Venice, as the capital of the Veneto region in northeastern Italy, is a city with 118 small islands connected by hundreds of bridges and canals. Comune di Venezia or historically known by the name of the Republic of Venice is known for their maritime power and art collection since the 13th century along with silk, grain and spice as their major commodity. Some of the historical sites in Venice are listed to UNESCO World Heritage Site and that’s the main reasons why Venice has been nominated as the best holiday destination. This floating city is now full of tourists from all around the globe especially the one who loves old-style architecture and to experience riding the famous gondola over the water. Haven’t found any reasons to visit Venice yet? Then you should check all of the most popular tourists attractions below because these places and activities will blow your mind!
1. ST. MARK’S SQUARE, ST. MARK’S BASILICA AND DOGES PALACE
The St. Mark’s Square and surroundings are being named as the most famous piazza in Venice. Why? Because the fascinating historical buildings are all here. Starting from the well-renowned St. Mark’s Basilica with an Italian-Byzantine architecture style to the stunning Doges Palace with Venetian-Gothic style. The other buildings that you may see during your visit to St. Mark’s Square are St. Marks Campanile, the tallest bell tower in Venice with Angel Gabriel’s golden statue on it’s top and Torre dell’ Orologio, the clock tower with Renaissance ornate.
Stroll along the piazza and take your best pictures there. Admire the arched walkways with ornate details, sculptures and artworks before you start the Venice exploration through the Grand Canale. For your information, St. Marks Basilica museum is open every day from 10 AM – 6 PM and the bell tower open from 10.30 AM – 6.30 PM at weekdays, 10.30 AM – 9.30 PM at the weekend while the Doges Palace is only open from Thursday to Sunday 9 AM – 6 PM. Note that visitors are subject to pay €10 for the bell tower and €5 for the museum. You have to buy a St. Mark’s Museum ticket that costs €25 comprising the nearby museum such as Correr Museum and National Library Marciana. A rent of audio guide isn’t included.
Travel tips :
• Wear an appropriate shirt if you go to the Basilica as it’s a place of worship. Any photos, videos, loud explanations, and luggage are strictly prohibited. Please check the regulations before you go to the church.
• The St. Mark’s Square is highly recommended for new-comers before doing a day tour of Venice as it’s strategically located in front of the Grand Canale which is the main canale in Venice. You can also find cafes, restaurants and shops there, but be prepared for crowds as it’s highly popular for holiday destinations. Don’t forget to feed the pigeons wandering here and there!
2. CA’ REZZONICO
Ca’ Rezzonico or mostly known by the name Palazzo Rezzonico is a palace located on the Grand Canal and also a strong proof of Venetian Baroque-Rococo architecture design since the 18th century. This white-marble palace has been opened for a public museum ever since the year of 1936 with many displays of paintings inside. The building consists of three floors, the ground floor, the Piano Nobile, the second floor and the third floor with mezzanine.
The ground floor with courtyard is where you’ll find a water fountain and the grand stairway leading to Piano Nobile. The Piano Nobile is the place where the ceremonial rooms are located, such as the grand ballrooms, halls, lounge and finally a library completed it. Climb to the second floor and you’ll be amazed by many galleries of paintings through the hallway and all around the rooms. The last floor is also full of important paintings with a mezzanine to keep the Mestrovich Collection safe. If you’re into arts, make sure to add this majestic palace to your Venice list! The palazzo open from Friday to Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM with an entrance fee of €10 each.
Travel tips: The popular way to reach the Ca’ Rezzonico is from the Grand Canal by a gondola.
3. BRIDGE OF SIGHS AND PONTE DI RIALTO BRIDGE
Located beside the Doges palace, you can see a bridge stretch along the Grand Canal connecting the palace and Palazzo Delle Prigioni (Doges palace prison). Historical said the bridge is named after prisoners who let out a sigh after having a glimpse of Venice that was actually become their last view of the city before their imprisonment. This place usually attracts visitors by its picturesque design.
After your visit to Bridge of Sighs, you may need to see the iconic Ponte di Rialto Bridge because this one is bigger and also more crowded than the small Bridge of Sighs. The grand Ponte di Rialto spans over the grand canal from San Marco to San Polo districts.
The bridge is an important part of local pedestrians while also being the famous tourists’ attraction because it’s the perfect spot to see Venice from up above the water. This bridge is also popular to see the sunset/sunrise or just to see the famed vaporettos, gondolas and ferries. You can buy souvenirs, foods and drinks while crossing the bridge as well. As the icon of Venice, having a trip to the city without visiting Ponte di Rialto is obviously a pity.
4. CANALE GRANDE
Canale Grande or The Grand Canal is a notable more-like-river waterway that passes along Venice. This hundred years canal plays an important job for locals while also being made for tourists attraction.
Visitors usually just want to rove the city by using a gondola or a Vaporetto because they can see the beautiful façade of lined-buildings closer and better from which they can’t see from the land. This is the best place to experience riding a boat indeed. One of the popular and cheap route to ride the Vaporetto is from Piazzale Roma through the Grand Canal to St. Mark’s Square.
5. SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE
Not too far from the Metropolitan City of Venice, sits a small yet serene island with some tourists attractions such as the white Church of San Giorgio Maggiore with a campanile (bell tower) to get the best view of Venice City along with some paintings around, Fondazione Giorgio Cini cultural centre which has a library with beautiful maze garden outside and the small port Faro San Giorgio Maggiore with a pretentious lighthouse.
