Venice Unveiled: Best Things To Do for History, Art, and Food

Are there more things to see and do in Venice besides the iconic gondola rides and the pretty canals? We say that the floating city that captures the hearts of millions each year, it’s more than just that! It offers something for every type of traveler, be it history, food, or art. Find out the best things to see and do in Venice with us!

Venice offers some of the best things to see and do in Europe.

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Explore St Mark Square

In four words: the heart of Venice. St Mark Square is the city’s central hub, with famous landmarks like the Basilica and the busy Campanile Square all around. It’s not just a public space; it’s a cultural, social, and historical center.

The heart of Venice is St Mark Square, one of the best things to do in Venice

Nearby, you’ll find St Mark Basilica, a stunning building that shows off Venice’s success with its unique Byzantine design. When you see it, you can’t help but admire its fancy facade, intricate mosaics, and the Pala d Oro , which is a beautiful altarpiece covered in gold and gems. Visitors have the chance to explore the inside and marvel at its art and design. Beside stands a tall bell tower with amazing views known for Campanile. Visitors can take a lift to the top for views of the city and its lagoon.

St Mark Basilica shows off Venice's success with its unique Byzantine design.

Within a short distance, there’s a stunning Gothic building that used to be where the city’s leader, the Doge, lived. The palace is a symbol of political and social power. You can check out its fancy halls, opulent rooms, and the famous Bridge of Sighs while you’re there.

The Doge Palace is a symbol of political and social power.

Full of age-old coffee shops, you can savor a coffee or a meal amidst the vibrant buzz of the square. Did you know that there are some of the oldest cafés in town?

 

Cruise the Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is like the main water street that winds its way through the heart of the historic city. It’s the main water route, and you’ll find lots of old buildings, palaces, and churches along its banks. It is a vital part of daily life in the city, being both a transport route and a beautiful sight to see. Indeed, the first-person experience of navigating it in a small boat is simply amazing.

To travel along Venice’s canals you have, first, vaporettos, which are like water buses along the Grand Canal. They give both locals and visitors a convenient way to get around and see the city’s architecture from a special angle. Gondolas, on the other hand, are the classic rowing boats that come to our mind when we think of Venice, or we know popular culture. They are a common sight when you navigate the Grand Canal. If you ever take one, maybe you’ll find out they are not just romantic; but a relaxed way to enjoy the city’s ambiance from a unique water perspective.

Gondolas are the classic rowing boats that come to our mind when we think of Venice, one of the best things to do in Venice

Probably the most practical aspect of such journeys is that you’ll find cozy spots like restaurants and cafés right by the water. These offer a picturesque setting for visitors to enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee while taking in the views of passing gondolas and boats.

 

Pass By The Rialto Bridge

Now, if you’re up for a water-filled adventure, the Rialto Bridge is a must-see. Why does it matter, you say? It is the oldest bridge across the canal and an iconic structure from the Renaissance, spaning across the Grand Canal and linking San Marco and San Polo. It was built in 1588 to replace an older wooden bridge with such a stone masterpiece. However, its history is anything but peaceful. The bridge fell three times, part of it burned during a 13th-century revolt, and it collapsed twice: first in 1444 during a noble wedding and again in 1524.

This aspect doesn’t overshadow others, though. The fact that it has served as a symbol of history and engineering brilliance still makes it a popular attraction for visitors. Plan for a stroll across this historic bridge, lined with shops and market stalls, and scenic views of the city.

The Rialto Bridge is a symbol of history and engineering brilliance, one of the best things to do in Venice

 

Check Out An Outstanding Art Exhibit

If you love art, make sure to check out the Peggy Gugenheim Collection. It’s located in the house where the heiress used to live. Today redesigned to be a museum with lots of European and American art from the first half of the 20th century. The former owner, ironically, didn’t know much about art but became an American art collector and settled in Venice in 1949. She began to amass a notable collection of modern art. The museum officially opened to the public in 1980, two years after her passing.

One of the main attractions is a garden with sculptures that have a great view of the Grand Canal. Such a location adds to its allure, turning it into a cultural treasure right in the center of this historic city. In the garden, you can see modern art pieces by famous artists like Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Dalí, and many others. The collection, overall, intends to provide a complete look at how modern art has changed over time. Definitely a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

 

Indulge in Venetian Cuisine

Finally, it’s time for foodies! Venice is a food lover’s dream, where diverse flavors have been blended and influenced by the region’s unique geography, history, and cultural inputs. Much like Italy itself, it is known for its seafood and local dishes that outline the city’s culinary skills. Here are some iconic dishes to try while in the city, our opinion:

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Venetian cuisine with high-quality products and regional specialties, is a journey to the rich flavors of this city.

Venetian cuisine with high-quality products and regional specialties, is a journey to the rich flavors of this city.

 

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