things to do in venice

Last Updated on: 6th July 2024, 06:34 am

Are you looking for a beautiful and romantic destination to explore? Look no further than Venice, Italy. This floating city is a true gem of the country, offering unforgettable experiences to visitors. From its stunning architecture and landmarks to fascinating art and culture, Venice has something for every type of traveler. In this guide, I will provide insights and tips on the best things to do in Venice to help you plan your perfect itinerary. Let’s explore Venice together!

If you’re wondering why Venice Italy should be at the top of your travel list, the answer is simple: it’s a city like no other. With its winding canals, intricate bridges, and charming streets, Venice is truly unique. Whether you’re looking to take a romantic gondola ride or indulge in authentic Venetian cuisine, you won’t be disappointed. Keep reading to discover more about the amazing experiences that await you in Venice. Venice is renowned for its unique charm and endless attractions, much like Mykonos, Greece, another gem of the Mediterranean.

To start, let’s dive into the top things to do in Venice. From taking a stroll through St. Mark’s Square to exploring the nearby islands of Murano and Burano, Venice is full of exciting adventures. Whether you’re interested in history, the arts, or simply relaxing by the water, there’s something for everyone in this enchanting Italian city. Let’s get started on exploring Venice!

Things to do in Venice

1. Must-Visit Landmarks in Venice

When it comes to landmarks in Venice, the city offers a plethora of iconic attractions that should not be missed. From magnificent palaces to historic churches, each site showcases Venice’s rich history and stunning architecture. Here are some must-visit attractions in Venice that are sure to leave a lasting impression:

Landmark Description Location
Saint Mark’s Basilica A stunning example of Byzantine architecture, this impressive cathedral houses an array of mosaics and marble decorations. St. Mark’s Square, Venice
The Doge’s Palace A former residence of the Doge of Venice, this grand palace features a blend of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles. St. Mark’s Square, Venice
The Rialto Bridge An iconic symbol of Venice, this stunning bridge spans the Grand Canal and offers breathtaking views of the city. Rialto, Venice
The Grand Canal Often referred to as the “most beautiful avenue in the world,” this winding waterway offers a picturesque view of Venice’s legendary palaces and historic buildings. Various locations throughout Venice
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection This museum boasts an impressive collection of modern art, including works by Picasso and Dali. Dorsoduro, Venice
The Bridge of Sighs This ornate bridge was once used to transport prisoners from the Doge’s Palace to Venice’s prisons. St. Mark’s Square, Venice

These famous sights in Venice are just a few of the many landmarks that make this city a must-visit destination. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or architecture, Venice offers something for everyone to explore.

2. Exploring the Venetian Canals

Exploring the enchanting Venetian canals is a must-do experience while in Venice. The city is renowned for its extensive canal network that serves as its major transportation mode. The canals provide visitors with numerous activities to indulge in, from taking romantic gondola rides and informative canal tours Venice to learning about the history of the city’s waterways.

Embarking on a relaxing gondola ride is one of the best ways to soak in the Venetian charm while gliding along the canals. As you traverse through the picturesque waterways, the stunning views of the city’s architectural wonders, such as the Palazzo Ducale and Basilica di Santa Maria, will leave you spellbound.

Venetian canals

If you’re more interested in exploring the canals’ history, then a guided canal tour is perfect. Most canal tours cover the Grand Canal, one of the city’s most important waterways, and showcase the unique history of the noted landmarks along the way. You’ll learn about the famous artists and architects who helped shape the city’s history and their brilliant masterpieces.

Tip: It’s best to take the canal tours in the mornings, before the traffic picks up along the canals, and avoid peak hours when the crowds are relatively high.

3. Discovering Venetian Art and Culture

Venetian art and culture have flourished for centuries, providing a glimpse into the city’s rich history and artistic development. With world-class museums, galleries, and cultural activities, visitors can explore the best of Venetian art.

Name Description
Peggy Guggenheim Collection Located in the Dorsoduro district, this museum is home to an excellent collection of modern art, including works by Picasso and Pollock.
Palazzo Grassi This contemporary art museum features exhibitions by prominent artists such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons.
La Fenice Opera House A beautiful venue that showcases world-class opera and ballet performances.

In addition to museums, Venice offers a variety of cultural activities that are sure to delight visitors. The Biennale, an international art exhibition held every two years, attracts thousands of visitors from around the world. Another popular cultural activity is the Carnevale di Venezia, a lively celebration held before the start of Lent that includes elaborate costumes and masks, music, and street performances.

Venetian Art

Venezia Museum Pass

If you plan on visiting several museums in Venice, the Venezia Museum Pass may save you time and money. Available for purchase at participating museums, the pass grants access to multiple museums at a discounted rate.

Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply appreciate cultural activities, Venice is a destination that is sure to inspire. With a plethora of museums, galleries, and cultural events, there is always something new to discover.

