Venice Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Venice

Venice tourist map

Venice attractions map
9.2 /10
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Canals of Venice
* Overcrowded with overtourism issues
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Thanks to its canals, Venice is known to be one of the most magical place on earth. The city is a testament to the ingenuity of the human spirit and invention. Stone buildings of great beauty sit on the water; boats of varying sizes traverse the canals the way cars, trucks, and buses crowd the streets of more conventional cities; crowds throng the bridges and narrow pedestrian streets.

If one wants to understand the history of Venice, the best starting point is to understand the canals themselves, and how their construction and history reflects and explains the city itself.

Although there are plenty of famous landmarks to feast your eyes on in Venice, its canals are rightfully considered to be one of the world's top attractions. The city counts more than 150 waterways which are also traversed by over 400 bridges.

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal (“Canalasso”) stretches around 2 miles (3 kilometers) through the city in a giant “S” curve from the Santa Lucia train station to the Piazza San Marco and the stunning church of Santa Maria de Salute, at which point it is over 350 feet wide... read more arrow

7.7 /10
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St. Mark's Basilica
* Overcrowded with overtourism issues
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The Basilica di San Marco ("Saint Mark's Basilica" in English), right next to Saint Mark's Square and near the Doge's Palace, is the most famous of Venice's churches, and is among the world's best-known examples of Byzantine architecture. The basilica is today considered a living monument to the heritage of the Byzantine, Roman, and Venetian cultures.

The Basilica di San Marco has gone through many changes in its 1200-year history. It was initially constructed as a temporary building in 828, for the purpose of housing holy relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist, believed to have authored the Gospel of Mark. These were transported from their discovered location in Alexandria, Egypt, in 829. A permanent church was erected and consecrated in 832—this was rebuilt after being damaged by fire in 976, due to a revolt against the then Doge (leader) of Venice, Candiano IV. A second rebuilding of the church commenced in 1063, but it was not until 1094 that the church was consecrated. Since then, the core structure of the basilica has remained unchanged... read more arrow
7.6 /10
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Rialto Bridge
* Overcrowded with overtourism issues
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One of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, the Rialto Bridge is the oldest and serves as the dividing line between the San Marco and San Polo districts. It began as a floating pontoon bridge built by Nicolò Barattieri in the late-12th century and was named Ponte della Moneta due to its proximity to the entrance of the mint. The Rialto Bridge is the main pedestrian access to Venice from the train station and most likely one of the first main tourist attractions to be recognized.

As traffic began to increase when the Rialto market flourished on the eastern bank of the canal, the pontoon was replaced by a more permanent wooden bridge in 1255. It featured two ramps that could be raised when tall ships needed to sail along the canal and was maintained through the rental of shops that were built along the sides of the bridge. But the Rialto Bridge was partially burnt down during a revolt in 1310 and later collapsed when a crowd gathered to watch a passing boat parade... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Ca' d'Oro (Palazzo Santa Sofia)
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Officially titled Palazzo Santa Sofia, the Ca’ d’Oro (or “Golden House”) is one of the oldest palaces on Venice’s Grand Canal. It was nicknamed due to the gilt and polychrome decorations that once adorned the walls, with delicate marble filigree by Bartolomeo Bon on the façade that would have made an undeniably impressive vision.

The Ca’ d’Oro was built by architects Giovanni Bon and his son, Bartolomeo Bon, between 1428 and 1430 for the wealthy Contarini family. It changed ownership numerous times following the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, with the ballet dancer Marie Taglioni and the baron Giorgio Franchetti both once owning it. Franchetti conducted extensive restorations of the palace, including the reconstruction of a Gothic stairway that Marie Taglioni had removed, and adorned its walls in his private art collection of Venetian masters.

Franchetti bequeathed the Ca' d'Oro to the Italian State in 1916, enabling the public access to this beautiful landmark of Venetian history... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Teatro La Fenice
* Crowded with tourists
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Considered one of "the most famous and renowned landmarks in the history of Italian theatre”, Teatro La Fenice is an opera house in the heart of Venice. It was here that some of the most celebrated operas were premiered during the 19th century, including those by composers such as Verdi, Bellini and Rossini.

