Venice offers a great choice of places to visit, but it is impossible to see everything in one day. Do not be discouraged, because you can plan a nice trip, even if you have few time! Read on and find out our suggestions about the places you must see before coming back home!
1. St. Mark’s Square
A good starting point is St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), called by Napoleon the “Finest dining room of Europe” and heart of the city. Standing in the middle of the square you will admire on the right side two granite columns signifying the gateway to Venice, then the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), dominating the waterway with its wonderfully arcades and its façade covered in pink Verona marble and Istrian limestone and the magnificence of St Mark’s Basilica, with its five beautiful ornate domes. The Bridge of Sights (Ponte dei Sospiri) is located behind the Doge’s Palace and connects the palace to the prisons.
On the left of the square there are the Moor’s Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio), with two moors standing on top and hammering the large bell on the hour and the Bell Tower (Campanile), that offers a panoramic view over Venice if you take the one minute lift ride to the top.
Opposite St Mark’s Basilica there is Correr Museum, whose building was built under Napoleon’s dominance in contraposition to the old Doge’s Palace and is surrounded by Procuratie Vecchie and Nuove, the two long arcades of buildings which had housed the offices and residences of some of the most important political authorities of the Venetian Republic. Moreover the museum is connected with the Archaeological National Museum and the National Library Marciana.
On the square faces also some of the most famous Venetian cafés as Caffé Florian and Caffé Quadri (here you can enjoy the musicians and a wonderful view of the square, but remember that the price of a coffee is not cheap at all!).
Piazza San Marco
2. Rialto Bridge
From St Mark’s Square get to Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto), one of the most iconic sights in Venice, by a 10-15 minutes long walk. From Rialto Bridge you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Grand Canal, considered the “main road of Venice” and if you descend the bridge you can visit the famous open-air fish and vegetables markets called “Pescaria” and “Erbaria”. There you can buy every type of seafood imaginable and every variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, but only before 12:00, when the markets close for the day.
Ponte di Rialto
3. The gondola-ferry
From Rialto, next to the market, cross the Grand Canal on a gondola-ferry (gondola-traghetto) and stop in the district of Cannaregio (S. Marcuola stop). Please, don’t confuse the gondola-traghetto with the traditional (and much more expensive) Gondola. Traghetto is a big gondola (piloted by two gondoliers) that goes from one side to the other of the Grand Canal and back. It’s an everyday’s way of transportation, very cheap (around 2€ per person) and ecological!
4. The Jewish Ghetto
From Campo S. Marcuola you can get to the Jewish Ghetto by a quick walk (around 5 minutes). The Ghetto contrasts sharply with the opulence and splendor of the rest of Venice and is characterized by narrow streets and taller buildings. It was built in the 16th century as a refuge for Jews from all over Europe and then subjected to draconian measures by the Senate. Its doors were locked and guarded each night and during the Second World War all the residents were deported to concentration camps and only 8 survived. Today only few people live in the Ghetto, but it worth a visit for its interesting museum and synagogues and above all for the magical atmosphere you can taste here.
5. Journey back along the Grand Canal
After your visit at the Jewish Ghetto walk towards Guglie Bridge (Ponte delle Guglie) and cross it walking towards Santa Lucia Railway Station (Ferrovia). There you can relax on a waterbus called “vaporetto” (take line 1 or 2) and start your journey along the Grand Canal back to San Marco. During your voyage you will admire beautiful hotels and more than 200 palaces, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, facing the canal. At the end you will see, just opposite San Marco, the church of Santa Maria della Salute built as a token of thanks in 1630 at the end of one of Venice’s terrible plagues.
6. The Arsenal
If it is not too late and you are not too much tired, before taking the boat back to Punta Sabbioni, you can walk from San Marco along the Riva degli Schiavoni and eventually arrive at the bridge leading to the Arsenale, the symbol of the Venetian Republic’s military strength. Although you can’t enter the Arsenale, the short walk is worthwhile, just to see the wonderful triumphal arch at the entrance, flanked by four marble lions.
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