The 18 Best Things To Do In Venice – Italy

panorama over Venice lagoon italy

I hated Venice the first time I visited. I felt cheated, hustled and robbed (some of Venice’s prices should be criminal). Venice wasn’t the Italy I loved. It was an anomaly to write off as a bad experience. Yet, every city deserves a second chance, so I tried again, again and again. In those repeat visits, I’ve learned the best things to do in Venice and how to navigate this city for the best tourist experience. Here are the best things to do as well as my insider tips. I have included a map at the end, including all of the mentioned places.

1. Start in St Mark’s Square

Panormaic view of St Marks Square in Venice from the Basilica Terrace

St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) is a beautiful cacophony of tourists, pigeons, shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s also home to many of the best sights in Venice. If you’re new to Venice, start here, and in one compact area, you can explore St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, St Mark’s Campanile and St Mark’s Clocktower (more details below). Fun fact: Winston Churchill called St Mark’s Square ‘the drawing room of Europe’.

Don’t miss St Mark’s Clocktower (Torre dell’Orologio) – a beautiful Rennaisance period clock tower in St Mark’s Square.

2. See the gold domes of St Mark’s Basilica

The front of St Mark's basilica in Venice with gold horses on the terrace

If you thought Venice’s main cathedral, with its gothic style, is impressive from the outside, wait until you go inside. You’ll be wowed with grand domes and a staggering amount of gold leaf. Completed in 1092, Basilica di San Marco has a thick history. I visited on a guided tour which turned out to be the best decision because instead of queuing around the building, we walked straight in with priority access. We also got to visit the mezzanine for close-up views of the gold mosaic basilica (it’s a mosaic because Venice is too humid for plaster and frescoes) and special access to the terrace, not available on most tours and with great views over St Mark’s Square.

Fun fact: the copper horses at the top of St mark’s Basilica are replicas. The real ones, thought to be the oldest at 2,000 years old, are located inside the terrace. Lifesize, it’s hard to imagine how these four horses have moved over the centuries from Constantinople to Rome and Paris (where they sat on top of the Arc de Triomph after Napoleon stole them).

Venice Travel Tip: Don’t try to see all the top Venice sights – pick a few and see them well. Venice is too crowded to pack in too much. My suggestion is to prioritise St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge Palace, which will also take you inside the Bridge of Sighs. I took the St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace Fast Track Tour (€74). This tour was one of the best things I did in Venice. Whichever tickets you buy, always get the skip the line option if you can. It will save you a lot of time.

3. Explore the 14th century Doge Palace

Alternative Venice Doge Palace

Palazzo Ducale – the Doge Palace – is another of Venice’s sights that looks like it’s out of a Disney movie. Outside, it’s a grand palace that looks like a lacy pink wedding cake. Inside, it’s a museum offering a glimpse of the residence of the Doge of Venice from 1340. Pretty sweet life. As mentioned above, I took the  St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace Fast Track Tour (€74).  

4. Go inside the Bridge of Sighs

Alternative Venice Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is a white bridge in Venice linking the prison, interrogation and execution rooms in the Doge Palace. Yet, most people go to Venice and only see it standing on the opposite bridge, which entirely misses the point.

The significance of the Bridge of Sighs is the views out across Venice – the bridge is named because prisoners would walk through the interior of the bridge on the way to their execution in St Mark’s Square. The bridge and the tiny lattice gaps gave prisoners their last view over Venice before they died. And that last view is thought to have induced a final sigh at Venice’s beauty, hence the name: Bridge of Sighs. So, dear tourist masses, you might be standing at one of the most popular places to visit in Venice, but – YOU’RE LOOKING THE WRONG WAY!

To see the Bridge of Sighs properly whilst avoiding the crowds, take a tour inside the Doge Palace. That way, you can look out over Venice (ignoring the crowds gawking in), sigh and be grateful you’re not off to be beheaded! A visit to the prisons and a walk inside the Bridge of Sighs are included in the St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace Fast Track Tour (€74). 

