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Venice > Planning > Parks

Parks and gardens in Venice, Italy

Venice's historic center is filled with private gardens and courtyards, but it also has public green spaces that welcome adults, children, and dogs.

View from Giardini Pubblici (Public Gardens) in Venice, Italy.

ABOVE: A man enjoys a waterside view from the Giardini Pubblici (Public Gardens) in Venice.

In this illustrated article, we'll help you find public parks and gardens where you can get away from the crowds and experience Venice as Venetians do.

Each description includes a brief overview, a Google map that shows the park or garden's location, and captioned photographs.

For descriptions with an historical and architectural focus, as opposed to our travel-oriented approach, see Venezia Unica's parks and gardens page.

Venice Parks (Introduction)
Giardini Papadopoli
Parco Savorgnan
Parco Villa Groggia
Giardini ex-Reali
Giardini Pubblici

Giardini Papadopoli

The Papadopoli Gardens are just across a narrow canal from the Piazzale Roma, on the edge of Venice's historic center. (The Piazzale Roma is where you'll arrive if you enter Venice by airport bus, tram, or taxi.) The Santa Lucia railroad station is also nearby.

The park is relatively small, but the gardens are attractive and there are benches to sit on.

Giardini Papadopoli from Calatrava Bridge, Venice.

This view shows the walled gardens from the Ponte delle Costituzione, a.k.a. the Calatrava Bridge. The water taxi is entering the Grand Canal from a side canal.

Papadapoli Gardens with playground.

A playground is visible behind the wall of the park.

Wisteria at Giardini Papadopoli

When we took this picture in April, wisteria covered a wall to the right of the Giardini Papadopoli's main entrance.

Giardini Papadopoli, Venice, Italy.

From outside the wall, you can peek into the gardens through a grilled opening.

Entrance gate to the Papadopoli Gardens in Venice, Italy.

Map of Giardini Papadopoli gardens in Venice, Italy.

After you've entered the gardens, you'll find a map that shows the park's amenities and attractions.

Tip: There's no WC in the gardens, but you'll find a public toilet in Piazzale Roma.

Rules for dogs in Venice's public parks.

Another sign lists rules for dogs and their owners. (The same rules apply in Venice's other public parks.) Essentially, you need to:

  • Bring poop bags and clean up after your dog.

  • Keep your dog leashed, unless it's in a carrying case or dog stroller. Carry a muzzle with you, especially if your dog is nervous or aggressive.

  • Keep your dog away from children's playgrounds.

  • Observe common sense and courtesy. (For example, don't let Fido or Fifi water the monuments or fertilize the flower beds.)

  • Also see our Venice for Dogs Travel Guide, which has a section about where to exercise your dog.

Park bench in Giardini Papadopoli, Venice.

The park's benches are convenient if you need to kill an hour or two before departing by bus at the Piazzale Roma or by train at the Venezia Santa Lucia railroad station, which are only a few minutes away on foot.

Statue in Giardini Papadopoli, Venice.

A statue occupies a place of honor in the Papadopoli Gardens.

The gentleman atop the plinth is Pietro Paleòcapa, a 19th Century engineer and politician with a specialty in hydraulics and public infrastructure. Late in life, he helped to design the Suez Canal.

Tulips in Giardini Papadopoli, Venice.

Flower beds bring color to the Giardini Papadopoli during the growing season. These tulips were blooming in April.

Venice Parks (Introduction)
Giardini Papadopoli
Parco Savorgnan
Parco Villa Groggia
Giardini ex-Reali
Giardini Pubblici

Parco Savorgnan

The Parco Savorgnan is almost unknown to tourists, despite being just off one of Venice's busiest thoroughfares east of the railroad station. It's a great place to escape the crowds, or to find fresh air and greenery if you're staying at a hotel in the station area. It even has a special area for dogs.

Parco Savorgnan entrance on Fondamenta Venier, Venice, Italy.

The Parco Savorgnan's main entrance is on the Fondamenta Venier, facing the Cannaregio Canal.

Cooking oil recycling receptacle, Parco Savorgnan, Venice.

Just inside the entrance is a recycling container for cooking oil, which is convenient if you've arrived in Venice with a jug of used olio di oliva.

Parco Savorgnan map and rules, Venice.

A sign shows the park's hours of operation, a map, and rules of behavior.

Note that, in this context, estivo means the period of daylight savings time and invernale refers to standard time.

Trees and a path in the Parco Savorgnan, Venice, Italy.

