How many days to see Venice?
(All the itineraries have interactive maps)
The most suggestive city in Italy, perhaps also of Europe. Its beauty is based on the fact to have been built on the sea and the only way to visit this magnificent place is through the numerous channels that crossed the city.
The tourist will be fascinated while walking in the maze of the small and tortuous streets of the historical center Venice.
Venice doesn't have the grandeur and the magnificence of Rome, but it is able to offer unforgettable emotions to its visitors. And if you can't go there in summer, do it in winter!
The pulsating heart of the city and St. Mark square, where you can visit the homonymous Basilica, where there are different mosaics that represent the history of Venice. And the Ducal Building, where it is possible to visit the mythical library Sansovina. One of the most beautiful library of the world.
Finally, the bell tower of St. Mark with a breathtaking sight of the city.
Venice is not a large city, but the density of works of art, of monuments present in the territory, bring the traveler to stop and discover fascinating landscapes in every angle of the city.
In Venice, you can literally breathe the art and the history in every alley.
How long do you need for visiting Venice?
The recommended permanence is four days, but you can do it also in two days visiting all the main monuments.
But it is necessary to take another day to discover all the secrets of Venice, visit the beautiful islands of Murano and Burano. And probably another one to visit Padua.
If you have children I suggest you to read 2 days in Venice with kids.
Before you go any further, keep in mind that the plug adapters in Italy are different than most of the plug adapters used around the world so make sure to get one. A cheaper one like this will do its work.
What to see in Venice, Italy, in 1, 2, 3 days
To give you more possibilities, I have prepared for you 3 different itineraries. According to your possibilities, you can visit Venice in 1, 2 or 3 days.
What to see in Venice in 1 day
Venice is one of the most beautiful cities of the world and offers numerous opportunities both regarding its history (it is a sky open museum) or the things you can do like tour in gondola and/or in Vaporetto, going for bacari (typical Venetian taverns), shopping etc...
The city is built on the water and there are no roads but channels that cross it. Among the alleys, you can freely walk through the bridges (435).
Besides feet, you could think (in some cases) about taking the Vaporetto (for more rapid connections) that allow you to have a vision of Venice from a completely different perspective.
The Venetian chief town can be visited in one day, as long as you organize at the best your vacation, previously decide on what to/not to see in Venice, following a precise itinerary.
Trying to cover more zones of the city in a little time (with some trick). Follow my suggestions to discover all the must to see attractions in Venice.
In Venice there are more than 400 bridges, but I'll make sure you cross the main 4 bridges of Canal Grande in the itinerary that will bring you from the railway station in Venice Santa Lucy (or Square Rome) to the heart of Venice, St. Mark square (all in about 60 minutes afoot going with calm).
The first bridge that you will find and that it connects Piazza Roma with the railway station in Venice Santa Lucy is Costituzione or Calatrava Bridge (it takes the name from the architect that planned it).
In front of the railway station you will find the Ponte degli Scalzi Bridge (second bridge to cross the Canal Grande).
Continue toward the zone of Dorsoduro and after fifteen minutes you will find Ponte dell'Accademia bridge (3° crossing Canal Grande), which had to be a provisional bridge.
Instead, for the past 80 years, with expensive restructurings, its wood structure still holds up and melts well with the rest of the landscape. Once at the top, don't forget to make a 360°.
Proceed toward Rialto, the most ancient and known bridge in Venice, the 4th crossing Canal Grande. Reach the top and leaned out on the Canal Grande to admire the panorama and make a selfie.
Once off Rialto aim toward Saint Mark square, and before arriving you will find the Ponte dei Sospiri bridge (see image below). The legend tells that if two persons in love pass under the bridge at sunset in a gondola, their love will last forever.
Passed this bridge and you will stand in the heart of Venice, the beautiful and enchanting St. Mark square.
Venice must see
A classical itinerary in Venice consists in the visit of the historical center, of the Ducal Building and of the Basilica of St. Mark.
The Ducal Building is an extraordinary example of Venetian Gothic architecture, Doge's residence and symbol of the city.
Among the other things to do, I recommend you the "secret itineraries" of the Serene Republic with a specialized guide to Ducal Building!
The St. Mark Basilica is the fulcrum of the religious and public life of the city, founded in the IX century to guard the body of the evangelist Mark, celebrated on April 25th.
For a more rapid access to both attractions, purchase a ticket online to save time, especially in the high season or during the Carnival.
Lunch at the Hard Rock Café
For lunch, in your itinerary, you could eat at the Hard Rock Café, situated to the outside of St. Mark. Being the smallest in Europe and recalling every day many tourists, is better to purchase the ticket in advance.