Teatro La Fenice was constructed from 1790 to 1792 to replace the Teatro San Benedetto that had burned to the ground, with the name “La Fenice” referring to the opera company’s survival. It was inaugurated with an opera by Giovanni Paisiello entitled “I giuochi d’Agrigento”, with the libretto crafted by Alessandro Pepoli.

In December 1836, the theatre was again destroyed by fire and rebuilt on a design by brothers Tommaso and Giovanni Battista Meduna. It was at Teatro La Fenice that Giuseppe Verdi’s works “Ernani”, “Rigoletto” and “La Traviata” were premiered, while composers such as Stravinsky and Britten wrote pieces to be performed here for the First International Festival of Contemporary Music... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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The Iconic Gondola
* Overcrowded with overtourism issues
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An iconic symbol of Venice, gondolas are a traditional, flat-bottomed rowing boat that was once the preferred means for Venetians to get around the city’s canals. These wooden boats are made by hand in special workshops known as squeri, with some still in operation today. A ride in one of these remains one of the top things to do in Venice by tourists.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, it is estimated that there were between eight and ten thousand gondolas in the city, with vaporetti now the main means of getting around. Of the few hundred gondolas that remain, most are used in festival parades and local rowing competitions or by tourists wanting a romantic perspective of Venice.

Gondolas are traditionally colored black and many feature ornamentations, including comfortable seats and blankets for guests to stay warm. Gondoliers wear black pants and striped shirts and some will also offer information during the ride... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Scuola Grande di San Rocco
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Dating to the 16th century, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is one of the most beautiful buildings in Venice. It was constructed from white marble to house a charitable society dedicated to San Rocco, regarded by many as a protector against the plague. It was designed like most other scuole in Venice, with two halls (one on the ground floor and the other above), with a staircase and landing topped by a dome connecting the two. Numerous architects worked on the building, including Bartolomeo Bon and his son Petro, as well as Sante Lombardo, Antonio Scarpagnino and Giangiacomo dei Grigi,

In 1564, soon after the scuola’s completion, the artist Tintoretto was commissioned to paint a central panel on the ceiling of the Sala dell’Albergo. He later adorned the walls and ceilings of both the Salla dell’Albergo and the Sala Superiore with a complete cycle of paintings, considered by many to be his greatest masterpiece... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Ca' Rezzonico
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Located on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere, Palazzo Rezzonico (also known as Ca' Rezzonico) is an opulent palace that provides a fascinating glimpse into 18th-century Venetian life. It was designed by the Baroque architect Baldassare Longhena, but not completed until 1756 (almost 100 years later) by Giorgio Massari.

The palace is set across three stories, with an opulent marble façade facing the Grand Canal and ornate Baroque decorations. Massari remained true to the original plans of Longhena, only adding a few of his own design elements to reflect architectural developments since the palazzo’s conception.

The Palazzo Rezzonico opened as a museum in 1936, bringing together objects from palazzi across Venice. It’s sumptuously furnished with Baroque and Rococo period pieces, silk wall coverings and Flemish tapestries, together with housing a museum that highlights the importance of luxury goods to the 18th-century Venetian economy... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Situated on the Campo dei Frari in the heart of the San Polo district, the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is one of the most important churches in Venice. Affectionately known as the “Frari”, construction began on the church around 1340 by the Franciscans and its immense campanile (the second tallest in the city) was completed in 1396.

The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is constructed from brick and one of three Venetian churches built in the Italian Gothic style. It is the only church in the city to still contain its original rood screen, an ornate partition between the chancel and nave.

