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Sightseeing and Tours

General Advice

Venice's Top 11 Free Sights
Many of the city's greatest experiences won't cost you a euro--and by trimming your sightseeing costs, you'll have more cash left over for room, board, and shopping.

Walking in Venice
How to find your way with maps, street signs, and directional signs.

Venice Street Signs
Local place names don't always correspond to map and guidebook spellings, so know how to interpret signs in Venetian dialect.

Virtual Photo Tours

Aerial Venice
Explore Venice from above, before you leave home. Every page has at least two satellite photos (an overview and a close-up) with descriptions of what you're seeing.

Fisheye Venice
These pictures offer a fresh perspective on a stunning city, and the captions include descriptions with links to in-depth articles.

Sightseeing Tours

Viator Sightseeing Tours and Day Trips our partner
Book tours and excursions before you leave home, with prices in U.S. dollars, euros, British pounds, or Australian dollars.

No. 1 Vaporetto trip on the Grand Canal
QuickVenice icon For the price of an ACTV water bus ticket, you can zig-zag up the Canal Grande (with peeks into palazzi if you ride after sunset.) From our companion site, QuickVenice.com.

Ca' Foscari Tours
One of Venice's top sightseeing bargains is a 60-minute tour of a former doge's palace (now a university administration building) on the Grand Canal.

Venice Gondola Serenade Tour
It sounded like kitsch, but floating down a canal with a baritone and a guitarist in the next gondola turned out to be fun--and maybe even a little magical.

Venice Islands Tour (self-guided)
Plan your own day trip to San Michele, Murano, Burano, Mazzorbo, Torcello, and the Lido di Venezia. Our 10-page illustrated guide tells how to reach the islands by public transportation or on an escorted tour.

WalksInsideVenice
Two vivacious, intelligent, and highly educated Venetian guides have teamed up to offer private tours for individuals, families, and small groups. (Both women are natives of the city. One is co-author of The Venetian Ghetto, and the other is an expert on the local culinary scene.)

Contemporary Venice Art Tours
Cristina Gregorin, a licensed guide and author of books such as Venice Master Artisans, offers guided visits of modern-art exhibitions, collections, artists' studios, and galleries. She also leads general-interest tours with a variety of themes.

Venicescapes
Take a private walking tour with Michael Broderick, whose research and lively anecdotes offer a unique perspective on Venetian history and culture.

Vaporetto dell'Arte
Venice's "hop on, hop off" sightseeing boat is stunningly expensive, but there's an easy way to bring down the cost. (Archived article: Service was suspended in October, 2013.)

Venice Boat Rentals
Cruise the Venetian Lagoon as captain of your own vessel with a self-drive P©nichette from Locaboat Holidays.

Places

Venice's Ghetto
The oldest ghetto in Europe has five synagogues, a Jewish museum, and a kosher restaurant.

Murano, the Glass Island
In 1296, the glassblowers of Venice moved to an island called Murano. Seven hundred years later, their descendants are still turning sand into gold.(Our 11-page Murano travel guide tells how to reach the island, what to see, how to shop, and more.)

Piazza San Marco
Napoleon called it "the finest drawing room in Europe," but how many living rooms have pigeons and outdoor café tables?

Piazza San Marco by the numbers
Use the figures in the photo to identify the major landmarks around St. Mark's Square.

St. Mark's Basin by the numbers
Follow the numerals to find the Salute Church, the island of Giudecca, and other Venice landmarks.

San Lazzaro degli Armeni
35 monks, seminarians, and Armenian students live on a monastery island that once served as a leper colony.

Gran Teatro La Fenice
"The Phoenix," Venice's jewel box of an opera house, has risen from the ashes twice after catastrophic fires: once in 1837, and again in 2003. You can tour the theatre with an audioguide.

Squero di San Trovaso
Venice's oldest gondola boatyard isn't open to the public, but you can observe craftsmen at work from across a narrow canal.

The Venetian Lagoon
Venice isn't just palaces, churches, and art museums. The city sits in the middle of a lagoon that is rich in wildlife and tradition.

Chioggia
The largest fishing and yachting town on the Venetian Lagoon is an easy day or overnight trip from Venice by car or--better yet--by boat. (Also see Venice to Chioggia by Bus and Ferry.)

Vicenza
The magnificently preserved home town of Andrea Palladio, one of Italy's greatest architects, is less than an hour from Venice by train.

Bridges

Accademia Bridge
Venice's third bridge across the Grand Canal wasn't built until 1854. The current wooden bridge (a replica of a temporary bridge from 1932) offers great views of the canal and passing boat traffic.

Bridge of Sighs
Lord Byron romanticized this elevated corridor for criminals, and you can cross it as a paying customer rather than as a prisoner.

Ponte della Constituzione
The newest bridge across the Grand Canal links the Piazzale Roma and the Santa Lucia railroad station.

Rialto Bridge
It isn't just a Brooklyn Bridge with boutiques. After 500 years, the Ponte di Rialto is still Venice's main traffic route across the Grand Canal.

Cemetery

To Die in Venice
When you gotta go, you gotta go--and dead Venetians have been going to the island cemetery of San Michele for 200 years.

Churches

Basilica di San Marco
St. Mark's Basilica is a treasurehouse of mosaics, plunder from the Crusades, and over-the-top Byzantine architecture, but read our tips for visitors before you wrestle with the crowds.

Santa Maria della Salute Church
As you stare up at the soaring dome of this magnificent basilica, remember that it owes its existence to plague-ridden fleas.

Madonna dell'Orto
"Venice's finest Gothic church" is a great starting point for a walking tour through one of the city's most pleasant but least touristed neighborhoods.

Other Structures

Campanile di San Marco
Venice's 325-foot bell tower isn't what it appears to be, but the view from the top is unsurpassed.

Dogana di Mare
Venice's maritime customs house was built in the 17th Century. Its wedge-shaped promenade offers great views across the Grand Canal and St. Mark's Basin.

Ship

Amerigo Vespucci Sailing Ship
From time to time, the Italian Naval Academy's three-masted training ship comes to Venice. If you see it during your visit, ask about public tours.

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