15 Best things to do in Venice (Italy)

Venice is a beautiful and historic city, but it is also unique and unlike any other city in Italy. The capital of the Veneto region in northern Italy, Venice is actually located on 117 small islands connected by a series of bridges and separated by a network of canals. With a population of around 250,000, Venice is not one of the largest cities in Veneto, but it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country.

During the Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance, Venice was an extremely powerful stronghold and a major financial and military center. In addition, it is a place where cultural and artistic development is very developed and known worldwide.

Tip: Get a Venice City Pass with the Doge’s Palace and public transport

Today, Venice remains an important economic center and is one of the most popular tourist cities in the world – attractions such as St. Mark’s Basilica and the Grand Canal attract millions of tourists to the small island group every year.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Venice:

1. St. Mark’s Basilica

St. Mark's Basilica

Undoubtedly the most famous and famous building in Venice, the Basilica of San Marco is a magnificent building that has stood the test of time since its creation in 1092 and remains one of the most important religious buildings in northern Italy.

Every aspect of this church is fantastic – from the ornate detailing, sculptures and artwork on the facade, to the fine frescoes and Byzantine artwork on the inside of the domed ceiling.

Located in Piazza San Marco and easily accessible from the Grand Canal, this cathedral is one of the most famous surviving examples of Byzantine architecture in Italy.

Top Rated Tour: Venice Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica Skip-the-Line Tour

2. Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco

St. Mark’s Basilica is the most famous building in Venice, and Piazza San Marco is the most famous square.

Located on the Grand Canal, opposite the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, this square is very important in Venice and is a truly spectacular place.

Surrounding the square is a series of ornate buildings, perfectly framed by arched walkways.

In addition, the square is also home to several important buildings, including St. Mark’s Campanile, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Torre dell’Orologio.

This square is really the perfect place to start your Venice tour and sketch out some of the most impressive sights.

Available Tours: St. Mark’s Square Walking Tour and Cable Car Tour

3. The Grand Canal

Grand Canal

Venice actually has hundreds of canals connecting the various islands that make up the city – the largest of which is the Grand Canal.

This huge canal is more like a river, flowing from one side of Venice to the other and meandering through the center in the shape of a large S bend.

More than 170 buildings dating from the 13th century line the banks of the canal, which has been an important waterway for the city for centuries.

Only four bridges span the Grand Canal, as people and tourists usually travel along the canal rather than across it.

Consider strolling along part of the canal, admiring the buildings along the way, and watching Venice’s busy water traffic.

Book Online: Ride a Private Gondola along the Grand Canal

4. Ponte di Rialto

Ponti di Rialto

As one of the bridges across the impressive Grand Canal, Ponte di Rialto is undoubtedly the most famous and iconic.

The bridge connects the San Marco and San Polo districts in Venice and is an important pedestrian street and a very popular tourist attraction.

Originally a wooden bridge, the summit stood for hundreds of years until it collapsed in 1524. After this incident, a gorgeous stone bridge was built and still stands today.

The bridge is beautiful in detail and design, and its symmetry perfectly outlines the Grand Canal.

In addition, there are a series of shops on the bridge, selling everything from souvenirs to jewelry.

Suggested itinerary: Gondola ride to Rialto Bridge

5. Academy Art Gallery

Dell College Gallery

Located opposite the Ponte dell’Accademia on the Grand Canal, this museum houses fine art from the 19th century and displays works by artists such as Bellini, Canaletto and Titian.

The building that houses the gallery was formerly a monastery, which was converted into a museum in the mid-to-late 1700s.

For those who love Renaissance art and iconic masterpieces, this gallery has something to offer.

Probably its most famous work is Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, which shows ideal human proportions.

Other notable works include Tintoretto’s Resurrection, Titian’s Virgin and Child, and Veronese’s The Battle of Lepanto.

Book Online: Private Academy Gallery and Dorsoduro Tour

6. Venice-Lido

Venice Lido

If you are looking for a place to relax and away from the crowds of tourists, the Lido is the place for you.

This independent island forms a barrier between Venice and the Adriatic Sea, and has long beautiful beaches for you to enjoy.

The Lido has about 20,000 inhabitants, as well as many residential areas, shops, restaurants and hotels.

Bringing a more calm, laid-back and relaxed feel to the heart of Venice, the Lido is a true hideaway, in contrast to the busy streets and waterways around the Grand Canal.

Guided Tour: 2-Hour Liberty Villa Tour in Venice-Lido

7. The Governor’s Palace

Governor's Palace

The Doge’s Palace is one of the most famous buildings in Venice, in addition to the Duomo and Bell Tower, it is also located in Piazza San Marco, but overlooks the Grand Canal.

