15 interesting things to do while in Venice
A travel guide to Venice, Italy with useful tips in 3 parts.
Read also Part 1 of this travel guide about Venice.
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In Part 1: 7 Useful tips if you are in Venice for the first time, I talked about how to find your way on your first trip to Venice, how to choose where to stay, how to eat if you landed and arrived late in the city. I clarified what Vaporetto is, the map indicates the location of Tronchetto, San Marco Square, Piazzale Romana and Rialto Bridge. Now comes the turn of the pleasant part, where you decide for yourself what to do or not to do in Venice – whether to indulge in cultural and historical tourism or simply to enjoy the beauty of the city, the wonderful Italian cuisine and the wonderful wine from the Veneto region… and snapping selfies.
1.Visit the Doge’s Palace. This is the building where the family of the ruler, the doge, who was elected by the nobles of the city, lived. It housed all the offices and offices of the entire administration. Here are the halls where the senate of 100 people sat, the hall where the most elected-the 10 most important nobles sat and the great council of 1000 people, who discussed the politics and economy of the state. The symbol of Venice is the lion, so you will notice it in many places around the city, as well as in the palace. Venice is also called Serenissima. Inside the walls, you will see frescoes of some of the most prominent artists of Italy – Tiziano, Tintoretto, Veronese and many more. others. Get an audio guide – it cost something like 5-7 euros per person, but you learn invaluable things about the palace and Venice.
2. Naturally, on your way to the Doge’s Palace, you pass through Mark’s Square. Click selfies as many as you like, this is the place. Oh, and there are no pigeons, also, it is forbidden to feed them because they are cheeky and in the past the whole square was terrorized by them. For this they cannot be fed, otherwise they’ll return.
3. While you’re in the square, visit the Basilica of San Marco, it’s right next to the palace. Also pay for a ticket to the museum (I think it was no more than 10 euros per person) – so you will see the basilica from above, on the loggia, and also go to the terrace outside. The originals of the famous 4 horses, which are said to have been made in honor of Alexander the Great 2nd-4th century BC and then taken to Venice as a trophy, are in the museum, and the replicas are outside. From this terrace you have a very good view of the tower with the Astronomical clock – very beautiful, just click a selfie. Then on the other side with the background of the Venetian lagoon and the passing boats. The line in front of the basilica is huge, try to be there at 9:15 to be one of the first in line, but on Sundays there are masses and trourists are only allowed upstairs in the museum and the loggia, but you can listen to the organ and the choir singing. Magnificent!
4. Take pictures of the Bridge of Sighs from the outside, but also from the inside while you are in the palace. Everywhere and everyone explains to you that it has nothing to do with romance. It is named like this because of the sorrow of the people who went to prison and saw the sky and the sun for the last time from the bridge. It’s the plain reason for their sighed. But Casanova managed to escape from this same prison. He was arrested and imprisoned on charges of being a spy. He may not have been, but he has ruined quite a few marriages, so the jealous husbands framed the accusation against him. And maybe the brides got him out of jail again. Then he really became a spy and travelled all over Europe. This is what our gondolier, Andrea, told us, but the facts are probably not like that, because Wikipedia says otherwise. Casanova lived until his 80 years. He was a well-rounded personality – a violinist, writer, philosopher, he spoke many languages, he was charming, and that’s how he conquered women’s hearts.
5. Eat pizza in a pizzeria. We did it at Rossopomodoro. It is located very close to the Basilica of San Marco, which is next to the palace. The place is not very attractive in terms of interior, but it is big and always has seats, and the pizzas are amazingly good.
6. Drink Amarone red wine. A red wine that originates from the Valpolicella, Veneto region. Usually, the varieties from which it is made are Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara. You can also get a Valpolicella Ripasso variant, which is less expensive but also very nice. You can also try to drink wine in one of the wine locales called bacaro.
7. Buy masks, carnival masks, not for Covid. We were there during the carnival and it was a must for us. On the main pier there are all kinds of cheaper ones, most of them Chinese production. However, in the shops you can find handmade artisanal, much more twisted masks, a work of art. Naturally, their price is also different.
8. Go to the islands of Murano and Burano. You can use normal Vaporetto, I think 4.1 went that far. You can also pay for an organized trip, where a tour guide explains what you see on the left and right in 4-5 languages according to the ship’s layout. With this trip you will also be taken to a glass factory on the island of Murano where you will be shown how the artisans make these beautiful patterned glass figurines for which Murano glass is well known. Touring time around the islands is generally short. On Murano you will be able to visit 4-5 shops and that’s it. The prices of figurines there are more favorable than in Venice. For example, a small figure is about 5-6 euros. In Venice, you will hardly find such prices for genuine Murano glass. There are many Chinese, ordinary glass pieces, for 1-2 euros each, but they are not Murano glass. It is this inscription, or Vetro Murrano in Italian, that you should look for when shopping for such souvenirs. The other is imitation.
