Venice Italy travel is perfect for romantic getaways or just passing through with a group of friends. Population of Venice in 2017 was about 262,000 people - a small town's worth. However, make no mistake - Venice tourism brings in about 20 million people annually which does not make it seem like a small town, far from it. Venice’s vast architectural, artistic, and musical heritage is simply astonishing.
Whether you’ve been to this amazing city a few times, or this is your first visit - you can find many Venice attractions here that will leave long lasting memories of the unforgettable time spent. Let us not forget the fact that the lagoon surrounding Venice city is rich with delicious fish and seafood. Veneto - the region where this remarkable commune is located, is one of Italy’s most fertile and provides fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. Venice food is world renowned for its richness and diversity and of course, here you'll find dishes which are specific to the region. Strolling around the city, you'll be sure to stumble upon many Venetian restaurants with great atmosphere, amazing food and in most cases - a great view!
Once you've had some delicious Venetian food, you're going to need to find some worthwhile activities. Needless to say, it isn't very difficult to come up with some great ideas of what to do in Venice. One pastime that almost everyone enjoys here is Venice shopping, from leather hand bags, to affordable and fashionable clothing for all ages, to local souvenirs - there are plenty of shops to satisfy the shopaholic in you. Keep in mind though, if you really like something - just buy it, because the chances of finding the same shop again are very slim.
Venice Italy travel and taking holidays in this amazing city while enjoying all the attractions could be the vacation of a lifetime. There are plenty of things to do in Venice for every type of traveller. The culture that you soak up and the beautiful pieces of art and history of Venice to be taken in - make it one of the best places to visit in Italy and make into a holiday destination. The travel guide below was intended to help get around the city as well as find things to do in Venice while on a holiday here.
Otherwise known as St. Mark's Square is nothing less than a mesmerizing sight which will simply take your breath away or at least give you the goosebumps. It is a must-see attraction for those that are traveling through the famous commune or decided to staying right in the heart of Venice city.
Taking a tour of these landmarks while visiting the square will allow any curious mind to get more historical and cultural knowledge. The clock tower which stands 98.6 metres (or 323 feet) high - offers a vantage point of the city as well as an opportunity to snap some amazing pictures of Venice from the impressive altitude. A visit to St. Mark's Square, Venice will allow any curious mind passing through to get more from the city with the added learning experience these beautiful structures offer.
This is the main public square and the most famous of the Venice tourist attractions, and of course - it sees a lot of foot traffic everyday. Piazza San Marco also offers a number of restaurants, cafes and shops around its perimeter and connecting streets.
There are 170 canals of Venice running through which makes the city a cluster of islands that are connected by some 400 walkways and bridges, some small - some quite large and elaborate like the Rialto Bridge.
Grand Canal Venice happens to be the main waterway of this incredible city. The backwards S shape of the canal divides the city into two parts. As of August 7, 2019 the Italian government started rerouting large cruise ships away from the legendary Grand Canal following a ten year dispute.
The Venice Grand Canal is a world famous attraction featuring amazing architecture from 13th to the 18th - a time during which the Venetian Republic flourished. Venice Canals are situated along the shores of the Adriatic Sea and throughout history were used as means shielding the city from mainland Italy as well as transportation. You can see incredible palaces, breathtaking cathedrals and luxurious villas situated along the main shores as well as along many other Venice Canals.
Cross the Grand Canal to wander through the San Polo and Dorsoduro districts. San Polo is the place in Venice that gets photographed a great deal because of its vibrancy and magnificent views from the Rialto Bridge. When visiting this district, don't forget to visit the Rialto Market for fresh fruits, vegetables, fish or to simply browse and chat with the local vendors.
For the younger crowd, there is Dorsoduro - university district of Venice. Here you'll find many cool places to eat, shop and enjoy some Venice nightlife at many casual bars scattered around the area. For those who appreciate art and want to see the classical Venetian masterpieces - at trip to the Gallerie dell'Accademia is simply a must. For modern art there's the Peggy Guggenheim Collection which is situated right on the water and happens to be another stop along the Venice Canals that won't disappoint. Any water taxi Venice service can be hired to travel trough the canals, as well as public water transportation. Alternatively, there's always walking and some tourists are up for exactly that type of travel while they discover all the nooks and crannies of Venice City.