This opulent palace is simply stunning, with a beautiful arched facade made of white stone and a series of diamond patterns on the walls.

Inside, the palace is equally impressive, with a series of beautifully decorated rooms with original details, furniture and artwork.

The palace can be visited and it is advisable to spend some time looking at the exterior and interior in detail to really capture the history of Venice.

8. Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

Although only a small bridge in Venice’s relative plan, the Bridge of Sighs is one of the city’s most popular buildings and an important historical landmark.

The bridge crosses the Rio di Palazzo and connects the Prigioni Nuove with the Doge’s Palace.

According to legend, when criminals are led out of the palace from the bridge, they will catch a last glimpse of Venice and sigh; considering their impending punishment and imprisonment.

A glimpse of this iconic bridge is also an absolute must when visiting Piazza San Marco.

Suggested Tour: Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs

9. Ride a motorboat across the Grand Canal

motorboat on the grand canal

Vaporetto is the main form of transportation in Venice – yes, you can take the train into the main station, yes you can walk through the streets, but to really experience Venice you have to experience it from the water! The Vaporetto system is efficient and one of the quickest ways to get to the various islands of Venice.

You can buy an expansion pass that allows multiple uses, so you don’t have to worry about buying a ticket every time you use it.

While in Venice, try to travel by airboat and enjoy the water transportation and the sights and sounds you will encounter.

10. St. Mark’s Campanile

St. Mark's Campanile

As the tallest building in Venice, the Bell Tower is a towering structure with a height of 98.6m.

The building that stands now is actually a reconstruction of the original building after it collapsed in 1902. The bell tower was built in the 9th century and was used as a watchtower.

Over the years, the tower has been damaged by fires, earthquakes and even lightning.

The main shaft has a simple red brick design, which is fairly simple, but the bell jar and spire have numerous arches and stonework, topped with a golden statue of the angel Gabriel.

Admire the towers from Piazza San Marco and take the elevator to the top for the best panoramic views of Venice.

11. San Giorgio Maggiore

San Giorgio Maggiore

This is one of the smaller independent islands not connected to Venice’s main canal.

San Giorgio Maggiore is not far from the Venice Basin and the Grand Canal and can be reached by airboat or private water taxi.

The island is home to the fantastic Monastery of San Giorgio, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore and the great bell tower that contrasts with the bell tower in Piazza San Marco.

Pass through the small port, see the various boats at anchor, visit the marvelous churches and monasteries, then climb the bell tower for a breathtaking view back to the main city of Venice.

Book a Tour: San Giorgio Maggiore Island Visit with Video Guide

12. Murano

Murano

Murano is another island within the Venetian zone – the land is actually made up of several small islands connected by a series of canals and bridges (much like Venice). Murano has a wonderful charm and is usually not as busy as the main areas of Venice.

This wonderful island town has many attractions, including the Basilica of Santa Maria, Piazza San Stefano and Palazzo Damura.

In addition, Murano is famous for its glass blowing and you can see live demonstrations at the various factories established here.

Book here: Boat Tour: Murano, Torcello and Burano at a Glance

13. Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta

Church of Santa Maria Assunta

Located in the Cannaregio area of ​​Venice, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is a fine building also known as I Gesuiti.

The facade of the church features several stone columns, ornate statues of religious figures and many intricate details – a huge bronze door serves as the main entrance.

Built in 1729, it is one of the newer churches in Venice, but it is still important and contains many impressive artworks inside, such as Titian’s Martyrdom of St. Lawrence.

In addition, artwork, frescoes and golden details cover the ceiling of the church, and some beautiful patterned artwork line the walls and columns.

14. Santa Maria de la Salute Cathedral

Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Salute

Possibly the second most famous church in Venice, Santa Maria della Salute is located just across the Grand Canal in Santa Maria.

Mark and stand out from the surrounding buildings.

The church was designed in Baroque style and completed in 1687, designated as a chapel of the Roman Catholic Church.

Centered on the Grand Canal, the exterior is adorned with four statues of the apostles and the main domed tower above the skyline.

The interior gives the impression of a large space, and the hexagonal design allows light to pour in.

Although not as decorative as other churches in Italy, this cathedral has great symmetry and is truly pleasing to the eye.

15. Torcello Island

torcello i.

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape, Torcello offers just that, and much less than the main area of ​​Venice.

Torcello is located in the far east of the main part of Venice, just behind Burano, and it takes about 45 minutes to get to Venice by regular ferry.

Cross Torcello’s main street and admire the beautiful canals until you reach the beautifully designed church of Santa Maria Assunta.

In addition, there is a dedicated museum showing the history of this series of islands, as well as various shops and restaurants.

Where to stay: The best hotels in Venice, Italy
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