The northern Italian city of Venice is a city of romance, history and culture. Known for its prolific and endlessly romantic poets, the city has been an important one both in commercial and cultural terms for centuries. Built across 100 small islands, the city has water at its very heart, with a series of canals and waterways connecting houses, piazzas and alleyways. Take to the waterways and streets of Venice with this guide to the city, to help make the most of your time in the Venetian Lagoon.
Venice Sightseeing Tips
Venice Connected: This pass allows you to pre-book and pre-pay for transport, tickets for museums and even for public toilets at a discount online. Visit the website and save money on traveling around the city.
Venice Card: The three-day or seven-day Venice Card gives you access to most of the city’s top museums and attractions at great reductions.
Museum Pass: If you are interested in visiting the city’s top museums and attractions, including Ca’ Rezzonico then opt for the Museum Pass. The pass gives you access to all of the civic museums plus a further six attractions for less than 20 euros.
Venice Attractions & Destinations
The city that Napoleon once called the “drawing room of Europe”, Venice is a city filled with all things beautiful. Lined with beautiful buildings, churches of valiant histories, and museums that tell the tales of the merchant city, there are so many attractions in Venice that it’s worth spending some time exploring. Explore the wonderful waterways and its impressive architecture, quirky markets and captivating churches.
Be sure to check out these must-see sights during your time in Venice
Basilica di San Marco
Discover the incredible Byzantine domes and captivating mosaics at Venice’s basilica. Dating back to the 9th century, the impressive structure was reportedly built after two merchants smuggled St Mark’s corpse out of Egypt!
The Gothic Palazzo Ducale was once the official residence of the Doge and the seat of the Venetian Republic for almost seven centuries. Be sure to climb the Scala dei Censori to reach the Doge’s apartment in the majestic structure, with its lavish features and impressive design.
The sustainable and local fish market, Rialto Market, has been a popular destination for hungry Venetians for centuries. Find everything from baby octopus to soft-shell crabs here and look out for the word “Nostrano”, which means it has been locally caught.
The Grand Canal
The main thoroughfare of Venice, the Grand Canal has always been the central focus of the city. The two-mile-long canal-way is the perfect introduction to this watery city. Take the vaporetto, the waterbus, to really get a feel for how the canal works.
For one of the most spectacular views of the city head to the tallest building, the Campanile. Almost 325 feet tall, the building actually collapsed back in 1902 and was rebuilt to replicate its original form. On a clear day you can even see the Dolomites in the distance from up here.
Shopping in Venice
Enjoy the high-end boutiques and glamorous stores that make up the center of Venice, as well as the exciting markets with their narrow streets and bargains. In Venice you can find every kind of shopping from world-famous Italian designers, such as Gucci and Prada, to antiques that you won’t find anywhere else.
Piazza San Marco
Walk around the west side streets of Piazza San Marco to find world-famous designers such as Gucci, Armani, Prada and more. These pretty streets are great for finding couture fashion or for simply window shopping. Enjoy upscale brands and delve into quaint book shops selling independent titles.
If you are looking for quirky souvenirs head to the pedestrianised street of Strada Nova. Here you can also find regular stores that Venetians use for their daily wares. Be sure to check the city’s best supermarket, Billa, while you are here
Rialto Food Markets
As mentioned above, the Rialto Food Markets are bustling, exciting narrow streets filled with incredible seafood and fresh vegetables. Discover stationery stores, jewelers and other types of stores in this interesting district.
The beautiful island of Murano has been the center of Europe’s glassmaking industry, while Burano has a traditional lacemaking center, selling handmade lace and linens. While the prices are about the same as they are in central Venice, you get the experience the history of glassmaking on the island and the traditional windows of the stores.
The huge antique fair takes place in the city three times a year, between the Piazza San Marco and the Campo San Maurizio. The market lasts for three days and usually takes place in the spring, autumn and just before Christmas.
Every Italian city is proud of its perfect cuisine. From local homemade pasta to tasty meat dishes, Venice is one of the finest culinary spots in the country. Choose from the traditional restaurants of the city that offer a slice of old Venice to the modern haute cuisine menus that give you a taste of the new.
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Close to the Guggenheim tourist district, Al Gondolieri is a traditional Vento restaurant, serving up tasty meat dishes. Step into the old-fashioned wooden paneled dining rooms and be transported back to Venice’s former glory days of glamour and grace.
To get away from the busy tourist zones head to Banierette. Located between the churches of Santi Giovanni e Paolo and San Francesco della Vigna, the restaurant is extremely basic and simple, but that’s half of its charm. The family-fun restaurant does, however, offer some of the tastiest seafood dishes in Venice at the best prices.
If you are enjoying a day shopping on the island of Burano, or you have your own water transport, then Gatto Nero is the ultimate dining experience. With a number of spectacular specials always on offer, the restaurant is a real gem in the city and offers some tasty seafood, too.
The cosy 22-person dining room at Alle Testiere is the unique selling point of this special establishment. The restaurant serves up seafood, with exciting daily creations to choose from. It’s special but not too expensive.
For the most romantic location in Venice, overlooking the piazza, head to Quadri. The menu can vary from the totally outrageous to the quite simple, but is always bound to tickle your taste buds. Perfect for a special occasion or romantic splurge.
Hotels in Venice
Thanks to the city’s impressive array of mesmerizing historic buildings, there are a number of incredible hotel experiences in the city that you could only find in Venice. Stay in historic palaces or boutique villas in this worldly city:
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If you have the budget and want a trip to remember, stay in the ultimate hotel in Venice, Gritti Palace. Located on one of the most beautiful spots on the Grand Canal, the hotel offers views of the water, Salute church, and the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. The interior is just as grand, in a palace that dates back to 1475, the hotel is filled with incredible paintings and artifacts.
AD Place Venice
This quirky four-star hotel is decked out in an attractive colour palette, particularly in its comfortable and luxurious bedrooms. Located in the San Marco district on a canal, the AD Place Venice benefits from a quiet setting but is in close proximity to the opera and high-quality shopping streets. Be sure to check out the roof top terrace for some of the best views of the city.
The grand five-star Hotel Danieli is located on Venice’s iconic waterfront with exceptional luxury and views to match. Enjoy the impressive 14th century interior features, rooftop dining and necessary modern facilities. Located just a few minutes from St. Mark’s Square, the hotel includes several rooms that overlook the lagoon.
This upscale hotel is set on the banks of the Grand Canal in an exceptional location close to St. Mark’s Basilica and Rialto Bridge. The rooms in this beautiful building feature luxurious furnishings, marble bathrooms, and jacuzzi tubs. Dine in the grand dining room and enjoy five-star luxury.
Villa Franceschi is an elegant hotel in a beautiful setting, close to the gardens of Villa Pisani and the Venetian Lagoon. Featuring a stunning restaurant, gardens for meetings and rooms with whirlpools, the hotel is ideal for a quiet getaway with stunning features.
Want More Venice?
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