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
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
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.
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
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
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.