With palaces, cathedrals, museums, bazaars and gondola rides, Venice has plenty of attractions to see and enjoy. Here are some you should not miss.
St. Mark’s Basilica, or Basilica di San Marco, is one of the most beautiful churches anywhere. With its big domes, marble pillars and sparkling mosaics on the walls, it is truly splendid to see. There is no fee to tour but the small museums inside have an entry fee. Do not miss the golden altarpiece with thousands of precious gems that houses the body of St. Mark.
The Palazzo Ducale was the residence of the Doge of Venice in the 9th century. The building was the seat of the government of the Venetian Republic for almost 700 years. The palace is truly Gothic, housing a torture chamber and prison. Walk up the stairs to view the 18 lions that decorate the Doge’s rooms.
The Rialto market has been operating for hundreds of years. The food available is a sampling of the culture of Venice. It is primarily a fish market, offering crab, squid and octopus but fresh fruits and vegetables are also sold there. Most of the population of Venice shops there, from ordinary citizens to restaurant owners.
If you like art museums, you won’t want to miss the Peggy Guggenheim Collection at her home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. It is a broad collection of 20th century art which includes works of cubism, surrealism, abstract expressionism, futurism and metaphysical painting. There you will see masterpieces from Jackson Pollock, Max Ernst, Klee, Salvador Dalí, Picasso and more.
To really take in the character of Venice, you must ride a gondola. Prices are set by the city and leave from almost all the docks. The price may seem expensive, but it is a fixed price for the gondola, not per person. Although a lot of people want to see the Grand Canal, as if often part of any gondola ride, the smaller waterways will give you a better feel for the neighborhoods and the history of Venice. Keep in mind gondola rides are cheaper during the day and a gondola holds six people.