The beautiful and dreamy city of Venice, Italy is famous for its beautiful small bridges, charming canals, singature gondola boats, unique ancient architecture, colorful surrounding islands along with long traditional handicrafts, especially when it comes to glass making. Venice definitely is one of the world’s most romantic cities, a dream destination for any honeymooners. Besides, there are also many famous tourist attractions associated with the culture and development history of this city of love. Let’s have a quick checklist with the list of must go places you should not miss when traveling to Venice! So, where to go in Venice Italy, where are best places to go in Venice and must see attractions in Venice Italy (must see places in Venice Italy)? Let’s check out our suggested the list of 12 famous, top places to see in Venice (top places to visit in Venice), must visit places in Venice Italy including top 10 places to visit in Venice, best places to visit in Venice best tourist attractions in Venice Italy to help you planning a trip to one of the world’s most romantic destinations!
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Best places to visit in Venice: Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square)
Piazza San Marco is the most important and famous square of the beautiful Italian city of Venice. The square is 175 m long, 82 m wide and is known as one of the most beautiful squares in the world today. Alfred de Musset once called this square the “salon of Europe”. Because it is not much higher than sea level, the square is often flooded during storms or high tides. This is considered the most famous Venice tourist destination that any visitor should not miss when traveling to Venice.
Located within the square’s grounds are 3 other famous landmarks you must also visit: Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and San Marco Basilica (The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark) and the St Mark’s Campanile (St Mark’s Clocktower).
Must visit places in Venice: Basilica di San Marco (St Mark’s Basilica)
The Basilica di San Marco was opened on October 8, 1094 with height: 43 metres and length: 76.5 metres (251 ft), also known as the church of St. San Marco (The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark) is located right next to the St Mark’s Square. This is also a top places to visit in Venice and best places to visit in Venice. Through many delays, the St Mark’s Basilica was continued to be built until 1094 was completed.
The Basilica di San Marco was the first church built by the Venetians in memory of the patron of the whole city. Legend has it that he was once a sailor of a ship that was unfortunately sunk. He was washed ashore on a deserted island by the waves, and while he was dreaming, suddenly an angel appeared and said: “I give you freedom”. He then woke up and saved several more lives. From there they set up and build a hamlet to create today’s Venice. When he died, Marco was buried in Egypt, but some Venetian merchants tried to bring his body back to Venice by covering it with pork and then bring it back to Venice.
The then Doge of Venice (The ruler), Giustiniano Participazio, built this church as the resting place of Saint Marco. St. Mark’s symbol is a winged lion, symbolizing the power of this saint. When visiting one of the best tourist attractions in Venice Italy, you should not wear short pants and your shoulders must be covered, especially not allowed to take pictures. A special thing here is the concentration of hundreds of thousands of pigeons, the peace symbol of Venice. You should not to feed the pigeons, you will be a €500 fine if seen.
Opening hours and ticket prices for each section of the church are as follows:
- St Mark’s Basilica: free admission
- St. Mark’s Museum: €5
- Pala d’Oro (the high altar): €2
- The Treasury: €2
- The Bell tower: €8
Normally, the opening hours for visitors in the above tourist attractions range from about 9.30am to 4.30pm. Summer may close a little later. Sundays and weekends are only open from 2pm to 4.30pm. According to my experience, you should starting to go from the hotel at 8am to come here. It was quite early, so the square was still open, airy. Waiting until 9:30am to enter the church to visit. You don’t need to visit the bell tower, but you can go to the shopping mall near the Rialto bridge to see the whole city because it’s free. If you want to get the photos of a lifetime at this place, it may be a bit difficult. Because no matter what you take, you always see crowded with tourists! Hehe, so if you want to take a luxurious check-in photo, you should go along the beautiful small canals in the center in the early morning.
St Mark’s Campanile (The bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica)
The St Mark’s bell tower next to St. Mark’s Basilica is the tallest tower in Venice. This simple red brick tower is 98 meters high, topped with a gilded statue of the Archangel Gabriel. The original construction began in the 9th century and was completed a few centuries later. However, in 1902, the tower was collapsed and completely rebuilt in 1912.
From the top of the tower you can see the poetic scenery of the beautiful city of Venice. When traveling to Venice, you should absolutely find an elevated spot to enjoy this city from a different angle. This tower is also an inspiration for many other similar towers around the world. Looking from afar, it’s standing out and dominating the Venice’s skyline.