Parcours fitness area, Parco Savorgnan, Venice, Italy.

Playground in Venice's Parco Savorgnan.

The Parco Savorgnan has trees, walking paths, a parcours fitness area, and a playground within its 2.3 acres or 1 hectare of green space.

Dog park, Parco Savorgnan, Venice, Italy.

There's even a fenced dog park for your cane.

Buildings and sign in Parco Savorgnan, Venice, Italy.

The Parco Savorgnan is surrounded by apartment buildings.

Calle Riello entrance, Parco Savorgnan, Venice, Italy.

A secondary entrance/exit in the Calle Riello provides easy access to hotels in the quiet streets behind the Rio Terrà Lista di Spagna, the main pedestrian r0ute that runs east from the railroad station.

Venice Parks (Introduction)
Giardini Papadopoli
Parco Savorgnan
Parco Villa Groggia
Giardini ex-Reali
Giardini Pubblici

Parco Villa Groggia

It's rare to see a non-Venetian in the hidden Parco Villa Groggia, which makes the park all the more interesting if you're a visitor. Here, you can sit on a bench and experience the city like a local.

Parco Villa Groggia entrance, Venice, Italy.

The park is located behind a wall in the outer reaches of Cannaregio. The entrance is on a small street named the Calle del Capitello, which runs norward from the Fondamente dei Riformati. The Campo di Sant'Alvise and its church are nearby.

Parco Villa Groggia entrance, Venice, Italy.

Through the gate, you can see the park.

Inside the entrance of the Parco Villa Groggia, Venice, Italy.

As you enter the Parco Villa Groggia, you'll notice several buildings, which include a community center and an indoor swimming pool.

Arch in Parco Villa Groggia, Venice, Italy.

Parco Villa Groggia, Venice, Italy.

The park itself is a romantic garden from the 19th Century, when the Villa Groggia was privately owned. The city of Venice has owned the park since 1975.

Teatrino Groggia, Venice, Italy.

The Teatrino Groggia is a small municipal theater in a former warehouse. It's used for community and cultural events.

Venice Parks (Introduction)
Giardini Papadopoli
Parco Savorgnan
Parco Villa Groggia
Giardini ex-Reali
Giardini Pubblici

Giardini ex-Reali

The former Royal Gardens (also known as the Giardini ex-Reali or Giardini Reali) are a small park near the Piazza San Marco, next to the San Marco Giardinetti vaporetto and airport-boat station.

The park, which dates to the time of Napoleon, was completely renovated in 2000. Paths are arranged in a formal layout, with plenty of benches for sitting. Outside the gardens, signs point to a modern public WC.

Giardini ex-Reali (Royal Gardens) entrance, Venice, Italy.

The former Royal Gardens are behind a set of iron gates.

Hours vary according to the time of year, but the park is normally open from Wednesday through Sunday from morning until late afternoon or early evening. (See official hours here.)

Park benches and fall colors in Royal Gardens, Venice.

Park bench in Giardini ex-Reali, Venice, Italy.

Inside the gardens, you'll find dozens of benches. Many are located beneath trees and other foliage.

Rules for using Giardini ex-Reali (Royal Gardens), Venice, Italy.

A sign in Italian and English lists the park's rules.

The most important rules are no picnicking and no alcohol.

Illy Caffè, Venice, Italy.

Tip: If you're hungry or thirsty, the Illy Caffè (in the white building above) is next to the gardens and the waterbus stop.

Water fountain in Royal Gardens, Venice, Italy.

A fountain offers clean water from the Venetian mainland for drinking or washing your hands.

Stray cats in the Giardini ex-Reali, Venice, Italy.

Cats in Royal Gardens, Venice, circa 1995.

Feral cats in the Royal Gardens, Venice, in the mid-1990s.

Cats from the past: The photos above show the Giardini ex-Reali as they looked in the mid-1990s, when stray cats spent their days sunning in the gardens.

Today, the cats are gone, and you're more likely to see pampered dogs sitting in the laps of residents and tourists.

Venice Parks (Introduction)
Giardini Papadopoli
Parco Savorgnan
Parco Villa Groggia
Giardini ex-Reali
Giardini Pubblici

Giardini Pubblici

Venice's Public Gardens stretch from the Viale Garibaldi (a parklike street near the Biennale art exposition) to the quiet Sant'Elena residential neighborhood at the city center's eastern tip.

Some areas of the gardens have distinct names, such as the Giardini Napoleonici (by the Biennale) and the Parco delle Rimembranze (a forested park near the Sant'Elena vaporetto stop).

