Venice Travel Summary

The Venice Travel Summary is segmented into 4 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Venice:

  1. An introduction to this wonderful city;
  2. Facts & Figures;
  3. itineraries;
  4. What to See

In writing this post I hope to inspire you to explore this wonderful City.

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

1. An introduction into sublime Venice:

Spread over an incredible 117 islands, connected by over 400 bridges and divided by some 150 canals.   Once the wealthiest city in Europe, Venice is arguably also the most beautiful.  Built on wooden piles in the middle of a lagoon on Italy’s Adriatic coast.  Venice wears its riches with pride.  In its heyday, this city state had strong trade links with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world.

St Marks Basilica

 

During the late 13th century, over 3300 Venetian trade ships dominated Mediterranean commerce.  Throughout this prosperous time, the city’s most prominent families competed with each other to build the grandest palaces and support the most talented artists.

The main artery of the city, the Grand Canal, sweeps in an elegant curve through its centre.  A vaporetto (water-bus) trip down the Grand Canal will reveal the faded elegance of more than 300 palaces, revealing the city’s beautiful blend of Europe and Byzantium.  And it is these private palaces and houses, rather than the public monuments, narrow alleys and backwaters of the city reveal all its decorative detail which reflects its past wealth and importance.

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute 2

 

 

2. Facts & Figures:

Venice Facts Figures

Venice boasts having:

  • 30 million visitors per year
  • 417 Bridges (72 are private)
  • 177 Canals – the largest is the Grand Canal
  • 350 Gondolas (the average is 11m long and weighs 600 kg
  • UNESCO World Heritage status, the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Life expectancy in Venice is a very healthy 83.4 years
  • Blockbuster Movies filmed there e.g. Casino Royal, From Russia With Love,  The Talented Mr Ripley,  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,  The Italian Job,  Tomb Raider and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Gondalas and view1

Some other interesting facts about this beautiful city:

  • There are no roads in Venice only canals
  • Between the end of the seventh century and 1797, it was the Republic of Venice (Republica di Venezia)
  • The population of Venice has decreased from 120k to 60k in the last 50 years
  • Venice is sinking at the rate of 1-2 mm a year
  • The San Marco bell tower, or campanile, was built in the 12th century and collapsed in 1902.  The tower was rebuilt to be exactly the same as the previous one. The tower is 98.6m tall, making it the fifth tallest bell tower in Italy

3. Itineraries:

The first itinerary is my all time favourite and I cannot recommend it to you enough, if you only have 24 hours in Venice or you want to hit Venice with a bang and in all its glory this itinerary sure will deliver!  Even though my wife and I travel to Venice two to three times a year, I do this every time and take photographs from similar vantage points.

Itinerary 1:

Venice Itinerary Day 1 2021 v0.1

8am – Visit sensational St Mark’s Square:

Be prepared to be dazzled by a visit to the grandest square in the world which is surrounded by historic buildings e.g. St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Campanile bell tower and the Correr Museum

Take the elevator 325 feet to the top of the Campanile di San Marco for the best view in Venice. For a truly magical experience be on the top when the bells ring. Next visit St Mark’s Basilica and admire the Byzantine blitz of golden mosaics.

The light is fantastic first thing in the morning and you will be able to take the best photographs and selfies before the square becomes mobbed with day tourists.

St Marks Campanile

10am – Coffee at the oldest Café in the world:

Have a coffee at the oldest Café in the world situated under the arches of the Procuratie Nuove in St Mark’s Square. Caffè Florian born in Venice in 1720. Marvel at the Neo-Baroque splendour & modern art at an iconic 1700s café, turning out coffee, cocktails & snacks.  Have your coffee sitting at the bar – it will save you a fortune!

Afternoon – Wander around Dorsoduro:

Take some magical photographs and selfies on the Ponte dell’Accademia (one of the four bridges which you can cross the Grand Canal)   The view towards Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is sublime and one of my favourites in Venice.  Explore the fantastic modern art at the Peggy Guggenheim and at the Punta della Dogana.  No visit to Dorsoduro is complete without a visit to the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute which guards the entrance of the Grand Canal.   A walk around this area represents a more relaxed way to see Venice.

 

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute 2

Evening – Immerse yourself in Classical Music:

For classical-music fans head to the Vivaldi Concert at the Chiesa di San Vidal by the sensational Interreti Venezian.   For the hottest ticket during the Opera Season is at La Fenice. Drop by Taverna La Fenice for the cocktail of your choice – there is a fabulous cocktail mixologist.

Now you are likely to be excited and probably want some more drinks – the Venice nightlife closes-up relatively early. The way round is to visit the bars within the numerous five-star hotels which have fabulous live entertainment – a favourite of mine is the Hotel Danieila.

