Learn about Venice facts & TOP places to visit. Our Venice bucket list contains all must-have experiences and things to do in Venice Italy.
Top Things to do in Venice Italy
1. St. Mark’s Square
This is the most popular public square in Venice and is actually home to the Venice Carnival; as the stage is usually built here. While the carnival takes place throughout the city, this has become the central location and is also host to numerous other events throughout the year. There are many plazas and squares in Venice, but this is by far the most popular. This square is one of the most popular attractions in Venice!
It’s also near some of the city’s museums, as well as the Basilica di San Marco – which is certainly worth a visit if you enjoy the Gothic architecture of the city. Constructed in AD 800, it remains a beautiful reminder of classical architecture.
2. Ponte dell’Accademia
There are only four bridges that span the Grand Canal in Venice, and this is one of them. It has an amazing atmosphere and is one of the most popular bridges for tourists and general pedestrians to cross. It’s no wonder when you take a look at the gorgeous design, and even though it is considered a modern bridge, it suits the city perfectly.
You might find a few suspect tradesmen selling handbags on this bridge, and it is important that you don’t buy them because you can be subject to massive fines as a result of purchasing their illegal goods. It’s quite close to a ferry stop, and there is only a short walk to the bridge that connects Venice to the mainland if you fancy more of an adventure. Do you agree that this bridge is one of the best places to visit in Venice Italy?
3. Buy Venetian mask
The Venetian Mask is iconic, with a stylish design that has a lot of flair. When you visit Venice, you will find that masses of stores sell these. Some of them are quite cheaply made and obviously designed for tourists, but if you venture through the city and find some of the quieter shops – the hidden gems – you will discover some truly glorious masks that are unlike anything you have seen before. yes, buying a Venetian mask is one of the top things to do in Venice – a MUST-do! 🙂
If you visit Venice during the carnival season, you will be able to find an even wider selection of gorgeous masks that have been handcrafted by artisans throughout the city. The carnival is famous for the masks that people wear, and their elaborate designs are famed across the globe. So, picking one up would be an excellent memento as well as an excuse to join in with the fun.
4. Campanile di San Marco
This is the bell tower in Saint Mark’s Basilica, and it is one of the most iconic and recognisable landmarks in the entire city. In fact, when you think of Venice, you probably see this tower and the canals first. It stands alone and at nearly 100m tall. It actually collapsed in 1902 and had to be rebuilt, so while it is not entirely original in terms of materials, the appearance remains the same. One of the best things to do in Venice – the view from the tower is stunning!
The tower is constantly maintained to prevent another collapse, and each of the bells was restored; you can learn the special purpose of each when you visit. You can take a tour of the bell tower and the surrounding area, which is quite pleasant and doesn’t tend to take more than two hours. It is possible to stay longer though if you want to soak up a little more history.
5. Rialto Bridge
Dating back to the late 1500s, this bridge isn’t just exceptionally old; it is also absolutely gorgeous. The architecture is unlike anything you see today in terms of bridge construction, and it has been repaired and rebuilt several times over the centuries. It is seen as the greatest architectural achievement of the Renaissance period, and for good reason. Just stepping on this bridge is exhilarating, and it is one of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, so you know it’s going to be beautiful.
The hooded arch is ideal for keeping out of the rain, and it remains one of the most popular bridges among tourists.
6. Get Lost in Venice
Why get lost in Venice? 🙂 It’s part of the experience when you visit this iconic city. It’s easy to do because there are so many turns, and aside from the romanticism that comes with allowing yourself to get lost, you never know what you might find. A hidden restaurant that the tourists don’t frequent, a little shop that sells some of the most amazing and unique trinkets you’ve ever seen.
7. Gondola ride
Romance and a classic experience that you cannot miss out on; the perfect combination. Whether alone or with someone you love, don’t pass up the chance for a ride on the gondolas. Your payment includes a singing gondolier as you sail through the canals and really take in the city.
