What to see and do in Venice Italy. I get very passionate when I talk about Venice (Venezia) Italy (Italia) because it is my favorite city in the world. I know not everyone feels the same passion I do about Venice but it is hard not to love.
Piazza San Marco – Saint Marks Square
Hands down our favorite site in Venice. We have been to Venice in the summer and in the fall. In the fall the square can be flooded and you won’t have near as many tourists. In the summer it was full of life with tons of tourists and pigeons. The very first time we strolled into San Marco Square we were lost. The orchestras were playing and it was absolutely magical. I highly recommend sitting at one of the many bistros in the evening while enjoying a bottle of wine and listening to the orchestras duel. Keep in mind most bistros charge a fee or surcharge to sit. That keeps people from taking up seats and not ordering anything.
Basilica di San Marco – Saint Mark’s Cathedral
We have toured many Churches and this is one of our absolute favorites. Show up early because the line gets long. There are too many things to tell you about the Church so best to just experience it for yourself. Lady’s must have shoulders covered. This is where a scarf comes in handy especially on a hot day.
Palazzo Ducale – Doge’s Palace – Bridge of Sighs
Right next (and partly connected) to St. Mark’s Basilica, is the Doge’s Palace. It was once the residence of the Doge of Venice but is now a museum. While there are several good reasons to pay the hefty admission fee to tour the Doge’s Palace, probably the most popular point during the tour is when you get to walk over the famous Bridge of Sighs. You can see the bridge from the outside without buying an entry ticket, but the only way to walk on the bridge yourself is as part of a Doge’s Palace tour. The bridge connects the inquisitor’s room in the east side of the Doge’s palace with the state’s prison or prigioni over the Rio de Palazzo. Hence the name Bridge of Sighs as the prisoners would go to the inquisitor room.
Nothing like getting lost in Venice. Take a long afternoon and just walk the streets canals. You will discover a ton of little hidden gems. If you do get lost just follow the signs on the building to the main spots such as San Marco or Rialto. From there you can get your bearings.
Take the Public Water Bus for a Grand Canal Tour
It is quite easy to navigate Venice on foot, but the Grand Canal only has a few bridge crossings and taking a ride on the public water buses (Actv) also known as Vaporettos is quite fun and enjoyable. Bus #1 runs the full length of the Grand Canal and is the ideal equivalent to a city bus tour. We would recommend either bringing along a self-guided tour book so you can pick out the sights along the way, or just sitting back and enjoying the view. You’ll enjoy the ride either way, even more so if you’ve got a good seat and some gelato. Work your way to the back where you can sit outside.
Take a Gondola Ride
We warn you now – this is not cheap. Our first visit to Venice was in 2002 and even then a Gondola ride was expensive. But if you are in Venice it is a must. Sometimes you can split the cost if there are several in your group. We also recommend a ride during the day and a ride at night.
Some helpful information: http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/gallivanting_by_gondola.htm
Whether walking across the bridge on one side to experience the view of the Grand Canal or shopping on the other side – this is a must see. It really is an amazing piece of architecture, a great place to shop, and a free experience. Well that is if you don’t buy anything at the shops. Be sure to see the bridge both during the day and at night. It is one of four and the oldest bridge that crosses the gran canal.
See Venice from up high from the Campanile
At almost 99m (325ft), the Campanile is the city’s tallest building, originally built between 888 and 912 (in July 1902 it collapsed, but was rebuilt identically). In 1451 Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III rode a horse to the top, however these days visitors take a lift. The view is superb, you will be able to see Lido, the entire lagoon and weather permitting the Dolomites.
It is similar to ice cream but better. It is heaven!! You cannot go to Venice and not have Gelato. Just saying!!!
Be Bond – James Bond
To the east of campo Santo Stefano, campiello Pisani is overlooked by the impressive 17th-century Palazzo Pisani, which is now the music conservatory. The palace was used for the shoot-out at the end of the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale. An earlier Bond came to blows in the Torre dell’Orologio. Film buffs should also recognize the church of San Nicolò dei Mendicoli from Nicolas Roeg’s dwarf-in-Venice movie Don’t Look Now. Other locations used include the recently opened Palazzo Grimani where the gruesome final scene was shot.
Seafood – seafood pasta
Venice has a long and glorious culinary tradition based on fresh seafood. However you need to be open minded. You may have never eaten or even heard of granseola (spider crab) before, or garusoli (sea snails) or canoce (mantis shrimps), but Venice is definitely the place to try these marine curios. Their seafood pasta is truly amazing.
Oh – maybe this is my favorite. Bellini is made in Venice and distributed by Canella. It is peach nectar in Prosecco. I keep a case at home because I love it so much. You can also get the mixed drink Bellini in most of the restaurants. It is like a peach mimosa. Don’t leave Venice without trying it.
Visit a Glass Factory
There are two main items you will see for sale in Venice. Glass – Murano being the most well known. You can find tons of glass souvenirs of all kinds. Figurines, jewelry, chandeliers, glassware, etc. We suggest taking a tour of a glass factory. The second main item is carnival masks.
Murano Glass Factory Tour: http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/murano_glass_factories.htm
Why carnival masks: http://www.carnevale.venezia.it/en/
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