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Venice Top 10

Home > Venice > Art | Bars | Churches | Museums | Lists
by Cressida Ryan (subscribe)
Classicist and traveller
Published March 15th 2015
Romance and culture go hand in hand in one of the world's most unexpected cities. Venice is simply stunning, and ludicrously improbable, perched magnificently on thousands of wooden stakes driven into the seabed. Here are a few highlights.

1.) St Mark's Basilica

Possibly the most famous of Venice's churches, the gilded mosaics at St Mark's are like nothing you'll see elsewhere.

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Inside St Mark's

2.) The Doge's Palace

The Bridge of Sighs, Casanova's cell and the largest room in Europe; the Doge's Palace has it all. It's an incredible, lustrous place to walk around by yourself, but the Secret Passages tour is even more worthwhile for a chance to explore behind the public facade of this extraordinary building.

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The Doge's Palace from the Campanile

3.) St Mark's Square

Watch the pigeons flock as they outnumber tourists, or climb the tower and gaze at this central hub in Venice. It's a grand piazza, on water.

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St Mark's Square from the Campanile

4.) Murano and its glass

Outside the main islands lie some well-known for their individual crafts. Formerly a prison island, Murano now boasts the most fabulous glass craftsmanship. Hop on a vaporetto and watch glassblowers at work on the stunning chandeliers you see everywhere, or pick up a souvenir to take home.

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Handmade glasses on Murano

5.) Burano and its lace

A little further out, the island of Burano is home to the most colourful buildings in Venice. Their craft of choice is lace, and the lace museum here is an excellent introduction to the intricacies of the material, which you can buy all over the small island.

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Colourful houses on Burano

6.) Gondolas

Synonymous with Venice are the gondolas and gondoliers, who navigate the canals with songs for their passengers. A gondola ride isn't cheap, but it is a romantic and fun way to spend a sunny half hour. The extravagant gondolas make great attractions in themselves.

7.) Prosecco, Bellinis and Happy Hour

At 6pm in Venice, it's time to head to a bar, order a glass of prosecco and eat some cichetti (small tapas like snacks). Venice's answer to champagne, prosecco flows freely through the city, even at lunchtime. The peach juice and prosecco combination we know as the Bellini was born here, at Harry's bar.

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Venice bars abound - try them out!

8.) Masks

Since Napolean introduced the idea of a carnival to mark the start of Lent, Venice has channeled its reputation as a palace of fun into a something spectacular. With the carnival season comes masked balls, and the incredible papier mache masks which one associates with Venice.

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Carnival masks on sale

You might take one home just to decorate the mantlepiece, or one ready for your own masked ball experience. You can pay under 25 euros for a simple half-mask, or hundreds for intricate, hand-decorated masterpieces. Sellers will pack them carefully for transit. Shops are unwilling to let you touch or photograph masks, but if they are convinced you do want to buy one, assistants are very helpful.

9.) La Fenice

Rebuilt after numerous fires, La Fenice stands as one of Venice's most stunning landmarks, a theatre to out glamourise any other in the city. Famous operas and singers alike have been showcased here, with the audience including Napolean, who remodelled the interior to fit his political agenda. If you can't go to a show, at least go for a tour.

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La Fenice

10.) Religious art

All over Venice is the most extraordinary concentration of fabulous religious art, particularly by Tiepolo and Titian. You can't move for stumbling across more masterpieces.

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Upstairs in the Ca Rezzonico

One of the most intense collections is at Ca' Rezzonico. The lower floors are an eighteenth century palazzo now open as a museum. Up on the third floor are hundreds of paintings.
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Why? Beautiful, romantic and improbable
Where: Venice
Your Comment
I miss Venice, cant wait to go there again and lose myself. My mum is Venetian and I love visiting her old house, school and the Giardini where she used to play.
by Christina Brandalise (score: 3|3150) 2813 days ago
Congratulations for winning first prize.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2801 days ago
Great Article. Congratulations.
I will be in Venice later this year and, although I have been there on a few occasions, revisiting places and discovering new ones will be a joy, so I will take note of your recommendations.
by Carole Liivrand (score: 2|899) 2801 days ago
Oh tatts me over there! (tattslotto long-running ad in Aussie land :) )
by Bianca N V (score: 2|210) 2814 days ago
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