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17 Best Things To Do In Venice 

From museums to markets, shops to neighborhoods. 

A testament to art, romance, trade, ingenuity, and imagination, Venice is a dream come to life complete with palazzos, plazas, and squares set amongst canals great and small. The city is replete with great architectural attractions that define the history of this once great maritime power, but be sure to schedule some downtime between all that sightseeing. After all, what’s better than a break with a glass of Prosecco and some seafood, or a stroll through the streets with no destination in mind? 

With so much to do, see, and eat, it's hard to know how best to plan out your itinerary for optimal sightseeing—whether it's your first time visiting or your fifth. This list of the best things to do in Venice is a great place to start.

But remember—no list of things to do can compare to a custom-built itinerary from Journy. Leave it to the experts to build a daily travel plan from scratch just for you—complete not only with activities, but also restaurants, cafés, bars, transportation, and accommodation.

1Snap a Pic at The Famous Bridge of Sighs


Piazza San Marco, 1, 30100 Venezia, Italy
The Bridge of Sighs is perhaps the most famous bridge in Venice, having captured the imagination of poets, composers, and musicians.

It's shrouded in history, serving as a thoroughfare between the palazzo and the prison since 1600. Legend has it that if a couple kiss beneath the bridge at sunset, their love will last forever.

2Stroll Across The Rialto Bridge


San Polo 530
Originally built as early as 1173, but with multiple reconstructions over the centuries, the Rialto Bridge is an icon on the Venetian landscape.

It's one of four bridges that cross Venice’s grand canal, so the historic grandeur of this structure is impossible to miss.
Sounds like something you’d like to experience? Trust the experts at Journy to build an itinerary from scratch just for you with all the must-see sights and hidden gems.

3Visit St Mark's Basilica


Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, Piazza San Marco, 328, 30124 Venezia, Italy
Perhaps the jewel in the crown of Venice, St. Mark’s Basilica is a veritable landmark with a history spanning back to the 11th century.

Whether you’re interested in religion, history, art, and architecture—or simply want to see all of Venice’s greatest hits for yourself—the Basilica di San Marco should be at the top of your list.

4Walk Through The Rialto Market


Campo della Pescheria, 30125 San Polo, Venezia VE, Italy
In the shadow of the iconic Ponte Rialto, you’ll find the Rialto Market, a bustling spot where locals and tourists alike gather to gawk at the farm-fresh produce and just-caught seafood. Head there early in the morning to spot vendors and restaurateurs haggling over the prices for the day’s catch. It’s an overwhelming (in a good way!) and vibrant scene that's a highlight of any trip to Venice. 

5Visit Doge's Palace


Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
The Doge’s Palace is a striking example of Gothic architecture. The site has served as the seat of government and the Doge’s official residence since the 9th century and was restored by Antonio da Ponte following a disastrous fire in the 16th century. 

In order to properly take in all there is to see in this enormous palace, consider a guided tour (or audio tour) and take ample time to explore every nook and cranny. 

Protip: Go earlier in the morning to avoid lines and purchase a cumulative ticket, which includes several museums around the city. 

6Explore The History of The Famous Murano Glass


Murano, 30141 Venice, Italy
Murano may not appear like the Venice that you were expecting, but its colorful streets and relaxed vibes are every bit as Venetitian as the bustling crowds of Piazza San Marco.

A series of seven small islands linked by bridges, Murano is home to the famed Murano glass and a number of beautiful churches and palaces. Escape for a day from the buzz of the city and take your time strolling along the canals of Murano, relaxing in their intimate cafés, and soaking in the tranquil beauty of your surroundings.

7Get a Glimpse of The Locals' Venice in Cannaregio


Cannaregio, 30100 Venice, Italy
Cannaregio is a peaceful, charming, off-the-beaten-path neighborhood set aside from the tourist hotspots of Venice. It's home to splendid architecture, quaint restaurants, elegant bars, and unique boutiques—the perfect destination to get a sense for "authentic" Venetian life (and avoid the crowds). 

On our list of the best things to do in Cannaregio? Visit the Orsoni Colour Library for traditional Venetian opaque glass displays, wander through the Venetian ghetto, munch on fritoìn (a classic Venetian street food made of fried seafood), and stock up on souvenirs along Strada Nuova. 

Cannaregio is also a common point of departure for the Venetian islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

8Take in The View From Caffe Florian


Piazza San Marco, 57, 30124 Venezia, Italy
The oldest café in the world, Florian is as famous for its neo-Baroque extravagance as its modern art. It has been serving coffee, cocktails, and snacks on St. Mark’s Square since 1720 (although, warning: service can be slow). Still, the tea and pastries can't be beat. If you choose to sit at a table, it will cost you 6 euros—think of it as the price of admission for the small live orchestra and the living theater of the square.

