Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it offers many opportunities to discover its history (it is an open-air museum) as well as to try out new things to do (gondola or ferry boat tours, “bacari” visits, shopping etc…)
The city is built on the water and there are no streets (for this reason there is neither traffic nor cars), only canals that pass through it and “cut” it high and low; to move through the “calli” (the streets), we can go freely by foot, crossing the bridges (435) that allow people to go through these canals and small waterways.
Other than by foot, (in some cases) you can think about taking the vaporetto, the typical Venetian ferry boat (for faster travels), that would allow you not only to move more comfortably but also to get a sight of Venice from a completely different perspective.
Is it possible to visit Venice in one day?
The Venetian County Seat can be visited in one day, if you organize as best as you can your trip, what to do and what to see in Venice, maybe following a precise itinerary, covering various zones and city parts in few time (especially if using some small tricks). We have what you need because following our advice you will learn what, in our opinion, are the mandatory stops.
Things to do in Venice in one day
If you have never been in Venice we are going to guide you through an itinerary that can solve your problems, to better exploit the time you have at your disposition. We do not want to force you to follow any schedule, but give you some freedom of movement following in any case some logic regarding the most important zones and places. Below here we will give you some suggestion on things to do in Venice in one day:
A tour through the bridges of Venice
In Venice there are more than 400 bridges but we will make you traverse the 4 bridges that cross the Grand Canal, through an itinerary that will take you from Venice St. Lucia Train Station (also called “Piazzale Roma”) to the heart of Venice, that is St. Mark’s Square (in about 60 minutes, walking slowly):
- The first bridge that you will find and that connects Piazzale Roma with the Venice St. Lucia Train Station is the one called Constitution or Calatrava (taking the name of the architect that designed it) and it has become one of the 4 bridges that cross the Grand Canal.
- In front of the train station you will find the Ponte degli Scalzi (literally “the bridge of the barefoot”, the second bridge that crosses the Grand Canal), which name derives from the fact that the bridge faces the Church of Saint Mary of Nazareth, in which the Mass has been officiated by the order of the barefoot Carmelite monks for many centuries.
- Proceed towards the Dorsoduro quarter and, after about 15 minutes, you will find the Ponte dell’Accademia (“Academy Bridge”, the third one that crosses the Grand Canal), that should have been a temporary bridge and last only few years. But still, after almost 80 years, thanks to expensive restorations its wooden structure still holds and it blends very well with the rest of the landscape: once you reach the highest point, don’t forget to turn around 360° and spot the beautiful sight of the surroundings.
- Keep going towards Rialto until you find the most ancient and famous of the bridges of Venice, the fourth that crosses the Great Canal, the Rialto Bridge. Reach the top and look at the Grand Canal to admire the view and take some nice photo (or selfie).
- Once you get off the Rialto Bridge, walk towards St. Mark’s Square and before reaching it (it does not cross the Grand Canal but it is still worth it) you will find the Ponte dei Sospiri (“The Bridge of Sighs”). The legend tells that if two lovers pass under the Bridge of Sighs in gondola at twilight, their love will last forever. But actually, it was the sigh of the prisoners that crossed the bridge, knowing that that one would have been the last time that they saw Venice.
After going through this bridge you will reach the heart of Venice, the beautiful and bewitching St. Mark’s Square, after your journey through the main bridges of Venice.
The “must do” things in Venice
The traditional itinerary of Venice consists of a visit of the historical center, of the Doge’s Palace and of the St. Mark’s Church. The Doge’s Palace is an extraordinary example of Venetian gothic civilian architecture, dwelling of the Doge and symbolical place of the city that hosted the works of great artists such as Tintoretto, Titian and Veronese.
Among other things to we suggest you the “secret itineraries” of the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia (“The Most Serene Republic of Venice), with a specialized guide for the Doge’s Palace, to buy with a ticket different from the admittance one!
St. Mark’s Church is the core of the religious and public life of the city, founded in the IXth century to keep the body of evangelist Mark, celebrated on April 25th, which is also the Liberation Day.
Also with an organized guide tour, you can take a complete tour of the “Golden Basilica”.
The Tourist Guide will describe the biblical scenes that represent the history and characteristics of this ancient basilica. A suggestive tour in St. Mark’s Square with entrance ticket to the St. Mark’s Church is waiting for you!
For a faster access to both attractions, you can buy a skip the queue ticket, that would allow you to save time, especially in those periods with high flow of tourism (such as the Carnival).
Lunch at the Hard Rock Cafè
During your itinerary you can take a lunch break at the Hard Rock Cafè, located at the outside of St. Mark’s Square, where you could also book your table with priority seating, since here you probably have to wait for a table to free. Moreover, being the smallest of Europe and attracting everyday a lot of tourists, buying the skip the queue ticket would allow you to save a good amount of time.
Ferry boat tour
After lunch, you could walk from St. Mark to the St. Mark’s pier and from here take the line 2, that would allow you at a very cheap price to take a panoramic tour of Venice via ferry boat (about 60 minutes). You can buy the ticket at the automatic box offices placed just outside the pier. Otherwise, if you already know that you are going to use the ferry service, you can then book the ticket on the website of the ACTV public company, that implements the service. Here you can find the various lines (with stops), timetables, prices, some special tickets (such as the time limited ones) and other useful information such as accessibility, emergency services, etc….
It is also possible to enjoy a spritz at sunset with a tour aboard a beautiful boat. To experience a unique excursion passing by Piazza San Marco!
