Venice Sightseeing and Tourist Attractions

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Sightseein Venice ItalyVenice Top Tourist Attractions - When in this fabulously romantic city of Venice, Italy there are so many beautiful attractions you should go and see. Well which should be the Top 10 Sights to see – very difficult to say but we’ve put down ten here but there are many, many more that you might include. Visit the Basilica di San Marco and the mausoleum of the City of Venice’s Patron Saint. Also see the Pallazzo Ducale the home of the Doge and the governing council. There’s also Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Oriental Art with wonderful collections of paintings. You could while away a lot of hours in these famous museums in the Venice area. You’ll also want to stop at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and the Corerr Museum also. Then there’s the romantic walk of La Zatteri and be sure you visit the pride and joy of Venice, Ca’ d’Oro Palace. The list is endless – you will make your own selection depending on your interests.

Basilica di San Marco and Piazza San Marco
You just have to go to Piazza San Marco and to the Basilica di San Marco. This is where St Mark, city’s patron saint is buried and it was the possession of the saint’s remains that led to the importance of Venice. It is a venerable old church and was built around 1050 of Byzantine design to house the remains of St Mark. It was the place where the Doges of Venice were crowned. It has five doorways, many domes and the famous four bronze horses (brought back from the Crusades). Behind the high altar is the Pala d’Ora a magnificent gold and jewelled screen with scenes from the bible. Make sure to look at the patterns of the tiles on the floor. Also, when visiting the Basilica, dress appropriately.

The square outside St Mark’s is Piazza San Marco and is a real social hub for the city – and has been right down through the ages. It is a glorious square and surrounded by mostly magnificent buildings. Here you can have coffee at the many cafes and watch the world go by – at a cost. It is an impressive square and the largest open space in Venice. Interestingly, it is not square and this creates a strange illusion when you look at St Marks Basilica from the far end of the square. The Piazza is frequently flooded, sometimes even up to three feet. The Venetians take it all in their stride, they just grab the tables and chairs and bring them inside and wait for the waters to recede – usually in a few hours!

When you’re in Piazza San Marco, have a look at the Clock Tower – Torre dell’Orologio and the wonderful clock with a beautiful blue and gold face – surrounded by the signs of the zodiac.

Go up the lift in the famous Campanile and have a wonderful view of all Venice (from the highest possible vantage point – stunning). Originally the Bell Tower was a lighthouse. Believe it or not in 1902 it fell down – yes crumbled and fell (with almost no injuries). It was decided to rebuild the Tower almost exactly as it had been and this new tower was opened in 1912 and so continues to be a most famous landmark of Venice.

Palazzo Ducale in Piazza San Marco
This brilliant building has been the centre of the Venetian life – this is where the government and courts operated from, and was also the main venue for commerce and trade. Over the years it was the residence of the Doge. Since it was built in the 12th Century, the Palazzo has been renovated and rebuilt; it has also had several additions over the centuries. The centrepieces of this structure are the two marvellous staircases.

The Bridge of Sighs
You have to go to this great tourist sight. It is a very small over a canal between the Piombi Prison and the Palazzo Ducale. The Palazzo Ducale is where the Courts of Venice were located. The bridge then took the prisoners from the Courts to the Piombi to serve their sentence.

The bridge was built by one of the Doges. It was made in stone specially brought in from Istria. The outside of the bridge is decorated in the Barogue style. The name Bridge of Sighs came from the thought of the prisoners “sighing” as they passed over leaving behind beautiful Venice, their homes and families as they went to serve their sentence and this term was first coined by Lord Byron in one of his poems.

Rialto Market and Rialto Bridge
Shopping and a great view of the city are in store at the Rialto Market and Rialto Bridge. The original Rialto bridge was the first link over the Grand Canal and so has a great historic significance. Several times the bridge has been rebuilt and the present bridge was constructed in late 16th Century. It is such a famous symbol of Venice you just must walk across it at some time during your visit. It is easily reached by a vaporetto.

The Grand Canal – Canalazzo

This is the main thoroughfare of Venice – 2 miles long. It is incredible. The best way to see it is to get on a No 1 Vaporetto (get a “Grand Canal Ticket for about €5-6 and you can travel to your hearts content for 90 minutes. The Vaporetto ambles along the Grand Canal stopping at every landing stage. The Grand Canal goes from the Railway Station along out into The Basin of St Mark. This trip will pass over 200 Palaces including the best view of the Ca’Oro and the Rialto Bridge. You will also pass under Ponte Accademia.

Ca’ d’Oro Palace
Ca’ d’Oro Palace is Venice’s Pride and is situated in Cannaregio. Built in the early 15th Century, the “House of Gold” is a beautiful palace. It is on the Grand Canal and is a lovely graceful building. It was fully restored early in the 20th Century and is now a museum. Once it was gilded with gold on the outside but now it the stone is a delicate pink shade. The palace exterior has glorious ornate stonework.


In Castello, at the Arsenale are memories of the vast shipbuilding industry that once dominated Castello. The main building has two towers topped by winged lions on either side of the door The shipyards were built early on in the life of Venice and by th 15th Century they occupied a large part of Castello and there were many, many thousands working here. With Venice being the main naval port on the Adriatic Sea, the shipyards were busy and also made the hemp ropes and rigging for ships.
Venice was the main naval center on the Adriatic Sea until 1797.

The Serenissima was the name given to the illustrious period in Venice history and at the Arsenale in the Naval History Museum you can see models of the Serenissima ships that did so much for Venice in terms of commerce, trade and dominating the Adriatic. The era came to an end following the Napoleonic wars and the shipyards became less and less important. Think of the workers toiling away here – often in extreme heat and humidity – rumour has it that it was these scenes that inspired Dante’s Inferno.

Gondola Trip
You’ll have to take a gondola trip – it’s just so Venice. It will cost you, at least €50 a person for maybe 20-30 minutes for a trip with a group. But can you afford to miss it. It will show you another side of Venice – the smaller waterways of Venice from the water. And you’ll wonder again how this city has survived so long against the menace of the water, floods, water pollution and so on.

There are all sorts of Gondola trips – evening trips, serenade trips, short trips, long trips. You can also arrange a private romantic trip (this will cost you 200 euro for about 30 minutes but will be very special).

La Zattere
In Dorsoduro stroll around the Zattere district – a long quay along the waterfront – this is where most of the merchandise was unloaded over the year. Look across Giudecca Canal to San Georgia Maggiore and Giudecca Island, with its majestic church spires. In the Trovasa area you’ll see the Church of San Trovaso. Then wander back to Zattere and enjoy a coffee or a meal in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

A Museum in Venice
Venice has such a wealth of treasures, you should go to at least one of its famous museums – see the Section on Museums to help you make your choice.


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