Venice leaves no one indifferent with its beautiful islands, its iconic bridges and its representative monuments.
I recommend you to visit mainly the Doge's Palace, a building full of history and art, but without forgetting St. Mark's Basilica, one of the most famous sacred buildings, not only in Italy, but throughout Europe. I wouldn't be surprised if you had to take several breaks to rest and eat in Venice, as there are many more monuments to see, photograph and enjoy.
1. The Ducal Palace
One of the most beautiful and easily recognizable buildings in Europe is the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale). This was not only the center of government during the Republic of Venice, but also the residence of the Doge (highest authority of the ancient Republic of Venice).
In the beginning the building was rather humble architecturally; however, after several fires and reconstructions, the castle became a Byzantine-style palace.
The Ducal Palace has facades dating from 1309-1424, designed by Giovanni and Bartolomeo Buon. The palace, first built in the ninth century, rebuilt several times, and completed in the Renaissance, is part of that great urban planning project that took place in the Italian Renaissance.
Be sure to step back and admire the facade, but don't overlook the individual columns, the beautiful carved capitals of the building, the sculptures that decorate the facades overlooking the Grand Canal and the Piazzetta, and the interior of the Palazzo Ducale. In addition, and as a reminder of the palace's grim past, you will find two columns (the ninth and the 10th) made of red marble, between which death sentences were pronounced.
- Hours: Every day from 8.30 to 17:30 (until 19:00 from April to October)
- Prices: Adults : 25€. Children between 6 and 14 years old: 13€.
2. St. Mark's Basilica
St. Mark's Basilica is the most important religious temple in the city of Venice and one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe and in the whole world. This huge building is located in St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco), next to the Doge's Palace.
St. Mark's Basilica has always been the center of public and religious life in Venice. Today, this basilica welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The building has a very special historical interest as it was here that the Dukes of Venice were consecrated.
Entering inside you will see that it presents a religious and Christian style, however, if you refine a little you will see that it still retains some oriental aspects of its origin that will leave you amazed by its particularity and splendor; no doubt the Basilica of St. Mark is a combination of architectural and artistic styles.
Moreover, it won't take you long to realize that it is a living monument that narrates the wealth and power of the Serene Republic of Venice, as well as the reckless adventures of its inhabitants in the Mediterranean as merchants and conquerors.
Entrance to St. Mark's Basilica is free, but the entrance line is usually very long, so I recommend booking a guided tour of the Basilica to avoid unnecessary waiting in line and enhance your experience.
I must also tell you that there are several places to eat near the basilica in case you feel like taking a break or - continue to see its facade from one of the restaurants in the area.
- Hours: Every day except Sundays from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Sundays: from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
- Prices: Free admission.
3. The Cà D'Oro Palace
Of the many beautiful palaces that decorate and adorn the city of Venice, the Ca d'Oro palace is one of the most elegant. As its name suggests, "Golden House" is the reflection of a building that expresses luxury and power. Looking up you will see how its facade is the most striking and elaborate of all the palaces that are on the banks of the Grand Canal.
The Ca d'Oro palace currently houses a rich art collection. It is a Venetian Gothic style building with a unique charm thanks to the extraordinary subdivision of the architectural elements that are inspired by oriental art. While there I would recommend you to take a look at its beautiful courtyard with loggias and beautiful mosaics.
It currently houses a collection of sculptures, paintings and a large section of ceramic items.
For more information about Ca' d'Oro visit the following official site.
- Hours: Monday from 8.15 am to 2.00 pm. Tuesday to Saturday from 8.15 am to 7.15 pm. Sundays from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm.
- Prices: Young people from 18 to 25 years of the EU: 7,5€ Under 18 and over 65 years of the EU : Free admission. Other cases: 12,50€.
4. Vittorio Emanuele II Monument
The Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II is known by the Venetians as "The Monument" and it is a symbolic statue made in 1887 by the great Roman sculptor Ettore Ferrari. This Venetian statue is located in Riva Degli Schiavoni, Castilian district of Venice, and it is the most important statue in the whole city.
This bronze statue was made to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy, and one of the most representative figures in the history of Venice. You will see that the statue is resting on a very striking pink granite base and**, depending on where you look at it**, it has one meaning or another. The back part represents the subjugated Venice; the front part, the triumphant Venice; and the sides represent the two important events that Venice experienced: the Battle of Palestroand the triumphal entry of Vittorio Vittoria.
and the triumphal entry of Vittorio Emanuele II in Venice.
5. Scuola Grande di San Rocco
This famous building and monument in Venice tells the story of Venice from its near destruction during the plague to its growth and popularity during the Renaissance. I recommend you to visit this building as inside you will see how the religious and the artistic are mixed in its walls, vaults and pillars.
This building was built in 1478 as a confraternity formed by Venetian citizens in order to assist citizens in times of plague. Over time, it became a sacred building, as it was the only hope for Venetian citizens to survive the tragic disease. With the Renaissance, artists wanted to escape from all the melancholy and made structural improvements to the building following the Renaissance thread.
