Venice in winter is not so bad!
I’ve just came back from my lovely trip and now I want to share with you things to see in Venice. I had only 3, short winter days, but we managed to see a lot. Carnival takes place only at one time of the year, hence we visited Venice in February. We bought very cheap flights, found cosy room in nearby Mestre and spend lots of money. But that was what we needed! Venice turned out to be a cool city. 🙂 We saw many beautiful places that made a great impression on us. Perhaps it was also due to the incredible atmosphere of the Venice carnival. In this post we will tell you what to see in Venice, but only on the main island. Due to the large amount of material, the other islands (Burano and Murano) will be presented in a separate content.
How did we get to Venice? Where did we sleep?
We went to Venice between 7-10.02.2018, which was exactly in the middle of the carnival. We purchased Ryanair flights from Krakow to Venice Treviso with hand luggage for 40 Euros. We took a direct bus from the airport to the center of Treviso and we changed to train. From the center of Treviso, there are trains that can take you to Venice, but also to the nearby Mestre, where we stayed. At the main station in Mestre we had to catch a bus, to our apartment. The cost of traveling from the airport to our accommodation cost us about 4.5 euros. We rented a room in a quiet area of Mestre, a 30-minute bus ride away from Venice. The cost for 3 nights for 2 people was 125 euros.
At first I would like to recommend you a brilliant app – Triposo 🙂 I use it on every trip and I have not failed me yet! Easy to use and free. You can save on the map all the attractions, pubs, hotels, etc. Even if you do not find something and you want to visit, you can create your own point on the map! It also works Offline and shows locations on the map 🙂 Thanks to it, we don’t have to get the maps in the tourist information anymore!
Things to see in Venice? Venice from Vaporetto! 😀
Every time, we start our tour from the bus station in Venice. This is the last point to which all motorists commute. Venice is completely out of traffic, that’s why you’ll use your feet or Vaporetto. On the first day, we passed a piece on our feet discovering lesser-known corners of Venice. Walking through the Venetian streets can be time-consuming, as crossing the Canal Grande can cost us some time. There aren’t many bridge on the Canal Grande! 😀 Therefore, instead of looking for a bridge, it’s better to get on the Vaporetto. I am not writing this here to promote these water trams, but not seeing Venice from the Grand Canal is a sin! 🙂 Vaporetto is the cheapest way to do that and additionally some views are reserved exclusively for passengers of this transport. The 72 h card cost us about 30 euros (for people up to 29 years of age). Here you can read the timetable and see the Vaporetto route. Remember that for the best views you have to sit in front or behind Vaporetto!
From Vaporetto we get off perfectly in front of the Hotel Danieli. Everyone who watched the film „Tourist” will surely remember this hotel. Hovever, I couldn’t find any confirmation that those interriors really belonged to Danieli, because some people think that the scenes were shot in the Palazzo Pisani Moretta. How much truth is in it – I don’t know. However, at the Danieli Hotel you can feel like in a movie from a tourist. Just look at the most expensive apartment – Doge Dandolo Royal Suite, where prices start at 12,000 euros per night! The cheapest rooms cost 400 euros. Maybe someday I can even visit them? 😀
We still haven’t seen St. Mark square, because our first stop was the Doge’s Palace. The day before, we bought Venice Pass, thanks to which we entered without a queue. On the other hand, the queue was not too long, but maybe it was due to the fact that it was the middle of the week. On Saturday you had to wait at least two hours for the entrance.
The Doge’s Palace is the former Gothic seat of the rulers and the government of Venice. The first building in this place was already built in the 9th century. It didn’t survive too long. It was burned in 976 during the uprising against the Doge. It was rebuilt in the 11th century and since then it has been systematically expanded and rebuilt.
From the whole Doge’s Palace the Renaissance courtyard made the biggest impression on me. The intricate building, covered white color and golden elements is extremely pleasant to the eye. The interior of the Doge’s Palace didn’t impress us anymore. We have agreed that it looks like the majority of such rooms in Europe. Dark and heavy paintings, covered with a golden frame, decorate most of the rooms in the Palace. If you haven’t yet visited a large number of rooms, castles, chambers, etc., the Doge’s Palace will surely impress you.
We were unable to enter the apartments because they were closed during the carnival.
Remember, that we don’t advise you to visit this palace! We’re only sharing our experience, thus your might be much more different. 😉 For us, the Palace definitely looks better from the outside! The best shots of the Palace come from Vaporetto or from the nearby island, where San Giorgio Maggiore church is located.
Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs is another answer to the question of what to see in Venice. Its fame goes even beyond the Italian border! It is also reportedly the most romantic place in Venice. According to legend, a kiss under the bridge, in a gondola, during the setting sun guarantees a pair of eternal love. Therefore, think carefully about who you are kissing. 😉
However, the history of this bridge is not related to any romantic event. It was built at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth century with white limestone, which was decorated by remarkable decorations.
