Venice Sightseeing and Culture
ABOVE: Directional signs help
tourists find their bearings while exploring Venice.
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.
Sightseeing and Places of
From Venice for Visitors, an index of illustrated articles on everything from the Piazza
San Marco to an island cemetery where graves are recycled after 12 years.
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
Amerigo Vespucci Sailing
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.
Serra dei Giardini veniceforvisitors.com
The Serra dei Giardini is a restored 19th Century greenhouse near the
Venetian waterfront where you can buy flowers, shop for plants, and--of most
importance to visitors--enjoy a drink or a snack in the delightful coffee
City tours and land excursions
Viator Tours & Excursions: Venice
Prebook city tours, gondola rides, and regional day trips online before you leave home.
Viator also has transfer services--e.g., from the airport to Venice's cruise
terminals and from the cruise pier to hotels.
(Prices are guaranteed in euros, British pounds, and U.S. or Australian dollars.)
Venice Tours, Transfers, and Day Trips
lists guides and companies that offer private tours and water experiences
(such as rowing, kayaking, and day trips by boat).
Venice Free Walking Tour
The Association 360 Gradi
(360° Association) offers walking tours of about 3.2 km (2 miles) at 10
a.m. and 5 p.m. Participation is free, although a donation is encouraged.
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.
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.
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
The 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.
The Churches of Venice
Jeff Cotton has created the number one (bar none) guide to Venice's 100+
churches. It's best viewed on a computer or full-size tablet.
Virtuosi di Venezia
These two chamber orchestras perform instrumental and
operatic works in two locations within Venice's historic center. (One staple of
their repertoire is the The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, the city's
most famous composer.)
A Lover of Venice
Read the article on the Venetian locations in Summertime (the David
Lean movie starring Katherine Hepburn), then browse the illustrated walking
tours. (The latter are linked from the bottom of the
Hidden Corners page.)
Facts and trivia about history, landmarks, and traditions. From Venetia.
Palladio's Italian Villas
Venice's great Renaissance architect built grand country houses throughout the Veneto
region. Many are open to the public today.