Venice, in the way which it was built, makes it one of the most unique cities in the world. Built on over 100 small islets, it lies just 4 km away from the mainland and 2 km from the Adriatic sea. The whole historical town, crossed by 118 canals and linked by over 400 hundred bridges, is a treasure from the artistic and architectural point of view. The town has an exceptional atmosphere from November to April, during the high water phenomenon, when the high tide exceeds the normal level and floods the street and the main squares of Venice. Venice itself, is made up of about 60,000 residents, and is the main city of the district and the Veneto region.
- If you are tired of mass tourism, crowds and queues, avoid San Marco. If you’ve never visited, how can you miss visiting the Basilica, his treasure, the Pala d’Oro and the beautiful Loggia dei Cavalli, or the Ducal Palace and the Prisons connected to it via the Bridge of Sospiri, perhaps with a guide for Secret itineraries.
- Moving away from the classic routes, leaving behind the crowded Rialto Bridge and all the surrounding streets, go in search of the hidden corners of the more beautiful city… Near San Marco, from Campo Manin, you can access by a little ‘calle’ the back of the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, so named for the newly restored staircase, which embellishes the Palace right at the back, because the same has not a facade on an important channel.
- Continuing to Rialto, perhaps taking a vaporetto of the line 1 on the Canal Grande, towards San Marco stop at Accademia and enter the magnificent galleries, where you will find the best Venetian art of past centuries. Unforgettable is the Madonna del Parto, the fourteenth century! Continue to the Salute church and enter the Guggenheim collection.
- If you let Rialto towards Railway and get off at Cà d’Oro, visit the most beautiful Gothic patrician palace of the city: there is here a beautiful collection of ancient italian art. Returning on foot to the Rialto Bridge and San Marco, leave the main road before the church of St. Giovanni Crisostomo (Bellini, Sebastiano del Piombo) and turn right in a street apparently closed: you are in Campiello Remer to enjoy a unique view towards the Grand Canal, Rialto and its market.
- Follow the peaceful ‘fondamente’ of Cannaregio, leaving the Strada Nova and a dip in one of the popular areas still inhabited of Venice. Visit the Gothic church of Madonna dell’Orto, its beautiful cloister. A little further on the foundations there is a secret garden lovely for a visit, please contact the reception of the Hotel Boscolo Ai Dogi, so you have free access to the inside park overlooking the lagoon. Before returning to the Fondamenta della Misericordia and of trying the old Ghetto of Venice, stop at Casa Mastelli, or house of the camel: it overlooks the Campo dei Mori, the brothers Rioba returned from the Peloponnese, formerly owners of the same.
- Immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the most popular and charming district of the city: Castello. It holds the only real castle in the city, the Arsenal, the Venetian symbol of its glorious past and power. From San Zaccaria, where you will see a shovel of Bellini’s heartbreakingly beautiful, passing by the Church of San Giorgio dei Greci (open for visit with the Museum of Icons), through San Giorgio degli Schiavoni (see the cycle of the Carpaccio), reach the Bragora and finally, behind, the Arsenal. If you have time pass by Tana (from the Entrance of Aresenale – Biennale) to Via Garibaldi, the very popular quarter. From the bottom, where it becomes a channel, you can choose to visit on the right side the ancient Olivolo, with the majestic San Pietro di Castello and its white bell tower; or the secrets districts of Campo Ruga, well hidden from the tourists. Instead returning from the Arsenal to the Civil Hospital, you will pass from Campo delle Gorne, campiello Do Pozzi, salizada de le gate, and arrive at the church of San Francesco della Vigna, with its hidden treasures: beautiful cloisters, Madonna and Saints of Bellini in the sacristy, the marble chapel by the brothers Lombardo and the extraordinary Pala attributed to Negroponte. Going from Barbaria de le Tole (here there were carpenters) come to the Civil Hospital (Scuola Grande di San Marco) and St. John and Paul both to visit. Do not miss out, around the corner, the precious church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, a Renaissance jewel.
- The church of San Giacomo de l’Orio, very old, the Campo (square) that revolves around it, the area between Santa Croce and San Polo, going down the majestic Frari church. Reach Santa Margherita and enjoy the venetian ‘nightlife’.
- Go in search of the most distant neighborhoods of Venice. You will find, behind San Sebastian and the Angel Raphael, the amazing church of St. Nicholas of Mendicoli. On the opposite side of the city you can instead push on St. Helena: the church, the park and the gardens of the Biennale. Here there is also the Stadium of Venice, which seems to stand for a miracle.
- Visit Chioggia, but get there slowly: through the long beaches of Venice, the Lido island, especially by cycling the Murazzi and reach Alberoni, where it is worth stopping to take a drink on the beach last kiosk before the lighthouse. Then embark for Pellestrina and enjoy the special air of this land squeezed between the sea and lagoon, eat good fish. But push yourselves even further, up to Cà Roman, with its wild beach. And finally you reach Chioggia, to greet her cat, sorry, lion! If you really can not make it to do all of this long tour, in South Laguna least stop in San Lazzaro degli Armeni (visit in the early afternoon, vaporetto from San Zaccaria), go to buy something at the market of Lido (on Tuesdays and Saturdays, overlooking the lagoon) and do not forget a visit to San Giorgio Maggiore (climbing the bell tower, which offers one of the best panoramic views) and the Fondazione Cini.
