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Michael's tips for culture enthusiasts in Venice

Michael's tips for culture enthusiasts in Venice

In March of 2022, our very own Commercial Executive Michael took a trip to Venice to visit a few of our hotel partners and delve deeper into this famous Italian city.

Venice is an art lover's dream, with an abundance of museums, galleries, and churches filled to the brim with Tintoretto masterpieces, Canaletto landscapes, Titian renaissance classics, and other beautiful artwork dating back centuries. Add to this some fantastic architecture, traditional Italian cuisine, and a labyrinth of intertwined canals and pathways, and you soon realise why the Queen of the Adriatic is on the bucket-list for many world travellers.  

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Located at the mouth of the Grand Canal going into the Lagoon, you can find the Piazza San Marco, a historic and landmark public square in which you can find some famous attractions, where you can easily spend half a day or more in this area. Palazzo Ducale (also known as Doge’s Palace) is a symbol of Venice and of Gothic-style architecture. Originally built in 1340, this palace features fantastic artwork, furniture, and ornaments. You can also walk across the Bridge of Sighs, so called as it provides the last views of Venice before descending into the dungeons!  

Also located in Piazza San Marco, Basilica di San Marco is a must-visit. This incredible cathedral dates to 1094! Citalia recommends you pay the supplement to be able to enter the museum upstairs, which also grants you access to the balcony overlooking the square and out onto the Lagoon. After you have seen the Basilica, head up the Campanile di San Marco, the belltower of the Basilica and the highest point in Venice, to garner breath-taking 360-degree views across the whole city. Finally, after having a look at the Torre dell'Orologio, an intriguing clock tower dating back to 1499, enter the Museo Correr which offers a fascinating insight into the art, culture, and history of the city.
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Dorsoduro is the city’s university district, and the contrast with the rest of the city is stark, as you will tend to find less crowds, more reasonable dining prices, and a lot more of a local flavour and feel in this area. As you wonder around the streets, you can stumble upon the Squero di San Trovaso, where new gondolas are constructed, and damaged ones are repaired. When it comes to culture, you are spoilt for choice in Dorsoduro. A good place to start might be the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, the domed 17th-century baroque church famous for marking the end of the Grand Canal.  

If you are an art lover, then your choices are bountiful. The Gallerie dell’Accademia contains over 20 rooms overspilling with pre-19th Century Italian masterpieces, whilst the Peggy Guggenheim Collection offers a more modern taste with works from the 20th century. Ca' Rezzonico is a palace museum of 18th century Venice and is set right on the Grand Canal. How long you spend in each museum and gallery around the city is entirely up to you; you could easily spend hours in each one, going into depth listening to audio guides about each work of art and the detailed history of each palace. Conversely you could have a quick explore in less than an hour. It is worth noting the opening hours and days of each place you wish to visit, as many attractions have infrequent opening times.  

Walking from Dorsoduro, you will pass the University Ca' Foscari bustling with students, and a quick step over the water and you will find yourself in the San Polo sestiere, right in the centre of Venice and the heart of the city. Here you will find one of the city’s most famous and popular landmarks, the Rialto Bridge. The bridge spans across the Grand Canal and provides unforgettable views down the jetty-lined waters. As the city’s most popular and busiest attraction, you may find yourself a little cramped for space to take that spectacular selfie, but if you wait until night-time, crowds will have significantly lessened and you will have plenty of space to stretch your arms, still gaining magnificent views of the Grand Canal twinkling with the lights of the surrounding buildings.  

San Polo offers yet more options to view historic artistic masterpieces and grandioso churches. The Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is a monumental church in the heart of the district, the resting place of Titian. You can also enter the Chiesa di San Rocco for a more intimate, yet just as grand affair.  

For works painted by 16th-century late Renaissance artist Tintoretto, enter the Scuola Grande di San Rocco dedicated to him. Be sure to look up at the ceilings, where you will see his most impressive work.   
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The final area I checked out on my tour of Venice was Cannaregio. This is the second largest sestiere, starting with the Santa Lucia train station one end, and straddling down north of the Grand Canal all the way towards Rialto Bridge and San Marco. Whilst I found this area a little less sparse than the others when it comes to headline attractions, it is still a fascinating district full of shops, restaurants, churches, and museums, and still well worth a visit to get away from the busy crowds and enjoy the area.  

If you want to experience the culmination of centuries of rich culture and Italian history, Venice must be added to your travel plans. With plenty left to be seen on Michael's trip, it is easily a destination that you can explore for multiple days and even trips! If you would like to explore Venice and see these amazing landmarks for yourself, visit our dedicated Venice pages or give our Personal Travel Planners a call.  

Call us today to speak to one of our Italy Experts for further travel advice, hotel recommendations or to begin planning your next Italian holiday.

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