Top 10 Things to Do in Venice _ Italy Travel Guide

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    WhyGo Italy Featured Articles Top 10 Things to Do in Venice

    Top 1 0 Th ings to Do in Venice

    by Jessica on December 29, 2011

    by Jessica | December 29th, 2011 Tweet 62 10

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    If you were to ask the Venice tourism office what there is to see and do in

    the city, youd likely be given a long list of m ust-see sights and attractions but only a f raction of those are actually w hat m ost people

    would consider mu st-see. You want t o know what the real top sights in Venice are so that you dont miss anything especially if you only

    have a short t ime to spend in the city but you dont w ant to be tr icked into paying a hefty admission fee for some tourist trap.

    Like 1k Send

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    So here are my recomm endations for the Top 10 T hings to Do in Venice. Ive listed them in descending order from t he one I t hink is most

    critical, so if youre on a really tight schedule you can check them off from the top dow n and get as far as you can. And if you think Ive

    missed something import ant here, or that I ve got them in t he wrong order, I welcome your input. I ts still a list of my recomm endations, so

    I cant guarantee Ill agree with you, but I do welcome your input nonetheless!

    > > Wanna know whats fabulous? You can do all of these things in (and more) in my suggested 2-day itinerary in Venice.

    Top 10 Things to D o in Venice ( According to Jessica)

    Get Lost in Venice

    There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that is as important when y oure visiting Venice than just w andering aimlessly through its streets

    and alleys. I f you only had 3-4 hours in the city, Id recomm end that you do this before you set foot inside a single museum or

    attraction it s that critical to enjoying your visit. By wandering (especially if you point yourself in th e exact opposite of the directionwhere t he herd is going) you can find Venices many charming and often-empty squares and streets, which goes a long way toward

    helping you appreciate t he city. I d almost say you could ignore basically everything else on this list and just str oll around with out a

    map But although I might not go t hat far (again, unless youve only got 4 h ours or less), I do consider the sentence get lost in

    Venice an order, not a suggestion.

    1.

    Visit St. Marks Basilica

    I love visiting churches in I taly, but this is by far my favorite church in the country. I ts beautiful outside, with its big onion domes

    and mult i-colored m arble pillars, and the int erior is floor-to-ceiling m osaics. Theres no fee to tour the m ain part of the basilica, and

    even booking an entry t ime online (so you dont have to w ait in the sometim es-long line out front) is free, so after youve wandered

    the city t his should be your next stop. There are three smaller mu seums within the b asilica which youll have to pay an entry to see;

    your budget and overall interest should dictate whether you v isit all of t hem, but if youre just going to pick one then by all means

    take the narrow and steep staircase in the entry alcove up to t he museum t hat has the original horses which used to overlook the

    square in addition to seeing the horses, youll also get to go out on the roof and overlook the square yourself.

    2.

    See St. M arks Square Wh en its Empty

    I know in # 1 I said that you should point yourself in the opposite direction to w here all the tourists are going, and since 99.9% of

    them are headed for St. Marks Square you may f ind it a little surprising to find t his piazza so high on my to -do list in Venice. But t he

    3.

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    key here is to v isit the square when everyone else isnt there. Of course, in order to do this youll probably need to spend at least one

    night in Venice, but I can think of w orse things to need to do. The best t imes to catch St. Marks Square at her m ost vulnerable are

    early morning and late evening, before the day-trippers arrive or aft er theyve left. Venice isnt a nightlife to wn, so it doesnt take long

    after t he restaurants close for the square to be emptied of much of t he crowd. Personally, I like it best at night, but I ll leave the

    choice to you.

    Take the # 1 Vaporetto for a Grand Canal Tour

    I think the easiest and most pleasant way to get around Venice is on foot, but the Grand Canal only has a few bridge crossings and

    taking a ride on Venices water -buses is a fun transport method. Even beyond the practical reasons for taking a vaporetto, however,

    theres the fact t hat the slow # 1 vaporetto that runs the length of the Grand Canal is the ideal equivalent to a city bus tour. Id

    recommend either bringing along a self-guided tour (Rick Steves has a good one in his guidebook) so you can pick out the sights

    along the way, or just sitting back and enjoying t he view no m atter w hat the significance of t he buildings is. Youll enjoy the ride

    either way, even more so if youve got a good seat and some gelato.

    4.

    Watch a Glass-Blowing Dem onstration on M urano I sland

    This is kind of a t ricky one, because so many of t he glass-blowing demonstrations on nearby Murano Island are very tourist-t rappy,

    but I have it on this list for a couple of reasons. First, most people I know have never seen anyone do glass blowing or glass

    sculpture, so its entertaining and educational even if it is touristy. Second, visiting another island in the Venice lagoon is a great idea

    during your stay, and since Murano is closest its the easiest one t o visit (especially if youre short on time). If you w ant t o avoid the

    overly touristy glass demonstrations, catch a vaporett o to Murano (instead of a boat booked by your hotel or a particular glass shop)

    and walk around the str eets until you find a studio t hat looks relatively open. There are more glass-blowing studios on Murano than

    just th e t our isty ones.

    5.

