Venice, Italie

The 9 essential things to do in Venice

Last update : 26/05/2024 15:38

Venice, a city of unreal beauty, invites you to marvel at its winding canals, elegant palaces, and iconic bridges. Every corner, every cobblestone alley, reveals a centuries-old story, making Venice a journey through time.

Enchanting Canals: Explore the Venetian canals by gondola or vaporetto, and let yourself be carried along the colorful facades of historic palaces. The Grand Canal, the main waterway, is lined with architectural masterpieces, witnesses to the wealth and refinement of the Republic of Venice.

St. Mark's Square, an Open-Air Theatre: The majestic St. Mark's Square is the heart of Venetian social life. Admire the Basilica di San Marco with its golden domes, the towering campanile dominating the skyline, and the elegant cafes inviting contemplation.

Iconic Bridges: Crossing the centuries-old Rialto Bridge is a must. The views from this historic bridge provide a picturesque tableau of Venetian daily life.

Mysterious Alleys: Lose yourself in the labyrinth of narrow streets, where each corner hides hidden treasures. From discreet churches to artisan workshops, every passage is a discovery.

The Venice Biennale, an Artistic Feast: Immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art at the Venice Biennale, a global event that transforms the city into an open-air gallery, adding a modern dimension to its artistic heritage.

Lagoon Islands: Explore neighboring islands like Murano, famous for its glassmaking, and Burano, with its vibrant, multicolored houses. Each offers a unique glimpse into Venetian craftsmanship.

Venice Carnival, a Fairy-Tale Celebration: Dive into the magical atmosphere of the Venice Carnival, where masks and elaborate costumes transform the city into a living tableau of the Baroque era.

Venice, with its timeless charm and theatrical ambiance, is more than just a tourist destination; it's an immersive experience, a romantic odyssey where every moment feels like it's lifted from a fairy tale floating on the crystalline waters of the lagoon.


1 - Explore the canals by gondola

Explore the canals by gondola, Venice, Italy

Exploring the canals of Venice in a gondola is an iconic and romantic experience. Here's what you can expect during a gondola ride:

  1. Romantic Atmosphere: Gondolas are often associated with romance. Whether you're traveling as a couple, with family, or solo, the peaceful ambiance of the Venetian canals creates a special atmosphere.

  2. Unique Perspectives: The view from a gondola provides unique perspectives of Venetian buildings, bridges, and alleys. It's an excellent opportunity to capture memorable photos.

  3. Navigating the Canals: Skillfully trained gondoliers will guide you through the narrow canals of the city. It's an immersive experience that allows you to see Venice in a different light.

  4. Traditional Music: Some gondoliers may sing traditional Italian songs during your ride, adding to the magical atmosphere. Be sure to inquire with the gondolier beforehand to see if this is an option.

  5. Exploration of Hidden Corners: Gondoliers are familiar with the city and can take you through less frequented areas, allowing you to discover more intimate and tranquil aspects of Venice.

  6. Scheduling and Pricing: The cost of gondola rides can vary, so be sure to negotiate the price before boarding. Prices may be higher in the evening or in highly touristy areas like St. Mark's Square.

Enjoy every moment during your gondola ride in Venice, as it is an integral part of the unique experience this city offers to its visitors.


2 - Saint Mark's Basilica

Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice, Italy

The Basilica of St. Mark, located on St. Mark's Square in Venice, is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city. Here are some essential details about this magnificent basilica:

  1. History: Construction of the Basilica of St. Mark began in the 9th century. It was erected to house the relics of Saint Mark, the evangelist, which had been brought to Venice from Alexandria. The basilica has undergone several renovations over the centuries.

  2. Architecture: The basilica is a remarkable example of Byzantine architecture with Venetian and Italian influences. It features five impressive domes, arches, columns, and a richly decorated facade.

  3. Mosaics: The interior of the basilica is adorned with stunning mosaics covering an impressive area. These mosaics depict biblical scenes, saints, and religious events. The mosaics are primarily made of gold, creating a luminous atmosphere inside the basilica.

  4. Pala d'Oro: The Pala d'Oro is a gold and enamel altarpiece that adorns the high altar. It is considered an exceptional work of goldsmithing, with thousands of embedded precious stones.