A Venetian gondola ride can often be seen in movies, and this is a very iconic practice and a means of transportation in the lagoon and Venice canals alike. A few hundred years ago, this was the main way of getting around Venice for its dwellers and visitors that came here, and there were about 10,000 gondolas in the water at the time. There are about 500 of these flat-bottomed vessels left, which are still functional and very well kept, since they are the pride of the Venetians.
You can expect to pay about €80 for a Venice gondola ride of about 20-30 minutes during the day. From evening to night, the price goes up to about €120. If you desire a longer ride than the standard time, make sure to talk to the operator and agree on a price before starting the tour.
Nothing is more spectacular than having a gondola ride in the Venice waterways, while passing under the ancient bridges and seeing all the breathtaking sights. Venice is known as the city of romance, and has attracted lovers from around the world for centuries. Having said that, your romantic getaway in Italy would not be complete without the remarkable experience of a gondola ride in Venice with your sweetheart. Consider a nighttime ride through the Grand Canal when the city lights shine bright and the moon hangs over from high above - pure romance!
Every year, on the first Sunday of September, this city hosts the Venice Regata Storica (or Historical Regatta). On this date there is a parade followed by a rowing event which involves decorated gondolas passing through the Venice Grand Canal in a mesmerizing reenactment of the historical past. This even has been held since 1829 and brings huge crowds of participants and spectators every year for a colourful Venetian celebration.
If that's not enough information about the Venice gondola - you can learn to navigate one yourself for the inner gondoliere in you. There are private lessons available starting from about €120, and this type of activity is loads of fun for anyone who appreciates boating and being on the water while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
The Venice Rialto Bridge happens to be the oldest of the 4 structures in the city that span the Grand Canal. This bridge experiences a whopping amount of foot traffic every day between San Marco & San Polo districts. It happens to be one of the main attractions when it comes to Venice Italy travel. It was built in the 12th century as a pontoon, or floating bridge and has been rebuilt several times since then.
History of Venice tells that with the growing popularity of the Rialto Market on the eastern bank, also grew the traffic of people passing through and it was decided that the bridge needed to be rebuilt in timber, which happened in 1255, shortly followed by the name change to Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge). Maintenance on the wooden bridge played in important part in it's functionality. There were two rows of shops built along the sides of the bridge to take advantage of the massive amount of window shoppers passing through for the first half of the 15th century.
Unfortunately, the bridge was partly burned in a revolt which happened in 1310 and the bridge collapsed in 1444 while spectators were enjoying a Venetian boat parade. Another collapse followed 80 years later and it was decided to have the bridge rebuilt in stone. The Venice Rialto bridge as we see it today was finally completed in 1951 and to this day remains to be an architectural icon known all over the world for its audacious design and construction. The vantage points of this amazing landmark is sure to result in taking some of the most incredible pictures of Venice.
Ponte Dei Sospiri, also known as the Bridge of Sighs - is another incredible and iconic sight that cannot be missed when experiencing Venice Italy travel. The enclosed bridge spans a waterway between the districts of San Marco & Castello called Rio Di Palazzo. The Bridge of Sighs is made of white limestone and its construction was completed in 1603. This famous Venetian landmark has windows with stone bars that were needed for its purpose at the time - which was to connect the New Prison (Prigioni Nuove) to the interrogation rooms in Doge’s Palace. It is said that the name for Ponte Dei Sospiri was acquired from the sighs of convicts who were catching their last glimpse of Venice beauty through the tiny holes in the marble windows while being lead to their cells.
This important Venetian landmark is an absolute must to see for anyone who appreciates history, or just likes taking in the breathtaking sights while snapping some amazing Venice pictures. As any highly sought-after place to include in your vacation experience, it's a good idea to purchase tickets for the more affordable prices ahead of time.
There are also plenty of other things to do in Venice around this area when on a self guided tour, meaning - you don’t have to just spend time at the top tourist locations. Why not take in a show or concert at the Teatro la Fenice, view artwork from the past and present at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, or observe the traditional venetian gondolas being built at the Squero di San Trovaso? These are just a few ideas out of the countless possibilities of what to do in Venice. For those experiencing this amazing city for the first time, consider booking a tour with a Venice travel guide.
There are about 50 Venice museums or venues which can be considered that due to their collection and exhibition of historical, cultural, scientific and artistic objects which played some important part in the history of Venice.