    Tour the Doges Palace

    Right next (and partly connected) to St. Marks Basilica, the Doges Palace is arguably the second most important attraction in

    Venice after the basilica (if y ou dont count the city itself as an attraction ). W hile there are several good reasons to pay the hefty

    admission fee t o tour the Doges Palace (Palazzo Ducale in It alian), pr obably the m ost popular stop on the t our is when you get to

    walk over the famous Bridge of Sighs. You can see the bridge from t he outside without buy ing an entry t icket, but th e only wa t o walk

    on the bridge yourself is as part of a Doges Palace tour.

    6.

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    Take the Elevator to the Top of the Campa nile

    While you can get a great view of St. Marks Square from the roof of St. Marks Basilica, you cant get a great view of the churchs roof

    when standing on it . For a view that includes both the basilica and the piazza, buy a ticket f or the short elevator ride to the top of the

    Campanile, or bell-tower, t hats in front of the church. The views are great, and you get an up- close-and-personal look at th e big bells

    that youll hear ringing out the t ime all over the city. If you w ant to avoid getting your ears blown off, Id advise making the tr ip to the

    top of the tower at something other than the hour mark.

    7.

    Wander the Streets of Burano Island

    With a little extra t ime in Venice, after your v isit to Murano take a vaporetto furt her into t he lagoon for a trip to Burano I sland. In

    general, the further you get into the lagoon from the core Venetian islands, the less crowded they get Burano is usually less

    crowded than Murano, for instance. And with it s almost cartoon-like brightly colored buildings, it makes the perfect backdrop for a

    stroll. Seriously, t he colors are so brilliant and cheerful, I defy you t o walk around Burano for even a half-hour and n ot have a smile

    on your face. Go ahead, try it.

    8.

    Take a Hike on Torcello Island

    Got even more tim e? Even more sick of t he crowds in Venice? Then get back on the boat and t ake the trip t o my favorite of the

    lagoons islands Torcello. Its a short trip from Burano, but can take up to an hour if you go straight to Torcello from Venice. Either

    way, its the ideal spot if youre in the mood for less structure and more nature. Most of Torcello is a nature reserve, and while you

    cant actually go hiking out in the f ields, you can certainly get away from the tourist hordes and enjoy t he tranquil view. There are

    roughly 20 p eople who still live on the island, and theres only one (super expensive) hot el, although there are a few places to eat.

    The main sight, which I happen to just adore, is a 7th century church on the island with more exceptional mosaics (a must if you

    liked St. Marks).

    9.

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    Window Shop at the Rialto Market

    I f youre not a foodie, this m ay not be something y oud put in your top 10 Venice experiences But I love food, and I love food

    markets. I n Venice particularly, I think a f ood market is as culturally interesting as it is food-related. After all, this netw ork of islands

    isnt exactly teeming with vegetable gardens or grocery stores (not sure if you not iced, but theres a lot m ore water th an earth going

    on here). So visiting the famous Rialto market is a great way to see how real Venetians get their food supplies. All the locals shop

    here, from restaurateurs to ordinary folk j ust stocking their kitchens. The Rialto market is particularly known as a fish market, but

    theres plenty of fr esh veggies and fruit for sale as well. If youre doing m ore than just b rowsing, remember t hat you dont handle the

    merchandise until after youve paid for it point at what you want and the vendor w ill choose and bag it for y ou. (As a bonus, its

    within sight of the Rialto Bridge, which is certainly worth a little bit of space on your cameras memory card.)

    10.

    You may have noticed that going for a gondola ride in Venice isnt on m y list. I know that for m any people its one of those things that they

    feel like they have to do in Venice or theyll feel like they havent been to Venice. I may be in the m inority on this one, but I feel like

    gondola rides are way overpriced, and not nearly the quiet/ romantic experience you might expect them to be. So not only isnt a gondola

    ride in my t op 10, its not on m y Venice to-do list at all.

    > > Find out more aboutwhat to do in Venice

    > > Be sure to read my5 best Venice travel tips, too.

    original photos, top to bottom, by: Janrit o Karamazov, pen ner42, mookiefl, sharedferret, VaakOpStap, Mr Gs Travels, Eustaquio Santimano,

    flappingwings, dachalan, Argenberg, andrfarmer

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    Tags: Featured Articles, italy itinerary, Things to Do, things to do in venice, top 10, venice, venice-guide

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    { 72 comments read them below or add one }

    Ren SeindalJanuary 26, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I would go kayaking

    Reply

    Fv June 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    As requested

    Reply

    JessicaJanuary 26, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Great art icle! I especially agree with getting lost and seeing Piazza San Marco at night. If you have t o get lost anyw here, Id suggest

    my f avorite neighborhoods, which are Canareggio, Dorsoduro, and a spin on the Giudecca. A few things I would add t o my list w ould

    be a visit to the Frari church and Scuola di San Rocco to see the great masters Titian and Tintoretto and at least one experience at a

    wine bar t o sip on some wine and snack on cicchetti.

    Reply

    JessicaJanuary 26, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Great suggestions, Jessica! And Rene, I would expect noth ing less from you than a kayaking suggestion. Perhaps aft er I take you

    Like Send 1,096 people like this...