Enjoy relaxing at the island and ride a Vaporetto after you feel satisfied to go back to the mainland. The church opens daily from 7 AM – 6 PM and is free of charge while a ride to the top of the campanile will costs you €6. The Fondazione cultural centre also opens daily from 10 AM – 5 PM with an entrance fee of €10 each.
Travel tips: You may catch an art exhibition inside the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore and Fondazione Giorgio Cini if you’re lucky to visit right on the event time.
6. GALLERIE DELL’ACCADEMIA
Arts and paintings enthusiasts may not want to let this fine arts museum slip. Located just right after Ponte dell’Accademia bridge that spans along the Grand Canal, the Gallerie Dell’Accademia shows many important paintings of 15th – 18th century including the Venetian gothic paintings and Renaissance arts.
When you go inside the gallery, you’ll find masterpieces such as the famous ‘The Vitruvian Man’ painting by Leonardo Da Vinci to the outstanding Tintoretto’s, Veronese’s, Tiziano’s, Hieronymus Bosch’s, Giorgione’s and Bellini’s artworks, all of these are being displayed at just Gallerie Dell’Accademia. As a city where arts have plentifully formed the metropolis history, visiting a gallery is indispensable. So when you’re wandering the Venice, pay a visit to this authentic gallery even just for a moment then you’ll get to see how the arts have evolved from the old-style to the contemporary-style. This gallery opens daily (closed on Monday) from 8.15 AM – 7.15 PM with an entrance fee of €12. Ticket booking is necessary due to the high amount of visitors (additional €1.50 for booking fee).
7. LIDO DI VENEZIA
If you’re looking for a calm and secluded place to stay, make sure you visit long Lido Island located at the Venetian Lagoon. This island is being called as a barrier between Venice City and the open Adriatic Sea. With 20.400 inhabitants, the island comprises of long-stretched sand beaches and some Art Nouveau-influenced hotels to enjoy your summer. Palazzo del Cinema in Lido di Venezia is also home for the annual Venice Film Festival with a casino for tourists entertainment as well. You can reach this island from the city centre by a Vaporetto/ferry and staying for at least one-night is absolutely required to get away from the crowds.
Travel tips: Search for the Venice Film Festival dates and experience seeing movie premiers in Venice because this event is one of the island tourists attractions. You’d be glad if you arrived on time. The festival usually being held on late August/early September before the end of the summer season.
8. VENETIAN GHETTO
As a part of the country of Italy, Venice once had many Jews (Jewish citizens) as well in which being dragged out from the city in 1516. It caused the ghetto (Venetian Jewish district) where they have lived before became forgotten. At 1797, the Jews were finally got their equality all thanks to Napoleon. But not too long after they got their freedom, the rise of fascism was finally up and again, they got in a difficult situation. Many Jews got killed because of war until their population got heavily reduced.
Today, you can see the memorial plaque of Venetian Jewish and merge into their life by going to the old Venetian Ghetto that is a popular tourists attraction while also a place where Jewish community and the five historical synagogues (Jewish worship place) settled in. From there, you’ll find Jewish restaurants, bakeries, an art museum, library and archive and an info point of the Jewish community in Venice. Experience a day like the Jews and prepare to be amazed by the beautiful district.
Travel tips: Don’t forget to pay respect at the Venice’s Campo del Ghetto Nuovo memorial plaque.
9. ISLAND TRIP TO MURANO, BURANO, TORCELLO
The city of Venice is often called the City of Water and The Floating City. All of those nicknames are true indeed considering that Venice has divided into many small islands across the Venetian Lagoon with boats as their main transportation. Three of the most famous islands are Murano, Burano and Torcello. Murano is known for their hand-crafted glass art, this means they have many glass factories and workshops inland. The glass-making demonstrations are their main tourists’ attraction. After you watch the demo, you can buy the glass for souvenirs as well. If Murano island is known for its glass art, then Burano island is known for its lace cloths. You can find many items distinctively made from lace such as dresses, umbrella and many more. Burano island is also famous for its colourful and picturesque fishermen housing.
As it’s a fishermen village, you’ll likely to find many seafood restaurants so make sure to eat there and have a feast! Across the Burano, you’ll see a majestic Venetian-Byzantine church named as the Church of Santa Maria Assunta lies on the Torcello island. If you go around the island, you will find some archaeological artefacts as well and before you realize it, you already know Venetian historical knowledge much more than the previous time. Many tour company offers you a sightseeing tour from Venice city centre to these three islands so make sure to do a thorough search and find the best one. The tour usually starts from €20 each.
10. THE ARSENALE AND MUSEUM OF NAVAL HISTORY
The Arsenale was actually the busiest shipyard of Venetian Republic from 11th to 17th century and next to the shipyard, you’ll find the Museo Storico Navale di Venezia (Museum of Naval History). Established since 1919, the museum offers you an exhibition and many rooms for ships models, military uniforms, weapons, wood paintings and artefacts related to the shipbuilding. At this five-stories building, you can learn the naval history which is important to the floating city of Venice. The museum is very popular among the tourists especially for family, so don’t miss a single chance to visit this marvellous museum (along with the large Arsenale shipyard itself). The place opens from Monday to Saturday 8.45 AM – 5 PM with an entrance fee of €10 each.
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