On Burano, you will see many colorful houses. They are painted in a variety of bright colors. This was necessary because all the houses were the same – with the same height and size. This island was mainly inhabited by fishermen, everyone had equal financial means. In order to distinguish their houses, they began to paint them in different distinctive colors. Thus, they have become a tourist attraction. You don’t have much time there either – you will only be able to have a quick bite to eat, buy some lace, because it is the typical local souvenir and that’s it. Take a picture of the leaning tower, it’s also interesting.
Tickets for the tour can be booked both online (you search on Google or Tripadvisor and you get many options) and can be bought on the spot at the main pier at the San Marco-San Saccaria stop.
9. Walk around the streets of Venice. Browse the shops with Murano glass figurines, there are quite a few interesting things. If you feel like going further afield, go to the Arsenal. Ships were built there, and the military garrison is also housed there. If you’re lucky, you might even find the Naval Museum open. You can also go there with line 4.1. on the vaporetto.
10. Walk around Venice at night. Don’t worry that you won’t be able to get home, because there is a night line on the Vaporetto, it’s called N and it’s every 15 minutes.
11. Take a ride with a gondola. It costs between 80 and 200 euros for a maximum of 6 people in total. The optimal option is 120 euros, which is about a 45-minute tour. The gondoliers are very nice, tell interesting stories, point out important buildings and are really very skilled at running the boats. Although latter are quite long and in my opinion difficult to manage, they never once touch the walls and corners with them. They direct the movement not only with the oar, but also by leaning on the walls of the buildings with their feet. If you expect them to sing canzonets, they don’t. For songs, you arrange specifically for a musician and a singer to get on the boat, but then only 2 to 4 tourists can ride. Otherwise, the gondoliers constantly call out in an interesting way with a powerful guttural voice, because this is a kind of their horn. You can rent a gondola from anywhere – on the main pier, on the inner canals, on the Rialto Bridge – it’s very easy.
12. Use Vaporetto whenever you need to go far. Tickets are bought from the machines. 9.50 euros per person for 75 minutes. Children under 6 travel for free. For a full day it is 25 euros. Number 1 goes around the entire Canale Grande. I think you can also get a ticket onboard. If you search on Google Maps how to get to a certain place in the city, it will inevitably advise you to walk, usually to Rialto Bridge San Marco or another more key place and possibly catch a boat from there. It’s just that traveling by water is slower, you stop more often, you have to wait for people to get off, get on, etc.
13. Of course, you have to go to a bridge on the Grand Canal and take selfies there too. The Rialto Bridge, which is also a central stop, is very interesting.
14. You must eat canole or frittole, and if you don’t feel like eating sweets, Cichetti. Otherwise, the local specialty is Baccala, which is salted cod. We did not see such in restaurants, but they often use it for caviar, which is used for cichetti.
Cannole is a dessert that is a crispy tube filled with cream. The cream can be different – with pistachio, coffee, chocolate, etc.
Frittole is like an eclair, but with a round shape. It can also be with different creams.
You can accompany these desserts with ristretto – this is short coffee. Drink it in 2 sips and it’s great.
Cicchetti are something like tapas – small bites, kind of like bruschetta, that you have for breakfast. They are very tasty, they can be served with salami, with prosciutto, with Bacala caviar, shrimps and other options.
see them in the video below
15. Are you an art lover? One place is the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which houses the old Renaissance masters such as Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese, Hieronymus Bosch, Giambattista Tiepolo, Antonio Canova, Giorgio Vasari, John Bellini and many others. The other is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which is also part of the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation and is part of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Here are paintings by more modern authors such as Jackson Pollack, Juan Miro, Picasso, Braque, Chagall, Kandinsky, Max Ernst, who was also Peggy Guggenheim’s husband, Marcel Duchamp, Magritte, Giorgio de Chirico, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, no point in listing them all, great exhibition!
Use the audio guide in both galleries to learn interesting things about the works. It costs 3 euros per person. It’s very interesting when the audio guide explains to you how in the painting by Juan Miró you can see a girl playing an instrument, next to her a boy is laughing and playing, and a man with a white beard is watching them. I didn’t see anything like that, rather completely different things, but with more imagination, this could also turn out to be the case.
Finally, when you leave the courtyard Peggy Guggenheim gallery and go to the right, you come to a small gallery called Ravagnan Gallery, where you can “treat” yourself with art by contemporary authors, extremely interesting and beautiful. One is the famous Bruno Catalano with the partial figures of travellers, which are positioned in many public places and always arouse curiosity and admiration. I have shown them in the posts about Singapore. You will see the exquisite 3D murals of Annalu covered with butterflies made of resin and Murano glass. The visit is free, but if you decide to buy some art and you have circa 24-25 thousand euros, you can become the proud and happy owner of one of these works and have it forever.
Part 3 will give more useful tips for everyday life in Venice, so stay tuned for that too.
If you haven’t read Part 1, catch up with it.
How to find all the mentioned above places?
Don’t worry about getting there. Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pin of the place’s location and then select directions:
If you need to rent a car, you can book it here in the box of the largest booking platform further at the end of the current post.
How to book your stay?
You can book your stay right here. For your convenience, I have added a booking.com box, which refers directly to their site. I guarantee you’re going to use all your genius discounts and privileges they would offer to you and I will get a modest commission. Just enter the dates of your trip, the place, then hit the Search button and voila.
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