Venice is enchanting! The quiet waterways and narrow alleys make getting lost both inevitable and also pleasurable. The stunning palaces along the Grand Canal hint at the incredible wealth accumulated in this commercial crossroads between East and West. A visit here is unforgettable! I have listed my favorite things to do during your stay.
1. Visit St Mark’s Basilica — One of the most extravagant religious buildings in the world, both inside and out, this remarkable Byzantine church is at the apex of the tourist scene in the city. Check out the mosaics, above the portals, and be sure to wander the interior and the museum.
2. Dodge the Pigeons in Piazza San Marco — Described by Napoleon as the “drawing room of Europe,” this major gathering place is replete with outdoor dining and surrounded by shops.
3. Marvel at the Wealth in the Doge’s Palace — Venice’s ruling elite amassed a huge collection of art and sculpture to adorn their palatial residence. Be sure to take the tour, admiring the ceiling frescoes and paintings. Also, walk across the Bridge of Sighs into the prison for a more macabre aspect of the palace.
4. Take the Obligatory Gondola Ride — Although it’s one of the most touristy things to do, a gondola ride will become one of the fondest memories of this unique locale.
5. Cross the Rialto Bridge — This distinctive covered bridge, one of the few pedestrian walkways across the Grand Canal, is lined with trendy shops.
6. Take a Side Excursion to Burano — One of the outer islands of the archipelago, this delightful spot specializes in Venetian lace, and is a great place to stroll. It is much less crowded than the city itself.
7. Drink Bellini’s at Harry’s Bar — Here is another of the obligatory tourist activities. Be sure you are dressed properly and consent to pay an exorbitant price to sip these Ventian cocktails, made with Prosecco and peach juice.
8. Climb the Campanile for Excellent Views — Across from St Mark’s is the Bell Tower, a tall brick structure which offers spectacular views of the city and the lagoon, with all its islands.
9. Check Out Santa Maria della Salute Church — This distinctive structure, which marks the outer end of the Grand Canal is a fascinating place to visit and to sit on the steps, watching the canal traffic.
10. Take a Vaporetto Ride on the Grand Canal — These large boats are the major transportation through the city center. Although they are crowded, they provide wonderful views of the palaces and provide an excellent orientation of the city.
11. Pay the Extra Fee to See the Pala d’Oro — Inside St Mark’s, you must pay an additional amount to view the golden altar behind the main altar. This gem-studded wall of pure gold is worth the price.
12. Get Lost in Venice’s Alleyways — Even the best maps of the city are inadequate, so that getting lost is virtually inevitable for those who venture ouit of the main tourist area, San Marco. So, just be prepared to wander and expect to emerge from a narrow pathway into a delightful square. It’s part of the overall experience.