33 things to see and do in Venice

33 things to see and do in Venice

La Serenissima is enchanting! A Venice native shares 33 ways to experience her hometown.

Venice is a floating city. Discover the wonders of one of the world’s most captivating cities.

1. Walk through the Jewish Ghetto in the Cannaregio district, visit the historic synagogues and savor a kosher cake from Volpe bakery.

2. Admire the skyline of the Giudecca Canal as you walk along the Fondamenta delle Zattere. Stop at the Gelateria Nico to taste the gianduiotto: a frozen brick of gianduia ice cream bar accompanied by artisan whipped cream.

3. Climb up to the panoramic terrace of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi shopping center to literally have your breath taken away. From here you can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the entire city.

4. Immerse yourself in the bohemian atmosphere of Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, which houses the legendary museum of Peggy Guggenheim, one of Europe’s most interesting modern art collections.

5. Experience the thrill of boarding a gondola operated by the Santa Sofia ferry service. It costs just 2 euros to board Venice’s most famous boat to cross the Grand Canal and arrive at the Rialto Fish Market.

6. Visit Doge’s Palace, a majestic landmark of the Serenissima Republic. The palace inhabited by the Venetian doges tells the ancient glories of the city and the fascinating intrigues of the Republic of San Marco.

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7. Take the vaporetto to Burano to discover the most colourful of Venice’s 118 islands. Burano is famous not only for its houses but also for its lace-making and for the Bussolai, butter biscuits in the shape of an S or donut.

8. A tour through the Castello quarter is the best way to discover the soul of the city at its most expressive and authentic. The hanging laundry and children kicking around soccer balls in the campi are a testament to this.

9. The churches of Venice are home to priceless treasures: be curious and discover these fascinating places every time you stumble across one. The Basilica dei Frari, Santa Maria della Salute and San Pietro di Castello are three must-visit cathedrals in addition to the famous Basilica San Marco.

10. The gondola is a veritable emblem of Venice. To physically see and touch how this iconic centuries-old boat was born, book a visit to one of the last squeri still in operation, the Squero di San Trovaso.

11. St. Mark’s Square, the only piazza in Venice, is one of the most beautiful in the world and one of the most crowded places in Venice along with the Rialto Bridge. Visit when it’s teeming with people–and pigeons!–and come back at around 8.00am or after 11.00pm to enjoy the magic of the square when it is semi-deserted.

12. You can’t say you’ve been to Venice if you haven’t visited a bacaro. Order a spritz or an ombre (shadow) of wine coupled with cicchetti, small bites typical of the city. Then move on to the next place until you’ve had your fill. A good idea is to head towards Fondamenta dei Ormesini and start the tour at the Timon, to continue including the nearby and historic Paradiso Perduto.

13. Climb the spiral staircase of Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, a gothic gem that offers a postcard-perfect view of the city and the Bell Tower of San Marco.

14. Visit the Island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, completely occupied by a monastery that houses one of the most important collections of ancient Armenian texts. Lord Byron lived and studied here extensively.

15. Take a picture at Libreria Acqua Alta, a quicky bookstore that is one of the most eccentric places in Venice. The merit of such fame goes to its histrionic founder and to the scale of books in the courtyard. Inside the small and picturesque bookshop, you’ll find a gondola among the countless other goodies and cats.

16. Discover Venice at its most modern by visiting the spaces of Punta delle Dogana which were restored by architect Tadao Ando in 2009 for the Pinault collection.

17. Did you know that a typical Venetian dolce is sweet focaccia? Historic pastry shops such as Tonolo and Nono Colussi produce it year round so you can even enjoy it out of season.

18. Visit the Correr Museum to discover 13th-century Venice. Also, don’t miss the Imperial Apartments where Princess Sissi stayed.

19. Take the vaporetto from San Zaccaria and to reach the Island of San Giorgio in three minutes. Climb to the bell tower and to enjoy a spectacular view of St Mark’s Square.

20. Discover the evocative ancient Venetian shipyards best known as the Arsenal.

21. Venice also has its own Père-Lachaise! Go to the island of San Michele and visit the cemetery, the final resting place of illustrious personalities such as the composer Igor Stravinsky and the poet Ezra Pound.

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22. Sip a Bellini at Harry’s Bar, a Venetian icon. The historic bar founded by Giuseppe Cipriani where Ernest Hemingway was once a regular.

23. Take a souvenir photo of the Bridge of Sighs that connects Doge’s Palace to the prisons, the last place visited by those sentenced to death during the Republic.

24. Don’t miss a visit to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, which houses one of Tintoretto’s most famous works, a cycle of paintings dedicated to the new and old testaments.

25. Book tickets for a show at the Gran Teatro la Fenice, a historic theatre that has been both burned and resurrected twice, returned to its ancient splendor like the phoenix for which it is named.

26. Admire the splendid Byzantine mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica, the landmark of St. Mark’s Square and the cathedral of Venice.

27. Watch the mesmerizing ancient process of glassmaking on the island of Murano. Visit one of the glassworks to admire a master glassmaker at work.

28. Visit the Biblioteca Marciana in St. Mark’s Square, one of the largest and most important Italian libraries built in the 16th century. The collection of oriental, Greek and Latin texts remains today one of the most prestigious in the world.

29. Take the time to admire the Grand Canal’s most distinct bridge: the majestic and elegant Rialto Bridge.

30. Discover one of the exhibitions at the Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Ca’ Pesaro housed in its namesake palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal.

31. The Venetian #foodporn par excellence is actually Campanian: mozzarella in carrozza! This fried mozzarella ‘sandwich’ comes in many variations–with anchovies, ham, salmon or cod–is found in all Venetian bacari. For one of the best, go to Rosticceria Gislon a stone’s throw from the Rialto Bridge.

33. Visit an exhibition in the evocative and new spaces of the ancient Scuola Grande della Misericordia.

33. Drink something at the oldest café in the world, Caffé Florian, which opened in St. Mark’s Square in 1720.

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