Romantic, fascinating, unique: Venice is a city like no others and therefore one of the most visited places in Italy. We all know that. What you might not know is which are the best things to see in Venice: read our blog and start dreaming of your next trip…
Bridge of Sighs: the most romantic spot in Venice!
One of the most romantic scenes in the city, the Bridge of Sighs takes its name from a legend linked to Romantic literature. People in the past used to say that from this bridge one could hear the sighs of the condemned people being led to prison.
The bridge houses two overlapping corridors, which follow an arched profile. It was built at the start of the 17th century upon a project made by designer Antonio Contin: its purpose was to serve as a link between the Old Prisons contained in the Doge’s Palace and the New Prisons which stood beyond the Palazzo River.
Doge’s Palace: a symbol of the history of the city
The Doge’s Palace (or, as you will hear Italians call it: Palazzo Ducale) is a gorgeous palace built in Venetian Gothic style, probably one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice. The palace used to be the residence of the Doge of Venice, who was the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice, but also the headwuarters of the Tribunal of the Republic, where judges decided about the life and death of hundreds of people.When you get there it won’t be difficult to feel like a doge of the “Serenissima” (another name for the Republic of Venice). Imagine living in this elegant and prestigious palace. Close your eyes and see yourself welcoming your hosts, walking down the amazing staircase known as the “Scala dei Giganti” (“Giants’ Staircase”), framed by two gorgeous statues of Neptunes and Mars.
The main door is the Porta della Carta, a beautiful example of Late Gothic Style. The door is framed by two lines of statues and pinnacles and hosts on the top a statue of the Doge Foscari, kneeling in front of the winged lion, the symbol of Venice.
St. Mark’s Basilica
It’s impossibile to describe the emotion you feel when you finally see this Basilica in front of you. Just looking at its every detail would take hours. St. Mark’s facade is adorned by golden mosaics and is enriched by the works of artists who travelled from all over Italy and Europe to give their contribution to this masterpiece.
The contruction of the Basilica started as early as 828 AD, when the Doge decided to build a Church to host the newly found body of St. Mark, but the building remained quite plain until 1200. During the 13th century, after the conquest of Costantinople, five domes were added as well as the four bronze horses which are still located over the main arch. Artists from Florence and Milan area also added Gothic ornamental elements all over the exterior and interior of the Basilica, as well as mosaics and altars, which make St. Mark’s one of the most rich and amazing Churches all over Europe.
This beautiful piece of art can be admired on the main altar inside St. Mark’s Basilica. Built around 976-978 AD by skilled bizantine goldsmiths, its main purpose was to serve as a shrine to host the body of St. Mark, but it is so much more than that.
It is a big board covered in golden and silver sacred images and enriched by hundreds of precious stones. The Golden Pall hosts images of the God, Apostles, the Virgin Mary and the main episodes from the life of Jesus.
During particular celebrations the Golden Pall is hooked to a pivot, in order to make it turn and be shown all the participants to the Mass: during the years of the Maritime Republic it was just another way to show the power of the Venetian state.
Enjoy a Gondola Ride
No trip to Venice would be complete without a ride on one of its unique boats: gondola! Gondolas first appeared in the 11th century, simply as a mode of transport, since the city is almost all built on the water. Many were used as we use a shuttle bus today: to take people back and forth across the canals.
Taking a ride on a gondola can be quite expensive. Since the price is mandated by the city of Venice, the minimum price is 80 euros for a 40 minutes ride, so don’t expect to pay less than that. It may seem like the most touristy thing to do, and it probably is, but is so worth it, because it is the best way to explore the city and its romantic lagoon!
Visit the other islands in the lagoon: Murano and Burano
We highly recommend you set one day aside to visit these two islands: Burano is reknown for its beautiful lace and brightly colored buildings, while Murano is world-famous for its glass: assisting to a glass blowing demonstrations is entertaining and educational, an experience you will never forget! We suggest you don’t book one in Venice, since most are quite touristy and some are real tourist’s traps!
Visit the Rialto Market
A food market is always an interesting place to visit, but this is so much true for Venice. Touring the Rialto Market is as culturally interesting as it is food-related, since it is a great way to see how Venetians manage to get their food supplies. All the locals go food-shopping there, from restaurant owners to ordinary people just stocking their kitchens. The Rialto market is best known as a fish market, but there’s also plenty of veggies and fruit for sale. If you decide to buy something, remember that you shouldn’t handle any item until you’ve paid for it: point at what you’d like to buy and the person behind the stall will pick it up and bag it for you.
Now that you know what to see in Venice, we are sure you don’t want to miss anything! To make sure you have the best experience in the city why not booking a guided tour with us?
There are more than one to choose from:
- Classical Tour of Venice Highlights a 2-hours tour with an English-speaking guide to cover all the highlights of the city
- Highlights of Venice and Rialto Market a 3-hours tour of the best of Venice and a visit to the colorful Rialto Market
- Day trip to Verona and Valpolicella: a fantastic trip to Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, and to Valpolicella, the Land of Wine.