If you’re planning a trip to Venice… Here we are!
You can follow the (very personal) advice of someone who lives not too far from the most beautiful city of the world, and you will be able to discover its most peculiar aspects!
Venice is a unique city, a wonder, a miracle on the water, an open air museum.
The city half fairy tale and half trap
As someone said.
I decided to divide this post in two parts: the first one, that you are reading now, will guide you in the most classic Venice for tourists and will show you the things that you must-see in the city. The second one, will guide you into a secret Venice, showing you things that normally are not visible to tourists and all those who don’t know its labyrinths. With the high water, its paradoxes, its slipperiness, but even the charm, class, elegance you will not find a way to get bored!
So, find a comfortable accommodation, leave your bags and forget about cars and standards you are used to in your routine: simply, get lost in this wonderment.
We can start from here: How to get to Venice?
From Treviso Sant’Angelo ‘s Airport:
Take the bus. Line 6 connects the airport to Treviso train station at the price of € 1.20 with ticket purchased at the airport. All timetables are here.
Once at the Treviso train station, take a ticket to Venice S. Lucia. You can buy it there or online on Italian Railways line at the cheap price of € 2.90.
From Venice Marco Polo’s Airport:
The two solutions are:
- Use Urban ACTV Line 5
- Use ATVO AIR TERMINAL Shuttle
Info and schedules here.
Buses stop not too far from Santa Lucia station, in Piazzale Roma. From there buses depart to Venice and Treviso airports. All ways of connection are available on this website.
Once arrived in Venice…
Do you already know where to stay in Venice? From hostels to luxurious ancient residences, you will find that Venice is not so cheap, expecially for tourists.
If you have planned to stay more than a weekend in the Venetian’s capital, my advice is to address to a B&B. You will find the cheapest on the mainland, in Mestre, which is well connected to Venice, and enables you to reach the lagoon city in just a few minutes.
How getting around?
Venice is meant to be explored on foot. The first thing you need is a good map but even with that you’re likely to get lost. If you plan to travel much by vaporetto(water bus), you can buy passes at the ticket office. The number 1 vaporetto along the Grand Canal is a good way to see Venice from the water and is especially nice at night.
Avoid gondola rides and water taxis! Spend some time wandering on the back canals, enjoying the architecture, people, and boats.
It’s not really necessary to spend money to enjoy Venice.
From where can we start? LET’S BE TOURISTS!
The Canal Grande of Venice
Venice seems a fish and is divided into six sestieri or neighborhoods. The Grand Canal, Venice’s main thoroughfare, runs down the middle. Venetians call it ‘Canalazzo’ but it’s not a derogatory name, it’s only their way to identify it. This passes through Venice for 4 kilometers, dividing into two parts the historic city center.
Much more older of the same old town, the canal has a S-shaped upside down, and in some places reaches up to 5 meters deep. Its width varies according to city areas, there are some places where it is less than 70 meters wide.
To connect the puzzle pieces of this city on sea-level, there are 354 bridges.
The three best known are :
– Ponte dei sospiri
– Ponte di Calatrava
Rialto Shopping Center
Shopping center par excellence in the lagoon city. All the major trading houses and banks were established here, around Rialto Bridge and also traders from all around the world praised their goods here. Even today Rialto hosts the largest and most important market in Venice. To fully know Venetian culture, you need a walk to the Rialto Market.
This market exists from about a thousand years, since the founding of the city. Except on Sundays, here you can choose every day a wide range of fruit, vegetables, fish and other goods . So, if you want to do a bit of shopping, do not miss it!
The market is “split ” in:
- Erbaria zone : named like this because it hosts vegetables, fruits and flowers market. Who is in this area in forenoon, could see the arrive of boats full of all sorts of greens, fruits of every kind and season flowers that the inhabitants of small islands in the neighborhood lead there.
- Pescaria zone : The Fish Market is, from the dawn, the lively place of the sale of fresh fish: fish, eels, crustaceans are show live on the benches while sellers screaming deals. Old and young Venetians occur early to grab the best fish, which comes in many varieties from different seas .
Must try : fried Baccalà (cod)in Rialto rotisserie.
Piazza San Marco
Venice’s living room, the only place called piazza (square). An articulate and airy trapezoid with porches on both sides, historic cafès and open-air orchestras, all other areas with this features are called campi (fields). Locals here are very expensive.