  5. Horses of Saint Mark: The famous Horses of Saint Mark, once located outside the basilica, are now preserved inside to protect them from the elements. They are ancient sculptures of great artistic value.

  6. The Loggia: The loggia is an elevated outdoor gallery that offers a magnificent view of St. Mark's Square. It is an ideal spot to admire the architecture of the basilica and its surroundings.

  7. St. Mark's Campanile: Adjacent to the basilica is St. Mark's Campanile, the iconic bell tower of Venice. Visitors can climb to the top to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.

  8. Treasury of the Basilica: The basilica houses a treasury containing relics, liturgical objects, and goldsmith works, reflecting the richness of its history.

  9. Practical Visit: Entry to the basilica is free, but there are fees to access certain areas such as the treasury or the museum. It is recommended to dress appropriately (covering shoulders and knees) to enter the basilica.

The Basilica of St. Mark is an artistic and spiritual treasure that attracts visitors from around the world. A visit to the basilica offers a fascinating dive into the history and culture of Venice.

3 - St. Mark's Square

St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy

Saint Mark's Square, situated in the heart of Venice, stands as one of the most iconic squares worldwide. Surrounded by historical landmarks, it offers a journey through Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture.

Dominating the square is the Basilica of Saint Mark, adorned with domes and golden mosaics, housing the relics of Saint Mark. Adjacent to it, the Campanile provides a unique panoramic view of the city.

The Doge's Palace, once the residence of Venetian doges, showcases impressive Gothic architecture. Next to it, the Clock Tower captivates with its astronomical clock.

Historic cafes line the square, including Café Florian, one of Europe's oldest. The square serves as a venue for various cultural events and festivals.

Occasionally subject to flooding, the square takes on a romantic allure during "acqua alta," with temporary walkways facilitating passage.

Despite tourist crowds, the square retains a magical atmosphere. Early mornings or late evenings unveil its full splendor.

Symbolizing Venice, Saint Mark's Square embodies the city's history, art, and social life. A must-visit for any explorer of the City of Canals.

4 - The Doge's Palace

The Doge's Palace, Venice, Italy

The Doge's Palace, an architectural treasure in Venice, majestically graces St. Mark's Square. This masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture served as the seat of the government of the Republic of Venice for centuries.

Adorned with elaborate arcades and refined details, the palace houses the Grand Council Chamber, renowned for its impressive size and Tintoretto's breathtaking frescoes, including the "Paradise."

The Bridge of Sighs, connecting the palace to the prisons, evokes the somber fate of condemned prisoners. The Halls of Arms and Maps showcase Venice's maritime power through ancient maps and coats of arms.

The prisons, witnesses of a bygone era, add an intriguing dimension to the visit, revealing austere conditions and a complex labyrinth of cells.

Guided tours offer an immersive experience in the palace's history and art, while current cultural events perpetuate its vibrancy.

Combined tickets often grant access to multiple sites, providing a comprehensive experience of the historical and artistic richness of the Doge's Palace.

5 - Get lost in the streets

Get lost in the streets, Venice, Italy

Deliberately lose yourself in the narrow streets of Venice for an authentic and immersive experience. Let your curiosity be your guide and explore the labyrinthine alleys without a precise itinerary, allowing surprises to unfold naturally.

Avoid crowded tourist areas and delve into less-explored neighborhoods to discover the true essence of Venetian life. Lose track of time as you stroll without haste, soaking in the unique atmosphere of the city.

Admire urban art adorning some alleys, from murals to creative installations, revealing Venice's hidden creativity. Observe architectural details, from richly adorned facades to picturesque bridges, with each element telling a fascinating story.

Explore the alleys at night for a magical experience, with soft lights illuminating the canals and creating an enchanting ambiance. Meet locals in less-frequented areas, engaging in spontaneous conversations and discovering local life.

Be ready to get lost and venture into unexpected places, knowing that each detour holds a discovery. Follow the gentle lapping of the water to find peaceful and picturesque corners, adding a sonic dimension to your exploration.