The bridge connects the Doge’s Palace with the prison building. Usually for prisoners it was a oneway and the last look at the beautiful Venice. The prison was their last stop on the way of life. Hence the name of the Bridge of Sighs! 😀
St. Mark Square
Finally we entered the St. Mark’s Square! During the week the St. Mark Square is not that crowded. Thanks to this, you can see its monumental size. It is the oldest part of the city with the largest amount of monuments of Venice. The origins of the square date back to the ninth century, but its present size was shaped in the 13th century. We passed the St. Mark Square every day and watched it carefully from all sides.
St Mark’s Campanile
Things to see in Venice and can’t be missed? The highest building in Venice, namely St Mark’s Campanile. The bell tower is almost 100 meters high, proudly dominates the rest of the relatively small city. Its history is as turbulent as the history of other Venetian monuments. It was established in the 12th century and has been rebuilt many times since then. Often attacked by lightning, which in 1795 caused a powerful fire. In 1902, the tower collapsed, but the reconstruction started a year later. As you know, it ended with success, because now for 8 euros you can go upstairs to admire Venice from above.
St Mark’s Basilica
Beautiful Basilica, which is the pride of St. Mark Square is also dedicated to St. Mark. A magnificent building is the last resting place of the patron of Venice – Saint Mark. It was built in just 4 years (828-832) in the Byzantine style. Be sure to look at the amazing facade of the Cathedral. Interestingly, the ornaments of the cathedral come from Venetian ships, which, when they came to Venice, had to give a gift to the cathedral. Hence the stylistic diversity of the elements forming the interior of the cathedral.
Entrance to the Basilica is free. During the week we managed to enter without a queue. However, on Saturday we saw a huge queue. You can’t take picture inside. The golden interior can only remain in your memory. You can also enter paid part of the Basilica, but we skipped it.
The Clock Tower
When at Saint Mark Square,then look at The Clock Tower. Maybe it is not as impressive as the bell tower, but its beautiful astronomical clock attracts attention. It was built in the Renaissance style in the fifteenth century. It shows not only the hours, but also the seasons, the moon phase and the position of the sun in subsequent signs of the zodiac.
We visited the Correa Museum because our City Pass was also vaid to this Museum. Impressions? Probably better than from the Doge’s Palace! In the Correa Museum you can admire tasteful and charming rooms (more interesting than those in the Doge’s Palace), as well as collections of ancient coins, paintings, antique prints, etc.
Aqua Alta Bookshop
Not obvious things to see in Venice? Aqua Alta Bookshop, which beats recently popularity records. In a small space (not quite good for books) a lot of various books were gathered, in artistic disarray. It’s hard to find something here, but it’s also easy to find a gem. The biggest attractions are the stairs, which were built from books destroyed by the flood. Fact – they look quite impressive, but on the other hand … I don’t know why people are so fascinated by this place. 😀 However, I still recommend this place! 😛
On the way to the bookstore, we also pass an interesting building of the Santa Maria Formosa church! 🙂
Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore
And does any of you know what is the name of this famous basilica, which often appeared on postcards from Venice? This is San Giorgio Maggiore, which is located on a nearby island. We decided to take a closer look at it, so we got on the Vaporetto and went towards it! From the Vaporetto you can take the best photos of the basilica. The island itself is too small to capture the basilica in full splendor.
San Giorgio Maggiore was built in the 16th century. In 1800, the coronation of Pope Pius VII took place here. The entrance is free, but it is not too spectacular. It is worth coming to the island for wonderful views that you can admire below. 😉
Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute
Once again, we took the Vaporetto and headed to the Zattere stop. We wanted to look closely at the next basilica – Santa Maria della Salute – and Zattere was the closest stop for us. As in the case of the previous basilica, it looks much better from the opposite shore or simply from Vaporetto. The entrance is also free and not as spectacular as one would expect from an external appearance. However, it is worth going to this part of the island, because it conceals a multitude of colorful and mysterious places that are very photogenic! 🙂
Where are the largest crowds of people in Venice? On St. Mark Square and at the Rialto Bridge. In the end, it’s two major attractions when we search in googles things to see in Venice! 😀 The Rialto Bridge is actually a beautiful construction and one of the few bridges on the Grand Canal. It was built in the 13th century and, what’s interesting, until 1854 it was the only bridge over the Grand Canal, connecting the Riva del Vin and Riva del Ferro. From wooden marinas, to which gondolas are attached, you can take the most interesting shots of this 48-meter long bridge. It is worth coming here also after dark, when the bridge is beautifully illuminated!