Tip: The best way to appreciate it in all its glory is in the evening, when tourists are gone or early in the morning , before they arrive. In any case, you will be captivated , immersed in an unreal silence that will make your experience magical.
Basilica San Marco
The magnificent Basilica of San Marco from over 1000 years stands in the center of Venice. The current building is the result of four previous churches .
The entrance to the Basilica is free, and for this reason it is often necessary to queue to enter. The advice is to book a visit online (always free): in this way you will have a preferential entrance.
Inside the Basilica are also present three small museums, in charge. Visit them or not depends on your interests and your budget! My advice is to visit the Museum of San Marco, in this way, you can also climb on the balcony overlooking the square and enjoy the magnificent view from the top.
Climb the bell tower of San Marco
It is the preferred observatory to enjoy the full panorama of the entire city of Venice from on high.
You buy the ticket for the lift (8 euros) and get a little queue but it’s worth it, for a view that takes your breath away. The look runs throughout the city, the lagoon, the mainland and on windy days you can even see mountains in the distance.
It is the most prestigious Italian collection dedicated to European and American art of the first half of 1900.
In this museum you will find masterpieces of most important and fascinating artists of the period: Pollock, de Chirico, Picasso, Kandinsky, Brancusi and Duchamp. Particularly interesting is the Gianni Mattioli Collection, one of the greatest collectors of the twentieth century, distinguished by the greatest artists of Italian Futurism as Sironi, Carrà, Fluffy, Rosai, some paintings by Morandi and a beautiful portrait by Amedeo Clemente Modigliani.
The museum is located in the only unfinished palace of Venice, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, bought by Peggy to create the largest museum of modern art of the ’50s.
The oldest ghetto in the world is located in Venice. Far from masks, gondoliers and tourist restaurants on every corner, here, there is a world apart where you can breathe peace and history. As regards the outward appearance, the thing that affects are the houses: very high and narrow because to the lack of space in the XVII century, were constructed increasingly upward.
In Canareggio is a must to visit the Venetian Ghetto, divided into three contiguous sectors: Novo , Vecchio and Novissimo and considered one of the most remaining intact. Four synagogues and two main restaurants, the Gam Gam is cheaper, at the forefront with kosher kitchen. Don’t neglect the nearby bakery, with confectionery products of Jewish tradition.
Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi
The area hosts three important architectural complexes : the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, the patriarchal seminary and the building of the Dogana da Mar, from which the area takes its name.
Both overlooking on Canal Grande, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana are the two expositive sets of the François Pinault Foundation. It presents important exhibitions of contemporary art, with works from the François Pinault Collection and works of the great artists of our time.
How to get there?
Palazzo Grassi – Boat Line 2 , San Samuele stop . Line 1, Sant’Angelo stop.
Punta della Dogana – Boat Line 1, Salute stop .
When to go to Venice?
If you’re planning a trip to Venice, some times of year are definitely better than others. Weather, festivals, and the acqua alta (high water or flooding) should all be considered when deciding when to go to Venice.
Late spring and early summer are the best times to visit Venice as far as weather is concerned. But the city during these beautiful warm days is packed with tourists, meaning that there can be long waits to enter museums and sights.
The fall is a lovely time to visit the city, but it is also when the acqua alta is more likely to occur. October through January is the typical high water season, though flooding can occur at any time during the year. While high water can definitely hamper your sightseeing, know that it has been a way of life for Venetians for hundreds of years and is a unique experience to have as a tourist.
Carnival – In february, San Marco’s Square and other areas of the city become a huge stage where all kinds of entertainment are organized, also celebrated on the mainland! The most theatrical and spectacular performance is undoubtedly “The flight of the angel” but the program is ample and will amaze you.
Redentore – Venice celebrated every year on the Festa del Redentore on the third sunday of july. The procession, does not cross the canele with floating ships, but on a bridge built especially for this day of celebration. At sunset, boats, decorated with boughs and colored balloons and well-lit, begin to congregate in San Marco’s Basin and the Canale della Giudecca. In the boats people eat a hearty dinner of traditional Venetian dishes waiting for the fireworks performance, which begins at 23.30 and lasts until midnight.