While the daytime rides are beautiful, the evening ones are something else entirely. It offers you a chance to relax, breathe in the air around you, and really immerse yourself in the experience. Where else can you get a ride like this one?! 🙂
8. Doges’ Palace
Built in Venetian Gothic style, this palace is one of the most famous landmarks in Northern Italy. It was the home of the Doge of Venice before being transformed into a museum in 1923. Now, you can take a tour through the life and times of the Doge; exploring his world and admiring the architecture both inside and outside.
The inner courtyard is probably one of the most spectacular features that this building offers, as there is a large flight of stairs leading to the Doge’s private quarters. Flanking these steps are massive statues of the Roman gods Mars and Neptune; fitting considering the location. There are also quite a few events at the palace throughout the year that everyone can enjoy.
9. Saint Mark’s Basilica
This cathedral is absolutely breath-taking and incredible; there is nothing quite like it. It was opened in 1094, making it one of the oldest cathedrals in the world. The architecture is sublime, with both the interior and exterior featuring Gothic and Byzantine architecture that we just don’t see as frequently anymore.
It is free to enter, but there are areas that you will need to pay to access, and all the funds go towards maintaining this beautiful building. The guided tour takes just under an hour, but you can stay as long as you like to really soak in the art and architecture. It’s one of the most famous churches in the region, and it is a building that must be experienced in person.
This is a waterbus service in Venice, and one of the most popular forms of transportation. Since there are no cars or roads, people use the waterways to get from one point to the other quickly. You can use it to travel throughout Venice, but it will also take you to the nearby islands if you fancy visiting those as well.
Additionally, it is one of the best ways to get into the city on arrival, as well as the best way to leave at the end of your stay. There are 19 scheduled lines, and the fees are very reasonable; about the same as any other standard form of public transportation.
11. Grand Canal
This is one of the main water traffic canals in Venice, and it links up with a huge number of smaller channels. It’s massive, and lined by major buildings on each side; including churches, hotels, and stores. You can see some of the most famous palaces and buildings from this canal, all of which are in classic Gothic and Byzantine design, highlighting the most influential architectural period in the region.
It is bridged at four points, and its huge width means that each of these bridges is quite spectacular, and we have already looked at a few of them here. Sailing down here in a water taxi or waterbus is exceptional, and something you need to experience for yourself.
12. Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
Opened in 1687, this Basilica features stunning Baroque architecture; adding something new to the diverse designs that can be found within Venice Italy. Despite the fact that they all have such different architectural work, all of the buildings in the city complement each other so perfectly.
It is also known simply as the Salute and is both a Roman Catholic church as well as a minor Basilica. The unique octagonal design makes it an exciting and different experience, and the tour doesn’t take up too much of your day. It gives you a little space from the main bustle of Venice, and it is a beautiful structure.
13. Bridge of Sighs
This arch bridge was constructed in 1600, and it is made from white limestone which gives it a truly gorgeous aesthetic. It connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms within the Doge’s Palace, and was actually the bridge prisoners have walked along before they were imprisoned; giving them one last view of the city.
It cannot be visited on foot a lot of the time because it is still a prison facility, but you can take a boat underneath and witness its beauty. Many say it is the most beautiful bridge in Venice, and it’s easy to see why 🙂
14. Punta della Dogana
Opened ten years ago, the Punta della Dogana is an art museum that is located in one of Venice’s old customs buildings, and it is situated right on the water’s edge for a really stunning view as well as a recognisable location. The triangular shape makes it quite a unique building, as it is constructed according to the shape of the land on the water.
The exhibits are wonderful, and while it doesn’t usually take more than an hour to two to get through it all; you’ll find yourself captivated for much longer. Admission is free, but specific exhibits do have a small charge for entry. Anyway, if art is not your thing, just admiring this amazing building is something you should do! 🙂
15. Ponte degli Scalzi
One of the four bridges to span the Grand Canal, this one was opened in 1934, and it connects Venice to the closest train station. It replaced an Austrian iron bridge and faced many delays when being constructed due to its modern style when compared to the other three structures on the canal. After much argument and controversy, the bridge was finally opened for public use in 2008. It is very close to the bus station and is very useful if you are searching for public transportation. The design may be modern, but it remains a beautiful bridge, and the minimalist design compared to the others is quite refreshing.
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