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Things To See in Venice, Italy

Venice is full of famous, instantly recognisable attractions, the main attractions here is the city itself. This is the city built on water, divided by canals, bridges and without a vehicle in sight. A great place to start your journey is in the San Marco district, home to the city’s best known square. Piazza San Marco, and two of its best known attractions, Basilico di San Marco and Palazzo Ducale.

The Dorsoduro district is the place to visit for the architecture buffs among you, while the neighbourhood of San Polo is home to the Museum of Modern Art and the second largest square in Venice – Campo San Polo. Cannaregio houses the world’s first officially recognised ghetto and in Castello you will find the trio of churches – Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Santa Maria Formosa and San Zaccaria. And so it continues. You probably get the picture by now.

Not everything there is to see in Venice is in the main areas around the Grand Canal. Other islands in the city such as Murano (famous for glass making), Burano (famous for lace-making) and Lido (famous for its beach) should be visited too.

Attractions in Venice

  • Basilica San Marco

    Campo San Marco, Venice, Italy

    Modelled on the Church of the 12 Apostles in Constantinople, construction of St Mark's Basilica began in 1063 after the original burnt down in 976. Highlights include St Mark's Treasure and the view over Campo San Marco from the balcony.

    Open Mon-Sat 9.30pm-5pm, Sun 2pm-4pm; gen. admission free.

  • Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)

    Over the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

    Serving as the heart of the city for over four hundred years, the Rialto Bridge which has been built seven times, consists of three walkways – two along the outer balustrades and one in the centre which is surrounded on both sides by small shops which are perfect for the ever eager to shop tourists selling linen, glass, jewelry and the like. And, it couldn’t be easier to find thanks to its location so close to the train station and the Piazzale Roma.

  • Doge's Palace

    Riva degli Schiavoni, San Marco, Venice, Italy

    Initially built as a castle in the 9th century, 'Palazzo Ducale' is a Venetian Gothic building that was home to the Doge (Duke), the highest political figure in Venice. It was also the city's political hub for centuries. Today it's Venice's most popular attraction.

    Open daily from 9am-7pm; admission €9.50 (this is for St Mark's Square Museum Card).

  • Galleria Dell'Accademia

    Campo della Carita, Accademia, Venice, Italy

    One of the top three tourist attractions in the city (along with the Palazzo Ducale and the basilica), this gallery contains an incredible collection of Venetian art including Titian’s Pieta, Bellini’s Madonna Enthroned and Paolo Veronese’s Christ in the House of Levi (originally known as The Last Supper). Most of the works in the original gallery were those taken from churches and convents who were under attack at time. Entrance to the Galleria Dell’Accademia is limited to 300 at a time so lunch time is a good time to visit the twenty four separate rooms housing hundreds of works of art but ensure that you squeeze it in at some stage during your stay.

    Open Mon 8.15am-2pm, Tues-Sun 8.15am-7pm; admission €6.50.

  • Palazzo Ducale

    Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy

    Once serving as the official residence of the doge – the city’s governing council - it also was a place to show off the art and architecture of the time. As well as this it housed offices, courts and the city’s infamous prison cells. For the most interesting tour of the palace check out the Secret Trails of the Palazzo Ducale. Costing about €13 these guided tours begin at 10.30am, are now taking place in English and let you see secret and hidden passage ways and chambers which are not included on any of the other tours.

  • Ca' d'Oro

    Cannaregio 3931 - 3932, Venice, Italy

    Built in the early fifteenth century, the ‘House of Gold’ is a typical gothic piece of architecture. Extensively restored by Baron Franchetti in the early twentieth, the building itself quite often overshadows the works of art stored inside. In fact many argue that the most impressive part of the whol Ca’ d’Oro is its façade and for the best view, you really should see it from the water. Once inside, however, you certainly won’t be disappointed either with tiled courtyards, some wonderful works of art by Titian, Mantegna and their counterparts and one of the finest views of the Grand Canal in the city.

  • Museo Civico Correr

    Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy

    Located in the Procuratie Nuove which were apartments and buildings and offices converted into a palace by Napoleon and are themselves a most impressive attraction, the Museo Correr is now home to a large share of Venetian artifacts including weapons, coins and other historical goods. Many of the goods on display here might not appeal to everyone but the selection of Venetian art on show is guaranteed to impress even the fussiest sightseers among you.

  • Campanile di San Marco

    Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy

    Built back in the 10th century, the campanile or bell tower collapsed suddenly on July 14th 1902. The only hint of things to come for the locals were the strange sounds emitted by the bell the previous evening. The belfry was completely rebuilt in the decade that followed, however, and is now perfectly safe to climb but for the lazier among you the even better news is that there is an elevator all the way to the top. The scene from the top is breathtaking offering some amazing views of the basilica as well as the rooftops of Venice so don’t forget your camera.

  • The Ghetto

    , Venice, Italy

    The Venetian Ghetto or The Ghetto Nuovo came into being in 1516 when all the Jewish residents of Venice were moved to this island and it is widely regarded as the first ghetto in the world. Once the Jews had been moved they were not allowed to leave and were guarded by Christian guards. They were also forced to wear distinctive clothing and hats and they paid the wages of the guards who kept them imprisoned in the Ghetto Nuovo. Today the walls that kept them confined don’t exist anymore but there is still plenty to see for visitors to the ghetto.

  • Santi Giovanni e Paolo

    Campo SS, Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, Italy

    Known in Venetian as San Ziapolo, this Gothic Church was founded in 1246, rebuilt in 1333 and consecrated in 1430. The size of the interior is the first thing that catches people’s attention thanks to its 90 metre length and 33 metre height because the décor itself is not as impressive as some of Ziapolo’s counterparts in the city. Nevertheless, there is, as in almost every historical building in Venice, an ample collection of art and architecture to be seen as well as the tombs of 25 members of the doge which themselves are definitely worth seeing.

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