Fancy a visit to one of the most romantic places in the world?
Riding down the historic grand canal in a private water taxi with your special someone; or be spoiled by the rowing of a singing gondolier (if you really have to!).
Venice is a city with no roads for cars. Enjoy your walks or water-bus/taxi rides across to every area of the city. The Grand Canal runs through the middle of Venice, with only a handful of bridges linking the land on both sides of this canal together.
Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia
Welcome to Venice!
Step out of Santa Lucia train station and onto Venice, leaving the train station which connects the city with the mainland.
Beyond this point, you will not be seeing any roads for cars.
Once you arrive at the Santa Lucia train station, take one of the many ferries or one of the tourist boats that will take you along the canal, passing a vast array of palaces and churches whose picturesque and sumptuous façades overlook the Canal Grande (Grand Canal).
The Grand Canal is the main road in Venice. As an overturned "S", the Canal winds through the city center of Venice and divides it into two halves. It can be crossed on foot in four places, the Ponte Accademia to the south, the Rialto Bridge to the center, the Ponte Scalzi at the railway station and the Bridge of the Constitution between Piazzale Roma and the railway station.
Water, waterborne, gondolas, cargo barges, sailing boats, ferries and motorboats run here day and night. This central canal of Venice is flanked by over 200 palaces and 15 churches, which is why Venetians often call it "Canalazzo".
(1) Walk along the grand canal - following the route following; -or-
(2) Take the often crowded (vaporetto #1) ferry or any of the other boats along the Grand Canal down South.
You are doing the walking route ..
Take a detour on the left side of the city, and admire the ancient Jewish Ghetto.
It is a small "city in the city" and the silence and peace that you perceive in the ghetto immerses you in an ancient and relaxing atmosphere, distant from the turmoil of tourism.
This is the oldest and best preserved Jewish quarter across Europe, because it was built in 1516 for the will of the Republic of Venice. There are five synagogues and a museum here in the ghetto.
The Ca' d’Oro (the gold house) is one of the most beautiful and at the same time most famous buildings along the Grand Canal.
The exterior facade of this magnificent Gothic palace, with its arch windows and arches, was covered with gold leaves, giving it its name. Inside there is the art collection of the Franchetti Gallery.
The district of Cannaregio, one of the most charismatic areas of the whole city.
This area is characterized by very tall houses that almost completely shade the “calle” (water streets) beneath. This district is also spaced by squares equipped with wells and fountains, where you can rest on the benches during the walk.
Continue from here to the most beautiful sights of the city, namely Ponte di Rialto (Rialto bridge) and Piazza San Marco.
The Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is one of Venice's most famous architectural symbols, and along with St. Mark's Square, it is one of the most important and central points of the city.
The old stone bridge dates back to 1591. The Rialto Bridge was for the longest time the only bridge across the Grand Canal. The arc of the Rialto Bridge is supported by 6,000 oak poles, respectively, on every shore. With a length of 48 meters and a maximum height of 7.5 meters, the Rialto Bridge is an important testimony to Venetian art. Three pedestrian streets, full of shops on both sides selling souvenirs, jewellery and postcards, lead through this magnificent bridge. From here you will also have an impressive view of the Grand Canal and the life that takes place around.
In the morning you can choose to visit the Rialto Bridge as it has its own fish market. This is a living experience where you can breathe the true atmosphere of the city, along with the inhabitants who come to buy fresh fish.
The Rialto Bridge is definitely a scenic area and within it you will encounter many fashionable shops; but the most beautiful part is perhaps the top of the bridge where you can enjoy a special view over the lagoon.
In the evenings when there are fewer tourists, you can enjoy the thousand lights of the lagoon from its privileged position.
Napoleon defined St. Mark's Square as the most beautiful place in Europe.
In the past most of the visitors came to Venice on the side of Saint Mark's Square, just a few steps from the ship's rope.
The ambience of this sumptuous square is gorgeous. In its center, surrounded by magnificent buildings full of history such as the Basilica of Saint Mark, the Ducal Palace and the Procuratie, stands the imposing Bell Tower.