While it is possible to see some works of art inside the building featuring some of the Renaissance artists who lived there, it is not considered a museum, but a building that shows the history of Venice in an artistic way. If you are interested in learning about the history of Venice, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is the ideal place.
- Hours: daily from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
- Prices: General admission: 10 € Children under 26 and over 65: 8 €.
6. St. Mark's Clock Tower
The Clock Tower of Venice is located on the north side of St. Mark's Square and marks the entrance to the Mercerie leading to Rialto.
The building dates back to 1496 and contains a clock with a gold and blue enamel dial. The best thing is that it is not only a beautiful ornament, but a functional clock. In addition, it is equipped with a carillon mechanism that is activated on the days of the Epiphany and Ascension, opening the compartment to let out the Magi at Christmas time in Venice.
Immediately below, on the high facade of the Tower, is the Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of the Republic of Venice!
- Hours: Every day from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
- Prices: Children from 6 to 14 years old, students from 15 to 25 years old, over 65 years old and residents of Venice: 7€ Other cases: 12€
7. Tower of San Giorgio
The tower of San Giorgio offers an incredible panoramic view of the city and its lagoon. The island where this tower is located is isolated from the rest of Venice and all the noise pollution. I personally believe that the panoramic views from here are the best in Venice and, although the bell tower is not a hidden secret, it receives far fewer visitors than the bell tower of San Marco.
If you want to be alone and meditate under the incredible views that the tower offers, get up at seven in the morning (when it just opens), you will see how comfortable you will be.
From the tower of San Giorgio Maggiore you will be able to appreciate some of the main bridges of Venice andthe most important areas of Venice such as the Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the Grand Canal and the Basilica of San Marco.
- Hours: daily from 9.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2.30 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
- Prices: Admission is free, but to climb to the top you have to pay an entrance fee of 3€.
8. Contarini del Bovolo Palace
In a hidden corner of Venice, in a small courtyard, Corte del Maltese, lies one of the jewels of Venice: Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo.
The building dates back to the 14th century, its main facade overlooks the beautiful Rio di San Luca; however, its fame derives from the famous staircase located at the back of the building : the famous spiral staircase!
The Scala del Bovolo (the staircase), added at the end of the 15th century, was designed by the architect Giovanni Candi in a Gothic-Renaissance style. It is 26 meters high and is distributed over 4 floors. Going down these curious and striking stairs is one of the plans to do with children in Venice, sure they will be amazed.
If you are on your lucky day you may attend one of the exhibitions held on the second floor of the building. Also at the top, a wonderful panoramic view awaits you: the domes of St. Mark's Basilica, the bell towers and the roofs of a glittering Venice.
- Hours: Thursday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
- Prices: Adults: 7€ Children under 12: Free admission
9. Bell Tower of San Marco
For a breathtaking view of St. Mark's Square, the rooftops of Venice, the lagoon, the Grand Canal cruises and gondola rides you must climb the bell tower of San Marco. A building almost 100 meters high.
This building was built with the purpose of serving as a lighthouse for the sailors of the lagoon; yes, the original bell tower of Piazza San Marco was built on Roman foundations and in order to serve as a watchtower.
After several changes and transformations over the centuries, the current form of the Bell Tower of St. Mark's Square in Venice is in line with 15th century architecture.
Looking up, you will see that it has four faces, on which appear the Lion of St. Mark and the slender bronze spire bearing at its tip a golden statue of the Archangel Gabriel acting as a weather vane.
Since 1902 the bell tower has been the main building of Piazza San Marco, nicknamed "The Paron'', and it was this bell tower that gave its name to the Venetian wine glass "Ombra" (as it used to be drunk in the shadow of the bell tower).
- Hours: Every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:40 p.m.
- Prices: Adult: 10€ Children under 7 years: Free admission
10. Ca' Rezzonico
Ca 'Rezzonico is one of the most important buildings in Venice and at the same time is one of the few that can be visited today. It is located on the banks of the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro district. Ca'Rezzonico is a rich Venetian residence that houses a valuable collection of 18th century Venetian furniture and paintings.
This luxurious building was designed by Venice's greatest Baroque architect, Baldassare Longhena of the aristocratic Bon family and its construction began in 1649. It also includes a wonderful collection of works by Cima da Conegliano, Alvise Vivarini, Bonifacio de 'Pitati, Tintoretto, Palma the Younger, Bernardo Strozzi, Ippolito Caffi, Emma Ciardi among others, a jewel in Venice to discover.
The Ca' Rezzonico is undoubtedly a magnificent space in the Venetian style of the 700s, you can visit it by purchasing a ticket online from the official site of Ca' Rezzonico (The ticket is also included in the Venice Museum Pass, which allows access to 10 museums in the city).
- Hours: From April to October from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm daily. From November to March from 10.00 to 17.00 every day.
- Prices: Adults: 12€ Students from 6 to 14 years old and over 65 years old: 9,5€.