Bring a map for orientation, although getting lost is part of the experience, a map can be useful for finding your way back. By deliberately getting lost, you'll uncover the true splendor of Venice off the beaten path.

6 - Discover the Rialto Bridge

Discover the Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy

The Rialto Bridge in Venice, one of the city's most iconic landmarks, provides a captivating experience. Spanning the Grand Canal, it connects the lively districts of San Marco and San Polo, serving as a central hub in Venetian life.

Built in the 16th century, the bridge features remarkable arches and sculptural details, showcasing the architectural brilliance of the time. Historically associated with commerce and prosperity, the Rialto Bridge was a vital crossing point for merchants, contributing to the wealth of the Venetian Republic.

Lining both sides of the bridge, charming shops offer a variety of goods, creating a bustling atmosphere with everything from souvenirs to artisanal items. Ascending the bridge rewards visitors with a spectacular view of the Grand Canal, providing glimpses of the constant activity of gondolas, vaporettos, and boats.

Watching the sunset from the bridge is an unforgettable experience, with golden light embracing the shores of the Grand Canal. The Rialto Bridge often hosts special events and festivals, adding a festive dimension to its daily role as a crucial passage.

Its beauty and distinctive atmosphere have been immortalized on screen in various films, enhancing its iconic status. Due to its global renown, the bridge attracts a large number of visitors. For a quieter experience, exploring it early in the morning or late in the evening is recommended.

As a silent witness to Venetian history, the Rialto Bridge embodies the cultural heritage of Venice, reminding us of the city's significance as a commercial and artistic center over the centuries.

7 - Visit the lagoon islands

Visit the lagoon islands, Venice, Italy

Exploring the islands of the Venetian Lagoon provides a unique getaway. You can start with Murano, renowned for its glassblowing, then explore the colorful houses of Burano. Torcello, rich in history, houses the Santa Maria Assunta cathedral.

Lido, famous for its beaches, also hosts film festivals. Giudecca offers a tranquil atmosphere with churches and a panorama of the San Marco basin. San Giorgio Maggiore provides a panoramic view and peaceful gardens.

Explore these islands while avoiding crowds, savor local seafood, use vaporettos for transportation, and discover local daily life. End the day by capturing a stunning sunset from the Lido beach, offering a spectacular view of the lagoon. By exploring these islands, you'll discover the cultural, artistic, and culinary diversity that characterizes the beautiful Venetian Lagoon.

8 - Attend an opera performance or concert

Attend an opera performance or concert, Venice, Italy

Attending an opera or concert in Venice is an immersion into the city's cultural richness. Opt for iconic venues like La Fenice for opera or historic churches for concerts, creating a unique atmosphere. Ensure to book tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist periods, to secure your spot and be mindful of any dress code.

Arrive early to soak in the atmosphere and explore the surroundings. Choose productions that highlight Venice's musical heritage, featuring works by local composers like Vivaldi. Concerts in churches provide exceptional acoustics and an intimate musical experience. Show respect during the performance by maintaining silence and turning off electronic devices.

After the show, some performances offer opportunities to meet the artists, providing a chance to discuss their art. Explore ongoing music festivals during your stay for a diverse range of artists and genres. Round off your evening with a gastronomic experience by booking a table at an elegant restaurant for a complete immersion into Venetian culture. Experience a memorable musical evening, infused with the history and artistic richness of Venice.

9 - Enjoy Venetian cuisine

To savor Venetian cuisine, prioritize local experiences. Explore less touristy neighborhoods to discover authentic trattorias. Taste regional specialties like sarde in saor, fegato alla veneziana, or cicchetti. Try fresh seafood, often featured in dishes like spaghetti alle vongole or risotto ai frutti di mare. Don't miss out on the sweet delights of Venetian pastries, such as zaeti or fritelle.

For a complete immersion, sip on a spritz, the quintessential Venetian aperitif. Ask locals for recommendations to find culinary gems less frequented by tourists. Explore local markets, such as the Rialto Market, for fresh produce and gastronomic souvenirs.

Respect local meal times for a more authentic experience. By following these tips, you can fully savor the richness of Venetian cuisine and create memorable culinary experiences.

Venice - Where to Stay?

