Lying on 117 small islands, Venice is an Italian haven for tourists, cradling 250,000 residents. I had the pleasure of visiting it last summer. Here’s my list.
10 Things to do in Venice
1. San Marco Cathedral and Square
A perfect place to people-watch, San Marco square has three famous tourist sites: Doge’s Palace, San Marco Cathedral, and Torre dell Orologio.
2. Doge Palace / Palazzo Ducale
Next to the San Marco Cathedral is a true masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The Doge Palace, or the Palazzo Ducale, has previously served as the Venetian government’s seat. All the remains of that and the palace’s gothic past are mesmerizing.
3. The San Marco Campanile
Originally used as a watchtower, the Sam Marco campanile towers at a 98.6 m height. You’ll surely have a breathtaking 360-degree view of Venice from above.
4. The Bridge of Sighs
Behind the Doge’s Palace is the tiny Bridge of Sighs that was once used as a means to transport criminals from the interrogation room to the prison. They did sigh while crossing it; however, the bridge’s immaculate beauty and architecture made me sigh.
5. Accademia Bridge and Rialto Bridges
Located on the Grand Canal, the Ponte dell’Accademia (Accademia Bridge) and the Rialto Bridge speak of the finesse of the romantic architecture of the city. The former bridge is where lovers attach padlocks to the rails, while the latter is famous for the jewelry shops and wares.
6. Walk Across Bridges and Through Narrow Alleys
Venice has architecturally exuberant, snaking narrow alleys and bridges that should not be missed. Walking around Venice crossing bridges and through narrow passages gave me a personal understanding of how the city works and how it survives.
7. Discover Venice Through a Gondola
You can discover Venice by walking through the streets or catching a ferry, but the real discovery can only be made through a gondola – a flat-bottom romantic rowboat. But be warned: it is expensive.
8. Take a Ferry Along the Grand Canal
Don’t even think about it – do it. The best views of Venice can be found by taking this ferry – especially if you can’t afford the gondola. The Grand Canal is the city’s ‘Main Street.”
9. Try their local Gelato at Boutique del Gelato
So you’re in Venice and haven’t tried Gelato? If not, it’s time you break into the local Gelato savory at the Boutique del Gelato.
10. Go Inside the Accademia Gallery
Gallerie dell’Accademia houses 19thcentury art, all arranged chronologically with a thematic background. Go inside it to savor Venetian art.
WHERE TO STAY IN VENICE
Venice is expensive. Like, really expensive. That’s why many backpackers would go on a day trip from Milan or Bologna. If you decide to stay for a night or two, try Venezia Naturalmente. It’s the cheapest I could find in the city. It’s within walking distance to everything, including the water taxi, San Marco Square, and two major bridges connecting to the Grand Canal’s other side. The staff is friendly, and they’d help you navigate the city. It’s clean, and it’s also in a quiet area.
Save Money and Time in Venice
Venice can be overwhelming for a first-time visitor. You would have no idea where and how to start. There are just many things to do and see, and most often – if you do it on your own, there’s a fat chance you’ll be lost in the narrow alleys. How many times did I end up on a dead-end alley? Countless! Google Maps seemed confused, too!
So, to save time, money, and effort, do yourself a favor – choose a tour! You don’t have to join everything but choose the ones you think would be interesting to do.