Feeling superstitious? Executions once took place between the two columns in St Mark’s Square. On top of the columns are the two patrons of Venice – San Marco (the winged lion) and San Todaro (St Theodore), and even today, superstitious Venetians won’t walk between the columns for fear of bad luck.

5. Take a boat or gondola on the Grand Canal

two gondolas on the grand canal in Venice

The Grand Canal is Venice’s central canal that carves up the city, and it’s best enjoyed by boat so you can view the buildings that line the banks. Taking a Gondola ride on the Grand Canal is one of the most iconic things to do in Venice, and if it’s on your Italy Bucket List, these are the best Gondola Ride tours to book:

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Better than a gondola – take a full boat tour: There is so much more to Venice’s waterways than Gondola on the Grand Canal. Instead of a 30-minute shared gondola, I took a 2-hour boat ride down the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge, past Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (picture above), and out towards the smaller islands. During my trip, I learned how vital boats are in Venice – from deliveries to daily commutes occur, school boats and even ambulances take the form of a boat. We sailed past the old customs house, which used to tax every vessel coming in to trade with the Merchants of Venice; we got to know a bit more about the Republic of Venice, the Italian government of old; we saw where the house of Prada sits, and we sailed past the Aman Grand Canal hotel where George Clooney got married. You won’t see much of that with a gondola.

I took the Venice 2-Hour Boat Tour With Grand Canal & Tower Climb of San Giorgio Maggiori tower (2hrs, €98).

6. Stare up at St Mark’s Campanile

Alternative Venice Boat Ride

St Mark’s Campanile (Campanile di San Marco) is the bell tower to St Mark’s Basilica and an iconic sight in Venice. Located in St Mark’s Square, it’s a dramatic landmark previously used as a lighthouse for the lagoon. As the highest point in Venice, many people choose to go up in the Campanile (elevator only, no climb) for views over St Mark’s Square. However, you can queue forever to go up the Campanile, and the best panoramas aren’t from the top of the tower anyway (IMO). The best views are across the water from San Giorgio Maggiore, looking back at San Marco campanile. Plus, you’ll get great St Mark’s Square views if you take the tour of St Mark’s Basilica, which includes the terrace.

7. Visit San Giorgio Maggiore for the best views in Venice

View of Venice from San Giorigo Maggiore bell tower - things to do in Venice

If you want the best views in Venice, head to the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore and climb the bell tower – I say climb – it’s a lift/elevator, and there is no climbing option. By ascending the bell tower across the lagoon, you get panoramic views across the whole of Venice island, including the famous Campanile – one of my favourite views in Venice. A visit to San Giorgio Maggiore island is included in the Venice 2-Hour Boat Tour With Grand Canal & Tower Climb tour I took (€98). Otherwise, you can catch Vaporetto Line 2 from St Mark’s Square.

8. Explore the Rialto Bridge and Rialto Markets

One of the most famous bridges in Venice, the Rialto Bridge (Pont di Rialto), is the oldest out of only four bridges crossing the Grand Canal. Although it’s usually jammed with crowds, you really should take a walk across it, not least because it gives excellent views of the Grand Canal.

Underneath the bridge is the Rialto Market (Mercado di Rialto), a bustling fresh food market almost 1,000 years old. The market is also one of the best free things to do in Venice, provided you can resist buying 4 kilos of cheese, and especially useful if you’re staying in a rental apartment.

9. Take a Venice food tour with a local

Alternative Venice

One of the reasons I didn’t get along with Venice the first time was because of the food – high prices and low quality are not a good mix. On my second visit, I booked a food tour, which was invaluable because the local guide took me to hidden eateries and gave me tips for the best dinner spots. Here are some of the best Venice food tours to choose from:

I’ve written a complete guide to the Best Bars and Restaurants in Venice.

Food Tip – skip the pizza in Venice: Did you know that there’s a law in Venice prohibiting wood-fired ovens (to stop the city from catching fire)? That means Venice is one of the few places in Italy where you can get lousy pizza. My advice – order the local dishes like risotto, polenta, seafood and tiramisu (and head to Naples if you want perfect pizza).

