This is a 3-part series on Venice. Read also about 5 Top Tips to Ensure You Don’t Hate Venice and How to Spend a Day Exploring the Islands Surrounding Venice.
Now that we’ve established some things you can do to ensure you don’t hate Venice, let’s dive into some of our must-visit places in Venice! While everyone certainly has different interests, we’ve kept this list super budget-friendly and only noted places that we went to ourselves.
1. Sunrise from Piazza San Marco
If you happen to get a sunny morning or two in Venice, you must make your way to Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) for the sunrise. Not only is it stunning to view the sun rising up behind Doge’s Palace, it is a great way to be in Venice without the crowds and to witness the local Venetians start their day.
While you do certainly want to get some photos in, remember also to stay present and revel in one of nature’s most beautiful displays.
Address: Piazza San Marco, 30100 Venezia
2. Sunset from T Fondaco Rooftop Terrace
On the 4th floor of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a luxurious shopping centre near the Rialto Bridge, is a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy wonderful views of Venice. The website states that you can view Venice in 360 degrees, which you can, but the terrace does not wrap around the entire roof, so you’d have more obstruction in some photos.
The side of the terrace that sits closer to the edge of the roof does face the sunset though, so we found it optimal to visit for the sunset. Tickets are bookable online, and you are allowed a 15-minute time frame for your visit to ensure a steady flow of people. This means that you can’t watch the whole sunset, but it is still stunning to see part of it.
Address: Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi, Rialto Bridge, 30124 Venezia
3. View of Piazza San Marco from San Giorgio Maggiore
Tourists flock to Piazza San Marco all day long, so in order to get away from the crowds and see the main square from a different perspective, you need to go further away. You can take line 2 on the vaporetto (water bus) to a wee island called San Giorgio Maggiore, which faces St Mark’s Square from across the water.
To make the best use out of your money, it is likely worth going to San Giorgio Maggiore only if you will also be using the vaporetto to get around, perhaps to other islands, the same day.
Address: San Giorgio Maggiore, 30100 Venezia
Cost: €7.50 for one-way 75-minute vaporetto ride or €20.00 for an unlimited 24-hour vaporetto ticket
4. Mercato di Rialto (Rialto Market)
This market seems to be best-known for selling seafood, but they do also sell fruits and vegetables. We’ve read that it is always crowded but we didn’t see anybody except for a few locals. That’s probably because we showed up before it even opened at around 07:00 in the morning!
Of course, like everything in Venice, it’s ideal to visit early, not only to avoid the crowds, but to witness the locals delivering their goods and setting up their stalls.
Address: San Polo, Campo de la Pescaria, 30125 Venezia
Hours: 07:30 – 13:30 Monday to Saturday
5. Views from Ponte dell’Accademia (Accademia Bridge)
The Accademia Bridge is one of the four bridges that spans the Grand Canal. It was first built in the 19th century and has been replaced several times. Now, it is a sturdy wooden bridge that offers fantastic views of Venice.
From one side, you can see Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, a beautiful Roman Catholic church. Gaze at its architecture as you watch gondolas, vaporettos, and other boats travel along the Grand Canal.
Address: Ponte dell’Accademia, 30100 Venezia
6. Libreria Acqua Alta (Acqua Alta Bookstore)
The name of this bookstore literally means “Bookstore of High Water” and it is famous because along with storing their books on bookshelves, books are also kept in bathtubs, waterproof bins, and gondolas. Of course, the reason for this is due to the frequent flooding in Venice. Storing their books in this way is ideal in order to keep all of their books dry. It’s very interesting to see the innovations from Venetians to deal with the flooding.
At the back of the store is something of a library staircase, which is great for a photo opportunity.
Address: Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5176b, 30122 Venezia
Hours: 09:00 – 20:00 Monday to Sunday
7. Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs)
Built in 1600, enclosed and made of limestone, the Bridge of Sighs connects the interrogation rooms at Doge’s Palace with the Prigioni Nuove (New Prison). Legend has it that this is the last view of Venice that prisoners would see before they were ushered off to prison, so the prisoners would sigh while looking out the window before being taken away.
However, the legend is exactly that, a legend! The bridge was not actually used for sending prisoners away as the bridge was built after inquisitions and executions stopped taking place. As well, not much can be seen from the small windows.
Everyone usually crowds along the surrounding bridges to get photos of the Bridge of Sighs, though we found that from the bottom of Ponte della Paglia, you get a nice off-angle of the bridge and nobody is there!
Address: Piazza San Marco, 1, 30100 Venezia
8. L’artista della Barbaria for Local Handmade Souvenirs
There are what seem like a million tourist shops on Venice, where the majority of shops are likely selling trinkets that were made in China. If you’re looking for something to take home or give as gifts for family and friends, it may seem hard to find local souvenirs, but we have a great recommendation for you!
We stumbled upon L’artista della Barbaria when we saw Giancarlo working on a paper mache mask in front of the window. He saw us peeking through the window (staring at cat trinkets of course) and motioned for us to come inside. There, he told us that he and his wife make paper mache masks and ceramic trinkets. According to Giancarlo, they are one of about 20-25 local artisans left on Venice.
He explained his craft as well as the differences between what him and his wife make and the plastic masks that are made in China. It was truly a breath of fresh air to find a local artisan in a city where it seems like none are left!
Address: Barbaria delle Tole 6360/A, 30122 Castello – Venezia
Hours: 10:00 – 18:30 Monday to Saturday
We hope you enjoyed this list of must-visit places in Venice! Do you have a favourite? Which place do you want to visit the most? Let us know in the comments!
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