When in Italy, you cannot miss a tour in Venice, the city of romance, the city of bridges. Full of culture and art, Venice can be considered a museum en plein-air and it is also the birthplace of famous artists such as Titian, Tintoretto and Vivaldi.
The city is divided into six neighborhoods, also called “sestieri”, and they all offer at least one attraction.
The easiest and cheapest way to reach Venice is by train. Once arrived, from the first steps to get out of the railway station, you’ll remain breathless because of the beauty of the stunning landscape. The first thing you’ll see is the Grand Canal, Venice’s watery street, plenty of steamboats and gondolas and directly in front of you, right across the canal, San Simeon Piccolo’s church.
The railway station is located in sestiere Cannaregio but it is better to sightsee this part of Venice at the end of the day, before catching the train to get back home.
Cross The Scalzi Bridge (the huge white bridge that you see on the left) and proceed to San Polo where one of the most stunning things to see is Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Here, you can admire many frescos painted by Tintoretto, the rooms are incredibly ornate and the staircase will oblige you to look up all the time.
If you need to buy some typical souvenirs at a convenient price, this is the right place, as you can find many shops with all different kinds of magnets, masks, postcards and other stuff.
After a few steps, you will reach Dorsoduro, a district frequented by young people during night and day and where there are many bistros, clubs and restaurants. This part of Venice is also well-know for its museums, the biggest of which is The Gallerie dell’Accademia, and churches. The second leg of the journey should be Campo Santa Margherita where you can sip a spritz (a Venetian cocktail), with cicchetti, small dishes similar to the Spanish tapas.
To arrive at the Gallerie dell’Accademia you will have to walk for ten minutes, but once into the museum you will forget the effort. As a matter of fact, you will be surrounded by art and paintings, each of them with a different history that you can learn by listening to the audio guide that the museum offers to the visitors.
Then, you must visit Punta della Dogana where Santa Maria della Salute’s Cathedral is. From here, you can have an external perspective on St Mark’s Square and you can take photos and selfies, because generally this part of the city is not overcrowded.
Continuing your tour in Zattere, a stroll along the lagoon, you enjoy the breathtaking view of the profile of Giudecca and the pictorial building that line Dorsoduro’s bank. And don’t forget to pop round to Squeri, one of the few remaining gondola workshops in Venice.
After a substantial and tasty meal – you should taste bigoi, sarde in saor, and squid-ink spaghetti, while drinking a cold local wine – you would certainly give a boost to your energies and be ready for the second part of the tour.
St Mark’s neighborhood offers many of the well-known and most famous attractions, such as the namesake place, the Basilica, the bell tower, the Doge’s palace and the Bridge of Sighs. It’s worth taking a tour inside the Basilica to see the rich marble floors, the gold mosaics and the Byzantine architecture. It would be better to make a reservation on the net in advance, so that you will have the chance to jump the queue.
After the visit (generally it lasts about ten minutes) you can admire the external architecture of the Doge’s palace and behind it you will find the above mentioned Bridge of Sighs, famous for its history. Indeed, in the past, prisoners passed across the bridge on their way to prison or before being executed, but there is also a romantic legend: if you pass under the bridge on a gondola kissing your lover, you will have eternal love and joy.
Before a flying visit to Rialto’s Bridge, you can have a coffee in Caffé Florian, the first coffeehouse built in the 18th century, famous for having hosted many celebrities: from Lord Byron, Charles Dickens and Goldoni to Stendhal.
Right next to Rialto, you can spend a couple of hours shopping in Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a large department store with different international luxury brands and products and you can’t miss a free tour of the terrace on the roof of the Palace which offers one of the best and remarkable views in Venice. Remember to connect to their website and book a reservation for the visit, selecting the time slot that you prefer, in order to arrive and get a direct access to the rooftop.
The last leg of the short journey in Venice will be on your way back to the railway station; you cannot leave this beautiful city without seeing the Venetian Jewish ghetto and without buying unleavened bread and others delicious jewish sweets.
Your one day trip in Venice has come to an end. Probably you will be tired, and your only desire would be that of hitting the sack. However, if you think about all beauties that you have seen and things that you have learnt in a single day, you will feel enriched and all the tiredness will disappear.