10. Explore the Peggy Guggenheim Museum

Venice has some great options if you’re a fan of museums, and The Peggy Guggenheim Museum is one of the best. Featuring modern art set in an 18th-century palace, expect works from the 1950s onwards from Peggy’s collection. As with most things in Venice, it pays to book in advance. Closed Tuesdays.

11. See the Old Grandmasters at the Academy Gallery

Prefer your art to have a few more centuries behind it? Head to the Academy Gallery (Gallerie dell’Accademia), Venice’s fine art museum. You’ll find art from the old grandmasters – a collection of work from before the 19th century with a focus on Venetian and Italian painters. Open daily but mornings only on Mondays.

12. See the islands of Murano, Burano, Libo and Torcello

Venice is a collection of islands in a lagoon, and while you’re likely to spend most of your time on Venice Island, it’s worth exploring some of the other Venice Islands. You can either take a tour or buy a Vaporetto pass and explore yourself. Here are the most popular islands to explore:

  • Murano is the island known for its Venetian glass.
  • Burano is famous for its lace and brightly coloured houses.
  • Lido is most often visited for its sandy beaches.

Taking the water buses (Vaporetto) in Venice: Vaporetto is the primary way of getting around in Venice. It’s like a local bus system, except you travel on boats, not buses. Unless you plan to walk everywhere, which can mean long routes because of the canals, I’d recommend picking up a Vaporetto pass for however long you’re visiting Venice. You can buy Vaporetto tickets online in advance. There are also water taxis if you want to go privately and without waiting for the Vaporetto.

Related: How to Get to Venice from the Airport

13. Drink coffee like a local and avoid tourist prices

Alternative Venice Music Cover Charge

We all expect to pay more for a coffee in a tourist hot spot, but did you know that at Caffé Florian, the oldest and most famous cafe in St Mark’s Square, you have to pay for the music. Nope, not joking. And that cover charge is in addition to your coffee price. At €6.50 for espresso / €10.50 for a cappuccino, it’s nearly €20 for coffee. You can take a tour of Venice’s La Fenice, one of the most famous opera houses in the world, for less money!

Sure, if you order coffee knowing the price, enjoy! But if you walk a few paces to the right of Caffé Florian to Ai Do Leoni just to the right of St Mark’s Clock Tower, the coffee price plummets to €1.20 for an espresso. You will have to shuffle in among the locals and drink your coffee standing (how the Italians do it anyway), but it’s an excellent alternative for a quick caffeine fix while still enjoying being in the square. Bonus: you can hear the music drifting out of Caffé Florian for free. See my guide to How to Order Coffee in Italy.

14. Visit Canareggio for crowd-free Venice

Alternative Venice Canareggio

The few locals left in Venice’s historic centre tend to spend their time in the Canareggio district, which has a modern shopping street but also the history of the Jewish Ghetto. It feels like a different part of Venice, and it’s where I tend to stay in the city.

How to get to Cannareggio: Take a vaporetto to Ca’ d’Oro and head to Strada Nova (New Street). Continue to Via Emanuele and ultimately onto Rio Tera S. Leonardo (it’s all the same street, but the names change as you cross the bridges). Look out for a tiny sign above an alley written in Hebrew, which will take you into the Jewish Ghetto. You can loop back via Misericordia. Canareggio is an excellent option for food and drinks without the tourist prices. If you want a local to show you around, book this Venice: Jewish Ghetto 2 Hour Tour (€74).

Don’t miss Ponte de Chiodo in Canareggio – one of only two bridges in Venice without a parapet (side).

15. Have a Bellini at Harry’s Bar

Having a Bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice is a bit like taking a Gondola ride – for some people, it’s a must-do, and if that’s you, I won’t waste a second talking you out of it. But be prepared, the 1930s charm of the bar has long gone, and as tourists queue up to hand over close to €30 per Bellini, it’s no surprise the process has turned into a conveyor belt. I sat with growing disappointment as I watched peach puree squeezed from a foil pack into glasses while Prosecco was squirted from a soda-style tap. No blending of peaches. No popping of corks. Not even a full 125ml champagne glass. (I’ve become an expert in Prosecco and now know that Prosecco only comes from a bottle, so whatever was in that tap was bog-standard sparkling wine). If you visit Harry’s bar, try to go when white peaches are in season (summer), to stand a chance of fresh fruit in your drink, not preserved puree.

