A luxurious and grand city built on a lagoon and linked by picturesque waterways, Venice truly is a city like no other. A visit to Venice will see you discovering majestic marble palaces, incredible artistic masterpieces, fascinating history and an enchanting, magical atmosphere. With so many treasures hidden around every corner, it can be difficult to take it all in. Here’s our guide to the best things to do, see and eat in Venice.
Discover history at its best at Palazzo Ducale
Venice is bursting with luxury and grandeur, from the neighbourhood churches lined with Veroneses and priceless marbles to the majestic Basilica di San Marco, but the most impressive landmark has to be the Palazzo Ducale.
This grand Gothic palace was the Doge's official residence from the 9th century, and seat of the Venetian Republic's government for nearly seven centuries. You’ll be able to marvel at the opulent apartments stretched over two floors, featuring the famous roaring lions, the amazing golden staircase and incredible artworks from the likes of Giovanni Cambi, Titian and Tiepolo.
See the city from the water
Venice is known as the magnificent city built on water, and there’s no better way to explore Venice’s picturesque canals and waterways than on a gondola.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you float gently along the Grand Canal, taking in unique views of some of the most impressive Venetian architecture.
Take in some culture at Teatro La Fenice
For centuries, Venice has been filled with music – the city became the launching pad of baroque music and modern opera in the 1700s, and since then its legacy in the classical arts has only grown.
If you want to find out how the wealthy and famous Venetians relaxed in the past, head to Teatro La Fenice – arguably one of the world’s most impressive and well-known opera halls. La Fenice still plays host to the world’s best classical musicians each year, and you can also book a tour to get a more in-depth glimpse of this palace of music.
Treat yourself to some Venetian cuisine
As a city built on lagoons and a popular stopping point for ancient spice traders, its no surprise that Venice has a rich history of creating unique and delicious cuisine. Plenty of bars and restaurants offer cicheti (Venetian tapas), and other dishes to try include oca in onto (goose in its own fat), freshwater lagoon fish done in soar and Venetian antipasti such as raw seafood.
If you have more of a sweet tooth, there’s nothing better than enjoying some delicious Venetian gelato as you unwind next to the canals. Most Venetians agree that some of the city’s best gelato is served at Boutique del Gelato, a tiny gelateria with a passion for creating the finest flavours.
Admire the best of Italian art
Venice is renowned for the incredible artworks that stretch across the city, and you can still see historic pieces from Venice’s grand masters such as Titian, Tintoretto, Canaletto and Tiepolo. Perhaps the most spectacular place to see some of these masterpieces is Scuola Grande di Dan Rocco, which is home to countless works by Tintoretto including the famous The Crucifixion.
Venetian art doesn’t just look to the past though. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection features work by the 20th century masters, while Punta della Dogana plays host to work by a number of contemporary giants. This is all without mentioning the Venice Biennale - the world’s biggest and longest running artistic extravaganza which takes place every two years.