The interior of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is in keeping with the minimalistic style of Franciscan churches. However, it does contain a number of artistic treasures that include the triptych “Madonna and Child Enthroned with Four Saints” by Giovanni Bellini in the sacristy and a wooden statue of St. John the Baptist by Florentine sculptor Donatello in the right transept... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Torcello Island
* Mildly touristic
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Considered the “parent island” of Venice, Torcello lies at the northern end of the Venetian Lagoon. It was first settled in the 5th century, developing into a bustling commercial town with its own cathedral by the 12th century and believed to be from where Venice’s population originated.

While it once contained palaces, churches, shipyards and docks, today there are only two churches and a small collection of homes remaining. Torcello’s cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and dates to 639 AD, and is considered the best example of Venetian-Byzantine architecture still standing today. It features beautiful mosaics lining the interior walls, including angels carrying a medallion depicting the Lamb of God and a mosaic of the Last Judgment from the early 13th century.

Be sure to admire the exquisite marble carvings throughout the interior and the 11th-century mosaic floor, together with a frieze of the Twelve Apostles surrounded by flowers... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Santa Maria dei Miracoli
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Nicknamed the “marble church”, Santa Maria dei Miracoli is one of the best-preserved examples of early Venetian Renaissance architecture. It was designed by Pietro Lombardo and built between 1481 and 1489 to enshrine a picture of the Virgin Mary, with the plans expanded in 1484 to include a new convent. The convent was built to house the nuns of St. Clare on the eastern edge of the church and connected by an enclosed walkway that no longer stands. Today Santa Maria dei Miracoli is one of the most popular places to be married in Venice because of its exquisite interior.

Santa Maria dei Miracoli is renowned for its magnificent colored marble facade that features delicate rosette, octagonal and cross patterns, with this intricate technique continued inside. The church boasts a golden domed ceiling that rises above the gray and coral marble walls, together with a beautifully decorated balustrade that is adorned with figures... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Lido di Venezia
* Mildly touristic
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Separating the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea, the Lido di Venezia is a 12-kilometer-long strip of sand that is considered Europe’s first beach resort. It was once the place to be seen for celebrities and royalty, with grand hotels and Art Nouveau villas lining its golden sands.

It’s just a short vaporetto ride from St. Mark’s to Lido, which is more residential and less touristy than the center of Venice. Small canals still weave their way between the elegant architecture and there are plenty of waterfront restaurants where you can soak up the city views.

Many of the beaches at the southern end of Lido are privately owned by hotels and only accessible to guests, while there are public beaches at the northern end of the island near the San Nicolo Church. It’s here that some of the relics of St. Nicholas are housed, with the remainder in Bari. Be sure to admire the paintings by Palma the Elder and Younger and wander amidst the charming cloisters... read more arrow

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Campanile di San Marco
* Overcrowded with overtourism issues
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One of the most iconic landmarks in Venice, the Campanile di San Marco is the soaring bell tower of Saint Mark’s Basilica. It stands alone in a corner of Piazza San Marco near the front of the basilica and towers to a height of almost 100 meters. It features a fluted brick shaft and a loggia that surrounds a belfry housing five bells. This is topped by a cube with faces depicting the Lion of St. Mark and the female representation of Venice, together with a golden weathervane in the form of the Archangel Gabriel.

The Campanile di San Marco was originally constructed in the 9th century under the reign of Pietro Tribuno (887-912) to serve as a watch tower and was built on Roman foundations. It assumed its current shape in the 16th century during restorations following earthquake damage, with a sculpture of the lion of Saint Mark and Venice added in the attic.

The Campanile di San Marco was damaged numerous times by lightning strikes, before being equipped with a lightning rod in 1776... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Torre dell'Orologio
* Crowded with tourists
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Towering on the northern side of Piazza San Marco near the entrance to the Merceria, the Torre dell’Orologio adjoins the eastern end of the Procuratie Vecchie. This Renaissance clock tower, and popular point of interest, dates to the late 15th century and was designed to exhibit the wealth of Venice and strategically placed to be visible from the lagoon waters.

