The northern Italy city of Venice
is one of the most beautiful and recognizable in the world. Spread across 118
islands separated by canals that are Venice attractions in their own right,
it is filled with priceless art and stunning architecture that has had a starring
role in films, great literature, and history.
St. Mark’s Square
Venice St Marks Square
Things to see in Venice include its signature attraction—St. Mark’s Square
dominated by the magnificent Basilica
San Marco. This expansive plaza is ringed with sidewalk cafés, and dining
venues, and dotted with other beautiful buildings. It is one of the sights in
Venice that virtually no visitor misses, and the view from its campanile (free-standing
bell tower) is breathtaking. Other buildings in and around the plaza include:
the Giant’s Stairway, so called because of the huge statues of Mars and Neptune
at the top; the Doge’s Palace with its beautiful Golden Staircase; the Grand
Council Hall, with Cassanova’s prison cell; the Senate Hall; and the Prison
from which the condemned prisoners crossed the Bridge of Sighs to their execution.
Grand Canal Venezia
St. Mark’s is set on the Grand Canal, spanned by two other attractions in Venice that are quite famous—the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge. Bridges are part of the transportation in the city, as this is one of the only ways to get from island to island. The other method of transportation is by boat. Vaporettos (motorized boats) are the fastest and most efficient, but other important Venice attractions include the world-famous gondolas. Little is more romantic than being peacefully poled along by gondoliers in their striped shirts and straw hats as you glide under one of the graceful bridges.
Santa Maria della Salute
Venice Santa Maria
Across the lagoon from St. Mark’s Square is another of the principal sights in Venice—the massive Santa Maria della Salute (St. Mary of Health), built over a period of 50 years in the seventeenth century to give thanks from delivering the city from the plague. In fact, many of the things to see in Venice include its churches. In the northern part of the city, where fewer tourists visit and there are many of the less expensive Venice hotels, is the Church of the Madonna. Santa Maria del Rosario, or I Gesuati Church, is located across the lagoon from St. Mark’s Square on La Giudecca Island, which is where the Venice Youth Hostel is located.
Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Venice attractions can fill days of your time, and the city is well worth a longer visit than most tourists devote to it. Hidden treasures abound, like the Scala Contarini del Bovolo, an elaborate winding staircase that occupies the entire tower of the palace by the same name. It’s also located in a less visited are, the Campo Manin in the Rialto section.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Things to see in Venice also include fascinating museums. The Peggy Guggenheim collection is housed in her former villa on the Grand Canal, and contains Europe’s most important collections of art from the first half of the twentieth century. The Scuola Grande de San Rocco contains significant works by the great Venetian painter Jacopo Tintoretto. Some of the most rewarding sights in Venice are sometimes found by “lost” tourists. Just wander away from the attractions of St. Mark’s Square, and you will find yourself in a maze of little alleys crossing relatively unknown little bridges like the Ponte del Lovo, stumbling across small museums with no crowds, and discovering charming little cafés and dining venues.