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Free Things To Do in Venice

If you have extra time, St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) is worthwhile.

#1

#1 in Venice

Free
This elaborate church sits on the popular piazza by the same name. The church was built in honor of Saint Mark the evangelist, whose remains were stolen from their home in Alexandria, Egypt, and hidden in barrels of pork and cabbage leaves by a couple crafty Venetians, intent on bringing him to rest in Venice.  
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Saint Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)
This elaborate church sits on the popular piazza by the same name. The church was built in honor of Saint Mark the evangelist, whose remains were stolen from their home in Alexandria, Egypt, and hidden in barrels of pork and cabbage leaves by a couple crafty Venetians, intent on bringing him to rest in Venice.  
... more

#3

#3 in Venice

Free
Several centuries ago, if you wanted to cross the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge was the only way. There are now four major bridges that cross the canal, but Rialto is by far the most famous. The bridge's current incarnation is the handiwork of Antonio da Ponte, who beat out Michelangelo and Palladio for the job. Antonio da Ponte's name translates to "Anthony of the Bridge," and he built the Rialto Bridge entirely of Istrian stone after it collapsed multiple times from previous designs. Predicted to fail by critics, the bridge still stands and is considered an engineering marvel.  
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Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)
Several centuries ago, if you wanted to cross the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge was the only way. There are now four major bridges that cross the canal, but Rialto is by far the most famous. The bridge's current incarnation is the handiwork of Antonio da Ponte, who beat out Michelangelo and Palladio for the job. Antonio da Ponte's name translates to "Anthony of the Bridge," and he built the Rialto Bridge entirely of Istrian stone after it collapsed multiple times from previous designs. Predicted to fail by critics, the bridge still stands and is considered an engineering marvel.  
... more

#6

#6 in Venice

Free
St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, is considered by many to be the heart of Venice. As the largest square in Venice, St. Mark's Square is the only "piazza" in the city. All other squares are campo. Lining the square are multiple historical sites including St. Mark's BasilicaSt. Mark's Campanile and Doge's Palace, as well as a number of restaurants, making it the perfect spot for leisurely people-watching and wine sipping. Along with intricate architecture and hearty plates of spaghetti carbonara, visitors will also be met with throngs of tourists, pigeons and vendors selling souvenirs. If you hoped to pick up a gondola hat or a carnival mask during your trip, this is the place you will find them. 
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco)
St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, is considered by many to be the heart of Venice. As the largest square in Venice, St. Mark's Square is the only "piazza" in the city. All other squares are campo. Lining the square are multiple historical sites including St. Mark's BasilicaSt. Mark's Campanile and Doge's Palace, as well as a number of restaurants, making it the perfect spot for leisurely people-watching and wine sipping. Along with intricate architecture and hearty plates of spaghetti carbonara, visitors will also be met with throngs of tourists, pigeons and vendors selling souvenirs. If you hoped to pick up a gondola hat or a carnival mask during your trip, this is the place you will find them. 
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#7

#7 in Venice

Free
Centuries ago, the Bridge of Sighs, which connects the Doge's Palace to dungeons, was used to transport prisoners from the courtroom to the prisons. Legend has it that the Bridge of Sighs, or Ponte dei Sospiriin Italian, was named for the sighs prisoners like Giacomo Casanova would utter as they took one last look at the outside world through the bridge's windows as they made their way to prison for good. On a much lighter note, Venetian lore says if two lovers kiss on a gondola under the bridge, they'll be granted eternal bliss.  
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Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Bridge of Sighs
Centuries ago, the Bridge of Sighs, which connects the Doge's Palace to dungeons, was used to transport prisoners from the courtroom to the prisons. Legend has it that the Bridge of Sighs, or Ponte dei Sospiriin Italian, was named for the sighs prisoners like Giacomo Casanova would utter as they took one last look at the outside world through the bridge's windows as they made their way to prison for good. On a much lighter note, Venetian lore says if two lovers kiss on a gondola under the bridge, they'll be granted eternal bliss.  
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#11

#11 in Venice

Free
In 1516, Jews in Venice were forced to move to a small northwestern section of the island. Considered to be the world's first ghetto, residents were only allowed to leave the neighborhood during the day and were then locked up at night and guarded. Today, this area is a part of the Cannaregio sestiere (district) and is filled with restaurants and shops (some offering kosher products), a Jewish museum as well as several synagogues, which are open for touring. Although it's free to wander around the neighborhood – and you might want to do just that – the synagogue tours do cost
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Jewish Ghetto (Ghetto Ebraico di Venezia)
In 1516, Jews in Venice were forced to move to a small northwestern section of the island. Considered to be the world's first ghetto, residents were only allowed to leave the neighborhood during the day and were then locked up at night and guarded. Today, this area is a part of the Cannaregio sestiere (district) and is filled with restaurants and shops (some offering kosher products), a Jewish museum as well as several synagogues, which are open for touring. Although it's free to wander around the neighborhood – and you might want to do just that – the synagogue tours do cost
... more

Free
Shopping Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend

Free
Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
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