Tour with a Vaporetto
From Saint Mark, after lunch, take the line 2 that it will allow you (at a low cost) to make the panoramic tour with a Vaporetto(around 60 minutes). You can purchase the ticket in the automatic box-offices.
Afternoon in the museums
In the afternoon you could visit one of the museums listed below, I recommend you to book the ticket in advance (you will save precious time) and to look at the prices and the schedules (as well as the days of closing), just follow the link I'll provide you to the official sites.
- The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is the most important museum in Italy for the European and American art of the XX century created by the American heiress Peggy Guggenheim.
The museum is located at the Venier dei Leoni palace on the Canal Grande, in what was the American residence of Guggenheim, it picks up pictures of various epochs and artists among which Picasso.
It is reachable with the lines 1, 2, and 3 of the Vaporetti (the line 3 is usable only from owners of the iMob card).
- The Galleria dell'Accademia located close to the bridge in the Dorsoduro zone has a collection of Venetian paintings but not only.
A visit is absolutely worth for all the masterpieces that include: from Tiziano, to Tiepolo, without forgetting Giorgione and Lotto. Reachable not only afoot but also with the Vaporetto lines 1 and 2 (stopped Academy).
- The Great School of Saint Rocco was the center of a brotherhood of devoted well-off Venetians and takes the name from the body of Saint Rocco, here guarded.
In 1564, the brotherhood commits the task to decorate the School to Tintoretto. He has put all of his mastery in painting the room of the Saint Rocco School Hotel, and he succeeded because this work is considered from everybody as the Venice Sistine Chapel.
My suggestion is to go afoot to Saint Pole (where the school is located) because it's easier.
The Venetian Bacari
At sunset, just before dinner, I suggest you go for Bacari. Venice is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations and is not only famous for its gondolas, the masks, the history, and the artistic patrimony, but also for its long culinary tradition, rich of different tastes and typical ingredients of the Lagoon.
The Bacari are a kind of little bars, where you can discover the typical tastes of the Venetian food and wine tradition in a rustic and convivial environment, everything at a reasonable price.
Venetians go there to drink a glass of wine accompanied by a slice of bread with cold meats, meatballs, sarde in saòr, tender cod and more.
One of the things to do in one day in Venice is to visit the richest zones of Bacari (in Saint Polo and Cannaregio districts).
While if you are more of the restaurant kind of person go towards the Castello neighborhood. Sure, the experience of a Bacari tour will be more "Venetian" of a classical restaurant dinner (and your wallet will thank you).
For personal experience, the best Bacari zone is around Rialto bridge, among them try "I Do Zemei", an institution also frequented by VIP (as you can see on the photos behind the counter) with fabulous food and a good choice of Venetian wines.
What to see in Venice in 2 days
Let's see together an itinerary of two days, where the first day can be devoted to the discovery of the classical wonders in Venice, while the second can be devoted to the discovery of the less touristy places, but equally fascinating.
Beginning from the train station of Santa Lucia, which connects the city with the dry land, the journey could start with the classical direction of Saint Mark square, but I suggest you make a deviation to left part of the city, to admire the ancient Jewish Ghetto that is just a few footsteps away.
It's like a small "city in the city", the silence and the peace perceived in the ghetto immerse you in an ancient environment, it relaxes you from the frenzy of the tourism bringing you in a mystical dimension, very religious and respectful of the spirituality of the place.
In the ghetto, you can take a seat under the shade of a secular plant and admire the coming and going of the rabbis. It's the oldest Jewish district and the better preserved of the whole Europe, born in 1516 by order of the "Serenissima Republic". There are five synagogues and a beautiful museum.
You find yourself in the Cannaregio district, one of the most charismatic of the whole city, characterised from tall houses that almost totally shade the underlying alleys and squares.
From Cannaregio you can continue your itinerary towards the most classical beauties of the city, the Rialto Bridge and Saint Mark square.
In the forenoon, at the Rialto Bridge, is held the characteristic market of the fish, an experience to be lived to savor the true atmosphere of the Venice, with the citizens that come to purchase the fresh fish while the scream unmolested.
The Rialto Bridge is surely a scenographic area and on it you will find many fashion shops, but the most beautiful part is the summit of the bridge where you can enjoy of a special sight of the lagoon.
Crowded in every season, the Rialto Bridge deserves to be visited in the morning for the market or in the evening, when the tourism decrease a little and you can look at the thousand lights of the lagoon.
From Rialto, you can nimbly continue toward Saint Mark square, the historical heart of the city, a place that will leave you dumbfounded when visited for the first time.