In this square are housed all the most important events of the city, especially in the period of the carnival that finds its fulcrum here.
This square is the true living room of Venice. At the beginning of the Piazzetta (little square) there are two huge granite columns: the Columns of San Marco and San Todaro. These columns are crowned by the Venetian lion of Saint Mark and Santo Todaro, the original patron saint of the lagoon town. Past executions were between the columns, so today superstitious Venetians don’t cross them in the middle.
There are three famous cafes in St. Mark's Square: 1. Café Florian: dating back to the 18th century, the oldest café in the square;
2. Caffè Quadri: dating back to the 19th century, and
3. Caffè Lavena: made in the style of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy of the Habsburgs.
The Clock Tower (built in 1499) has a characteristic exterior appearance is marked by the gold dial and blue enamel with stars and the San Marco Lion at the top level.
Two statues at the top of the tower beat with a bat the full hours. The big clock marks not only the hour but also the months, moon phases and zodiac signs.
St. Mark's Square is delimited by the Procuratie, three connected buildings. They were then the seat of prosecutors dealing with municipal administration.
The Old Procuratie (on north side of the Square) dates back to the 16th century. Due to increasing staff count at the beginning of the 17th century, the New Procuratie was built on the opposite side.
The two procuratie are connected via the Napoleonic side, which was built in 1810 at the request of Napoleon. The east part of St. Mark's Square is bordered by St. Mark's Basilica and the Bell Tower.
Partially connected to St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace is arguably the second most important attraction in Venice after the Basilica. St. Mark's Basilica dominates the square with its Bell Tower, while on the right side there are the Ducal Palace.
The magnificent Basilica of San Marco has been in the center of Venice for over 1000 years. Today's construction is the result of four previous churches. The Basilica constitutes, along with the Bell Tower, the central element of the square. With its Venetian-Byzantine components and the five domes, the Basilica undoubtedly presents us with a unique image in the West.
Inside the Basilica you will be welcomed by a grand three-nave church with five domes decorated with mosaics. Such gorgeous decoration is unique throughout Europe.
The Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace) was the residence of the Doge (supreme authority) of the former Republic of Venice and its center of power then. The palace consists mainly of three wings:
1. Southern wing facing the lagoon,
2. Western wing facing the square and
3. Eastern wing with the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) facing the canal.
The northern part of the Ducal Palace is limited by the Basilica of Saint Mark. The exterior facade develops on two levels. The southern wing and southern facade are the oldest part of the Ducal Palace. In the corners you will find statues: dating back to the 14th century and depicting the lion of St. Mark, Justice with the sword, the archangels Raffaele and Michele with Tobiolo, Noah as well as Adam and Eve.
Inside the Doge's Palace are, apart from private doge apartments are meeting rooms, private rooms, torture rooms and a prison.
After a fire in the 16th century, the sumptuous rooms were again decorated. Of course, illustrious Venetian artists such as Tintoretto, Tiziano and Paolo Veronese participated in the decoration of the halls. After taking the stairs to the right from the entrance, you will see the so-called "Mouth of Lion,". People used to put in the mouth hole complaints and private letters.
At the end of your visit to the Ducal Palace you will reach the prison.
Since the old prison became too small, new prisons were built in the eastern part of the palace in the 16th century. The prisons were connected to the palace through the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs). The name was given to it during the Renaissance period. From here, the prisoners could take a last look at the lagoon through the small windows, before heading into prison.
In 1755 Casanova, a great seducer, is the only person to ever escape from this prison, with the help of a monk.
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana
The Marciana National Library is located in the Piazzetta in front of the Doge's Palace. It is one of the masterpieces by architect Sansovino. The grand rooms are accessible to the public and preserve magnificent paintings by Venetian painters. They also host an Archaeological Museum and a library with over 750,000 books.
The Museo Correr with its rich and varied collections, covers both the art and history of Venice.
Take a ride on a Gondola for a truely memorable experience!
(You can catch a ride from pretty much anywhere in Venice. Do agree on the price upfront with the Gondolier.)
Start your day from here.
