the paintings have been brought here from non-operational churches and monasteries, and from the palaces of the nobles. The works are displayed in different galleries, according to chronologically. Admire the evolution of painting and working styles. Some of the popular ones include Tintoretto’s Cain and Abel and The Miracle of St. Mark, Madonna and Saints by Giovanni Bellini, Supper in the House of Levi, and Pietà by Titian.
Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace)
One of the must-see attractions in Venice, Palazzo Ducale was the Doge’s official residence. It was constructed in the mid-14th century and is one of the oldest structures here. It boasts of an ethereal Gothic style of architecture. It was the site from where all the official order of the government were carried out. There also are a number of hidden doors and secret passageways. In 1923, a part of it was converted into a museum, which houses an amazing collection of masterpieces. From time to time, it becomes the venue of art exhibitions also. With an entry fee of €19.50, it is open between 08:30 AM and 07:00 PM. The palace is positioned in the busy St. Mark’s Square.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Built for housing a charitable society that is dedicated to San Rocco (church), Scuola Grande di San Rocco is an extraordinary white marble building. It was constructed between 1515 and 1560. After its completion, the legendary Venetian artist Tintoretto of 16th century painted the central panel of the ceiling beautifully and won an award. His work can be admired even today. The walls and the ceiling were later painted by him. His meticulous use of light and colors in his paintings can be seen even today.
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Started by the Franciscans in around 1340, the Gothic architecture of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari was completed with wonderful interiors, stunning façade and 2 chapels in mid-15th century. The bell tower or the campanile here is the second highest in the city. The exterior was kept minimal but the interiors are stunning. Admire the works of legendary Venetian artists such as Titian, Bellini and Vivarini, along with other popular names. This basilica is open from 09:30 AM to 05:00 PM every day.
The Jewish Ghetto (Ghetto Ebraico di Venezia)
Known to be the first ghetto in the world, it was that small area in the northwestern part of the island where the Jews in Venice were moved in 1516. People here were only allowed to do activities in the morning and were locked and guarded during night time. In the present times, this area, a part of Cannaregio Sestiere District is open for sightseeing. There are a number of shops selling kosher products, various restaurants, several Jewish Synagogues and a Jewish museum.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The art scene in Venice is a wonderful mix of its glorious history art and contemporary art. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a wonderful amalgamation of 20th century artists. It is the third most-visited attractions in the town. Peggy Guggenheim was an expat American art collector. She dedicated her life in bringing together a wonderful collection of contemporary art. The works are placed in the former house of Peggy, which is the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal. There are works of popular artists such as Dalí, Picasso, Chagall, Magritte, and Pollock. At the sculpture garden here, the body of Peggy is buried. The collection can be seen from 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM.
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (Basilica of St Mary of Health)
Located close to the Accademia Bridge, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is a huge white church, which is referred to as ‘Salute’ by the locals. One of the most important landmarks in Venice, it was commissioned after the occurrence of plague in 1630 so that the Virgin Mary can take care of her people here. A visit to this place is full of serenity. The interiors are adorned by the works of Tintoretto and Titian. This huge domed church took 57 years to get completed. Admire the wonderful ornate features and the meticulous detailing.
Punta della Dogana
Punta della Dogana is a wonderful contemporary art museum, which is one of the top tourist attractions in Venice. One can witness the amazing artworks from the François Pinault Foundation, which has of the largest collections of contemporary art across the globe. This is a chic rectangular-shaped building at the meeting point of the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal. Dating back to the 15th century, it was the former customs house. The museum is segregated into 9 halls and was restored by minimalist Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
Teatro La Fenice
One of the most famous opera houses in Italy, the Teatro La Fenice is also popular for resurrecting itself completely after facing two big fires during the course of its history. The plush interiors of this opera house are adorned by an old-world feel. Other highlights include intricate use of gold, and red velvet chair, offering an ideal ambiance to enjoy the visual and auditory delights of a classic Italian opera. There are music, ballet and other performance all throughout the year.
Regarded as the main street of Venice, the 2-mile-long Grand Canal is famed for offering best of sights and sounds of the region. Exploring it is considered to be one of the best things to do in Venice. The best way to do this by enjoying a gondola ride, also known to be one of the most romantic experiences in the world. Another option is the public waterbus or the Vaporetto. It is the main boulevard of the city, which connects Piazza San Marco, Rialto Bridge, as well as the arrival sites of the railway station and bridge from the mainland. Do not miss out observing wonderful Early Renaissance and Venetian Gothic structures.
Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)
Built in 1588, Rialto Bridge originally was the only bridge across the Grand Canal. It was constructed 150 years after the previous wooden bride had collapsed. It was commemorated as the spot of the first settlement of the island, Rivus Altus. This arch-shaped stone bridge connected a double set of shops and 2 bustling streets. It was the work of popular Venetia architect Antonio da Ponte and is known to be an engineering marvel. It is popular as a vantage point amongst the tourists for getting clicked or watching the gondolas passing it.
Ca’ Rezzonico Palace and Museum
A magnificent palace cum museum, Ca’ Rezzonico Palace and Museum is the best place to admire the Venetian art of the 18th century. The massive ballrooms and halls are adorned with wonderful artistic pieces by legendary artists of Venice including Longhi, Tiepolo, and Tintoretto. With a number of permanent exhibits and other exhibitions, the museum is opened between 10:00 AM and 06:00 PM, and can be visited just by paying €10.00. The palace is a wonderful piece by Baroque architect of Venice Baldassarre Longhena. Its construction starts in 1649 and it belonged to the noble family of the Bons.
Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square)
The largest square in Venice St. Mark’s Square is termed as the heart of the city. It is believed that while all the others are campis or campielli, it is the real ‘piazza’, which is lined by various attractions like Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark’s Campanile, and a number of other amazing restaurants. If you wish to see all the local and touristy action, this is the place to be. For the best of experiences, either visit early in the morning or late in the evening.