Did you know: the Bellini was invented in Venice by the owner of Harry’s bar.

Related: 12 easy Prosecco Cocktails you can make at home.

16. Then have an aperol spritz like a local

Alternative Venice

If you don’t want to set yourself up for an expensive disappointment, ditch the Bellini and order an Aperol Spritz at a locals’ bar. The most popular aperitif in Venice, the Aperol spritz is a cocktail made with a considerable measure of Aperol (similar to Campari but much sweeter), topped with Prosecco, chilled with ice and served with a slice of orange and a dash of soda water. Be warned, it’s hard to tell how potent this almost all-booze drink is, and it tends to evaporate (from your glass into your mouth).

Skip the waterfront (unless you want the view and want to pay for it) and head deeper into the historic centre to look for a local’s bar. My favourite was Bacaro Risorto with tasty chicchetti for €1.50 apiece. 

17. Take a day trip to the Prosecco Region

Rolling views of Italy's prosecco region and vineyards

Most people don’t realise that Italy’s Prosecco region is just an hour from Venice, and you can get there from the central train station in Venice. You will want a tour when you arrive, and you can easily fit in a half-day visit or even a full day tour if you plan your time. You can book tours with Visit Prosecco Italy (from €250 per group).

Did you know: Italy’s prosecco region, with its dramatic rolling hills, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

18. See Venice at night when the crowds have left the sights

St Marks Square at night

Finally, if Venice’s day crowds make you want to jump into the lagoon, take some solace that once night arrives, the city quietens considerably. Venice at night is truly magical. St Mark’s Square seems to expand back to its grand size; the bridges are passable, and the narrow streets are near empty and inviting. Go out, explore, get lost, and enjoy. Simply wandering the quiet streets is one of the best things to do in Venice at night. Take a Ghost tour. Or pop into a bar if you must. Maybe I’ll see you there. 

doge palace

Where to Stay in Venice

  • Best 5 Star Hotel in Venice: The Gritti Palace – Centrally located, this 5-star hotel has views over the grand canal if is the best pick for a luxury stay (around €1,500 a night). 
  • Best Boutique Hotel: Canal Grande – in a restored 18th century palace, this beautiful boutique hotel overlooks the Grand Canal. At around €200 per night, this is fantastic price for a great hotel and location.
  • Most Popular Hotel: Hotel Antiche Figure – Hotel Antiche Figure has been voted the best hotel in Venice by travellers. It’s a boutique hotel with four poster beds near Canareggio (around €175 a night).
  • Best chain hotel in Venice: Hilton Molino Stucky Definitely not a boxy Hilton hotels you might find elsewhere. The building was once a flour mill and part of the city’s pasta production. Now it’s a luxury space with a fantastic roof top terrace (around €300 a night).
  • Best Hostel in Venice: Generator Hostel – Perfect if you’re on a budget in Venice. It’s very clean and has a great value happy hour (Apreol Spritz for only €2.50). Dorms and private rooms are available (around €15 dorm/ €65 private room).

That’s my guide to the best things to do in Venice. Got any questions or suggestions, leave a comment below.

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Map of Things To Do In Venice

Map of things to do in Venice

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Panoramic views of venice island and the lagoon

83 thoughts on “The 18 Best Things To Do In Venice – Italy”

  1. Enjoyed the blog. We stayed on the mainland and trolleyed it across to the islands. Picked up lunch items at a bakery on the mainland and ate it in the island. We did find the the island super expensive but had beautiful views. Glad I went once but not on my bucket list to do again. But Tuscany, that is a different story. . . .

