Tucked away from the typical hustle and bustle of Italian cities are the quaint towns of Venice, represented by its waters, white linens and peculiar islands. Being a popular travel destination, you’d naturally expect teeming crowds and snaking lines wherever you go. But it is possible to navigate the city and enjoy a pleasant fuss-free journey without having to huddle with the pack.
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Head down to the City Center at Piazza San Marco and wander around the iconic public square to appreciate the city’s architecture.
The city square, commonly known as St Mark’s Square, boasts of buildings and monuments representative of both the Baroque and Victorian era. From the gothic styles to the intricate details that dominate the landscape about town, it's definitely a sight to behold!
If you’re looking for something fun to do, you might want to amuse yourselves by chasing the massive congregation of pigeons in the square. It is quite a magnificent sight when a horde of pigeons take flight; perhaps you might even score a perfect photo opportunity!
Image credit: Eats and Sights
While at Piazza San Marco, you’ll notice an elaborate structure illuminated with murals and gold embellishments. St Marco’s Basilica is decorated with countless mosaics in its interior depicting the various biblical scenes, with many drizzled in gold! It is no wonder it was once dubbed “The Golden Church”.
Unknown to most, the Basilica doubles as a museum and treasury for ancient artefacts, precious gems and jewels. The famed statues of the bronze horses that once decorated the façade of the Basilica have since been relocated to its museums for preservation purposes.
While the Basilica is free to enter, the museum charges a small fee of €5 for entry.
Price: Free (€5 for the museum)
Address: Piazza San Marco, 328, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
May vary according to seasons. Be sure to check out Basilica Di San Marco’s Opening Schedules for the updated timings before making a trip down!
Official Website: Patriarcato Di Venezia
*Protip: The Basilica is closed to tourists on certain days for rituals. Do remember to check out the latest schedule to avoid being turned away!
Adjoining to St Marc’s Basilica is the Venetian palace constructed in the 14th century. The interior of the asymmetrical structure boasts an astonishing extravagance, representative of the powerful Venetian state and power.
If you’re a night owl, then do check out Museums by the Moonlight. You’ll be able to visit the Palace after hours (until 11.00pm) for a truly unique experience.
Price: €20 (€13 for students with a valid student card – up to 25 years old)
Address: Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Subject to change. Get the latest updates of the Doge’s Palace Opening Hours before heading down!
Official Website: Doge’s Palace
Image credit: Trip Advisor
Take a break from your long walk and sneak in a quick bite at Bigoi Venezia! It is popular among locals for its freshly prepared pasta. The pastas are affordable and Bigois doesn’t compromise on quality.
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10.00pm
Address: Calle Crosera, 3829, 30123 Dorsoduro S. Pantalon, Venezia VE, Italy
*Protip: It’s a takeaway store, so it might get fairly packed at lunch! Grab your pasta and enjoy your meal with a view at one of the many docks by the canals.
If you’re wondering why it’s called the Bridge of Sighs, that’s because prisoners of the past convicted of crimes had to walk across that bridge to get to the prison grounds where they served their jail time. It is said that prisoners would sigh as they make their way across the bridge as a form of resignation to their fate.
Today, the dark history of the bridge has been replaced with an urban legend where couples who kiss under the bridge will see their love stand the test of time.
One of the most iconic bridges that define the scenic view of dazzling Venice is definitely the Rialto Bridge. Located along the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge is the oldest and possibly one of the largest bridges in Venice!
Unknown to most, the Rialto Bridge has experienced multiple collapses since its construction in the 16th century. Much like how the city might be submerging soon, it’s best to catch it while you can.
*Protip: For good photos, head to neighbouring docks or bridges, which aren’t as crowded with tourists – you’ll get a clearer view.
Indulge in the famed local delight – tiramisu – at I Tre Mercanti! The restaurant serves up an authentic version of the Italian favourite. For those looking to explore beyond the classic, it also comes in Pistachio, Coffee and Samba Liqueur, Raspberry, White Chocolate and many more. You’ll definitely find one (or more) to your liking.
Price: €3.5 - €4
Address: Campo de la Guerra, 5364, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
11.00am – 7.30pm
Image credit: Venice-Tourism
Ciao bookworms! You won’t regret visiting the Peculiar bookstore at Libreria Acqua Alta. Heaps of books are gathered in boats and bathtubs, or in a corner on the floor, seemingly blended into the store’s architecture; a rather extraordinary and magical experience.
Address: Calle Longa S. Maria Formosa, 5176/b, 30122 Castello, Venezia VE, Italy
9.00am – 8.00pm
Image credit: Naturally Epicurean
Osteria Al Portego might be the locals’ best-kept secret! Located deep within the dark alleys, this is not an easy place to find, but once you do find it, you’ll be served some of the best pastas and tapas in Venice. The menu changes depending on the catch of the day, so come with an open mind and an empty stomach.
What’s food without wine? The house pours will only set you back €6-8 per person! You’ll never find a better deal out there than this.
The cosy setting of the restaurant is definitely a good place to unwind after a long day of exploring the city.
