Ahhh Venice, Venice! Who has never dreamed of visiting Venice? To discover all its architectural treasures, its fabulous history? To see all its wonderful islands? Okay, everyone knows Venice and its gondolas, its canals, the Rialto Bridge. But Venice is not just that: it is a city that is at once magical, unreal and contemporary, a city on water. More than just a postcard, Venice can be discovered with all the senses. Let's see together the main spots and the unmissable visits of Venice that leave no one unmoved, far from it. ''The oldtown of Venice actually consists of many small islands that are separated by more or less wide canals. There are pedestrian bridges over these canals. In total, there are approximately 435 bridges in Venice. So the number of bridges is enormous. But this is not a world record. For example, there are more than 1,000 bridges in Amsterdam. There are even more in Hamburg, Germany (over 2,000).''
St. Mark's Square
Saint Mark's Square is certainly the most emblematic place to visit in Venice: it is the main square of the city, a meeting place and meeting place for locals but also for tourists. Saint Mark's Square is monumental and beautiful, bordered by the most famous monuments of Venice and by the Procuracies, buildings where the prosecutors of Venice lived and worked, built in the 16th century. Under these arcades are many shops and cafes, the most famous of which: Café Florian.
St. Mark's Basilica
Saint Mark's Basilica was built in the 11th century to replace a basilica housing the remains of the Evangelist Saint Mark. Its architecture is admirable, a fusion of eastern and western styles. It has the shape of a Greek cross with five portals decorated with mosaics depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments, the life of Christ, the Virgin, Saint Mark and other Saints. Above is a terrace from which the doge attended the ceremonies and feasts given in the square. The interior is just as resplendent: marble and gold in abundance and more than 8,500 m2 of mosaics.
How not to quote it? With its Gothic architecture, it was the residence of the Doges who ruled the Republic. It is a palace rich in history and which offers sensational pictorial works such as those of Veronese, Bellini, Titian or Tintoretto. Certainly one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe which you will have access to via the infamous Bridge of Sighs.
Many consider gondola rides a tourist trap, but everyone seems to have a photo or selfie with a gondolier and the canal in the background! One thing is certain: these rides are expensive. Negotiate in advance, but don't count less than € 80 for 40 minutes or even a hundred euros in the evening. Many starting points line the canal. The most popular places include the edge of the lagoon near the Doge's Palace and the Riva del Vin, near the Rialto Bridge. Be very clear about the agreed price and the length of the ride.
The Rialto Bridge
The most famous and oldest bridge in Venice takes its name from the Rivo Alto district which starts from deformation and has become Rialto. Built in wood towards the end of the 12th century, it was destroyed several times due to collapses or fires! At the beginning of the 16th century it was decided to rebuild it in stone. Now it is one of the symbols of Venice. 48 meters long and 22 meters wide, it rests on more than 6,000 stilts and consists of 3 ramps for pedestrian stairs and a double row of shops.
The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute
This unique church is located at the southern end of the Grand Canal: you can recognize it because it stands on a very narrow piece of land between the Grand Canal and Bacino di San Marco. The dome of this basilica quickly became a powerful symbol of the city and inspired many artists like Turner, Sargent or Guardi. It is one of the most impressive buildings to visit in Venice, erected in the middle of the 18th century.
Visit the museums of Venice
And there are many, know it! The Venetian museums will undoubtedly satisfy lovers of modern and contemporary art, but they are also a good fallback solution when it rains. Here is an overview of the main museums to visit in Venice:
- The Museo Correr: a huge museum dedicated to the history of Venice.
- The Museo Archeologico: devoted, as its name suggests, to archeology (more precisely Greek and Roman).
- The monumental rooms of the Marciana library: painted and decorated by the greatest Venetian artists.
- Palazzo Grassi: which presents a series of temporary exhibitions exclusively dedicated to contemporary art.
- La Punta della Dogana: which complements the exhibitions at Palazzo Grassi, always on the theme of contemporary art.
- The Peggy Guggenheim Museum: which exhibits the art collections of its famous founder.
- The Accademia Museum: brings together many masterpieces by the greatest Venetian masters (Tintoretto, Veronese, Veneziano, etc.).
- The Natural History Museum: for those who want to see more than paintings and especially a museum that is a little more accessible if you are visiting Venice with children.
- The Naval History Museum: a must-see for model enthusiasts and also a fun visit for the family.
Dorsoduro is the arty and gastronomic district of Venice. In particular, it houses the Punta della Dogana contemporary art museum and the majestic Venier dei Leoni palazzo, as well as the dell'Accademia gallery and its works by Grand Masters. You can also visit the squero de San Trovaso, one of the rare gondola building workshops. You'll have to go west to enjoy a caffè in a trendy bar or discover Italian cuisine in one of the excellent restaurants in the area. Dorsoduro remains pleasant without being crowded, which makes it a perfect base if you want to stay near the historic center.
Lots of Love, Valerie & Alex