  2. Hi Jo. We have visited Venice just once and are itching to go back – hopefully things will get back to normal in the next few months as we are hoping to go in October. Your blog and suggestions were a great way for us to decide what to do on our first trip. Have you heard any updates yet on travel restrictions to Italy due to covid? Also, just a couple of suggestions for you to check out on your next trip. We stayed at Hotel Antico Doge in Cannaregio and absolutely loved it; we will almost certainly stay there again on our next visit. We also dined a couple of times at Osteria Oliva Nera at the recommendation of some very good friends. Maybe a little pricey but were not disappointed at all with the food and service. And the owner, Isabella Zambon is an absolute gem. Thanks for your tips and insight.

    • Hi David, thanks so much for your lovely comment and wonderful tips. I run a second website dedicated to the Prosecco region of Italy (and Venice) – Visit Prosecco Italy, so I’m hooked into the travel news there. At the moment, I think it’s too early to tell what travel will be like in October. I do, however, know that Italy’s tourism board is very keen to reopen for visitors and many hotels are making great strides for a safe stay (some offer in-room testing). My hunch is that October will be easier than ever (during the pandemic) to travel but I hope I haven’t jinxed us by saying that. Fingers crossed for your October trip and I recommend adding a Prosecco visit to your stay 🙂

  3. Hi Jo,

    Excellent and informative post, and we will certainly take your advice. I’ve been to Venice 3x, but not in 25 years or so. I don’t recall massive crowds anywhere, so I expect this Venice will be very different from the one I remember. That said, we’re absolutely going AirB&B. The choices are overwhelming, though–there are so many good places available at reasonable prices! So, what I’m looking for is to pick an area to search for a place and I’m just adrift here. We’d like to be reasonably close to “touristy” stuff, but out of the main hubbub. Can you recommend an area–even down to a street or two–that you’d say “hey, if you can get a place here, you’ll be close to the thick of things but it’s also kind of where locals hang out!”? If that’s too tall an order, can you recommend an area (more detail = better!) that you’d happily stay?

    Thanks so much!


    • Hi Paul, I’m afraid you probably will notice a difference in crowds but Venice is just as beautiful. My absolute favourite area that ticks your local but not too far box is Cannaregio. I love the whole area so I don’t think you can go wrong. Have a great trip.

  4. Really enjoyed this post – thank you. We’re heading to Venice in a few weeks and this has certainly helped us focus and given us the lowdown. All good info, which we will certainly use.

  5. It’s a long bit away, but I’m surprising my wife with a trip to Italy…Venice and Rome, with a stint in Sweden as well. 🙂 I’m definitely using your tips to ensure we have a memorable experience! I saw some things about spending time @ Dolimite. Any suggestions about that?

    • Just back from the Dolomites and wish I’d had more than the 8 days there with my son. We were there for the climbing, via ferrate and some walking but the place is amazing. The hub is Cortina but we stated 15mins drive from there which was great. All l can say is we are already planning a return visit. If your going out of ski season however lots of restaurants are closed and so, unless you research, it looks like pizza and more pizza – not true – we did source some really tasty Italian classics of the region. Enjoy if you head up there – the mountains and colours with the light are amazing.

  6. Hi, I was just wondering for the St Mark Basilica and Doge’s Palace tour that you recommended, did it include the Secret Itineraries tour of the Doge’s Palace?

  7. Hi Jo,

    I see the real hard work involved in writing such a detailed and informative blog.Really appreciated. I am staying 3 days in Lido for a conference, and then in Cannaregio for 3 days.

    I need your inputs on how to actually manage my evenings in Lido( till evening, I am in conference) and then in Cannaregio as well..
    I am looking for a serene, memorable historic holiday!

    Need your valuable suggestions please.


    • Hi Muralidhar, my best tip if you’re staying on Lido is to buy the vaparetto pass and then you can take the boats all around Venice. That way you won’t feel stuck on the island at night. I hope you have a great trip.

  8. Hi Jo,
    I am Italian and I think this article is very interesting. You have identified some points that are useful for every tourist (even for an Italian tourist coming from another region).
    I hope my notes can be useful: I noticed that some foreign tourists have a wrong perception of Italy (especially if they come from outside Europe).

