What to do in Venice?
What to do in Venice: unmissable sites!
So, you have decided to visit Venice! Everyone has heard of this enchanting and mysterious city of but would you really know exactly what to see when you travel to the floating city? Piazza San Marco and the St Mark s basilica, the Doge s palace, the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge, and of course the the Grand Canal are probably all places you have heard of, but there are so many incredible things to see in Venice which will be new to you as well.
How do you decide on the best itinerary with the time you have available?
Let us give you an introduction to this remarkable city and then you will be ready to discover it for yourself!
The city of Venice is certainly unique, but Venice would not be Venice without its mainland. There is also a great deal to see and do in the area surrounding Venice known as the Veneto region .From charming historical cities like Treviso and Vincenza to to vineyards and wine tasting and the beauty of mountain villages. Check out what to see in Veneto, only a day away from Venice or why not come back and explore the whole of the enchanting Veneto region for your next trip to italy!
Are you ready to start the journey?
The Sestieri: the neighborhoods of Venice
The streets of Venice are a real labyrinth … a labyrinth which is divided into neighbourhoods or SESTIERI. The six Sestieri di Venezia reflect the ancient administrative areas of the city.
Every sestiere has its own character:
Castello: is the residential area preferred by the Venetians characterized by a bohemian atmosphere. There are many galleries here but also the exhibition venues of La Biennale di Venezia(an important arts organisation.)
Cannaregio: it is also a very populated area where you can see many craft shops. This is also and the Jewish neighbourhood of Venice,;
Santa Croce: it is a bit like the the main gate to the city. It includes the Piazzale Roma (bus terminal), the Tronchetto (Cruise and car terminal) and the Santa Lucia station;
San Polo: it is the smallest sestiere and represents the center of Venice;
Dorsoduro: is the university area and also includes the great Giudecca island
San Marco: the political and commercial center, it also includes the island of San Giorgio across the lagoon. From there you can enjoy the most spectacular panoramic view of the island of Venice.
Mestre: the mainland of Mestre
The city of Mestre, is separated from Venice by the bridge of Liberty which is nearly two and a half miles long. Mestre isn’t just a suburb of Venice but a city of medieval origin in its own right. It has a large pedestrian area full of shops, bars, restaurants and pizzerias as well as a Venetian square with a church and clock tower. It is a lively city that in recent years has developed to provide excellent services for tourists but at lower prices than in Venice. There are lots of hotels, B & Bs and restaurants here to cater for for all budgets and tastes.
Mestre is really well connected to the city of the Doges: on average, the journey takes about ten to fifteen minutes and it is quite interesting to cross the wide lagoon and to see the city of Venice appear before you. Well connected to major European highways, Mestre could be the ideal solution not only for those who prefer to travel by car but also for those who want easy access to the rest of the Veneto region.
What to do in Venice – the Venice lagoon
There are many other islands in the lagoon which are worth and visit.
The most famous are the islands of the northern lagoon:
Murano, whose history is linked to glass art;
Burano famous for its colored houses, the biscuits called “de ‘Buran” and the traditional lace made by hand.
Don’t forget the charming small island of Torcello, which has only a few residents.
Because of their proximity to Venice and the small size of these islands, it is possible to visit them in half a day with an organized tour or make your own way there and take a little more time to explore.
The fame of the Venice Lido is today linked above all to the Venice Film Festival, but most people know that when we talk about the Lido we “natives” mean “going to the beach”: The Lido has clean water, pristine sand, and a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. A bike ride to the Lido is a highly recommended experience!
Besides these fairly well known islands there are others like Pellestrina, Sant’Erasmo, San Francesco del Deserto, San Giorgio Maggiore and Giudecca.
What to di in Venice – the most important places to visit in Venice
St Mark’s square is one of the most imposing and elegant squares in the world overlooked by the Doge’s Palace. Other must sees are the beautiful Basilica di San Marco and the bell tower (called “el paron de casa”) of San Marco, as well the ornate renaissance clock tower.
Don’t miss the beautiful Rialto bridge and the area surrounding it with the church of San Giacometto, the oldest in Venice The Rialto markets are also famous as colorful food markets selling fruit, vegetables and fish.
Check out the Accademia Bridge: the only wooden bridge in Venice from where can see one of the best views of the city.
Other great things to see
The Arsenale: the ancient shipyard of Venice, which is used today as a venue for arts events.
The rafts: a beautiful walk overlooking the island of Giudecca where we Venetians love to go to eat the Gianduiotto (chocolate ice cream with nuts and cream!) at Nicos or sip an aperitif at the Chioschetto bar.
The squero: these are the workshops where the gondolas are built. Only 5 of these are still in working order today.
And then of course there are the numerous museums of the city .. but that’s another story!
Venice events: look at the calendar!
Venice is still a living city (even if with fewer and fewer residents …) and it has very many events going on. Venice has exhibitions throughout the year but also hosts celebrations and events related to local folklore and sport.
There are a number of events in keeping with the naval tradition of Venice. From rowing regattas to the traditional show of the feast of the sensa (the feast of the ascension,) There is also the vogalonga which happens in November and is an non competitive race where any rowing boat can enter the course w
hich is 30km long around the various Venetian canals.
We also highlight two important events related to the history of Venice – the Redeemer (Rendentore) on the third Saturday of July and the Madonna della Salute (November 21st).
The La Biennale di Venezia Foundation, is a regular big international art and design exhibition.
The Venice Carnival, the most famous in the world!
Of course the Venice Carnival is probably the most famous event of all! (link PF) The carnival happens everywhere in the streets but also in Venice’s beautiful buildings. Why not enter into the spirit of the carnival and dress up yourself to experience the atmosphere and the magic of the festivities! A historical or fantastical costume will do -the important thing is to dress up!
If you are planning your trip during this period remember that the dates of the carnival are not fixed but follow the religious calendar: the Carnival happens in the 20 days before Ash Wednesday.
Getting lost in Venice is a great way to really discover the city, but we know that you may have a limited time here so we would like to give you some suggested guidelines.
We have created some itineraries in Venice to point you in the right direction. Some of the itineraries are developed along themes which might appeal to you.
Perhaps you might want to spend a day discovering all the sestieri or maybe take half a day for an excursion to the islands?
Check the link here venice itineraries to see what’s on offer
Venice in one day: can it be done?
It is difficult but we did it! Checkout our suggested route here – venice in a day!
Venice is only 5km wide so you can easily cross it in a day but you need to make the most of your time to explore this fascinating place! You can try:
Classical Venice: a walk between the Accademia, Rialto and Piazza San Marco is a must, once here it would also be worth taking the time for a chocolate or a coffee at the Florian (external link), coffee shop, the oldest coffee shop in the word, which opened in 1720.
Unusual Venice: venture into the sestieri of Castello (next to the Arsenale) and Cannaregio (with a walk in the first ghetto in the world).
If you want even more stories we offer a guided welcome tour of Venice: for a couple of hours you will be taken on a tour by real Venetians!
The future of tourism in Venice.
In recent years we have seen a radical change with a growing number of tourists visiting Venice. We want visitors to see the authentic city and not only the main tourist spots. Beyond those famous sights there is an artistic, authentic Venice we want you to engage with. The VivoVenetia team is composed of young women, all living in Venice, with the desire to show our city as we know it, how we live in it every day. Some of us were born here, while others moved here many years ago because they fell in love with this fascinating and timeless city.
Our stories are stories of experiences and people … because people are the soul of any city, through which emotions and traditions of entire generations are passed on.
We want to show that responsible and sustainable tourism is as possible in Venice as anywhere else!