Things to Do in Venice - page 2
Most visitors to Venice head directly to the San Marco district, but if you want to enjoy the quieter side of the city, don’t miss Dorsoduro. Home to important art collections, excellent restaurants, beautiful churches, and impressive architecture, the neighborhood has it all—with a fraction of the crowds.
Dedicated to the art and history of Venice, the Correr Museum (Museo Correr) holds objects from the city’s past, including neoclassical sculptures, books, medallions, documents, paintings, musical instruments, and Greek and Roman statues. Located in the ornate palaces lining St. Mark’s Square, the museum includes neoclassical rooms decorated in the period’s opulent style.
Home to the best art collection in Venice, the Accademia Gallery (Gallerie dell'Accademia) houses Venetian paintings dating from the 14th century to the 18th century. Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man is the collection’s most famous work, but the Venetian painters best capture the spirit of the Floating City.
Originally a leper colony during the Middle Ages, the tiny island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni is most famous for its Armenian Catholic monastery. Home to monks of the Mekhitarist Order, San Lazzaro is a center for Armenian culture and boasts one of the world’s largest collections of Armenian manuscripts.
The modest Italian Gothic exterior of Venice’s Frari Church (Basilica dei Frari) belies the wealth of Italian Renaissance masterpieces inside. Titian’sAssumption of the Virgin (1518) altarpiece is especially notable for innovative emotional figures and bright colors.
Don’t be fooled by the understated exterior of Venice’s Madonna dell’Orto Church (Chiesa della Madonna dell'Orto). A collection of masterpieces by Tintoretto, one of the Floating City’s most important Renaissance painters, hangs inside this 14th-century church. Tintoretto lived near the church in the mid-1500s and was buried here in 1594.
Close to the grand canal, Campo San Bartolomeo leads to the east side of the Rialto Bridge. Named after Saint Bartholomew, one of the 12 Apostles, Campo San Bartolomeo is home to a church (also named after Saint Bartholomew) and a bronze statue of the 18th century Venetian comic playwright Carlo Goldoni.
San Polo is one of the oldest of Venice’s six districts, or sestieri, and home to many of the city’s most popular sites including the Rialto Bridge that connects San Polo to the San Marco side of the Grand Canal and the historic Rialto Market, a fascinating slice of Venetian life.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Tintoretto, one of Venice’s most important Renaissance artists, left his mark on a number of the city’s churches, as well as palaces of the confraternity known as the Great Schools (Scuole Grandi). The 15th-century Scuola Grande di San Rocco is one of these, home to some of the artist’s best-known works along with paintings by Titian.
The Dorsodurosestiere (district) is home to some of Venice’s most impressive art collections, churches, and architecture, and the heart of this university neighborhood is lively Campo Santa Margherita. This large public square hosts an outdoor market during the day and is a hub of Venetian nightlife after the sun sets.
More Things to Do in Venice
If you are arriving in Venice by train from another Italian or European city, you will likely catch your first glimpse of La Serenissima from the Santa Lucia Station (Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia), the city’s main train station and principal transport hub located in the Cannaregio district.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dolomites (Dolomiti) mountain range comprises almost 20 spectacular peaks topping 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in the Alpine region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, which straddles the Italian-Austrian border. The scenery is staggering in both summer and winter, and includes the dramatic Tre Cime di Lavaredo pinnacles, the emerald-green Lake Misurina and Lake Santa Caterina, the elegant Cortina d'Ampezzo ski resort, and idyllic mountain villages such as Pieve di Cadore.
When floating down Venice’s Grand Canal, the Ca' d'Oro—so named for the gold-leaf details that once adorned its Gothic-style exterior—is sure to catch your eye. This 15th-century Venetian masterpiece, also known as Palazzo Santa Sofia, is home to a lavish collection of art and furnishings, and offers gorgeous canal views.
Santa Croce is one of Venice’s six central districts (sestieri). Home to a number of sumptuous palaces and museums, important churches, and Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio— one of the city’s prettiest squares—it is also where Venice’s busy Piazzale Roma bus station and vaporetto (water bus) hub is located.
Just steps away from the hugely popular and bustling Piazza San Marco resides the 15th-century Church of San Zaccaria (Chiesa di San Zaccaria), one of Venice's most artistically dazzling and lesser known churches. Located on the site of a former, much older church, San Zaccaria looks over the quiet Campo San Zaccaria Square. Its layer-cake-like façade features a mix of styles: late Gothic on the lower levels and early Renaissance on the upper ones.