    In Italy tourism activities are very important and many people work for tourists. This is true.
    About 13% of GDP in Italy comes from tourism-related activities and about 7% of working people are employed in hotel and restaurant activities. We can say that tourism is important in Italy. But I believe that we cannot say that the country lives only on tourism (I read in some websites about tourism destinations that 60% of the GDP in Italy comes from tourism !).

    When some tourists say that Italy is very touristy they often refer to these three places:
    Rome, Florence, Venice. The true is that they talk about some neighborhoods in these cities. Among these cities the one closest to the definition “it lives on tourism ” is definitely Venice. But at the same time the part of the city that tourists usually visit is included in a larger one that has about 260.000 inhabitants (Venice – 55.000 on the islands and the rest on the mainland).

    I think a lot of italian people look at that places as “dead neighborhoods” without social, cultural and economic vitality (outside tourism).
    The real country is in the neighboring districts, a few blocks away. I ask this question: what are you looking for ? a real country or a perception of a country ?

    You have to go off the beaten path!
    It is very likely that you will find something that is very different from what you know ..

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂 I agree that people have to wander off the beaten path but at the same time a lot of these ‘big hitters’ like Venice are a draw for a very obvious reason – their undeniable beauty. I think balance of visiting the larger and smaller places is the real trick.

    • Hi, I’ve linked to some tour guides I used while I was in the city. They should be able to help you out.

  9. Jo,
    I just got back from a trip from Italy that I will remember my whole life! My fiance and I took your advice in Venice and saw the bridge from the prison. The Doge’s palace was opulent and definitely worth it. We also went to the opera and literally got caught in flooding canals in our formal wear. Quite a story. I bought the phrasebook you suggested and learned basic Italian which saved us many times (my fiance’s thick NY accent was received warily, but the sentiment was appreciated). We also met up with French friends in Conegliano and the surrounding area and had wonderful food (cut to us driving up a steep mountain and my fiancee pointing to a brochure with smoked pork and asking our concierge “can I eat this?”), to which they are recommending to their loved ones. Thank you for your great advice. I can send pictures if you like!

    • Oh I’m trilled you saw the bridge from within the prison – it’s quite a different experience, isn’t it. I probably shouldn’t laugh at your formal wear getting soaked but it crafts the picture of an adventure in my head! Sounds like you had a fantastic trip with plenty of stories to tell. Yes please to the pictures!

  10. great advise, my husband and I have been to Venice four times now, we always stay out of the main tourist area. We love to get up early in the morning and walk around, it is so much quieter. We have always planned our trips for early April or late September, and we find that Venice is less busy, but that is changing too!
    Mostly we enjoy getting lost in the little lanes and buying food at the quieter little family-run shops, rather than the busy places near Saint Mark’s Square.

  11. My partner and I were in Venice for a few weeks, late summer last year (she’s a travel writer too like you). I was terrified before we left Sydney that we would be eating terrible over priced food; and yet. I found this not to be the case at all, as we/I found good food in many locations and even several very close to pont Rialto. We were even complimented on our manners by our very Venetian host at one – though we did nothing except eat and drink and enjoy!

    That said, our first impressions of VENICE were both over and, underwhelming. The crowds certainly come as a shock even if you are expecting them – of course, we were also part of crowds..

    Thanks for the article, very good advice; just pick a couple of things and get stuck right in. The best way to enjoy Venice, i agree.

    • Hi Kent, I’m glad my article helped. Good food in Venice? Tell me – tell us all. Where, where, where? I’m putting a guide together and any tried and tested tips are welcome. Congrats on the table manners. I’ve never received such a compliment but then I’m not particularly surprised by that 😉

  12. Hi Jo
    Love your site. So informative. Going to Venice in May. Staying two nights at the Hotel Danieli. We are using Marriott points. My daughter woukd love to go on a processco tour. I see above you recommend a local. Do you know anyone we can contact?
    Also we like authentic food not touristy restaurants. Where do you recommend
    Thank you for your help

    • Hi Sandi, I’ve set up a website dedicated to Prosecco and your daughter can contact Oriana or Cris using this link: if she needs any more help.