During the afternoon you could visit one of the museums that we are going to present you below for your Venice visit, and we suggest you to go to the various websites to book the ticket (you will save precious time) and have a look at the prices and timetables (and days closed as well). For other information about accessibility and about the possible guide support we always send you back to the official websites.
- The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is the most important Italian museum of European and American art of the XXth century, created by the American heiress Peggy Guggenheim. It is situated at the Venier dei Leoni Palace on the Grand Canal, in the very same place that was the residence of the American patron, and it collects paintings of different ages and artists, among whom Picasso stands out. It is reachable with the ferry boat lines 1, 2 and 3 (line 3 can only be used by owners of the Venezia Unica City Pass).
- The Gallerie dell’Accademia (“Academy Galleries”), that can be reached by foot from the bridge in the Dorsoduro area, holds a collection of Venetian paintings, but not only. It is absolutely worth a visit for all the masterpieces that it exhibits: from Titian, to Tiepolo, passing through Giorgione and Lotto. It can be reached not by foot only but also with the lines 1 and 2 of the ferry boat (Accademia stop).
- The Scuola Grande di San Rocco (“St. Rocco’s High School”) was the headquarters of a Venetian wealthy confraternity, which members were devoted to charity activities and it takes its name from St. Rocco’s body, placed here. On 1564 the Confraternity entrusted to Tintoretto the duty to decorate the Scuola. He put all his mastery to paint the Sala dell’Albergo of the Scuola di San Rocco: and he made it through, since this series of works is considered by everyone as the Sistine Chapel of Venice. Our suggestion is to walk up to San Polo (where the school is), since it is very easy and if you take the ferry boat (lines 1 and 2) you will have to proceed by foot for a while in any case.
It is certainly one of the first things that come to mind when we think about Venice. A gondola tour represents one of the main city attractions and it is considered one of the symbols of Venice. Inevitably the gondola tour is an unforgettable experience that must be done if you want to say that you have really lived the city.
Other than being relaxing, a tour through the waterways of Venice is also an alternative way to visit the city and discover all its corners, from the most known to the less ones. There are also various “stazi” (places where gondolas stop) place all around the city, which present unique itineraries that cover different zones of the city.
We wanted to suggest you a gondola tour in the less known and more romantic canals, to avoid the usual tour and discover something different that few people have done. During this 35 minutes tour you can admire majestic palaces and ancient bridges, while being cuddled by the voice of a gondolier that, during the visit, will tell you the story of each one of them.
Through bacari and cicchetti
At sunset or around dinner/cocktail time, for your itinerary of Venice we suggest you to go to the bacari. Venice is one of the most valued tourist attractions of the world and it is well-known not only for its gondolas and masks (for its history and artistic heritage), but also for its long-lasting culinary tradition, rich in different tastes and ingredients typical of the Lagoon and the Venetian territory.
Bàcari are typical small Venetian taverns, where you can find out the typical tastes of Venetian food and wine in a rustic and convivial environment at a cheap price. Venetian people attend them above all to drink an “ombra” (a glass) of wine combined with various “cicchetti”, which are small snacks such as a slice of bread with cold cuts, meatballs, in “saòr” (seasoned sardines with onion), baccalà mantecato (purée of dried cod) and a lot more.
One of the best things to do for your one day trip to Venice is surely go to the zones with more bacari (the San Polo and Cannaregio ones). But if you are looking for something more intimate, you should move towards the Castello. The experience of a Venetian bacari tour will surely be more “Venetian” than a normal restaurant (and your wallet will thank you).
Furthermore, to discover the most characteristic Venetian neighborhoods there is the possibility of taking a tour of Venice with tasting of cicchetti and wine with a local guide. In this way you can learn about the anecdotes and the history of Venice, all accompanied by traditional food and a good local wine.
We have tested that the area around Rialto is filled with bacari, among which “I Do Zemei” is an institution, attended also by VIP (as you will see from the photos hung up behind the desk), with wonderful snacks and a good choice of Venetian wines.
If you are looking for a specific area without spending a lot, then we will suggest you how to eat in Venice at a low cost!
Calle San Marco 381, Venezia, VE
A hotel with a romantic atmosphere that offers numerous services such as concierge service, laundry and time limited room service, just next to St. Mark’s Square. One of the hotel’s main strengths is its evocative position in a beautiful historical palace. Nice staff and first level service.
Hotel Bucintoro ★★★★
Castello 2135/A, Venezia, VE
The Hotel Bucintoro owns a private dock. Inside the building you can find a cafè or lounge, where the guests can relax by ordering a drink. Paying a fee, you can have a shuttle service from and to the airport (24/7). Moreover this hotel, built in the Art Déco style, includes support for the booking of field trips and tickets, polyglot staff and concierge services. It is only a 15 minutes’ walk away from St. Mark’s Square.
What did you manage to do during your one day in Venice?
One would need far more than one day to visit it all, but following our suggestions on what you can see and do in Venice in one day you could say that you have seen Venice in its most beautiful and famous part.
We want to remind you that during the concurrence of big events (such as New Year’s Eve) the flow of tourism is even bigger than the usual and that organize your holiday in Venice becomes necessary.
If you are in high tide periods you should learn how to deal with high water in Venice, an exceptional phenomenon only in some periods of the year. Moreover, if you have been caught by a rainy day, manage yourselves to understand what to do in Venice with the rain.
Leave some comments on your “hit and run” in Venice! And in the meantime, enjoy the video of what awaits you in one day in Venice.
Enjoy the show!