The Torre dell’Orologio clock was built by father and son team Gian Paolo and Gian Carlo Ranieri, with Mauro Codussi attributed with the tower’s design. The Merceria thoroughfare passes through the arch at the base of the tower, linking the political and religious center of Piazza San Marco to the commercial and financial hub of Rialto and offering a monumental entrance to Venice’s principal street.

The terrace at the top of the tower features two bronze figures known as the “Moors”, which strike the hours on a bell. They represent the passing of time, with one old and the other young... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Santi Giovanni e Paolo
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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One of the largest churches in Venice, Santi Giovanni e Paolo is located in the Castello sestiere and was built on the remains of an earlier church. Doge Jacopo Tiepolo donated the land after he experienced a vivid dream in which white doves flew over it. Most of Venice’s doges had their funerals within Santi Giovanni de Paolo in the post-15th century, with 25 buried at the basilica.

Santi Giovanni e Paolo is designed in an Italian Gothic style, with its brick construction completed in the 1430s. It was dedicated to two martyrs - John and Paul - of the early Christian church in Rome and built on a relatively large scale to be the principal Dominican church in Venice at the time.

The interior of Santi Giovanni e Paolo features funerary monuments and wall tombs for the doges, as well as senators, admirals and captains who were buried within the basilica. Artists Gentile and Giovanni Bellini are both buried here, as is Palma the Younger and the poet Bartolomeo Bragadin... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Campo Santa Margherita
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Situated near the University of Venice, Campo Santa Margherita is a prominent city square in the Dorsoduro sestiere. It is named after a church that once stood on its northern side and has long been home to fisherman’s stalls and a small vegetable market. Its proximity to the university and the St. Lucia train station makes it a popular gathering place, with a number of significant buildings lining the square.

Campo Santa Margherita is home to the Ospizio Scrovegni, an ancient hospice that was built in accordance with the will of 15th-century noblewoman Maddalena degli Scrovegni. It’s also here that the Scuola dei Varoteri is found, a two-story brick building where the confraternity of the tanners and furriers was founded in 1311.

The Scuola Grande dei Carmini is another confraternity building on the square, founded in 1594 under Doge Pasquale Cicogna. It features a Baroque facade designed by Francesco Caustello and Baldassare Longhena, together with a richly decorated landing adorned with a trompe l'oeil tile floor and gilded stucco ceiling... read more arrow

7.6 /10
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Campo San Barnaba
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Located in the lively Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice, Campo San Barnaba is a small square named after the San Barnaba Church. This Neoclassical church was dedicated to the Apostle Saint Barnabas and dates to 1776 when it was reconstructed based on designs by Lorenzo Boschetti. It features a 11th-century campanile with a pinecone-shaped spire that is slightly detached from the main church, together with the Casin dei Nobili (Casino of the Aristocracy) that served as a lively gaming house during the 18th century. The church has been deconsecrated and now houses art exhibitions, although its facade did feature in the 1989 film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” when it was depicted as a library.

Campo San Barnaba is home to a couple of snack stalls where you can grab a bite to eat, as well as a fruit store around the corner at the Fondamenta Gheradini. Pizzerias, gelaterias and bars line the square, as does a small book shop... read more arrow

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Murano
* Mildly touristic
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Renowned for its long tradition of glassmaking, Murano is a series of seven islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon. Jump aboard a vaporetto and make the short ride across the lagoon to visit Murano’s Museo del Vetro and shop for locally crafted glasswork.

The Museo del Vetro is located within the 17th-century Palazzo Giustinian and features a magnificent collection of Venetian glass dating back to Roman times. It offers a fascinating insight into the story of glassmaking throughout the centuries and makes a good first port of call.

Glass workers were first sent to Murano in the 13th century, reportedly to reduce the risk of fires from glass furnaces that might devastate the tightly packed streets of Venice. But others believe they were confined here to keep Venetian glassblowing techniques secret from the outside world. Today the canals of Murano are lined by glassblowing workshops and studios where you can purchase beautifully-crafted souvenirs... read more arrow

7.5 /10
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Doge's Palace
* Crowded with tourists
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One of the biggest attractions in Venice is the spectacular Doge's Palace, also known as the Palazzo Ducale. Much of the present building dates from the 15th century – although an earlier building on the spot may date back to the 9th century - and has been rebuilt and added on to several times. The building was constructed in a dazzling pink and white marble design and has been described - fairly accurately - as an oversized wedding cake.

