From art to ice cream, palaces to sweets, our guide reveals 10 of the best things to see, do and eat in Venice. Home of composer Antonio Vivaldi and playwright Carlo Goldoni, inspiration for writers such as Henry James and Ernest Hemingway, today tourists flock to see their works of art, beautiful buildings and bridges.
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Venice is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.
If you want an unforgettable Venetian experience like your favorite novel, don’t miss the 10 things to see and do in Venice.
What to see in Venice? Where to start? A good option is the Doge’s Palace. Erected in the mid-14th century as a ducal residence, this building, one of the oldest in the city, is an example of typical Gothic architecture. In 1923 it was transformed into a museum that displays a large collection of masterpieces and houses various art exhibitions.
Take a tour inside and go up the Giant’s Staircase to the courtyard. Then visit the beautifully decorated Ducal Apartment and the Senate Hall. You will have an exclusive opportunity to pass by the Bridge of Sighs, the only bridge in Venice that is completely covered, where those who had to go from the courthouse to the prisons could take their last breath before being locked up.
Palace and Museum Ca’ Rezzonico
Explore 18th century Venetian art by visiting this magnificent palace, located near Campo San Barnaba and one of the most important things to see in Venice. Discover rooms and ballrooms decorated with splendid works of art by the most important local artists, such as Tiepolo, Tintoretto and Longhi.
If you walk to Ca’ Rezzonico from Campo San Barnaba, you will discover a small and quiet garden where you can take a break from the noisy tourist spots.
Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Another must see in Venice is the Church of Santa Maria dei Frati, located near the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, and a wonderful example of Gothic architecture.
Besides the fact that its beautiful facade will leave you with your mouth open, you will be surprised to find countless art treasures inside, such as masterpieces by Titian, Donatello and Bellini.
Hidden in the middle of the Dorsoduro district, this bakery, opened in 1886, is one of the oldest and best known in the city. With a wide range of delicacies and an excellent coffee, it is a very popular place with the locals.
Most of the pastries are worth one euro, an unbeatable price for one of the most expensive cities in the world. Don’t forget to try its meringues, and during Carnival time enjoy the delicious frittelle (a type of fritter with raisins and cream). If you want to see more than just Venice, don’t hesitate.
Dorsoduro 3764, +39 041 5237209 (closed Mondays)
Also known as the “Golden House”, this wonderful palace on the Grand Canal is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture with an exquisitely decorated floral façade. It is now an art museum that houses Renaissance sculptures as well as paintings by Titian and Guardi.
Take the opportunity to view the Grand Canal from the palace balconies, undoubtedly one of the things to see in Venice.
Ai Mercanti Restaurant
What do you do in Venice if you are a real foodie? This remote restaurant in the area of Campo San Luca and Campo Manin, somewhat off the beaten track, is well worth a visit.
The creative combination of ingredients and the elaborate fusion menu, with a great variety of wines, will pleasantly surprise you. Try the sea bass tartar or the rabbit terrine.
San Marco 4346, Corte Coppo +39 041 5238269
Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute
The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, near the Academy Bridge, was built after the plague hit the city in 1630. This splendid white church, often referred to simply as “Salute”, is one of the most beautiful and recognisable landmarks in the city of canals and should be on your list of places to see in Venice.
If you are looking for peace and quiet, enter the church and admire the works of Titian and Tintoretto that adorn its interior.
Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli
Discover this jewel hidden in the sestiere (neighborhood) of Cannaregio. The church was built with the money donated by the Venetians to house the image of the Virgin Mary venerated for working miracles.
Escape from the hordes of tourists and discover this beautiful marble church, located in a quiet area five minutes from the Rialto Bridge.
What do you do in Venice to feel like a real Venetian? Just a stone’s throw from the Rialto Bridge, this informal restaurant is very popular with the Italian city’s residents. It offers a wide variety of fried snacks (try the olive ascolane and the mozzarella in carrozza), cold sandwiches (the small, triangular ones are called tramezzini) and a good spritz (a typical aperitif prepared with prosecco and Aperol or Campari).
You will also find a wide range of delicious dishes that cost approximately 6-8 euros: lasagna, grilled fish, salads, risottos and much more.
San Marco 5424, Campo San Bartolomeo, +39 041 5223569
This is one of the best ice cream parlors in town. All their ice creams are made with natural ingredients and without using artificial colourings. In addition to the classic offer, it also offers original flavours. Ask for the de Quella, a chocolate praline with Nutella on top, a specialty of the house.
If you want to try the authentic Italian ice cream, you will not be disappointed and you will be faced with one of the most typical things to do in Venice.
San Marco 5453, Campo San Bartolomeo, +39 348 5646545
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