4. Sampling Venetian Cuisine and Wine

One cannot visit Venice without indulging in the local culinary delights. As you explore the city, you will find a variety of delicious Venetian cuisine, with traditional dishes that have been passed down through generations. From fresh seafood to delectable pasta dishes, the cuisine here is truly mouth-watering. Be sure to try the famous Sarde in Saor, a traditional sweet and sour sardine dish, and Risotto al nero di seppia, black squid ink risotto, a must-try in Venice.

Aside from food, Venice is also renowned for its wine. With vineyards scattered throughout the surrounding hills, the city offers a variety of locally produced wines with unique flavors. Take part in a wine tasting experience, where you can sample varieties like Prosecco and Pinot Grigio. The perfect way to discover the tastes of Venetian wine culture.

Venetian cuisine and wine

Cicchetti

A popular way to explore traditional Venetian cuisine is by sampling Cicchetti. These bite-sized snacks are typically served in a small, casual environment and can be paired with small glasses of local wine or Spritz. There are many Cicchetti bars to explore around the city, offering everything from fresh seafood to savory meats. Make your way to the lively Rialto Market area to find some of the most popular Cicchetti bars in Venice.

Trattorias and Restaurants

For a more formal dining experience, consider visiting one of Venice’s traditional trattorias or restaurants. Venice has many restaurants that offer regional cuisine using locally sourced products. Some of the more popular dishes include squid ink pasta, gnocchi with prawns, and cuttlefish stew. Pair these delicious dishes with a glass of local wine and savor the flavors of Venetian cuisine.

Local Markets

If you want to explore Venetian cuisine, the local markets are a great place to start. Head to the Rialto Market early in the morning to discover a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood. The market is a great place to witness Venetian locals in their element, bargaining for the best deals on high-quality produce. Take home some fresh ingredients and create your own Venetian-inspired dishes.

“Venice is renowned for its cuisine, with a rich history of traditional dishes that have been passed down through generations. Be sure to try the Sarde in Saor and Risotto al nero di seppia, and take part in a wine tasting experience to discover the flavors of Venetian wine culture.”

5. Shopping in Venice

If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts, shopping in Venice is a must-do. The city is known for its exquisite crafts, from handmade lace to Murano glass. There are several shopping options to choose from, including boutique stores, local markets, and specialty shops.

Local Markets

For an authentic shopping experience, head to one of the many local markets in Venice. These outdoor markets offer a range of products, including fresh produce, seafood, and artisanal goods. One of the most popular markets is the Rialto Market, which has been operating since the 11th century. Here, you’ll find locals shopping for their daily meals, and you can also pick up some delicious snacks to enjoy on the go.

shopping in Venice

Venetian Souvenirs

If you’re searching for unique souvenirs to take home, consider buying handmade lace or intricate masks. The shops near St. Mark’s Square offer traditional Venetian masks, which are perfect for parties or wall decor. For high-quality lace, head to the Burano island, where you’ll find local women crafting exquisite lace pieces using traditional techniques.

Murano Glass

Another popular souvenir is Murano glass, which is handmade on the nearby island of Murano. The glass is known for its vibrant colors and intricate designs, and you can find it in various forms, including vases, chandeliers, and jewelry. It’s possible to watch the artisans at work and even take a glass-blowing workshop to create your piece. While visiting the islands of Murano and Burano, don’t miss the chance to discover other beautiful Italian locations such as Lake Garda, famous for its scenic landscapes and outdoor activities.

Boutique Stores

For unique and high-end fashion, head to the designer boutiques in Venice. The Calle Larga XXII Marzo street is famous for its luxury stores, including Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. You can also find a range of local boutiques that offer handmade leather shoes or stylish clothing. For high-end shopping enthusiasts, Venice’s designer boutiques are a must-visit. Similarly, Doha, Qatar, boasts luxurious shopping experiences at The Pearl-Qatar.

6. Exploring the Nearby Islands

When visiting Venice, one should take the time to explore the enchanting islands nearby. The famous Venetian islands like Murano and Burano boast unique attractions that continue to captivate tourists coming from around the world.

Murano

Murano is a renowned island that features a century-old tradition of glassmaking. Lined with workshops and galleries, the island’s prized possession is its exquisite glasswork. Tourists can take a day trip and watch expert glassblowers work their magic or visit the Glass Museum, which showcases stunning collections of Venetian glasswork dating as far back as the 15th century.

Burano

Another well-known island is Burano, known for its vibrantly colored houses and intricate lacework. With its unique architecture and cultural heritage, Burano is an Instagram-worthy destination that lures photography enthusiasts from all corners of the world. Burano has several boutiques that sell authentic handmade lace, and visitors can catch a vaporetto from Venice and stroll its picturesque streets.

Getting to the Islands

There are numerous ways to visit the surrounding islands. One can hop on a vaporetto (a water bus) from Venice and cruise their way to Murano or Burano. Alternatively, a private water taxi offers a more intimate and luxurious experience, but with a higher price tag. Guided tours from Venice are also available and can provide a more in-depth and educational experience.