But it's the interior that is a veritable museum of noteworthy art, including one of Bellini's greatest works, La Sacra Conversazione. This magnificent altarpiece is made even better by a small donation that will illuminate the mural, taking it from impressive to altogether magical. Art by other Italian greats, from Tintoretto to Tiepolo, adorn the church's walls as well, making this relatively crowd-free spot the perfect escape while in the tourist-dense Italian city of Venice.
If you are looking to escape the crowds in Venice, Mazzorbo is the place to go. With only 350 residents and located far off the main tourist track, the small island is home to hundreds of artichoke fields, vineyards and fruit trees. Connected to larger Burano by a wooden bridge, Mazzorbo makes a great day trip from Venice combined with stops in Burano and the nearby island of Torcello. It has a rich history that dates to the year 640 and the most notable building on the island, the Santa Caterina Monastery, dates to 1283.
If visiting in the summer, you may want to time your visit to coincide with the annual fair held in the yard of the monastery. There, you can get a taste of life on the island by sampling local dishes and red wine and enjoying live music and games.
Also worth a visit is Venissa, an ancient estate that has been restored by a family of winemakers and converted into an excellent restaurant with a menu that changes daily.
A short walk from the banks of the Grand Canal, the elegant Church of San Vidal (Chiesa di San Vidal) is one of Venice’s most intriguing concert venues. The main structure dates to the 11th century, while its façade is the result of a 17th-century reconstruction by renowned architect Antonio Gaspari.
Topped by soaring domes and spires, the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua (Basilica di Sant'Antonio di Padova) is the most important church in the city and is visited by pilgrims from across the globe. With its mix of Romanesque, Byzantine, and Gothic architecture, and rounded domes reminiscent of St. Mark’s Basilica in nearby Venice, this church is one of Padua’s top attractions.
Of all the sumptuous palaces lining Venice’s Grand Canal, Ca’ Rezzonico is arguably the most magnificent. An outstanding example of Venetian baroque and rococo architecture and décor, this palace and its museum offer a glimpse into the extravagances of 18th-century Venice.
An ancient waterway connecting the Italian cities of Padua and Venice, the channel of the Brenta Riviera dates back to the 16th century and was built to flow directly into the lagoon of Venice. The green space lining the canal inspired many wealthy Venetians to build villas along its waterfront, and some still remain open for exploration today. These country homes often served as second residences for Venice’s noble families — far enough away to enjoy a countryside atmosphere but close enough to return quickly to Venice.
Not just any second home, many of the Brenta Riviera villas are more like monuments or palaces complete with exquisite works of art and large frescoes. The amount of villas, gardens, and residences lining the canals built up to a point where it was nearly considered an extension of Venice’s Grand Canal. Many of the villas can be visited still today, including the Villa Foscari and the Villa Pisani — which has gardens, an art collection, and a famous maze.
Campo San Luca is a bustling square in the heart of Venice. Located midway between the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square, Campo San Luca’s central location makes it a popular meeting spot for locals and visitors alike, and a constant stream of visitors makes it a lively spot for people-watching.
Once home to the Mocenigo family of Venice, the Mocenigo Palace (Palazzo Mocenigo) is now a museum dedicated to 17th- and 18th-century fashion and aristocratic Venetian life. Located just south of the Grand Canal in the Santa Croce district, the beautifully furnished palazzo offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the lives of Venetian nobility.
The Venice Lido (Lido di Venezia), a long stretch of sand in the Venetian Lagoon, is an easy escape for a quick beach break, round of golf, bout of shopping, or leisurely meal. Along several water bus lines and just minutes from the center of Venice, sneaking away from the crushing crowds of St. Mark’s Square couldn’t be simpler.
With its temple-like colonnaded façade flanked by weeping willows and bordering the glittering Venetian lagoon; the stunning setting of Villa Foscari begs to be photographed. The striking villa, also known as La Malcontenta, was built in 1559 for Nicolò and Alvise Foscari, and makes up one of a number of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Palladian villas.
The work of acclaimed architect, Andrea Palladio, Villa Foscari combines traditional Venetian, Greek and Roman architecture to give a palatial feel, aided by the villa’s elevated location, looking out over the Brenta River. The regal atmosphere continues inside, where visitors can admire magnificent frescoes from the likes of Battista Franco and Gian Battista Zelotti.
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