24 hours in Venice
Extravagantly suspended on the northern shores of the Adriatic, Venice is part city, part daydream. Interconnected canals and elegant renaissance architecture give this Italian city the ambient feel of a painting; it’s no surprise that Venice has always attracted writers, painters and thinkers.
Venice is a sightseer’s paradise, a valentine’s walkabout, a place to enjoy the opera, a masked carnival. Like the shimmering waters of the Grand Canal, Venice takes on a new aspect every time you look at it. If you only have 24 hours, here are five top things to do in Venice.
Start the day in Piazza San Marco
Simply known as ‘la Piazza’ to the Venetians, Piazza San Marco is one of the most ambitious civic spaces in the whole of Italy. Unless you arrive at the crack of dawn, prepare for crowds of people hoping to see the square’s historic sights. St Mark’s Basilica is an opulent example of Italo-Byzantine architecture, a true status symbol of Venetian wealth and power.
Nearby, the Doge’s Palace reminds us of a time when Venice was a powerful republic – once a seat of government, the Venetian Gothic palace is now a museum. Torre dell'Orologio, Venice’s famous clock tower, dates from the end of the 15th century and, of course, time will stand still as you gaze upon its gilt-edged façade.
After coffee, a gondola ride
Venice is intimately connected with water – some people worry that it will eventually sink into the waves and be lost forever. This gives you one more reason to visit. After you have toured Piazza San Marco, experience a laidback voyage along the city’s winding waterways aboard a gondola.
Sail down the Grand Canal in the sunshine, and pass beneath the famous Rialto Bridge. For centuries, this antique bridge was the only crossing point on the Grand Canal – it was even featured in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Prices for a Venetian gondola ride start from around 80 euros.
See the Venetian masters
As if this city didn’t have enough things going for it, Venice is one of the great centres of Italian art. The major artists of the Venetian School – Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, and Bassano – can be found in galleries across the world, but it is always special to see a great master on their home turf. Perhaps the most special work of all can be found tucked away in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari: Titian’s Assumption. This large-scale work was Titian’s first major commission in Venice – soon after he was made the city’s lead painter. Take some time to admire Tintoretto’s great Mannerist work Crucifixion in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, and look out for Tiepolo’s Pieta too. Travel with Titan and we will make sure you get to see some truly inspiring sights.
Try a bellini
Everybody sings the praises of Italian cuisine, so there’s no harm in travelling just for the food and drink! Venice is a fantastic place to try some unusual seafood dishes, including spider crab and sea snails. Before you eat, stop off at Harry’s Bar, the home of the bellini cocktail and a venue that regularly welcomes celebrity guests.
Attend a cultural event
Depending on when you travel to Venice, you might be able to catch one of the city’s famous cultural events. At the beginning of every year, the city plays host to the Carnival of Venice. Millions of visitors descend on the city to take part in masked balls and parades. Every couple of years, the city is taken over by the art world, as the Venice Biennale comes to town. If you are lucky enough to be in the city during one of these events, you’ll be treated to a feast of contemporary art from around the world.
Interested in travelling to Venice this year? Find out more about Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy.
Have you been to Venice? Think we’ve missed something off our 24-hour itinerary? Let us know on our Facebook page.
Nicola considers herself very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit a number of places around the world and these experiences usually involve searching for as many kinds of wildlife as possible. Recent highlights include penguins in Antarctica, bears and whales in Canada and Alaska and sea otters in California - but there are always more animals to search for.
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