So, you finally did it. You booked your ticket to the most romantic city on Earth – Venice, Italy.
Characterized by its many canals connected by hundreds of bridges, Venice is the main character in many pop culture works. Romantic jaunts in ornate black gondolas guided by serenading gondoliers is the iconic image most eager travelers imagine. But, what else does Venice have to offer?
With millions of visitors each year, it is one of the top European tourist destinations. Venice is rich in culture and history. Because of this, there is no shortage in what it has to offer its many tourists.
This list of things every traveler must experience while visiting will ensure you get the most out of your visit and see everything Venice has to offer.
Take a Gondola Ride
There is a reason why you will find this on every list of Venice must-dos. Gondolas are the symbol of Venice. They are the most well-known method of transportation throughout the city.
Seeing the city from the canal offers a different vantage point from walking through the streets. You truly feel like a Venetian while on the water.
There are two main areas where the rides can be hailed – along the Grand Canal and the lagoon. Where you choose to start is just a personal preference. Both routes provide some of the most beautiful views of Venice from the canals. Keep in mind that Venice is teeming with tourists. Prepare to wait in a long line. Each ride costs between €80 to €120 depending on the time of day and length of the ride, and each gondola can accommodate up to 5 people.
See the Most Famous View of Venice from the Rialto Bridge
This area is the heart of the city. The bridge overlooks the Grand Canal and provides iconic views from both sides.
From here, you can take in the hustle and bustle of the city below you. The view is simply indescribable. This location is extremely popular so be prepared for hundreds of people on the bridge itself at any given time.
Learn the True History of the Bridge of Sighs
The bridge of sighs is another well-known and photographed landmark in Venice. It is an enclosed bridge that connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms inside Doge Palace.
There is an urban legend that if couples kiss while passing underneath the bridge, their love will be eternal. But the history of the bridge is much less romantic than this legend.
The name derived from the sighs heard as the prisoners crossed; getting their last views of Venice through tiny windows as they ultimately marched to their doom.
Walking the bridge is only possible with a tour of Doge’s Palace. If history museums are something you enjoy, I highly recommend this tour. If not, it’s easy to snag a picture in front of or under the bridge. And maybe even get a kiss from your lover just in case.
Enjoy an Aperitivo and People-Watch in Piazza San Marco
Aperitivo hour in Italy is my absolute favorite time of day. You could easily lose hours sipping spritz, eating finger foods and watching the hundreds of people admiring the sites of the square.
Here you will find St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark’s Clocktower, St. Mark’s Campanile, museums and various cafes. With so many points of interest, the possibilities are endless.
Get a Spectacular Birds-eye View of the City and Lagoon from St. Mark’s Campanile
Climb, or ride the elevator, more than 300 feet to the top of the bell tower and get the most unforgettable view of Venice. Learn the history of the campanile. The current standing one is not the original. This is a popular attraction so again be prepared for long lines but the view is completely worth it.
Get “Lost” Wandering the Streets of Venice
Venice is comprised of over 100 small islands connected by over 400 bridges. It is a relatively small place. Every corner introduces another picture-worthy scene. Each bridge boasts Instagram-worthy backdrops that are sure to captivate your followers. Let Venice guide you along as you wander aimlessly enjoying the beauty and romance.
Important Things to Know Before your Venetian Vacation
Venice during the summer months is very hot and humid with early to mid-August being the peak. Light clothing and comfortable walking shoes are highly recommended. Venice sees millions of visitors each year and the bulk of that is during the summer months.
Be prepared for long lines and hundreds of people walking the extremely narrow streets. Mosquitoes during the summer in Italy are vicious. Make sure to buy repellent that works against tiger mosquitoes for best protection.
Venice could easily be a single-day trip. I honestly wouldn’t recommend spending more than 2 days here. Again, the city is really small.
Consider taking the train to Milan, Verona, or Bologna to maximize the time you have in Italy. Every city you encounter in Italy has much to offer in regards to beauty and history.
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