A visit to Murano and Burano offers a glimpse of Venetian history and culture, making for an unforgettable day trip from Venice. Taking a day trip to the islands of Murano and Burano is a wonderful way to explore more of Venice. For those looking to expand their Italian adventure, Rome offers a plethora of historical and cultural attractions.

7. Immersing in Venetian Festivals and Events

When it comes to festivals and events, Venice is second to none. From vibrant parades to cultural celebrations, the city offers a year-round calendar of events to suit all tastes. Don’t miss the chance to experience the unique atmosphere of Venetian festivals.

The Carnival of Venice

The Carnevale di Venezia, or Carnival of Venice, is one of the most famous festivals in Venice, attracting visitors from all over the world. Held annually during February, the Carnival features masked parades, parties, and performances, making it a truly unforgettable experience. Be sure to dress up in your best Carnival costume and participate in the festivities.

The Carnival of Venice is a must-see event that draws visitors from all over the world. For those interested in vibrant city festivals, Liverpool Town Centre offers a lively cultural and entertainment scene.

The Venice Film Festival

The Venice International Film Festival, or Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica, is one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals in the world. Held annually during August or September, the festival attracts renowned filmmakers and actors to showcase their latest productions. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the best films of the year in the beautiful setting of Venice.

Redentore Festival

The Festa del Redentore, or Redentore Festival, is a religious festival that takes place during July on Giudecca Island. The highlight of the celebrations is a spectacular firework display over the lagoon, which can be viewed from boats, terraces, and bridges. Join the local Venetians in their festive spirit as they celebrate the end of the plague of 1576, which claimed thousands of lives.

Regata Storica

The Regata Storica is a traditional boat race that takes place on the first Sunday of September. It features elaborately decorated boats and gondolas, rowed by Venetian rowers in traditional costumes. The race starts in St. Mark’s Basin and finishes at the Grand Canal, followed by a procession of historical boats that passes under the Rialto Bridge.

La Biennale di Venezia

La Biennale di Venezia, or the Venice Biennale, is one of the most important cultural events in Venice, showcasing contemporary art, cinema, dance, music, and theatre. Held every two years, the event attracts a wide range of international artists and cultural enthusiasts. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the latest trends in modern art and culture in the heart of Venice.

Conclusion

So, these are my top recommendations for things to do in Venice, Italy. From exploring the must-visit landmarks and Venetian canals to discovering the art, culture, and cuisine of the city, Venice has something to offer for every traveler. Don’t forget to indulge in the local delicacies, shop for souvenirs, and immerse in the vibrant festivals and events.

Overall, Venice is a city that truly captures the heart and imagination. Its unique charm and beauty are sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitor. I hope this guide has been helpful in planning your itinerary and making the most of your time in this enchanting Italian city.

So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Venice today and experience the magic for yourself!

FAQ

What are some popular things to do in Venice, Italy?

Some popular things to do in Venice, Italy include exploring St. Mark’s Square, taking a gondola ride on the canals, visiting the Doge’s Palace, and exploring the iconic Rialto Bridge.

Are there any must-visit landmarks in Venice?

Yes, Venice is home to several must-visit landmarks such as St. Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. These attractions offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and architectural beauty.

What are some ways to explore the Venetian canals?

There are several ways to explore the Venetian canals. You can take a romantic gondola ride, join a guided canal tour, or even rent a private boat to navigate the waterways. Each option provides a unique perspective of Venice’s enchanting canals.

Are there any museums or cultural activities in Venice?

Yes, Venice is renowned for its art and culture. Visitors can explore museums such as the Accademia Gallery, the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum of 18th Century Art, or attend cultural events like the Venice Biennale, which showcases contemporary art from around the world.

What are some must-try Venetian dishes and wines?

When in Venice, be sure to try traditional dishes such as risotto al nero di seppia (squid ink risotto), sarde in saor (sweet and sour sardines), and fegato alla veneziana (Venetian-style liver). Pair your meal with a glass of local wines like Prosecco or a spritz cocktail.

Where can I go shopping in Venice?

Venice offers a unique shopping experience with its boutique stores, local markets, and specialty shops. Visit the Rialto Market for fresh produce, explore the boutiques in the San Marco district, or browse for Murano glass and handmade crafts on the island of Murano.

Are there any nearby islands worth visiting from Venice?

Yes, there are several enchanting islands near Venice that are worth exploring. Take a day trip to Murano to witness the art of glassmaking, visit the colorful village of Burano known for lace production, or escape to the tranquil island of Torcello with its ancient Byzantine mosaics.

What are some popular festivals and events in Venice?

Venice hosts vibrant festivals and events throughout the year. The most famous is the Carnival of Venice, known for its stunning masks and elaborate costumes. Other notable events include the Venice Film Festival and the Biennale, which showcases art, architecture, and cinema.