All the most important events of the city are held in this place, especially in the period of the carnival. Here you can visit the Basilica of Saint Mark with its iconic bell tower while in the right side there is Palazzo Ducale and the Correr Museum.
Here you can spend a lot of time, both the Basilica and Palazzo deserve a visit.
This time the starting point is Saint Mark square from which you can continue crossing its left section to reach the Ponte dei Sospiri, the Casanova's prison and a very charismatic bridge due to its form and position.
From there you can continue the walk towards the Biennale gardens and the Arsenale (the harbor).
The arsenal deserves to be visited, especially in concomitance with the Biennal exhibitions of Art or Architecture events. It worth a visit, above all if you love art, the ticket is around € 25.
The itinerary continues toward the sweet and calm island of Saint Elena, very close to the Biennale Gardens and from there you can take a ferry that in a few minutes will bring you to the Lido, an island long 11 kilometers that deserve to be visited.
The Lido showcase beautiful beaches, especially S. Nicolò in the south and Alberoni in the north, a special place where it grows a protected flora.
If you prefer the Venetian history and culture, you can choose to visit the most important islands of the lagoon as Burano, Murano or Torcello, but also the island of St. Lazzaro of the Armenian, a small green oasis that hosts an Armenian monastery with an incredible museum rich of manuscripts and ancient books.
What to see in Venice in 3 days
Your itinerary start from Venice Santa Lucia train station, just outside the station walk down towards Saint Mark square crossing the Ponte dei Scalzi bridge.
Following the indication that you will find posted on the buildings and well in sight you should continue toward Saint Mark / Rialto Bridge, the most ancient and beautiful bridge in Venice.
The zone around the bridge offers numerous shopping alternatives, From the typical Venetian Bacari up to the market of the fish (only the morning).
After few minutes afoot you will arrive at Saint Mark square, not before seeing the Ponte dei Sospiri Bridge.
It deserves a visit the Palazzo Ducale and the Saint Mark Basilica, the most impressive Venetian monument that symbolizes the greatness of the Serenissima.
Giving the high influx of tourists I advise buying the tickets in advance.
Afternoon at Saint Polo
The best way to reach and to bathe in the atmosphere of St. Polo is surely afoot, or you can also reach it by gondola or Vaporetto.
The historical area of Saint Polo is really adjacent to Rialto, where you can find some Bacari where it is possible to eat and drink a glass of good wine (you could do a savory break).
The historical boundaries of St. Polo (also called "Venice Libertina") are witnesses of a very curious part of the city's history, with characters such Casanova.
Today Saint Polo overlooked old buildings such The Great school of Saint Rocco, center of a devoted brotherhood.
Reachable afoot or with the Vaporetto (stopped St. Tomà line 2) the Building Corner Mocenigo, a beautiful museum included in a noble building close to Rialto.
This museum describes the history of the '700 Venetian fashion. It is possible to visit the room where is explained the creation of the perfumes with the possibility to sniff the raw materials with which they were created.
Night tour in Vaporetto
I have decided to propose you a night tour in Vaporetto to see Venice from a different perspective and completely illuminated. With the line 2 you can cross the principal channels in about 60 minutes.
The islands can easily be visited through a Vaporetto, all it takes is find a map with the various lines and schedule which line to take.
Or take a guided tour to visit all the main islands.
Murano with its artistic glasses.
The picturesque Burano, famous for its laces.
Included in the price of the ticket, there is the visit to the island of Torcello (once more populated and powerful than the same Venice), a center of numerous Byzantine churches.
Once back from the islands, start from Saint Mark and go towards Dorsoduro or if you are tired after the tour of the islands, get off at the stop of the Accademia.
At the end of the Accademia bridge, you will find the Accademia Galleries, the only place to see the history of the Venetian painting from '300 to '700.
In the Gallery it is possible to admire masterpieces of extreme charm, among which: Saint Giorgio by Mantegna, the San Girolamo by Piero della Francesca, the Vergine by Cosmè Tura, the Tempesta by Giorgione; the Pietà by Tiziano and artworks by Tintoretto and Veronese.
Besides the Galleries you could make a visit to Ca' Rezzonico, a splendid building leaned out on the Canal Grande that preserve stupendous works of this gold period for the city.
Inside you will find beautiful rooms rich in pictures, frescos on the ceilings and furniture of the epoch (stopp Vaporetto Ca Rezzonico line 2). Visiting the official site you can have all the information that you may need (price, schedules, accessibility etc.).