Church of San Giacomo di Rialto
At the Rialto Bridge, we finished our first day of sightseeing. It was already quite dark, so we stopped at the nearby church on the way to the bus. Its interesting architecture drew our attention. We didn’t enter San Giacomo di Rialto. We took a picture of it and went to to the bus station.
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi
The next day we started from visiting Burano and Murano. As I mentioned above, due to the large amount of material in this post, separate content will be made for Burano and Murano.
When we returned to the main island of Venice, we went to the rather luxurious T Fondaco dei Tedeschi Gallery. There is a free viewing terrace, from which you can admire a beautiful view of Venice. Interestingly, as we were there on Friday afternoon, we didn’t have to download an electronic reservation, which is printed from the vending machine at the entrance to the terrace. We came in almost immediately. On Saturday, due to large amount of people, the entrance was only possible with the reservation.
You have up to 15 min on the observation deck. After this time, the guard of the terrace announces the end and waits till everyone leave the terrace. When the terrace is empty, the next group enter. A fairly efficient and fair way.
Scala Contarini del Bovolo – the most beautiful staircase in Venice
Who would have thought that we would like to admire a staircase in Venice? Well, it’s hard to pass indifferently this place, because among the shabby walls and old buildings, our Scala Contarini del Bovolo stands out quite significantly. Their name means that it once belonged to the Contarini family. However, the word Bovolo means in the Venetian dial a snail, which is reminiscent of the Contarini winding stairs. The entrance to the staircase costs a few euros. Due to the fact that we purchased City Pass, we didn’t want to spend more money on additional attractions. Now we regret a little, because it would be nicer to enter such an unusual place, instead of watching museums that didn’t really show us anything different!
From the top of the staircase you can admire the Venetian roofs. Yes, it has somekind of charm, because Venice is different (beautiful) from every perspective!
Things to see in Venice (not obvious)?
Get lost among the narrow streets
Quite obvious, but many tourists forget about it completely. Squeezing through the narrow streets of Venice, passing through small bridges, we can truly feel Venice atmosphere. Many of these streets are empty, permanently avoided by larger groups of tourists. That’s why you can meet locals here and much lower prices in bars or restaurants!
During your stay in Venice you must at least once stay until sunset. What happens then in the Venetian sky is simply a fairy tale. Venetian buildings are simply created for photoshooting at sunset!
Luggage storage at the central station
Saturday welcomed us with a cloudless sky – a perfect farewell (it’s a pity that it was not like this the whole trip). We left our luggage at the main station in Venice for 5 hours. It cost us 6 euros. HORRIBLE PRICE!
Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli
In Venice, it was immediately noticeable that it was a weekend. There were twice as many people as on Thursday or on Friday. That’s why we decided today to visit a bit of the city outside the regular path. In this way, we discovered the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. It is called the „wedding church” because it is a favorite place for marriages. 🙂 Its façade is covered with colored marble, which distinguishes it from other sacred objects. There are not too many tourists here, which is why it is the perfect place to catch a deep breath!
Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo
We remain in the subject of churches. A few minutes later we were in front of the monumental Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. We admired it already at the viewpoint in the Gallery. Together with the basilicas of Saint Mark and Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is the pantheon of fame and history of the Venetian Republic. It is the second official church of the Republic after the Basilica of Saint Mark, and due to the fact that many well-known personalities (including 25 doges) have their gravestones here, is the equivalent of the London Westminster Abbey.
Arsenal in Venice
At the end we went to see the birthplace of the Venetian ships. The Arsenal is a large complex of shipyards in which warships and merchant ships were constructed for the needs of the Venetian Republic. With time, gun and ammunition factories and foundry departments were created in its area. The complex is currently closed to tourists, but it is worth coming here because of the magnificent gate that adorns the entrance to the Arsenal!
Since 2017, the new attraction of Venice are hands sculptures, supporting one of the historic Venetian tenement houses. It aims to make us aware of the problem of global warming. The choice of Venice was not accidental. The city may be completely underwater in the future.
Do you remember from history that wealthy burghers and generally rich people lived in Venice? 😀 If not, it will certainly remind you the architecture of this city. Here stands a palace next to the palace. The most beautiful of them are located on the Grand Canal, hence the only possibility of admiring them is from Vaporetto. That’s why I recommend you to use it when you visit Venice. From the palaces located on the Grand Canal, it is worth paying attention to: Fondaco dei Turchi, Ca Pesaro, Palazzo Bembo, Palazzo Dona della Madoneta, Palazzo Bernardo a San Polo, Palazzo Corner Spinelli, Palazzo Tiepolo Passi, Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, Gritti Palace.
That’s all what I’ve prepared for you! As you can see the content is huge and full of information. It means that things to see in Venice are a lots! 😛
Check also other post regarding Venice!
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