Piazza San Marco
The Piazza San Marco is one of Venice's best known places and a definite sight to see for every visitor. The Piazza is along the Grand Canale, hosts the magnificent Basilica di San Marco and is a major meeting point for revellers, locals, tourists and pigeons alike. During the Carnevale, the Piazza is a major hub of activity and entertainment with revellers dancing and partying away in their masked outfits.
Basilica di San Marco
The Basilica di San Marco, with it's 99 metre bell tower, houses the tomb of Saint Mark within the walls of this Byzantine symbol of Venetian wealth and power. The design of the exterior of the church was influenced by the churchs of Constantinople, now Istanbul
, with the most noticeable feature being the 5 domes of the Basilica. Admission to the Basilica can be quite a test of patience, especially in high season when queues are long. It is however well worth the wait with the interior of the Basilica being absolutely magnificent. Marble flooring under foot will lead you through to the sarcophagus of Saint Mark, taken from Alexandria, Egypt in 828 and laid to rest here in Venice. One of the more notable features of the Chiesa d'Oro, or Golden Church, as it is also known, are its' walls and ceilings covered in mosaics added over several centuries. The upper section or Galleria is also worthy of a look, especially for access to the balcony providing great views over the square below and the rest of the city.
Palazzo Ducale and the Bridge of Sighs
The Palazzo Ducale is right next to Saint Mark's Basilica. The palace was the seat of power for the Venetian Doges. Tours of the impressive palace are available, both guided and audio.
The Bridge of Sighs, named after what people believed would be the last outside world thought and action of those crossing the bridge before entering their place of encarceration.
The Grand Canal or Canal Grande is Venice's main thoroughfare. Stroll along it, take a gondola, water taxi or vaporetto No.1 and take in the beautiful waterfront palaces and mansions. The Canal can be crossed with one of three bridges, the Rialto, the Ponte dell'Academia and the Ponte dei Scalzi.
The renowned Rialto Bridge was built in the 16th century and named after Antonia da Ponte and is one of Venice's most popular "attractions" providing 1 of 3 useful crossing points over the Grand Canal.
Basilica de Santa Maria della Salute
Yet another dominating church in Venice, the Basilica de Santa Maria della Salute is an impressive structure situated at the entrance to the Grand Canale. It was built in the 17th Century to pay homage to Virgin Mary of Good Health as she had just saved the city from the ravages of the plague.
The Gallerie dell'Accademia is filled with the works of masters, among others Titian, Bellini, Carpaccio, Canaletto and Veronese. It represents a collection of Venetian artwork from the 13th to 18th century. The queues to enter are long and tedious but for art lovers, the Accademia is a must.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is considered to be one of the world's better and important collections of modern art accummulated by Peggy Guggenheim. It is actually an unfinished palace called the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni which the American called home for 30 years. The list of artists reads like a who's who of modern art with Picasso, Dali, Pollock, Magritte, Kadinsky, Bacon, Mondrian and Chagall all represented. Queues also get ridiculous here as the museum is quite an attraction for art lovers.
Although not a pleasant thought in history, the Ghetto Nuevo was a place where the Christian powers that were, segregated Venice's Jewish population from as early as the 16th century. Notice the architecture and visit the Museo Ebraico to fully understand the plight of the city's ghetto residents.