      As for Venice, tbh, if I want good food in Italy, the first thing I do is leave Venice (usually out to the Prosecco region where there are splendid, local restaurants. I’m still searching for the elusive ‘you have to go here’ restaurant in Venice. I ate here last time and had a better meal than elsewhere in Venice. Typically Canareggio is going to serve up better, more authentic food. Just sniff the air!

      Hope that helps.

  13. I am in Venice and just read your tips and responses, and I agree completely. I arrived from Milan around noon yesterday and after getting to my hotel near St. Mark’s Square went on a walking tour of the neighborhood which include a Gondola launching point. 80 Euro for 30 minutes, or you could share with strangers (I’m traveling solo). I somehow ended up at the Basilica at 4:00 PM and was surprised to find a ten minute line and went right in. Same thing happened again today. After going to Murano my boat returned to the dock by the Doges Palace and there was zero, yes, zero people in a line that had to be 200 when passed in the morning. I paid my 20 Euros for the ticker and another 5 for the audioguide and walked right in. Last night after the Basilica I took the slow Vaporetto down the Grand Canal and tonight after dark I’m going to hang out in the square, which is about 100 feet from my hotel. Tomorrow is my last full and taking the advice above I’m going to go where my feet will take me with no map hope I get lost. I do have a three day Vaporetto Pass in case i get too lost. Thanks for your good advice.

    PS Tell Donna there is no comparison between Venice and the Road to Hana

    • Hi Jim, sounds like you’ve had great luck – thanks for the tips. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your stay in Venice 🙂

    • This has been very, very helpful, Jo. It will be our first time in Venice and you will help us save a lot of time. One thing I’d love to know is the name of the “perfect local dinner spot” you mention above. I’d really love to find that spot. Thanks again.

  14. Oh, Jo,
    It’s like you are my travel spirit animal! Never have I had someone sum up my feelings re: Venice so accurately and concisely! For me, it was like the road to Hana, once is enough! Although I did that twice, too, and now 27 years later I find myself a guest on a trip to Italy w/my brother, sister-in-law and 3 teenage nieces. Naturally, Venice is on the must-do list, and naturally I began feeling dread and ungrateful, at a minimum! A trip to The Veneto w/Prosecco valley being so close by would suit my restaurant-owner self so nicely, but this is my niece’s sweet 16 present from her family, so I want it to be amazing. Your article has given me new enthusiasm, and hope, and the tools to make this part of the trip a highlight! Luckily, my suggestion of staying on the Lido and getting on the complimentary water taxi from our hotel waz well received so I am also looking forward to that! Thank you, thank you for such a gem- well written advice and solid alternatives to back it up!

    • Ha ha! I confess, this post took me a couple of goes before I could properly capture my feelings about Venice. Glad you liked my suggestions and you should definitely get out of the Prosecco region. It’s the complete Venice antidote! Have a great trip.

  15. This advice while valuable, is easily found by people who do their homework before they travel. Hope this article helps novice travelers.

  16. May I add one of the most important advices for ALL of Italy: Don’t sit down to drink your coffee (“Caffè” is what you order and you get “Espresso” – and you should try that. It’s the best you will ever get). The cities (I think?) have a max price (~1€) for Coffee at the bar – and if they want to charge you more they are betraying you.
    And by the way: Sitting down with an espresso is a bad idea, because a coffee shot “dies” after a few seconds. So enjoy it immediately!

    • Ilona, that’s great advice about the caffè in Italy. As a lover of getting a good deal, I always stand for my coffee. I didn’t know about the coffee dying though. Hmm, learn something new every day so thanks for that bit of info 🙂 I’d be interested to see if you had any other coffee tips that I haven’t included here:

    • Hi Curt, I didn’t go to any wine bars as such but I did go to a few chiccheti bars that served good wine. My favourite was All’Arco, which was a hang out for the gondola ‘drivers’. It’s tiny, with just standing room that floods onto the street but for excellent wine, snacks and atmosphere, I really enjoyed it. Hope that helps?

  17. Thank You for this wonderful article…I am traveling in May to Venice for the first time. I am saving all this useful info! Teresa


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