The Doge's Palace was the residence of the Doge – or chief magistrate – until the fall of the Venetian Empire in 1797. The building still occupies a prime location in Venice – situated between the lagoon and the small square known as the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square). One reason for its strategic location was to impress visitors who arrived in the city by sea.

The entire palace is ornately decorated although there are several rooms in the palace that shouldn't be missed... read more arrow
7.4 /10
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Colonna di San Marco e San Teodoro
* Overcrowded with overtourism issues
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Located overlooking the water in Piazza San Marco, the Colonna di San Marco e San Teodoro are two columns topped with bronze and marble statues that honor Venice’s patron saints. San Marco Evangelista is depicted as a winged lion on the Column of the Lion, while San Teodoro is seen atop the other. Together with the docks of Palazzo Ducale and the Marciana Library, they greet visitors accessing Piazza San Marco from the sea.

The Colonna di San Marco e San Teodoro were constructed by Nicolò Barattiero under the dogato of Sebastiano Ziani during the 12th century at a time when Piazza San Marco was being enlarged. These grand monuments were transported from the East, with the winged lion of San Marco an ancient bronze sculpture of either Greek or Syriac origin. San Teodoro, the Byzantine saint and warrior, is depicted slaying a dragon in marble atop the column on the other side of the Marciana Library. The bust is from a Roman emperor’s classic statue, while the head, arms and legs are of medieval origin... read more arrow

7.2 /10
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Santa Maria della Salute
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Positioned on the narrow Punta della Dogana that lies between the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, Santa Maria della Salute is a Roman Catholic church in the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice. Construction began in 1631 following a devastating outbreak of the plague and the church was dedicated to Our Lady of Deliverance (“Salute”), with many of its art works referencing the “Black Death”.

Santa Maria della Salute is located at the Bacino di San Marco, with its Baroque architecture visible when approaching Piazza San Marco from the water. This site was selected as it allowed for an easy procession from Piazza San Marco during the Festa della Madonna della Salute, which saw the city’s officials parade to the church in gratitude for deliverance from the plague. This is still a major event and attraction in Venice, taking place on November 21 each year.

Santa Maria della Salute was designed in an octagonal shape by Baldassare Longhena using Istrian stone and marmorino, with a pair of bell towers at the back... read more arrow

7.2 /10
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Piazza San Marco
* Overcrowded with overtourism issues
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The emperor Napoleon supposedly described it as "the finest drawing room in all of Europe" and if you visit Piazza San Marco in Venice, it's easy to agree with him. The square, also known as Saint Mark's Square – dedicated to the city's patron saint - is one of the most beautiful public squares in Europe.

St. Mark's is also one of the few large squares that are given over just to pedestrians, rather than vehicles. It's the only square in Venice known as a piazza – the other squares are technically called campi. Of all the attractions in Venice, this famous square is without a doubt one of the first places that tourists go see and hang out when arriving in the city.

The square has always been the location of most of the important offices of the Venetian state and a natural place for marches, parades and festivals of all kinds. Today, many of the city's most important buildings still lie on or close to St. Mark's – the Doge's Palace, St... read more arrow

7.1 /10
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Bridge of Sighs
* Crowded with tourists
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The Bridge of Sighs is a limestone bridge in Venice that connects the Prison to the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace). It crosses the Rio di Palazzo canal.

The bridge was built in 1600 under the supervision of Antonio Contino, the nephew of the architect of the Rialto Bridge.  

The name stands from the stories that prisoners would get a quick glance at the beautiful city when being moved back from the Palace to their cells.