The bell tower is open daily from early morning to late evening and serves later in July and August. It will cost you €8 to go up to the tower for a panoramic view of this romantic city.
Where to go in Venice: The Doge’s Palace (Palace of the Governor Palazzo Ducale)
This Gothic rcolossal building served as the residence of the rulers of Venice for centuries and remains to this day an eloquent embodiment of power and wealth. This is also one of the must see places in Venice Italy you should not miss when traveling here.
The pink marble façade and arched exterior corridors and fortress-like spiers on the walls convey a sense of wealth and power to those who come to Venice. Every corner of this building is impressively designed with sophisticated decoration. Inside the palace is a solid prison system. Impressive architecture and exquisite decorating are what make a strong impression on many tourists.
A 1-min walk from the Bridge of Sighs
Address: P.za San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Best places to visit in Venice: Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
This cathedral has an extremely large dome built on the triangular area of Punta della Dogana between the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal in Baroque architecture. This ornate basilica is dedicated to the Virgin Mary with numerous works of religious art inside.
Locals call the basilica is “La Salute”. The basilica was founded in 1630 to pay homage to the Virgin Mary and pray that she would save the city from the plague. The construction was hampered by the muddy platform of the earth banks and it took 57 years to complete. The image of the church lying along the Grand canal of Venice is one of the most impressive and outstanding images when it comes to Venice today.
The basilica is located on the banks of the Grand Canal and visitors can see this huge church when standing at the pier near the San Marco square. The church is open daily. You do not have to buy an entrance ticket, but you have to pay a small fee to access the altar area.
Address: Dorsoduro, 1, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
Must visit places in Venice: Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)
The Rialto arch bridge (Ponte di Rialto) has been a signature of Venice since the late 1500s. The bridge has a unique upside-down V-shaped design with roller barrier fences and high marble balustrades. This Rialto Bridge has a roof and was built by the talented architect Antonio Da Ponte. Da Ponte beat the famous sculptor Michelangelo to win the contract to build the bridge in a design competition organized by the city. This is also considered one of the typical symbols of Venice Italy. Of the nearly 400 bridges connecting the islands of Venice, the Rialto is the one that visitors love to photograph the most.
Address: Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Opened: July 1591
Construction started: 1588
Total length: 48 m
Clearance below: 7.5 m
Right next to the bridge is the largest shopping mall in Venice. There is also a local market held in the morning, with a tradition dating back to the 16th century. They sell fish, vegetables, meat, and fruits…
You should go to the rooftop of the shopping mall right next to this bridge to have the opportunity to see the whole beautiful city of Venice. The name of this shopping mall is T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS (Address: Rialto Bridge, Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy/Hours: 10AM–7PM). During the peak season, there usually will be a lot of visitors here, so you have to make a reservation in advance. Because each time visit you only allow to watch 15 minutes and maximum 80 people only. Please go to the link above to register in advance if you want to see the city from above. Note that when you set a time and come late, it will be considered invalid.
Best places to visit in Venice: Grand Canal
The famous S-shaped canal will bring tourists to most of the most famous tourist attractions. The Grand Canal is about 4km long and passes through many famous palaces and churches along the two banks of the canal. The most prominent of them are the Ca’ d’Oro Palace (Palazzo Santa Sofia), the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute and the Palazzo Dario.
The Grand Canal is Venice’s “main street” where all activities take place in the city. If you intend to take Gondola (the flat-bottomed boat, rowing by Italian men), you can find here.
Some pictures of small canals in Venice:
Must see places in Venice Italy: Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri)
One of the places that many visitors stop to visit is the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). The bridge connects the Doge’s palace with the newly established prison at that time.
The bridge is 11 meters long, built by white stone in the Renaissance style. The bridge was started construction in 1600 and opened in 1603 by Antonio Contino, a grandson of Antonio da Ponte who built the Rialto bridge.
The special highlight of this structure that any tourist easy to recognize is the sculptured faces on the bridge. Most of them are sad or angry faces, only one smiling face. In the 17th century, this bridge’s function was to lead prisoners from the interrogation room at the Doge’s palace to the cell at the Prigioni prison.
Legend has it that when convicts cross this bridge to enter the prison, they often take one last look outside through the small windows. From here, they saw a world so poetic, in stark contrast to the dark place they were about to face, that most of them let out a long sigh. Therefore, Ponte dei Sospiri also has another name, more famous than the original name: The Bridge of Sighs! The bridge is small and pretty, not as big as the Rialto bridge, but it’s also very beautiful on the picture.