Dorsoduro unites tourists, university students and it is the ideal place to make a break. In the central square, Campo Santa Margerita, there is the blue, red, orange or black cafe where you can stop to recover from the tour.
There are also a lot of little shops and good restaurants.
The Castello district connects to Cannaregio through Saint Giovanni and Paolo bridge and is the only district that doesn't lean out to the Canal Grande, but englobes the whole immense complex of the Arsenale.
This district hosts various convents:
Convent of the Saints Giovanni and Paolo, reconstructed between 1660 and 1675, it includes two cloisters and a courtyard. Today it hosts the civil hospital of Venice.
Convent of St. Francesco della Vigna, date back to the '400 and currently is center of the Institute of Ecumenical Sciences. During the summer hosts concerts of organ and Gregorian.
In the east, you'll find the Public Gardens created in 1807 after a Napoleonic decree. In the same year was realized Street Garibaldi, today full of life and rich of shops, cafe, and restaurants of every kind. Furthermore, every morning is held a fruit, vegetable, and fish market.
Among the other things to see here is the Arsenale, an ancient complex of shipyards and shops that it constitutes a very wide part of the insular city of Venice. It was the heart of the Venetian naval industry from the XII century.
A part of the great complex now entertains the exposures of the contemporary art of the Biennale exhibition that I recommend to visit, both to the experts of art that to the most curious tourists because it's very interesting.
Cannaregio is a must to do, is one of the wider districts in Venice and it is situated between the Castello district and the Santa Croce district, to which is connected through the Ponte dei Scalzi bridge.
Here you can admire, numerous monuments, churches, and buildings that surely deserve a visit. Among the most important there are:
the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, decorated with images of mermaids rather than the classical religious images.
the Church of the Madonna degli Orti, with paintings of Tiziano.
the Church of the Carmelitani Scalzi, originally depicted by Tiepolo, it was destroyed by a bomb during the war. Today the fresco is visible at the Accademia Galleries.
In the zone of Cannaregio, you can visit the Jewish (the most ancient of Europe) Ghetto, enveloped in a mystical atmosphere.
Venice at night
See Venice in daylight is surely an experience to do at least once in the life, but to try the true and intimate atmosphere of this city is necessary to wait for the evening when the sun leaves space to the stars.
When the reflexes of the ancient buildings in the channels create a parallel world and it seems to go back in time.
Here is an itinerary afoot to bathe in a more authentic Venice.
Let's begin the exploration of the city from one of the Bacari? Can't-miss the spritz (also called locally 'spriss'), the Venetian appetizer made of white wine, soda, Aperol or Campari and an orange slice.
Just few footsteps from the train station there is a tradition for the Venetian students: "Da Lele", you will understand why here the appetizer is a rite!
Something to eat with the spritz?
In England there is fish and chips, USA is the country of the fasts food, and Venice?
Venice has its street food too:
the 'Scartosso', or the walking fried. Go to "Aqua&Mais", in Campiello dei Meloni, with 3 € or 5 € you can buy your fried with shrimps, polenti and schie, squids, all served in a cone of paper.
After this stop, reach one of the more photographed places of this city: Saint Mark square, a classic I know! But at night is a whole other thing.
Without the crowd of the diurnal hours, it seems to shine of proper light with its arches, the bell tower, and the winged lion (symbol of Venice).
Before going to sleep grant you another look on the Canal Grande, this time from the Ponte dell'Accademia Bridge, one of my preferred glimpse of Venice.
If for you the night is still young, all it takes is going beyond this bridge to dive in the Venetian nightlife.
Venice is made to be seen afoot because in every alley there is a building, a channel or a bridge worthy of admiration, especially at night.
The last tip! Remember that in Venice you must walk to the right or some Venetian could reproach you in dialect, especially when the streets are narrow!
How much is a gondola ride in Venice?
Symbol of Venice, the gondola is the characteristic and a romantic means of transport but, unfortunately, too often it's cost was high and many tourists gave up.
Nevertheless, in the last years, following repeated complaints from the tourists and of the various consumer associations the municipality of Venice has thought well to regulate the transport in gondola with applied fees.
Today, the official cost are € 80 for 40 minutes and € 100 after 7:00 pm.
How long is the gondola ride in Venice?
A ride in gondola last 40 minutes. Obviously, a client that wants a longer ride can have it paying something more.
The minutes can vary from the price above for different factors, you can arrange a price with the gondolier, agencies (if you arrive through a reserved tour online) and other.
A tip, arrange the price and the duration of the ride before climbing in the gondola, there are gondoliers that are in a hurry while others are more open and can also leave you 5 minutes more.