 

Itinerary 2:

Venice Itinerary Day 2 2021 v0.1

 

8am – Boat trip down the Grand Canal:

What better way to see Venice than in the fantastic light at sunrise.  You will be able to see the magnificent palazzi, church facades, narrow streets and the bustling Grand Canal where boats are delivering goods to a whole multitude of businesses.  Deliveries start early in the morning as everything that is consumable needs to be brought into Venice from the mainland.

For the photographers Venice offers the best chance of capturing the perfect picture early in the morning or late evening before thousands of tourists descend on Venice.

10am –Visit the Rialto Market:

Visit the fresh fish market and vegetable islands within the Rialto market which sit under beautiful neo-Gothic arches. Mix with the Venetians who will be bartering for the catch of the day and picking up fresh produce.

Afternoon – Ramble around Rialto Bridge and the San Polo district:

Take some magical photographs and selfies at the one of the world’s most famous bridges Rialto Bridge.  Visit the magnificent Scuola Grandi di San Rocco which contains 56 paintings by Tintoretto.  Then visit the Frari Church to see Titian’s pyramid-shaped tomb and his painting of Ascension.  A visit to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in the Ca’Pesaro (one of the most impressive palaces on the Grand Canal) has a great selection of 19th and 20th century art.)  There are some fantastic souvenir and craft shops in the small streets of San Polo.

Rialto Bridge

 

Evening: Aperitif o’clock

Reward yourself and slow down the pace by checking the traditional “bàcari” (Cicchetti bars or Osterie) and sampling the Aperol Spritz, wine menus and the delicious chicheti (Venetian snacks.)  Before so long you will have your second wind to explore this wonderful city.

 

4. What to See

Piazza San Marco

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • One of the grandest squares in the world is surrounded by historic buildings e.g. St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Campanile bell tower and the Correr Museum
  • The square is filled with the most beautiful and historic cafes playing crowd-pleasing classical music, pigeons, seagulls and thousands of tourists with selfie sticks all battling it for the best vantage points
  • Piazza San Marco is perhaps at its most romantic at night when the droves of day tourists leave Venice and it becomes a lover’s paradise

St Marks Campanile

 

Basilica San Marco

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • Basilica San Marco dominates the square with its Eastern-style domes and beautiful mosaics.
  • Built in the to replace an earlier church, the Basilica’s distinctly Eastern-style architecture underlines Venice’s connection with Byzantium. It is decorated from treasures from all over the world
  • The interior is splendid and is decorated with gold mosaics and coloured marble
  • Since about A.D. 830 the Saint’s bones have been housed on this site. The San Marco Museum holds the original bronze horses (you can see copies on the roof of the Basilica

Top Tip:

  • It is well worth paying to go on the Basilica’s Balcony which offers fantastic views St Marks’s

St Marks Basilica

 

 

Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • The seat of the Venetian government and home of its ruling doge, this was the most powerful area in Europe for 400 years.
  • The Doge’s Places was built to show off the power and wealth of the Republic. The doge lived with his family on the first floor. From his lavish quarters, you will follow the one-way tour through the public rooms of the top floor, finishing with the Bridge of Sighs and the prison
  • The palace is wallpapers with masterpieces by Veronese and Tintoretto

Doges Palace 3

Campanile (Campanile di San Marco)

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • The original Campanile was an observation tower and marvel of medieval and Renaissance architecture until 1902, when it toppled in the centre of St Marks
  • The Campanile was rebuilt 10 years later complete with its golden archangel Gabriel, who always faces the breeze
  • St Mark’s Square is the first place in town to start flooding, there are tide gauges at the outside base of the Campanile that show the current sea level. Find the stone plaque at the exit facing St Mark’s square
  • This fabulous bell tower replaced a shorter tower, part of the original fortress that guarded the entry of the Grand Canal
  • Ride the elevator 325 feet to the top of the bell tower for the best view in Venice. For a magical experience be on the top when the bells ring

Top Tip:

  • Visit as early as you can or as late as you can so that you can take photographs uninterrupted

Museo Correr

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • Museo Correr is situated in the ex-Royal Palace in Piazza San Marco and provides a comprehensive overview of Venetian history and art
  • It was created out of the art collection which Teodoro Correr left to the city in 1830
  • The museum also holds paintings by the Bellini family which capture the festival days of the Venetian Republic

Bridge of Sighs

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • The Bridge of Sighs, known as the Ponte dei Sospiri in Italian, is one of the most famous bridges not just in Venice, but in the world
  • The bridge passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the Doge’s Palace to the Prigioni, the prisons that were built across the canal in the late 16th century
  • Antonio Contino designed and built the Bridge of Sighs in 1600. Though highly ornamental, built of white limestone with lattice-like screens covering two small rectangular windows, the footbridge served a very practical purpose. It was used to lead prisoners from the examining rooms to their cells in the Prigioni
  • It is said that a condemned man would be led over this bridge on his way to the prison, take one last look at the glory of Venice, and sigh
  • The bridge is at its most magical at night when it is floodlit, and the tourists have dispersed

 