A 1-min walk from the Doge’s Palace
Address: P.za San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Location: Venice, San Marco, Castello
Where to go in Venice Italy: Some other Venice tourist attractions you should visit:
- Church of San Giorgio Maggiore
- Teatro La Fenice Opera House
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection
- Venetian Ghetto (Jewish Old Quarter)
- Accademia Bridge (Ponte dell’Accademia)
- Ponte degli Scalzi Bridge
- Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli
- La Giudecca Island
Best places to visit in Venice: Wandering around the famous islands near Venice
The city of Venice is a gathering of hundreds of large and small islands. However, the most prominent ones that should not be missed are Murano and Burano.
This island is closest to Venice and more peaceful than the main island of Venice. You can visit some attractions on the island of Murano such as the Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus (Santa Maria e San Donato), the Church of Saint Peter Martyr (Church of San Pietro Martire), the Venice Glass Museum located in the Giustinian palace.
The island is famous for its glassware, mirrors, quartz products and chandeliers. You can buy some glass souvenirs here as a gift.
About 30 minutes by boat from the center of Venice, the island of Burano is quite famous for its colorful houses and handmade lace. Each house on the island is a different color. From afar, the row of houses looks like seven colors of a rainbow. The famous item here is lace. When Leonardo da Vinci visited the island in 1481, he bought a lace canvas for the cathedral in Milan. Since then, Burano island lace products began to be noticed. I was quite impressed with this beautiful little island. If you have the opportunity to visit Venice, do not miss this island.
This island is not as prominent and unique as the two islands above. The island is mainly for swimming. If you do not have much time, you can skip this island.
Where to go in Venice: How to travel between Venice tourist attractions
Above is a waterbus map at Santa Lucia station on the main island of Venice. My experience is that from the pier you go to the gate, you will immediately see the waterbus stops in front of you. From here you just catch the waterbus to go to the tourist attractions of Venice.
Day 1: Rialto bridge – San Marco square – The Bridge of Sighs – Shopping mall with panoramic view of Venice (right next Rialto Bridge) – The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute – Bridge dell’ Academia – Grand canal.
- Option 1: Walk from the pier to the above locations. Along the way, you will meet countless beautiful and small bridges. I recommend you should walking first because it is still deserted in the early morning, it will be more convenient for you to take pictures. When returning, take a waterbus to relieve fatigue. When passing through the alleys, there will always be signs showing you how to get to the Rialto bridge or San Marco square to catch waterbus. Just follow the directions or you should use google map for accuracy. All of the above tourist attractions in Venice can be walked between locations. The furthest is probably from Santa Lucia station to the square (30 minutes), the rest is only about 10 minutes between locations. The last point is the Grand canal, from this spot you catch a waterbus to the stop near the pier.
- Option 2: You can take the waterbus from Santa Lucia station (stop D) to Rialto bridge or stop C to the square.
Day 2: Take the waterbus from stop B to go to 2 islands of Murano and Burano.
In general, best places to visit in Venice, best tourist attractions in Venice Italy are quite easy to find and are located near each other. You can basically explore all of these must see places in Venice Italy and must visit places in Venice in just 1-2 days. A small note is that most of the bridges in Venice have a few steps, you should not carry a heavy backpack or carry a lot of luggage when moving on the main island of Venice.
Hopefully, the above information will help you have more choices about where to go in venice italy, best places to visit in Venice, best tourist attractions in Venice Italy, must see places in Venice Italy for your upcoming trip. Have a nice holiday!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in and from, and to Venice you can refer to
- Private Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) Transfers for Downtown Venice
- Shared Marco Polo Airport (VCE) Transport for Venice by Alilaguna Waterbus
- Venice Gondola Ride
- Venice Guided Day Trip from Milan
- Venice Excursion Day Trip
- Venice Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing Boat Tour
- Gondola Ride and Discover Venice Tour
- Murano, Burano, and Torcello Day Trip
- The Doge’s Palace Tour in Venice
- St. Mark’s Basilica Tour in Venice
- Best Of Venice Walking Tour
- Tasting Venice: Food and Wine Walking Tour
Are you looking for more top things to do in Venice: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here: Venice travel blog — The fullest Venice city guide for a great trip to Venice on a budget for the first-timers. And more Italy travel guide here.