1-day Itinerary in Venice
Explore the best things to do in Paris in 1 day based on recommendations from local experts.
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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.
Recent visitors recommended enjoying the bridge either early in the day or after sunset, as they said it becomes quite crowded toward midday. Still, most say the lovely views from the top are worth any crowd maneuvering you have to do. Others recommend skipping the crowds altogether and enjoying the view of the Rialto Bridge from the water in a waterbus. Access to the bridge, which connects the neighborhoods of San Marco and San Polo, is free 24/7.10 minute walk
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Considered to be the main street of Venice, the 2-mile-long Grand Canal is one of the city's most popular and highly photographed attractions. Recent travelers recommend hiring a gondolier for a romantic (but expensive) row along the canal. If you're hoping to do this option, plan to fork over between 80 and 100 euros (about $95 to $120) for the ride. Many others suggested hopping aboard the vaporetto, or the public waterbus, for a much cheaper experience. Vaporetto line No. 1 travels down the Grand Canal, stopping in the six sestieri, or neighborhoods, along the way. Travel experts strongly recommend purchasing a Venezia Unica City Pass if you don't plan on walking the entirety of your trip due to the high cost of one-way fare (7.50 euros, or about $9). Perpetual crowds have the potential to put a damper on the experience, so consider taking a ride during the evening for a quieter, more atmospheric ride.
Whichever mode of transportation you chose, travelers agree that the Grand Canal is a magnificent attraction and must be experienced during your trip.15 minutes by ferry; 20 minute walk
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The Teatro La Feniceis one of Italy's most popular opera houses, and one that has almost faced its demise from not one, but three big fires since opening in 1792. Locals and visitors alike joke at the name (which translates to Theater of the Phoenix), and how it has coincides with the theater's unfortunate history: like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, La Fenice has lived on.
Although recently renovated, it still has an Old World feel with decadent, intricately designed gold interiors outfitted with plush, red velvet chairs, making it the perfect setting to take in the auditory/visual pleasure of classic Italian opera. There are also a variety of dance – particularly ballet – and music performances scheduled throughout the year. For those with a tight itinerary, the theater offers day tours.
Recent visitors reported being taken by the magnificent architecture in La Fenice, noting that the complimentary audio guide provided with the tour was interesting and informative. Some stressed that future travelers should make sure to see the theater from all angles (on the ground and atop the boxes) during their visit. Those who attended a show were not disappointed either, with a few theatergoers saying it was some of the best opera they had ever seen.
You'll find the Teatro La Fenicein San Marco, about a 5-minute walk from Piazza San Marco. The theater is open daily for tours from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Prices for tours are 10 euros for adults (about $11.80) and 7 euros (about $8.30) for students 26 and younger. For more information, visit the Teatro La Fenice's website.5 minute walk
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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.
Crafted from many different styles of architecture, today its opulence shines from nearly every corner – from the four bronze horses that guard the entrance to thousands of square feet of mosaics to the Pala d'Oro. If you look closely at the church's center gable, you can see a statue of St. Mark along with Venice's emblem: a lion with wings.
Many consider the basilica to be a must-see attraction while in Venice. Others said that though the lines to enter tend to get long, they move pretty quickly. To avoid the perpetual crowds, heed the advice of past travelers and plan to arrive right when the church opens.
Keep in mind that backpacks aren't allowed inside the basilica and photography/videography is prohibited. Clothing should also be appropriate for a place of worship. Hours vary throughout the year, but generally the basilica is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 or 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; on Sunday, it's open from 2 to 4:30 or 5 p.m. The basilica's museum is open daily from 9:35 or 9:45 a.m. to 4:45 or 5 p.m. Admission to the basilica is free, but to enjoy the museum, you'll pay 5 euros (about $6); entrance to the Pala d'oro costs 2 euros (less than $2.50); admittance to the Treasury costs 3 euros (about $3.50). To skip the lines, you can also book an advanced ticket for 3 euros (around $3.50), which previous visitors highly recommend. For more information, visit the church's website.
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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 Basilica, St. 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.
Recent visitors stress to visit St. Mark's Square either early in the morning or late in the evening simply because of the crowds. With many tours of the city starting at the piazza, it is always busy during the day. Being a constant hub of activity, the restaurants and shops in the square are very expensive. Visitors suggest walking a few streets away from the square to find more reasonably priced meals and souvenirs. Despite the prices, some visitors said grabbing a coffee was worth being able to sit comfortably in the action and take in the surrounding architecture. You'll find St. Mark's Square in San Marco; it free to access 24/7.
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This particular bell tower was constructed in the early 20th century, as a replica of the 16th-century original. The original structure provided the optimal setting for Galileo Galilei's presentation of the telescope; it also served as a stage for tight rope walkers who would humor the doge with their feats during the Flight of the Angel celebration. Today's campanile is used for sightseers desiring a Venetian panorama – though one with few canal views; oddly, since most of the canals are obscured from its 325-foot height.
Most visitors say the attraction is well worth your time and makes for a great photo. To avoid crowds, travelers say it's best to go early in the morning or later in the evening.
The price for touring the campanile (without skipping the line or arriving at a designated time) is 8 euros, or about $9.30. Booking your tickets online will allow you to skip the lines and visit the campanile at an appointed time (recommended by past visitors): The cost is 13 euros ($15.30) for adults and 9 euros ($10.60) for kids, ages 6 to 18. This service is only available from April through October. Because the bell tower is only accessible via an elevator, it’s not recommended for those who struggle with claustrophobia.
Hours vary by season: From November to March, it's open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; from mid-April to late October, it's open from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors should keep in mind that it's closed for about a week in mid-January for maintenance. For more information, visit the campanile page on the Basilica di San Marco's website.
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