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7.1 /10
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Museum of Naval History & Arsenal
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Established by the Italian Royal Navy in 1919 (just after the end of World War I), the Museo Storico Navale (Museum of Naval History) is located in the Castello district of Venice. It highlights the naval and maritime history of the city and its famous Arsenale (Arsenal), with a fascinating collection of ship models and old weapons.

Venice was once the most feared maritime power in the Mediterranean, with the Arsenale the largest shipbuilding complex on the continent until the end of the 17th century. It was originally founded in 1104 and expanded over time, employing as many as 16,000 workers at its peak of production.

The Arsenale was closely guarded to retain Venetian shipbuilding secrets, with a grand Renaissance-style arch at its land entrance. The arch is guarded by lions that were brought from Greece following the conquest of the Peloponnese in the 17th century. The Arsenale is now used for military purposes, but it’s here that the first shipbuilding models were once displayed and the Museum of Naval History’s collection was born... read more arrow

7.1 /10
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Gallerie dell'Accademia
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Dedicated to pre-19th-century art, the Gallerie dell’Accademia is one of Venice’s most famous art museums. It’s situated on the southern bank of the Grand Canal and originally served as the gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia until the art school was relocated to the Ospedale degli Incurabili in 2004.

The Gallerie dell’Accademia is situated at the prestigious Scuola Grande de Santa Maria della Carità (the oldest of the six Scuole Grandi) within a building that dates to 1343. The complex includes the church of Santa Maria and the monastery of the Canonici Lateranensi, which was built by Andrea Palladio. The impressive facade of Santa Maria della Carità was completed by Bartolome Bon in 1441.

Today the Gallerie dell’Accademia boasts the most comprehensive collection of 15th to 18th-century Venetian paintings in the world, with many of its pieces brought here from monasteries, churches and palaces of the nobility... read more arrow

7 /10
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Riviera del Brenta
* Mildly touristic
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The Riviera del Brenta connects Padua with the lagoon of Venice by 36 km of beautiful and unique countryside: a landscape which portrays art and culture, nature and history.

The construction of the canal began in the 16th century. The idyllic green surroundings attracted many Venetian royalties to build their villas along the canal which was only a stone’s throw from Venice.

At first, their agricultural settings gave them a functional design, though quickly they were transformed into luxurious residences; the famous Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio designed many of them.

The area soon became populated, and it became a commonality for the nobility from the Venetian lagoon to possess a villa on the Brenta River, that they reached by ´Burchiello´ boat from San Marco in Venice.

A select number of the villas and their gardens have been restored and are open to the public. One of the most famous villas that is open to the public is Villa Pisani... read more arrow

7 /10
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Palazzo Fontana Rezzonico
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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This palace owned by the Rezzonico family was built in the 1600s. It is also the birthplace of Carlo Rezzonico who became Pope Clement VIII. The Rezzonico family also constructed the Ca' Rezzonico, a bigger palace that is located on the Grand Canal.

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6.7 /10
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Palazzo Pisani Moretta
* Moderately crowded tourist spot
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Nestled between Palazzo Tiepolo and Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza on the banks of the Grand Canal, Palazzo Pisani Moretta is a historic 15th-century residence built by the Bembo family. It later became home to the wealthy Pisani Moretta family and was extended over successive centuries, eventually taking on its current appearance in the 18th century.

The facade of Palazzo Pisani Moretta is designed in a flamboyant Venetian Gothic style, with arched doorways opening onto the canal and mullioned windows with point arches along its two floors. The interior features ornate Baroque decorations, with works on display by popular Venetian artists at the time such as Tiepolo, Guarana and Angeli. A grand double staircase leads to the second floor and an opulent masquerade ball known as Il Ballo del Doge is held here each during the Venetian Carnival.

Paolo Veronese's famous painting “The Family of Darius before Alexander” once hung here (before being acquired by the National Gallery in London), as did a ceiling painting “The Chariots of Aurora” by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini that is now in George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House... read more arrow

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* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

You can also rate and vote for your favorite Venice sightseeing places, famous historical landmarks, and best things to do in Venice by visiting the individual Venice attraction pages.