What to do in Venice

Ten unmissable experiences in the city of water

Venice is a city that seems to float timelessly in this world and space, with its winding canals weaving between narrow alleyways and imposing historic palaces. This unique city offers a range of cultural and sensory experiences that will fascinate any visitor. Whether you are here for a short visit or a longer stay, Venice has much to offer, from gondola rides under the bridges to tours of its historic monuments and culinary explorations in its lively markets. If you’re already wandering its alleyways or planning a future visit, prepare to discover not only Venice’s most famous wonders, but also hidden gems waiting to be explored. Here’s a guide to ten can’t-miss experiences that will make you fall in love with this enchanted city and allow you to experience Venice like a true Venetian.

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1. GONDOLA RIDE THROUGH HISTORIC CANALS

Start your Venetian adventure with a classic: a gondola ride. As you glide along the quiet canals, you will be enchanted by the Gothic and Renaissance facades of the buildings reflected in the water. For a more intimate experience, consider a tour at sunset, when the soft light and pastel-colored sky create a magical atmosphere.

2. EXPLORE ST. MARK'S SQUARE

No visit to Venice is complete without the famous St. Mark’s Square. The center of culture and history in Venice. Don’t miss the Basilica of San Marco, a masterpiece of Byzantine art, and the Campanile, from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the city. The square is also the ideal place to observe the daily life of Venetians and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere. A little tip. If the waiting times for a visit to the Campanile are too long, take the vaporetto line 2 and travel one stop to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore opposite, which has the second highest church tower and is usually much less crowded, but also offers a unique view of the city.

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3. TOUR OF THE DOGE'S PALACE

The Doge’s Palace, once the political heart of Venice, offers an insight into the history of the Venetian Republic. Explore the opulent rooms of the Doges, the largest assembly hall of its time, admire the breathtaking frescoes and cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs, a passageway that connected the palace to the prisons.

4. DISCOVER MODERN ART AT THE VENICE BIENNALE

The Venice Biennale is a must for art lovers. It is the oldest regular art exhibition in the world. This prestigious event, which alternates between art and architecture every year, offers the opportunity to explore young artists and innovative visions of creators from all over the world.

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5. TASTE LOCAL FLAVORS AT THE RIALTO MARKET

Immerse yourself in the flavors and colors of the Rialto Market, the beating heart of the Venetian food trade including the famous fish market. Here you can sample fresh produce and local specialties such as sarde in saor, an appetizer of marinated sardines. It is also the ideal place to take home culinary souvenirs.

6. TOUR OF THE NORTHERN LAGOON ISLANDS: MURANO, BURANO AND TORCELLO

Dedicate a day to exploring the North Lagoon and its islands, preferably with Classic Boats Venice. Murano is the cradle of European glassmaking and is still famous today for its glassblowing. Burano, an old fishing village, for its colorful houses and lace-making. Torcello, the oldest settlement in the lagoon, for its tranquility and historical excavations, including the oldest basilica in the lagoon. A boat tour is the best way to explore these islands, offering an escape from the crowds of tourists and a unique perspective on lagoon life.

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7. VISIT TO THE BASILICA OF SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE

This imposing 17th-century church, located at the entrance to the Grand Canal, is one of Venice’s most symbolic buildings. The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute is known for its extraordinary Baroque architecture and the Feast of the Madonna della Salute, an important city event that takes place annually on November 21.

8. DISCOVER THE LA FENICE THEATER

One of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, La Fenice is initially inconspicuous and hidden in one of Venice’s many calles. However, it has hosted numerous world premieres of important works. Take a guided tour to explore the opulent interiors of this opera house, which is in no way inferior to the other great houses. Buy tickets for an evening performance to experience an unforgettable theatrical event.

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9. EXPLORE THE JEWISH GHETTO

The ghetto of Venice, established in 1516, is one of the first Jewish ghettos in the world. Linger briefly in the large square Campo Ghetto Nuovo and enjoy the atmosphere it exudes. This neighborhood offers a deep insight into Jewish history and culture with its five synagogues, all of which you can visit, its museums and restaurants serving traditional Jewish cuisine.

10. WALK ALONG THE ZATTERE

The Zattere promenade is the ideal place for a relaxing walk with a view of the island of Giudecca. This promenade not only offers magnificent views, but also cafés where you can sit and enjoy a gelato or an aperitif while soaking up the peaceful Venetian atmosphere.

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These experiences will enrich your visit to Venice and allow you to discover not only historical monuments, but also vibrant local traditions and quiet hidden beauties. Every corner of Venice has something unique to offer, making it one of the most fascinating and unforgettable cities in the world.

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