What to Do in Venice, Italy

I remember like it was yesterday my first trip to Venice: I was only seven years old, and with the whole family on board  our legendary Fiat 127, we left Bergamo, for what until this day had only been a city I’d known through my school geography book.

A city built on a lagoon, full of canals, boats and bridges: a spectacle not easily forgotten, for a kid’s first experience outside his hometown. From that day onwards I visited this amazing city a dozen times and still remain fascinated every time by its beauty, and by the atmosphere of its piazzas and narrow streets.

A trip to Venice is unique, unforgettable, both for couples seeking a romantic weekend, and for solitary travelers and families attracted by the beauty of the architecture and the artistic vibe the city has to offer.

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Situated on the lagoon that has the same name, Venice is the main city of the Veneto region and of the northeastern region of Italy, and also the most visited and unfortunately the most expensive in Italy, even ahead of city like Rome and Florence.

It’s easy to understand why it draws people from all around the world: the old town is full of palaces that sit on the canals and form the narrow streets, antique residences of the richest Venetian families from the golden age as well as the many churches, monuments and bridges which make the city even more charming and unique.

Any time of the year is good to visit this floating city: Christmas markets characterise the winter time, while February is the month of the most famous carnival in the world. In the summer, with its long, hot days, you can spend hours wandering through the narrow streets of the city, and not only on foot: a ride on one of the many gondolas is a must, and won’t disappoint even people with high expectations.

A good excuse can be found to visit Venice in any season of the year, but always keep an eye on the weather conditions: high tide is a big problem, and bitter wind can sometimes blow in from the Adriatic coast, so come prepared.

Also consider a side trip to the city of Murano, famous worldwide for its crystals and its Basilica; it’s just a short boat ride from the Canals of Venice.

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Forget traffic jams, horns, smog, traffic and parking: in Venice, it’s worth repeating it, there are no cars but only boats.

Its urban structure, which has remained practically unchanged for over thousand years, does not allow the use of vehicles: there were projects, planned in the nineteenth century, to build a road network, which fortunately were never implemented and remained only on paper.

So walking on foot and via boat on one the many canals is the only means of transport available – I think you’ll agree that for a tourist point of view, these modes of transport are perfect and add to the experience.

What to see

Near St. Mark Square:

  • Basilica of St. Mark
  • Dukes Palace
  • Palace of Prisons
  • Bell Tower of St. Mark
  • Clock Tower
  • Merceries

Rialto:

  • Rialto Bridge
  • Fruit and Vegetable Market and the Fish Market

Churches:

  • St. Mary Glorious of Frari
  • Saints Peter and Paul
  • St. Mary’s Health
  • Redeemer
  • St. Mary of the Miracles
  • Saint Salvador
  • Saint Peter of Castello
  • St. John the Evangelist
  • St. Pantalon
  • St. Sebastian

Museums:

  • Ca ‘d’Oro
  • Academy Gallery
  • Ca ‘Rezzonico
  • Correr
  • Scuola Grande di San Rocco
  • Ca ‘Pesaro
  • Grassi palace
  • Peggy Guggenheim Collection
  • Palazzo Fortuny
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Foundation Bevilacqua La Masa

Accommodations

You can find everything: from super deluxe hotels, to small B&B’s and some hostels.

The prices can skyrocket in the peak season, so a good alternative could be an apartment for rent in Venice (even for a few days or for the weekend): this way you get a chance to have a kitchen, excellent for preparing breakfast and why not, a supper (dinner), especially if you are staying in an apartment for holidays in Saint Mark’s Square.

Meals

There are as many restaurants, pizzerias, taverns, for all tastes and pockets. An average meal in a central zone of the city (but not exclusive), starts from 20 € per person.

How to get there

By plane

Venice is served by two different airports: the closest is the Marco Polo International Airport, 12 km by car or 10 km by water from the city; the International Airport Canova, the furthest, near Treviso (28.9 miles), in which land some low-cost airlines, including Ryanair. Both airports are served by public and private connection with the lagoon city.

By train

Rail connections are limited to two passenger stations: Venice – Mestre on the mainland, and Venice – Saint Lucy, located in the Cannaregio district, in front of the Grand Canal.

By car

Venice can be reached via the Liberty Bridge, which connects the city to the modern urban area of Mestre, on the mainland.

There are several urban parking lots: after the bridge, turning right, there is the largest, located in New Tronchetto Island, turning instead to the left, you arrive to Roma Square, where you can find others, including the Municipal Garage and the Garage St. Mark.

From the first to Tronchetto, you can reach the city center by boat 82, or by bus 6 / which connects New Tronchetto Island to Roma Square.

By bus

The company that manages public transport around the town of Venice and Chioggia is the ACTV

Is possible to reach Venice with city buses from almost every point of Mestre, where you can find cheaper parking solutions. The bus ticket costs 1 € if bought in a tobacco shop, or 1.5 € if bought on the bus.

By boat

You can verify online the naval links, to and from Venice.

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Lived in England since 1998 and travelled the world since 2005, visiting over 100 countries on 5 continents. Writer, blogger, photographer with a passion for adventure and travel, discovering those off beat places not yet on the tourist trail. Marco contributes the very best in independent travel tips and lifestyle articles.

3 thoughts on “What to Do in Venice, Italy”

  1. Really enjoyed this article on Venice, Marco. We are going there in mid June, and are really looking forward to our first taste of Venice. We are only there for two nights, so won’t have much time. But better just two nights than never! Hope you will come and check out our travel blogs as well!

  2. Thanks for your comment Deborah, much appreciated. I’m sure you’ll love Venice, especially in June when the weather is warm enough and not too hot. Also it shouldn’t be too busy with tourists, even though it is difficult to predict that. Are you visiting other parts of Italy during your trip? I like you blog, very interesting with lots of useful articles. I started following you on twitter as well.

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