You can purchase a Venice Museums Pass which allows admission to 11 of the civic museums in the city and on the two islands of Murano and Burano. The following is a list of these popular museums in the Venice city area:
These are just a few choices and a small fraction of the total number of museums in Venice. Alternatively to purchasing the Venice Museums pass, you can acquire one that will just cover the venues located in St. Marks Square for a lesser price.
Carnival of Venice is something out of the ordinary and it's a colourful event which takes place once a year on a Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday - forty days before Easter. The carnival concludes with the Christian celebration of Lent which is the 40 day period prior to easter.
There are large stages set up featuring colourful shows, and needles to say - the people that come during this magical time of the of the year are lucky to see this mesmerizing event and be a part of it. This festival is world famous for its elaborate masks of course. The Venetian mask history is centuries old and they happen to be a long lasting tradition of Venice, Italy. They are mainly used during the Venice Carnival but have been used in the past for hiding one's identity during extravagant social events.
This festival started around the year 1162 when people began gathering and dancing at Piazza San Marco in celebration of Republic of Venice's victory against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico di Treven. The Carnival of Venice became official in the Renaissance era and continued to be celebrated until it was outlawed in 1797 by Francis II - the Holy Roman Emperor at the time. The masks were outlawed for 182 years and only appeared at private functions during this time.
The Carnival of Venice returned finally in the year 1979. Around 3 million people come to Venice each year to enjoy this festivity. The most important part of this carnival is the contest for the most beautiful mask which is decided by a panel of judges consisting of international costume and fashion designers. This is the one event that simply cannot be missed!!
The place we now know as Venice was founded in the year 421 AD. Veneti were Celtic people that resided in Northeastern Italy along the coast and they had been Roman citizens since 49 BC. In the year of 453 - following the invasion of Italy by Attila the Hun, some of these people fled to the islands in the lagoon to seek refuge. They built a village there and formed a loose federation. Their population was inflated following the Lombards invasion of the mainland Italy. More people fled into the lagoon and the surrounding islands.
How was Venice built? - One might ask. Venice city was actually built on about 120 small islands in the middle of a marshy, muddy lagoon. In order to make the islands livable, the early settlers had to drain certain areas of the Venetian lagoon, dig many canals as well as shore up the banks to make them suitable for building on. Imported wood pilings made from mostly the water-resistant alder wood were set up closely together in rows, on the now reinforced islands of the Venetian lagoon to line up the future of about 150 canals. Many of these wood stakes were also fitted with wooden platforms and stone to act as the foundation for the buildings in Venice.
The magnificent palaces, squares, canals and bridges found in the city really show the local heritage and wealth of many Venetian families. Venetian Republic existed for about 1,000 and has been invaded a few times by various rulers from the surrounding countries. For a more detailed history of Venice, check out this great online article by Tim Lambert, "A Brief History of Venice, Italy" - available at LocalHistories.org.
There are many types of Venice transportation that serve the numerous islands of the city as wall as the main land. From trains, to buses, to ferries and water taxis - you'll be sure to find a convenient way of getting around.
There is a Venice Airport near the city which many tourists use for visiting the region as well as getting to Italy itself. The Venice Marco Polo Airport includes services of a quite few international airlines. From there, you can catch a shuttle bus that runs 3 times per hour and goes directly to Piazzale Roma - the main bus terminal in Venice city.
A Venice water taxi or a public water bus (called vaporetto) can be taken from Piazzale Roma to where you've booked your lodging or simply to the next attraction to see. There are many options of where to stay in Venice, both on the islands and outside the city on the mainland.
Below you'll find a Venice map with water transportation, popular Venice Italy attractions, lodging options and much more. When wanting to purchase a paper map from a local store, simply as for "mappa Venezia" or "Venezia cartina".
Reaching the Venice train station by rail is easily done. Florence to Venice as well as Milan to Venice routes offer high-speed train service and the convenience of inter-city and regional trains. Same can be said about taking a train from Rome to Venice, and the whole trip can be done in under 4 hours for a reasonable price. You can also enjoy the romantic experience of taking a night train to Venice with your sweetheart.
The Venice Italy map below also indicates public washrooms, which usually cost €1-1.5 per person unless you have a Venice Connected Pass.