Sightseeing and Tours
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
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
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
These pictures offer a fresh perspective on a stunning city, and the
captions include descriptions with links to in-depth articles.
Sightseeing Tours and Day Trips our
Book tours and excursions before you leave home, with prices
in U.S. dollars, euros, British pounds, or Australian dollars.
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
Venice Islands Tour (self-guided)
Plan your own day trip to San Michele, Murano, Burano,
Mazzorbo, Torcello, and the Lido di Venezia. My 10-page illustrated guide tells
how to reach the islands by public transportation or on an escorted tour.
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.)
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
tours with a variety of themes.
Take a private walking tour with Michael Broderick,
whose research and lively anecdotes offer a unique perspective on Venetian
history and culture.
"hop on, hop off" sightseeing boat is stunningly expensive, but there's an
easy way to bring down the cost.
Venice Boat Rentals
Cruise the Venetian Lagoon as captain of your own vessel with a
self-drive P©nichette from Locaboat Holidays.
The oldest ghetto in Europe has five synagogues, a Jewish museum, and a kosher
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.)
Napoleon called it "the finest drawing room in Europe," but how many
living rooms have pigeons and outdoor caff© tables?
Piazza San Marco by the
Use the figures in the photo to identify the major landmarks around St. Mark's
St. Mark's Basin by the
Follow the numerals to find the Salute Church, the island of Giudecca, and other
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
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
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.
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.)
The magnificently preserved home town of Andrea Palladio, one of Italy's
greatest architects, is less than an hour from Venice by train.
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
newest bridge across the Grand Canal links the Piazzale Roma and the Santa
Lucia railroad station.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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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