Venice is one of the most popular destinations in Italy, and it’s mostly because of its unique features. There’s truly nothing else like Venice in the country, and that’s why it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations anywhere in the world. The most distinctive feature of the city are the small islands that are separated by a system of canals and connected by a series of beautifully constructed bridges. The city is just something that everyone should get a chance to see even once, and if you’re thinking of going, here are 10 things that you must absolutely do if you’re in Venice for the first time.
1. St. Mark’s Basilica
It’s amazing how St. Mark’s still stands. It was built in 1092 and has beautifully stood the test of time. St. Mark’s is the most popular building in Venice, and you’ll see why. It’s also one of the most important religious buildings in Italy. Everything about this church represents the time when it was built and seeing it all is like being transported to that time.
2. St. Mark’s Square
Everything about this place is impressive and equally important. This square is the most popular piazza in Venice. It’s a good place to start your Venice trip, especially since you can access the piazza through the Grand Canal.
3. Canale Grande
Speaking of the canals, there are hundreds that you’ll have access to once you’re there. The Grand Canal is the biggest and most central of them all, and it is flocked by more than 170 buildings on each side. These buildings date back to as early as the 13th century. The water traffic going through here is something that you’ll enjoy seeing. A tour through the canal is one of the best ways to get a good feel of the city as well.
4. Ponte di Rialto
There are only four bridges that span the Grand Canal, and the most famous one of all is undoubtedly the Ponte di Rialto. It connects the San Marco and San Polo districts, and the bridge has served as a walkway for many centuries. The original wooden bridge collapsed in 1524, but the stone bridge that’s there today has been the same one since the rebuild.
5. Gallerie dell’Accademia
If you’re up to seeing some original pre-19th century Italian art, the place to go is the Gallerie. This gallery was originally a convent, and it was turned into a museum sometime from the mid to late 1700s. You can see various works by Titian, Bellini, and many other famous artists here. But the most famous piece in the gallery is Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
6. Venice Lido
When you think of Venice, you think mostly of canals. However, the city boasts of a beautiful long stretch of beach along the Adriatic Sea. It’s one of the calmest places you can go in Venice, and if you just want to stay away from the crowds, this is the place to be.
7. Doges Palace
This beautifully ornate palace is one of the buildings that sit right on St. Mark’s Square. It has a stunning view of the Grand Canal as well. The palace has so many amazing rooms that still contain all the original furnishings, details, and of course, artwork.
8. Bridge of Sighs
This bridge may seem small in comparison to so many other sites to see in Venice, but it’s also one of the most visited. It’s probably because it has one of the most beautiful views of the city. Stories have been passed on throughout history about how this bridge got its name, and the story claims that many prisoners have gone under this bridge and upon sigh of Venice, sighed in contemplation of their imminent future.
9. San Giorgio Maggiore
You can either take a Vaporetto or a private water taxi to get to this smaller separate island. You can visit a monastery, a church, a campanile, and a few other spots here. If you want a good view of Venice from a short distance away, this is the place to be.
10. Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
You may say that you can’t go to another church, but you absolutely can’t miss the Basilica di Santa Maria. This is the second most renowned church in all of Venice. Even if you can just sit on the front steps to watch the sunset, it would be already worth it.