Address: Calle De La Malvasia, 6015, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
11.30am – 2.30pm
5.30pm – 10pm
*Protip: The place is usually packed to the brim during dinner. Make reservations beforehand to avoid being disappointed!
How to get there: Take a Waterbus from the nearest dock at Piazza San Marco
Waterbus Number: 4.1/4.2/13
Duration: 30 – 40 minutes
Take a stroll downtown and check out the artisanal stores selling glass-everything. You’ll never quite find two identical pieces as each artefact is hand-crafted.
*Protip: Don’t bother going store to store comparing prices! The prices are usually fixed at an average – just grab what you like!
If you venture deep into the town, you’ll find Cometa di Vetro, a breathtaking glass structure glistening under the sun rays; adding a touch of colour and vibrancy to the town.
*Protip: Visit the structure after sundown during Natale di Vetro (Christmas of Glass) and watch the structure light up!
Image credit: Abate Zanetti
The skills of Venetian Murano glass making is world-renowned. Home to one of the finest glass artisans, it still practices the traditional art of glassblowing. Ever wondered what it is like to make your very own piece of glass artefact? Here at Abate Zanetti, even a newbie can pick up glass making effortlessly. The teachers are very patient and are always around to help. So don’t be afraid to give it a go!
Address: Abate Zanetti Calle Briati 8/b - 30141 - Murano Venezia
9.00am – 1.00pm
2.00pm – 6.00pm
Official Website: Abate Zanetti Glass School
Photographic moments with the multi-colour coordinated walls of the town
You may not know this, but the colourful walls of the residences in Burano are painted for a reason. The town’s city council used the vibrant colours as indicators marking the locals’ houses to help guide the fishermen back home.
How to get there: Head towards the dock at Murano Faro
Waterbus Number: 12
Duration: 50 - 60 minutes
Image credit: Hotel Room Search
When being colourful is the highlight of the town, you ought to visit the most colourful house in Burano! It was once the residence of an avid painter named Bepi. A new illustration of geometric shapes was added to the exterior of his home every day till the day he died. Talk about perseverance for art! Today, the building’s facade is one of the city’s key attractions.
Getting there can be tricky! Walk along the main square of Burano and keep an eye out for a small alley known as Calle del Pistor. The alley can be found just across Restaurant Galuppi, and it leads straight up to Bepi’s house!
Address: Corte del Pistor, 275, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy
Tucked around the corner from the main square is a shop with no name, but a lot of skill. Having been in the trade for decades, the store owner has perfected her skills in crafting the legendary masks that Venice is famed for, as well as the lace trimmings that require dainty sewing skills to customise them to fit each individual.
Address: Calle de la Providenza 238
Varies, according to the owner’s schedule. If you miss her on your first visit, you can try your luck again another day!
*Protip: There isn’t a signboard for the store but you’ll find it around the corner from the huge lace store at the main square.
How to get there: Take a Waterbus from F.te Nove "A"
Waterbus Number: 12
Duration: 60 minutes
Image credit: agriturismopraetto
Once a monumental church of the most populated town in Venice, it is famed for its dazzling Byzantine mosaics decked in gold, depicting the ‘Last Judgement’. The defunct cathedral is located just across a lagoon. If you’re looking for a tranquil ambience, you could take a stroll around the Basilica grounds to explore the nature that has blended into its surroundings!
Address: Fondamenta dei Borgognoni, 24, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 5.30pm
Image credit: Venezia Unica
Ever had a contemporary art experience where art meets mankind and nature? Casa Museo Andrich is the place to be. Once home to artists of the Andrich family, it is now managed by their nephew, and houses a museum, residences and spacious outdoor settings that you’ll have access to if you’re booked for a guided tour! The owner offers in-depth insights and personal stories of the family on the tour while you take your time to admire the stunning art pieces.
Address: Isola di Torcello, Fondamenta dei Borgognoni, 4/L, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy
Contact no.: +39 041 735542
*Protip: Advance bookings required; contact the owner to know more about the guided tour itinerary.
How to get there: Take a Waterbus from Torcello at F.te Nove
Waterbus Number: 12
Duration: 10 minutes
Image credit: DoBianchi
Dine at Venissa, and visit the one and only vineyard of the Venetian Lagoon. A fine dining experience across the lush vineyards, serving the best of Venetian cuisine paired with Venetian house wine is bound to blow you away! The native species of Venetian Corona Grapes are used in the production of the widely acclaimed wines at Venissa.
Address: Fondamenta di Santa Caterina, 3, 30142 Mazzorbo, Venezia VE, Italy
Opening Hours: 12.00pm - 2.00pm, 7.00pm - 9.00pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Official Website: Venissa
*Protip: Venture into the vineyards after your meal, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the scenic ambience and its lush greenery.
Once you’ve seen it, you’ll be left without a doubt that Venice and its islands are named as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From its luscious greenery and unique architecture to the sparkling emerald waters and its many beautiful waterways, you’ll never quite find another destination that will leave you in awe of its beauty.