This complex of gardens and parks is mostly used by locals, but it's a pleasant place for walking when you feel the need for green space and want to get away from crowds.

To reach the Giardini Pubblici, simply walk east along the waterfront from the Doge's Palace, crossing footbridges as you go. From the Piazza San Marco, you'll reach the Giardini in 15 minutes or so.

Viale Garibaldi, Venice, Italy.

Fountain in Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi, Venice, Italy.

Near the western edge of the Giardini Pubblici is the Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi, a tree-and bench-lined street that feels like a section of the park. It runs from the Via Giuseppe Garibaldi (see the buildings in the lower photo) to the Riva del Partigiani (a.k.a. the Viale Giardini Pubblici) on the waterfront.

Turtles in the Viale Garibaldi fountain, Venice, Italy.

The Viale Garibaldi's fountain is home to turtles and goldfish. If you're traveling with children, allow time to enjoy the wildlife.

Cat in Viale Garibaldi, Venice, Italy.

Not all of the Viale's creatures are wild. Here, Cheryl Imboden communes with a domestic cat that was looking for a backrub.

Serra dei Giardini, Venice, Italy.

One of our favorite spots in this part of Venice is the city-owned Serra dei Giardini, a restored 19th Century greenhouse where you can buy plants or enjoy the year-round, reasonably priced café.

Tip: The greenhouse has a free WC for customers by the coffee bar, which is handy if you need to go when you're on the go.

Giardini Pubblici view from waterfront, Venice.

As you exit the Viale Garibaldi, you'll find yourself on a wateside promenade that runs all the way from the Doge's Palace (next to the Piazza San Marco) to Sant'Elena at the eastern tip of Venice's historic center.

Here, you can see a couple relaxing near a vaporetto station alongside the park.

Giardini Napoleoici, Venice, Italy.

Playground in Giardini Pubblici, Venice.

Continue eastward along the waterfront, and you'll pass through the Giardini Napoleonici, or Napoleonic Gardens.

Tip: This section of the public gardens has a public WC (open from early April to early November, payment required).

Giardini Biennale, Venice, Italy.

The Giardini Napoleonici soon give way to the Giardini Biennale (a.k.a. the Biennale grounds), which are the main campus of the Biennale international art and architecture exhibitions.

The Biennale Arte and Biennale Architettura are two distinct events that run from spring through fall in alternating years.

Bridge to Parco delle Rimambranze, Venice, Italy.

Dog and man on bridge in Giardini Pubblici, Venice.

Venice waterfront in Giardini Pubblici.

While walking east from the Biennale, you'll soon cross a bridge into the main part of the Giardini Pubblici, the Parco delle Rimembranze.

Sign in Parco delle Rimembranze, Venice.

This area of the Public Gardens serves the quiet residential neighborhood of Sant'Elena.

Playground in Parco delle Rimembranze, Venice.

Soccer field in Venice's Giardini Pubblici.

Park benches in Giardini Pubblici, Venice, Ialy.

Parco delle Rimanbranze, Giardini Pubblici, Venice.

The park's amenities include a playground, a soccer field, benches, and more large trees than you can count.

Caribinieri station, Sant'Elena, Venice, Italy.

There's even a station of the Caribinieri (Italy's national police) visible through the trees.

Signs in Parco delle Rimembranze, Venice.

Near the Sant'Elena waterbus stop, signs direct visitors to points of interest in the park and the neighborhood.

Naval cadets from the Scuola Navale Fransesco Morosini, Venice.

If you're lucky, you might see cadets returning to the Italian Navy's Scuola Navale Francesco Morosini from the Sant'Elena vaporetto station.

Venezia FC ticket booth, Sant'Elena, Venice.

Venezia FC soccer (football) stadium.

On match days, you can buy FC Venezia tickets at a booth near the vaporetto stop and walk to the nearby stadium.

Sant'Elena ACTV station, Venice.

After your walk (or after the match), you can catch a Line 1 vaporetto back to the city center from the Sant'Elena ACTV station.

Venice Parks (Introduction)
Giardini Papadopoli
Parco Savorgnan
Parco Villa Groggia
Giardini ex-Reali
Giardini Pubblici

Also see:
Venice Sightseeing Index
Venice for Dogs Travel Guide

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden has written about Venice, Italy since 1996. He covered Venice and European travel at for 4-1/2 years before launching Europe for Visitors (including Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl Imboden in 2001.

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