The power of the ducal republic of Venice was based on successful traders, and on the other, a strong military navy for the protection and conquest of new lands. Continued construction and repair of ships was therefore absolutely necessary to maintain maritime dominance.
The Arsenal, the former shipyard, developed very rapidly in the heart of the maritime republic. Here, both large commercial ships and handy combat galleys were built. Thanks to a workflow organization similar to the assembly line, the 16,000 workers were willing to build 100 ships a year, so Arsenal was one of the largest and most productive shipyards in the world until the end of the eighteenth century.
In order to protect it better, it was almost built as a fortress - access was only possible through the water or through the only main gate. The visit of this outstanding shipyard and center of the maritime republic of Venice deserves to be made also thanks to the historic Naval Museum that holds many objects of exhibition of the maritime republic of Venice and offers numerous information regarding the construction of a ship, the sea battles and maritime trade. The museum also houses a large collection of gondolas.
This is an area of parkland in this historic city, created by Napoleon Bonaparte.
The gardens contain 30 permanent pavilions with works of art. Look out for sculptures here, such as the statue of Garibaldi situated at the entrance.
See if you can spot the cats which run wild in the vicinity.
Continue to the gentle and quiet island of S. Elena, very close to the Biennale Gardens.
Catch a ferry that takes you to Lido, a 11 km long island that deserves to be visited.
The Lido has very beautiful bathing beaches, especially to the south with the beach of S. Nicolò and to the north with the Natural Oasis of the Alberoni, a special place where a protected flora grows.
The Lido has the typical Art Nouveu architecture, which culminates in the famous Hotel Excelsior, so if you love the sea atmosphere and want to discover this side of Venice you can sit here for an afternoon of sea and relaxation.
Visit this little island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, a small green oasis that hosts an Armenian monastery with an incredibly rich museum of manuscripts and ancient books.
If you prefer to immerse yourself in Venetian history and culture, you can choose to visit the islands of the Venetian lagoon, such as Burano, Murano or Torcello.
Murano was and still is the center of Venetian craftsmanship in glass processing. For reasons of fire protection and to preserve the secret of glass processing, blown glass factories were transferred to the nearby, but much less frequented, island of Murano, where artistic glass has continued to grow since the 13th century.
Walking along the two main canals, you will pass in front of numerous glass shops and factories. Glass processing and tourism are the main source of Murano gains. Murano art glass is available in all colors, shapes and variations. Even if you are not going to buy anything here, you will be fascinated by the beautiful display cases with their exposed objects.
The Giustinian Palace houses the Glass Museum. Here you can admire one of the largest Venetian glass collections and inform you about the history of glass production since Roman times.
Housed in the large Palazzo Giustinian near the island's center. "Museo Vetrario" in Italian, offers a century-by-century tour of Venetian glass-making. Roman glass pieces dating to the 1st to 3rd cent AD. Largest collection of historical glass with pieces dating from the 15th to 20th centuries.
Murano Glass Workshop Visit
Visit a Murano Glass Factory and Store and enjoy seeing how beautiful glass is made by the masters of this art form.
St. Pietro Martire Church
Worth mentioning is the Saint Peter Martyr Church, where the "Assumption of the Virgin and Saints" by Giovanni Bellini and some paintings by Veronese are displayed.
Street with interesting shops
Feel free to wander around for the rest of the day and catch up on the things you've missed ..
Of course, there is no better souvenir from Venice than an authentic Venetian Mask. If you can afford one from this internationally famous shop by the brothers Sergio and Massimo Boldrin .. you should definitely bring one home.
Domino masks are worn during Carnival, e.g. at the Venetian Carnival, where it was the part of the more extensive black (though occasionally white and blue) domino costume worn by both male and female participants, which accomplished the requirement of the masquerade that participants be masked or otherwise disguised, and achieved the elements of adventure, conspiracy, intrigue, and mystery that were distinctives of the masquerade atmosphere; the costume included the mask, as well as a cloak to envelope the body, and sometimes a hood (bahoo).
This art gallery and its surrounding area is nice for looking around and some souvenirs.
Here's a great place to watch boats go by and take a sunset photo of the grand canal.
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