Venice monuments

The monuments and sights of interest in Venice

This is meant as a catch-all category for Venetian icons and typical sights that do not necessarily fall neatly into another obvious category (such as museums, churches, or palaces).

A gondola ride along Venice's Grand CanalA gondola ride ★★★ - Long, sleek, black, slightly crooked, looking like a cross between a canoe and a coffin, the Venetian gondola was the primary form of transportation in Venice from the 12th century until speedboats roared into the canals in the late 20th. The official rates for a gondola ride are €80 ($104) for up to 6 people for 40 minutes. After 7pm, the price rises to €100 ($130)... » more
The Canale Grande of VeniceThe Grand Canal ★★★ - The Grand Canal is Venice's main artery and primary boulevard, a two-mile ribbon of water plied by hundreds of ferries, gondolas, garbage scows, speedboats, and small commercial craft daily. This inverted S-curve of a canal is lined with more than 200 of the most gorgeous Venetian palazzi (palaces), called home by a legion of ex-pats like Wagner, Byron, Robert Browning, Hemingway, Proust, Henry James, and Ruskin... » more
The pigeons of St. Mark's Square in VenicePiazza San Marco ★★★ - The living room of Venice is a year-round carnival, one of milling tourists, the glittering mosaics of St. Mark's cathedral, 16th-century arcades, kids feeding an endless supply of pigeons, locals relaxing at outdoor café tables under 16th century arcades, and couples caught up in Venice's romance dancing on the cobblestones to the competing strains of the cafés' live pianists and classical trios... » more
Tintoretto's Crucifixion in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in VeniceScuola Grande di San Rocco ★★ - A lay confraternity (think of its as a Renaissance gentlemen's club) decorated in carved wood and more than 50 exquisite paintings by Tintoretto, the largest collection of his works anywhere (he got the commission by impressing the judges by secretly installing a finished painting in one of the rooms rather than simply submitting a sketch). Look into attending a chamber orchestra concert in the evocative rooms sponsored by the Accademia di San Rocco ( » more
The belltower of St. Marks in VeniceCampanile di San Marco - From the narrow balcony around the top of the belltower of St. Mark's Basilica, you will be able to admire the multiple domes and spires of the cathedral's rooftop along with a glorious sweep across Piazza San Marco, the city of Venice, the Grand Canal, and the busy Bacino San Marco basin... » more
The Ponte di Rialto in VeniceRialto Bridge - This shop-lined, 16th-century stone bridge was, until the 19th century, the only place you could cross the Grand Canal. It has for centuries been a gathering place and prime meeting spot, the place you to get the pulse of the city (or these days, the pulse of the tourists)... » more
The Ponte di Rialto in VeniceSquero di San Trovaso - See one of handful of remaining squeri, or gondola boatyards, where Venice's distinctive boats are still painstakingly hand-crafted by multi-generation master boat builders... » more
The Jewish Ghetto of VeniceTorre dell'Orologio - This late 15th-century clock tower has a bell that chimes the hours with the help of two hammer-wielding statues standing on the very tip-top of the tower and known as the "Moors of Venice." You would think there would be some kind of great story behind that... » more
The Jewish Ghetto of VeniceJewish Ghetto - "Ghetto" wasn't originally a derogatory term. Rather it was the Venetian dialect name for the neighborhood in which the city's Renaissance-era Jews lived—though, admittedly, their movements were at times greatly restricted. This is the only part of Venice where medieval buidlings soar to five and six stories (nowhere to build but up), and the local Jewish Museum offers tours to several of the neighborhood's five historic and beautiful synagogues built during the Ghetto's 16th-century heyday... » more

Tips & links

How to find the Venice sights that will interest you

There are several ways helps you browse the sights of Venice, each neatly tucked into its own box below. You can get quick lists of all the top sights—the ones no one wants to miss when they visit Venice—or of all the attractions that are free of charge.

Or you can check out Reid's List, a thoroughly subjective compendium of some of my favorite, slightly less famous sights and experiences.

If you prefer thematic categories, you can see all the major museums or churches or palazzi at once, or if you're looking for something else to see or do nearby a major sight, you can peruse everything by neighborhood.

If you like to leave the planning of the daily itinerary to others, you can also sign up for a guided tour or two.

Or, if you want help cramming as much of it all as possible into your visit, you can peruse our perfect itineraries for one, two, or three days in Venice.

The top half-dozen or so sights listed under each category above are just a sampling. If you want to read short, one-line reviews of all sights within a category, click on the category title (or you can click on an individual sight for a quick link to its full description).

About the star ratings

I have rated every sight and experience in Venice from zero to three stars.

Three stars, two stars, etc. are fairly self-explanatory—but note that it's not that the "no-star sights" are not worth the bother.

In fact, in any other city they'd probably rank much higher. They're just cursed to be in Venice, competing for your precious vacation time alongside St. Mark's Basilica, the Accademia Gallery, and a gondola ride—all solid three-stars.

This is a purely subjective rating, but it will help you get a sense of which sights pack the highest wow factor—and where to spend your time. In fact, you could view the starts thusly:

  • Anything rated three stars you should try to see even if you only have one day in Venice.
  • With two days, you can try to pack in as many two-starred sights as well.
  • With three or four days, you'll have time to fit in some one-star sights around the edges of your sightseeing schedule.
  • If you're lucky enough to be in town for more than four days, you might take the time to visit some of the no-starred sights.
Tours, walks, & activities
How long does it take to see Venice?

Planning your day: You could spend an afternoon in Venice, a day or two, or a week and never run out of things to do and new corners to discover.

I would try to give Venice at least a day and a half. Three days would be better, but most people don't have that kind of time, even for Venice.

I have suggestions for how to spend anywhere from half a day in Venice up to three full days on the Venice itineraries pages.

Venice is a city that, at first glance, seems excessively touristy and overrun. Some visitors can't wait to move on to someplace that feels a bit less like a canal-rodden Disneyland.

However, given time (and purposefully getting lost once or twice), Venice reveals its serenissima side and begins to seduce even the most jaded of travelers.

Venice itineraries

Venice sightseeing passes

There are several cumulative ticket museum passes and discounts for pre-booking Venice:

  • Museum Pass ★★ (covering 11 civic museums and sights)
  • Chorus Pass (covering 16 major churches)
  • Venice Connected (a pre-booking service for sights and services offering minor discounts)
Venice links & resources

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Venice tourist information
Giardini ex Reali, San Marco (between Piazza San Marco and its western ferry stop)
Vaporetto: San Marco–Giardinetti Reali
tel. +39-041-529-8711

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