Church of San Zaccaria

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • The current church of San Zaccaria was built in the late 15C by Codussi according to the plan for the Church of Saint Michael.
  • This historic church is home to a Bellini altarpiece, a Tintoretto painting and the final resting place of Saint Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist and a crypt

San Giorgio Maggiore

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • This is the dreamy church-topped island you can see from the waterfront by St. Mark’s Square. The striking church, designed by Palladio, features art by Tintoretto and stunning views from its bell tower of Venice and the lagoon
  • It is just a five-minute vaporetto ride away from St Mark’s
  • Make sure you see Tintoretto’s famous Last Supper painting

 

Accademia (Galleria dell ’Accademia)

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • The Accademia Gallery of Venice was born in 1750, when the Venetian Republic decided to give the city an Academy of painters and sculptors.
  • Venice’s top art museum, packed with highlights of the Venetian Renaissance, features paintings by the Bellini family, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Tiepolo, Giorgione, Canaletto and Testosterone
  • Don’t miss Veronese’s “Feast in the House of Levi”, Titian’s “Presentation of the Virgin” Tintoretto’s “Creation of the Animals”, Bellini’s “Miracle of the True Cross”

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • The popular museum of crazy art, housed in the American heiress’ former retirement palazzo, offers one of Europe’s best reviews of the art of the first half of the 20th century
  • Stroll through styles represented by artists whom Peggy knew personally – Cubism (Picasso, Braque), Surrealism (Dali, Ernst), Futurism (Boccioni), American Abstract Expressionism (Pollock), and a sprinkling of Klee, Calder and Chagall

 

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • Guarding the entrance of the Grand canal, this 17th century domed church was commissioned in 1631. The basilica was built to commemorate the end of a terrible outbreak of the plague that began in 1630 and killed a large portion of the Veneto population. It was dedicated to Our Lady of Health (Salute in Italian)
  • The architect, Baldassare Longhena, was commissioned to design the church and it took 56 years to build and was completed in 1687
  • The octagonal basilica that combined elements of Venetian Byzantine architecture with domes inspired by St. Peter’s in Rome
  • There are number of paintings by Titan within the Basilica

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute 3

 

Punta della Dogana

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • This museum of contemporary art, opened in 2009, makes the Dorsoduro a major destination for art lovers. Housed in the former Customs House at the end of the Grand Canal, it features cutting-edge 21st century art in spacious rooms.
  • Built by Giuseppe Benoni in 1677 to ensure that no ship entered the Grand Canal without paying duties, the warehouse re-opened in 2009 after striking re-invention by Japanese architect Tadao Ando

 

Rialto Bridge

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • One of the world’s most famous bridges, this distinctive and dramatic stone structure crosses the Grand Canal with a single confidence span
  • One of only four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge was the first to be built. The original Rialto dates from 1180 and linked the political side (Palazzo Ducale) of Venice with the economic centre (Rialto)

Rialto Bridge

Fondaco dei Tedeschi:

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • The long-ago home to Germanic traders in the city and more recently the main post office, has been restored and turned into a luxury shopping centre with fantastic Grand Canal views from its roof terrace
  • The ground floor features gourmet food shops, ritzy cafes, classy Venetian souvenirs and free rest rooms
  • On the terrace you will treated to a unique perspective over the roofs of Venice and the Grand Canal

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari:

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • The Franciscan “Church of the Brothers” and the art that decorates it was warmed by the spirit of St Francis
  • The church features work of three great Renaissance masters: Donatello, Giovanni Bellini, and Titian – each showing worshippers the glory of God in human terms

Scuola Grande di San Rocco:

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • Sometimes called “Tintoretto’s Sistine Chapel,” this lavish meeting hall (next to the Frari Church) has 50 large, colourful Tintoretto paintings on the walls and ceiling
  • You can see the Crucifixion and the splendour of the Grand Hall

Rialto Markets:

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • Venetians have come to the Erberia to buy fresh produce for centuries
  • Heavily laden barges arrive at dawn to offload their crates on the quayside
  • Local produce includes succulent asparagus, red radicchio and baby artichokes. The fish market is also full of treat. Arrive early in morning as the market starts to close at midday

Chiesa di San Polo:

  • A lovely Gothic portal and Romanesque lions adorn this 9th century church, which was revamped in the 19th century in Neo-Classical style
  • Paintings by Tiepolo and Veronese, as well as Tintoretto’s Last Supper are housed here

San Pantalon:

  • The overwhelming feature of this late 17th century church is the painted ceiling, which is awe-inspiring with its illusionistic effects
  • The ceiling comprises a total of 40 scenes, depicting the martyrdom and apotheosis of the physician St Pantalon
  • It is claimed that it is the world’s largest work of art on a canvas

Ca’ Pesaro:

  • Longhena’s final masterpiece, this Baroque palace houses the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, which displays art by 19th century and 20th century masters such as Klimt and Chagall
  • The Museo Orientale has an idiosyncratic sets of artefacts collected by the Count of Bardi during the 19th century travels in the Far East

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