Venice offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels to more budget-friendly hostels. The choice of location often depends on personal preferences and budget. Here are some suggestions on where to stay in Venice:

  1. San Marco: The San Marco district is at the heart of Venice, housing iconic sites such as St. Mark's Square, St. Mark's Basilica, and the Campanile. It's a central location, but it can be more expensive due to its popularity.

  2. Castello: East of San Marco, Castello offers a more authentic and less touristy atmosphere. It's an excellent choice if you want to stay near the action while avoiding constant crowds.

  3. Cannaregio: North of San Marco, Cannaregio is a residential neighborhood with a local atmosphere. Here, you'll find more affordable restaurants and shops while still being within walking distance of major sights.

  4. Dorsoduro: This area is home to art galleries, impressive churches, and the University of Venice. It offers a relaxed atmosphere and is popular among students and visitors seeking a quieter experience.

  5. Santa Croce: Located between Santa Lucia train station and San Marco, Santa Croce is a lively neighborhood with a mix of tourist attractions and everyday Venetian life.

  6. Giudecca: An island across from St. Mark's Square, Giudecca offers beautiful views of Venice. It's a bit quieter and less crowded than the center of Venice.

  7. Lido di Venezia: If you prefer to stay near the beach, Lido is an island accessible by vaporetto from the center of Venice. It offers a seaside atmosphere while providing easy access to the city.

Make sure to book in advance, especially during the high tourist season, to secure the best rates and availability. Explore online reviews to find accommodation that best suits your needs and travel style.

Venice - How to get around?

Getting around Venice, with its canals and narrow alleyways, is a unique experience. Here are some means of transportation in Venice:

  1. Vaporetto (Water Bus): Vaporettos are the main form of public transportation in Venice. They operate on the Grand Canal and other wider canals, serving several stops at key locations. It's a convenient way to move around the city and enjoy views from the water.

  2. Gondolas and Traghetti: Gondolas are iconic in Venice, but they are often used by tourists for romantic rides. Traghetti are ferries that cross the Grand Canal at certain points and can be a more economical option for crossing the canal.

  3. Vaporetto dell'Arte: This service is a more luxurious version of the standard vaporetto, offering comfortable seating and art exhibitions on board. It follows a specific route along the Grand Canal.

  4. Water Taxis: Water taxis are private boats available for direct trips to specific destinations. Although more expensive than vaporettos, they provide a faster and more personalized service.

  5. Walking: Walking is one of the most enjoyable ways to explore Venice, especially in the historic center. Many tourist sites and popular neighborhoods are accessible on foot.

  6. Ciclomotori Acquatici (Water Scooters): These small electric scooters are used for quick travel on the water, especially in narrower canals where vaporettos cannot access.

  7. Bicycles: Although uncommon in Venice, some less crowded areas can be explored by bicycle. However, the historic center is mainly pedestrian.

It's important to note that Venice is a pedestrian city built on water, and motorized vehicles are limited. Public transportation by boat is essential for efficient movement throughout the city.

Venice - Best period

The best time to visit Venice depends on your preferences for climate, crowds, and activities. Here's an overview of the seasons in Venice:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is often considered one of the best seasons to visit Venice. Temperatures are pleasant, days start to lengthen, and the city is less crowded than in summer. It's an ideal time for strolling through narrow streets, enjoying tourist attractions, and participating in local events.

  2. Summer (June to August): Summer attracts a large number of visitors to Venice, especially in July and August. Temperatures can be high, and the city can be crowded. However, it's also a time for local festivities and cultural events.

  3. Autumn (September to November): Autumn is another pleasant time to visit Venice. Temperatures are still mild, and while the number of tourists decreases compared to summer, the city remains lively. It's a favorable period for experiencing local life and enjoying the autumnal atmosphere.

  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Venice is quieter in terms of tourists, but temperatures can be cool. During the Christmas season and Carnival (January-February), the city takes on a special atmosphere with festive decorations and special events.

In summary, spring and autumn are generally considered the ideal seasons to visit Venice due to pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season. However, if you enjoy festivals and the winter atmosphere, winter can also offer a unique experience.

Last update : 26/05/2024 15:38

0 Comment(s)

Leave a comment