- The most beautiful lagoon is the Northern, however: that of sandbanks and small canals, to turn in a rowing boat or canoe … Or even by pubblic boat, visiting the beautiful Burano (do not stop in his crowded little centre, but miss yourself all around, following the narrow streets that line the lagoon and arrive until Mazzorbo), Torcello (Santa Maria Assunta with climb to the bell tower), Murano (don’t miss the cathedral Santi Maria e Donato and a visit to a furnace, but by day’s work, certainly not in weekend!), our beautiful S.Erasmo (the island of the gardens), and the Lazzaretto Nuovo (guided tour with the Archeoclub of Venice).
Palazzo dei Dogi
Also called the Palazzo Ducale, the Doges’ Palace sits right on the Piazza San Marco and is, in fact, an exhaustive collection of smaller museums, a courtyard, and a trove of over-the-top ornamentation, including frescoed walls, gilded ceilings, and intricately carved statues and friezes. Part palace and part fortress, the Doges’ Palace held both the home of the Doge and, for a while, its prison. Visitors to the Doges’ Palace can see the Doges’ opulent apartments, where there are paintings by the likes of Veronese, Titian, and Tintoretto, and the prisons, some of which are accessed via one of Venice’s most famous bridges, the Bridge of Sighs. Tip: To avoid the large number of tour groups, visit the Doges’ Palace right at opening time.
Museo Civico Correr
Also located on Piazza San Marco, the Museo Correr is dedicated to Venice’s civic history. The museum is named after Venetian artistrocrat Teodoro Correr, whose last will and testament bequeathed many of the items in the collection, from paintings, drawings, copperplates, coins, seals, and classical antiquities. Of particular interest in the Museo Correr are the fine marble sculptures by Antonio Canova and the many paintings and drawings of the Venetian cityscape as it has changed through the centuries. Admission to the Museo Correr is included with that of the Doges’ Palace.
Venice’s largest cache of 18th century art is located in the Ca’Rezzonico, which is named after the patrician Rezzonico family. Their former Baroque palace on the Grand Canal displays three floors of paintings, sculpture, and decadent furnishings, as well as four rooms containing significant works by Giambattista Tiepolo. Other highlights include the palace’s grand staircase and the Gallery Portego, which contains portraits and landscape paintings from Venetian artists of the Settecento.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Most of the artworks in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, among Italy’s most important museums for modern art, were acquired by American socialite Peggy Guggenheim, who was throughout her lifetime a patron of the arts. The museum contains works from the most famous European and American artists of the first half of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Alexander Calder, and it also hosts special exhibitions throughout the year. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is located in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Guggenheim’s former home on the Grand Canal, not far from the Galleria dell’Accademia.
Not to be confused with the Accademia in Florence, which houses Michelangelo’s David and a lot of Tuscan art, Venice’s Galleria dell’Accademia boasts its own stunning treasures, most of which are of Venetian heritage. The greats of Venetian painting from the 14th to the 18th centuries are represented, including Paolo Veneziano, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and Tiepolo.
Venice Museums Pass
Save time by buying a Venice Museums Pass. The San Marco Square Pass includes admission to the 4 major sites on Piazza San Marco plus one additional museum. The Museums Pass gives admission to 11 museums, including two on Murano and Burano Islands. Cards are valid for three months from the pick-up date.
Every year, the squares and the streets are full of the wonderful and joyous Carnival. Open air dancing, theatrical performances, music, many types of street performers, and people in costume invade the city by the thousands.
La festa della Sensa
This traditional holiday is celebrated on ascension day and recalls the ancient Venetian “marriage” of Venice to the Adriatic Sea. A procession of splendidly decorated boats go towards the Lido island and throw a wreath of flower symbolising a ring into the lagoon. In this way the Venetians remember their union with the sea. The celebration is followed by an historic parade of boats along the Grand Canal and rowing competitions between the gondoliers.
La Festa del Redentore
Every year, on the third Sunday of July, the Venetians celebrate the Redeemer’s feast in remembrance of the end of the plague of 1576. A long pontoon bridge is built that leads Venetians and tourists to the Redentore church on the Giudecca island. St. Mark’s Basin fills with colorfully decorated boats in anticipation of the evening’s spectacular fireworks display over the lagoon.
Venice International Film Festival
This International Film Festival takes place every year between August and September at the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido island. The judges, made up of great celebrities, award the best film with the famous Leon D’oro.
The Biennale Art Exhibition
This international art exhibition takes place every two years between June and October. This year opening from 9 May to 22 November! The artwork comes from all over the world and is exhibited throughout the city, its palaces and islands. The main show is at the Castello Gardens where you can see the different countries’ pavilions.
La Regata Storica
On the first Sunday of September, the Grand Canal hosts the most spectacular rowing event in Venice, with a costumed historical boat procession and rowing races.
Festa di S. Maria della Salute
Each year, on the 21 November the Venetians celebrate one of the most popular anniversaries. In fact in remembrance of the end of the plague which ended in 1630, Saint Mary’s Church was built. A pontoon bridge connects the districts of San Moisé and San Mary Zobemgo, starting from Saint Marco and crossing the Grand Canal.
The most popular non-competitive rowing race of the year. The run is 30 km. long and crosses all the main Venetian canals and islands.
The official marathon that many famous athletics of international level take part in. The run goes along the Brenta River, with the finish line in St. Mark’s square.