Meg’s Top 10 in Venice

Italy is a country full of culture and beautifully unique cities. One of the most popular of these cities is Venice. Venice is located in the more northern part of Italy and is most famous for the fact that this city has no roads but instead is built on water. The canal infrastructure makes Venice feel like it is separate from the rest of the world. This is a city full of culture, class, and history. You’ll never be bored in Venice but maybe a daytrip or a weekend could be enough for you. As with any destination it depends on who you are, what you like and what budget you’re travelling with. Whatever your style and budget though, there are some absolutely must-sees and must dos. I’ve done my best to sum these up in my Meg’s Top 10 in Venice list. Let’s see what sounds good to you!

10 Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

As with any Italian city, churches are not in short supply. The largest and a quite famous church in Venice is the Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in the San Polo district, usually referred to as the Frari. Going to see at least one church is mandatory when visiting any Italian city. There are about 200 churches in Venice so the largest one is bound to be pretty impressive. The façade is a little boring if you ask me but the inside is filled with all kinds of Christian art and the walls are lined with windows letting in so much light. I’m not one for religion but churches aren’t just places where people look for god but they are buildings full of art and history. Try and take that in when visiting Venice and its many, many churches. 

9 Canal Grande

The Canal Grande is the Venetian equivalent to a main street. It is certainly a main Venice sight but I honestly wouldn’t say it’s one of my like top 5 favourites. I personally think that the main advantage of the Canal Grande is that you can use it as an orientation point. The main boat lines go along the Canal Grande making this the main point of entry and exit to Venice. Views of the Canal from the side and its various bridges are unique. 

8 St Mark’s Campanile

Now, this is one of those sights that depending on your interest and budget you can either simply view from St. Mark’s Square or actually go in and take a look at the view of Venice from the top. The Campanile is a Venetian landmark in the city’s centre, St. Mark’s Square. It is the tallest structure in Venice and is one of the most recognizable symbols that the city has. Originally, the tower functioned as a kind of lighthouse and watchtower. Nowadays it is used simply as a belltower, museum, and historical symbol.

7 Canals all over the place

This one is a bit of a general point, I know but it just had to go on the top 10 list. As mentioned, there are canals all over the place in Venice and this is something you must take advantage of. Take a gondola ride, sit by the water with an Aperol and take all the Venice canal pictures you can dream of. Walking around Venice, crossing all the bridges along the way and just experiencing a city’s web of canals is a magical thing. This is the vibe that Venice is all about and this is the atmosphere that has made this city so famous. 

6 Doge’s Palace

Next sight on the “depending on your budget list” is the Doge’s Palace. This building is absolutely stunning from the inside and out. The number one recommendation I can give you if you plan on visiting the palace, is booking your ticket in advance. Queues to enter the palace can be insane if you turn up to buy a ticket on-site. This wonderful Venetian Gothic style palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice and became a museum in 1923 which is now filled with interesting facts and stories about the history of this northern Italian city. The architecture of the entire building gives you that typical old Venetian feeling, and you can definitely tell that this was a royal residence. The best photo opportunities at the palace are probably from outside if you try not to get too many people in your picture. 

5 St Mark’s Basilica

An absolute must-see Venetian landmark is the St. Mark’s Basilica. The main disadvantage of the basilica is that there is an up to 50:50 chance that it could be closed for renovations, so you may only be able to view the cathedral from the outside. Either way, you have to try and visit the most famous church in Venice. The Basilica is probably the most noticeable feature on St. Mark’s Square and its large domes are certainly among the main reasons. The architecture of this basilica is a typical example of the Italo-Byzantine style and stands out with its many gold decorated and detailed design features.

4 Rialto Bridge

Depending on when you go, the Rialto Bridge can either be an amazing place to visit or a bit of a hassle overrun by crowds. You have to cross the bridge when you’re there and you have to see the view of the Canal Grande because it is unique! The restaurants and bars along the canal in the area of the Ponte di Rialto are often reasonably priced, serve great food and have a fantastic view – mainly obviously if you sit outside. In my experience, they even usually have quite a lot of turn over so that you don’t end up waiting too long for a table.

3 St. Mark’s Square

I’ve already mentioned a couple of sights around the St. Mark’s Square, so it is only fair that the square itself gets a mention. The facades of all the amazing sights surrounding the Piazza San Marco are beautiful and things like the Torre dell’Orologio (Clocktower in Venice) only top it off. In the evenings there is always live music playing and a lot of places to sit outside. Drinking here in the evening is probably one of the most expensive options but you should definitely walk around the square and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere and the beautiful lights. 

2 Bridge of Sighs

I know it’s kind of odd to put this one in spot two but I don’t know what to tell you other than that I just think it’s a great story, looks fantastic, is a city landmark and has an interesting history. The Bridge of Sighs is the “gateway” from the Doge’s Palace to the New Prison (Prigioni Nuove) and is visible from the Ponte della Paglia. It gets its name from a very poetic story. The view from this bridge was the last view of the beautiful city of Venice that the prisoners used to get. It is said that this sight used to make the prisoners so sad that they would sigh loudly as they crossed the bridge on the way to their cells. From what I’ve read and with a little more thought, I’m pretty sure this is no more than an old wives tale but it’s poetic and the bridge is beautiful, so why not try to believe it a little bit.

1 Basilica de Santa Maria della Salute

My favourite place to visit in Venice is a little less mainstream than a lot of the afore mentioned ones. The Basilica de Santa Maria della Salute is a stunning building inside and out. It is free to enter and explore the wonderful artifacts and paintings inside, which I would definitely recommend. In addition to all the beauty the building has to offer, this basilica, commonly known as the Salute, is located at the Punta della Dogana which is just a phenomenal place to sit and maybe have a snack or a drink you’ve brought with you and just enjoy watching the boats go by. Take the time to wonder over to the Salute or take a short boat trip because it is worth it for the view, the culture and the wonderful feeling you get standing outside this beautiful building.

In summary, there is a lot to discover and explore around most corners in Venice and the picture opportunities are endless. I found that travelling on a lower budget, Venice is nice for a day or two. Restaurants and general accommodation in Venice are certainly not the cheapest but it is definitely worth the visit – even if it’s just a short one. On my last visit to Venice, I stayed at the Hotel Da Bruno which is a lovely small hotel very close to the Rialto Bridge and perfect if you’re travelling on a budget.
Overall Venice is the perfect place for a sophisticated, relaxing and cultural northern Italian experience and if you don’t sit outside at some point with an Aperol (or a similar refreshing drink), then you’re missing a key part of the experience.

If you’re interested in more destinations, packing tips or general travel advice, check out some of the other articles and stay tuned for more! In case your questions aren’t answered here, or you have any comments or personal experiences you’d like to share, don’t be afraid to get in touch, comment and let me know. 

You can also follow @megsplaces on Instagram and Facebook for regular updates, pictures and story polls!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s