9Explore Modern Art at Collezione Peggy Guggenheim


Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia, Italy
When Peggy Guggenheim lived in this waterside palace, she became one of the most influential names in the Renaissance art world. An avid collector, she filled her home with pieces from Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Salvador Dali, and so many more. After her death, her home was opened up to the public, and this gorgeous mansion is now the best place in Venice to see modern, surrealist, and abstract art. Be sure to spend some time ambling through the courtyard’s sculpture garden as you ogle at the brilliant architecture.

10Shop For Traditional Venetian Masks at Ca' Macana


Sestiere Dorsoduro, 3172, 30123 Venezia, Italy
Open since 1984, Ca'Macana is one of Venice's oldest and most highly regarded mask workshops. It's here where the artisans still abide by traditional handmade techniques in both Commedia dell'arte and Venetian styles of papier-mâché creations. They also host frequent mask-making workshops for families and individuals.

11Walk The Streets of The Venetian Ghetto (Campo del Ghetto Nuovo)


Campo di Ghetto Nuovo, 30121 Venezia, Italy
The Venetian Ghetto is located in the Cannaregio neighborhood the city. It's divided between the Ghetto Nuovo ("New Ghetto") and Ghetto Vecchio ("Old Ghetto") and dates back to the early 1500s, when the Venetian Republic forcibly segregated and surveilled Jews, dictating where they could live. Today, the area remains a bustling cultural center of Jewish life and is home to a yeshiva, several Judaica shops, a Jewish museum, Kosher restaurants, and a Chabad synagogue. 

12Indulge in The Best Gelato in Venice at Gelatoteca SuSo


Calle de la Bissa, 5453, 30124 San Marco, Venezia VE, Italy
For the perfect gelato pitstop around Piazza San Marco and Rialto Bridge, make a beeline for Gelatoteca SuSo. There's more than two dozen flavors on offer that are anything but ordinary—think fig and walnut, ginger and cinnamon, passion fruit, and Japanese mochi. And yes, there's also gluten-free cones available!

13Visit Drogheria Mascari, The Last Old-World Spice Shop in Venice


381 S. POLO, Venezia, VE 30125, 30125 Venezia, Italy
The only surviving spice merchant on a street once named for them, Drogheria Mascari is an enchanting glimpse into old-world Venice. In addition to hundreds of high-quality spices, you can find numerous truffles, tea, dried mushrooms, and balsamic vinegar available by the gram or liter—plus unusual jams and candy. Don’t leave without seeing the back room, which is stocked with hundreds of bottles of local wines and liquors.

14Visit Scuola Grande di San Rocco


Campo San Rocco, 3052, 30125 San Polo, Venezia VE, Italy
Scuola Grande di San Rocco is the ultimate place to take in Tintoretto’s work. During the 16th century, he won the contract to paint all of the large canvases in the Scuola thanks to a cunning strategy: he presented the boardroom with an extravagant ceiling panel of St. Roch rather than the sketches that were requested of the competitors. Today, you’ll find his depictions of both the Old and New Testaments as you explore.

15Explore The Flooded Crypt of The Church of San Zaccaria


Campo S. Zaccaria, 30122 Venezia, Italy
The Church of San Zaccaria is a magnificent 15th-century church that holds masterpieces by Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, and Van Dyck. However, the real star of the show is the flooded crypt, filled with water from the surrounding Venice canals. The burial area features stunning columns and vaulted ceilings from the time of its erection, which is equal parts eery and fascinating when juxtaposed against the permanent body of water that reaches the columns' midway points. 

16Visit Palazzo Fortuny


Calle a fianco Ca' Pesaro, 3780, San Marco, Venezia VE, Italy
Housed in a stunning Gothic building in Campo San Beneto, the Palazzo Fortuny is a museum that’s served as a benchmark for visual art in Venice for over 40 years. Before it became a museum, the brilliant Mario Fortuny used the space as his own atelier. The building combines rooms and structures created by Fortuny with rotating exhibitions and collections. Besides the first floor salone overflowing with paintings, fabrics, and Fortuny’s famous lamps, you’ll find open spaces on the second floor recounting the history of the palazzo and Fortuny’s atelier. 

17Visit Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari


San Polo, 3072, 30125 Venezia, Italy
Don't let the rather plain brick exterior of the basilica fool you. Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is one of the most incredible edifices in Venice. Take a walk through the church to see masterpieces of Renaissance art, including Titian's Madonna di Ca' Pesaro and the Assumption of the Virgin (originally rejected by the church for being too bright and colorful but now revered for those same qualities).

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