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Best Sights In Venice

St Marks Square Venice
Rialto Bridge Venice
Museo Correr Venice
Doges Palace Venice
Biblioteca Marciana Venice
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
Torcello Venice
Burano Venice
St Marks Basilica Venice
Venice 3

Best Sights In Venice

story by: Tom Ricketts

Piazza San Marco, St Mark’s Square
Once labelled ‘the drawing room of Europe’ by Napoleon, Piazza San Marco is the main city square of Venice. Famously clogged with tourists, pigeons, and sometimes water, the square is home to other major sights such as St Mark’s Basilica, Correr Museum, St Mark’s Campanile, Doge’s Palace, Biblioteca Marciana and a couple of the world’s oldest cafes/restaurants.

Museo Correr, Correr Museum
One of eleven public museums in Venice, this one specialises in the art and history of Venice. Many of Venice’s treasures were pillaged over the years it was under foreign rule, but what has been brought back now sits here. See ancient sailing charts by Marco Polo, Madonna and Jesus by Schiavone and Cavona’s 1777 statues of Orpheus and Eurydice, plus a hoard of other treasures.

Biblioteca Marciana, the Library
One of the world’s first public libraries, Biblioteca Marciana is credited with holding one of the greatest classical text collections in the world. Even if you can’t touch many of the books, just wandering past the jam packed glass cases and shelves, and admiring the stunningly painted walls and ceilings will have you feeling inspired in no time.

Palazzo Ducale, Doge’s Palace
Another of the eleven public museums, this palace was one the official residence of Venice’s Doge’s, something between a mayor and a president in today’s terms. The palace walls and ceilings are lavishly decorated in magnificent artworks and decked out with rich antique furniture and ornate marble statues.

Basilica di San Marco, St Marks Basilica
The patron saint of Venice is obviously St Mark and while he is buried in this basilica now, he wasn’t always there. In fact, he died in, and was buried in Egypt. The story goes that two Venetian merchants stole the remains and smuggled them out of the country covered in pork so the Muslim security wouldn’t investigate too closely (not being allowed to go near pork and all). The basilica has become the symbol of Venetian power and wealth, again decorated in fascinating artwork and full of golden treasures.

Campanile di San Marco, St Mark’s Campanile
If the soaring 98 metre iconic red tower of Venice looks in better nick than its surrounding buildings, then that’s because it is. The original tower built in 1514 catastrophically collapsed in 1902, thankfully not doing too much damage to its neighbours. It was rebuilt in its exact form (with a little extra reinforcing) and reopened in 1912. And yes, you can climb the tower for unbeatable views over the beautiful city of Venice.

Ponte de Rialto, Rialto Bridge
The most famous of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal is without a doubt, Ponte de Rialto. Just over the bridge are the Rialto Markets, where residents of Venice have been buying their veges, meat and seafood for hundreds of years. They get a bit uppity when you handle the produce though, so point and smile to avoid an ear bashing, Italian style.

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Saint Mary of Health
The huge domes of this basilica dominate the Venice skyline and are one of the most recognisable sights in the city. The Venetians decided to build a basilica dedicated to health due to a particularly bad outbreak of the plague in 1630 which killed 150,000 people, about a third of the population. The many artefacts and carvings throughout the basilica are in reference to this plague.

The Bridge of Sighs
A local legend says that couples who kiss while passing under the Bridge of Sighs on a gondola will have eternal love. We’re thinking that legend might just have come from an enterprising gondolier considering the Bridge of Sighs is named for the sighs given by passing prisoners as they got their last view of Venice before being thrown in the adjacent prison. Maybe just don’t tell the Mrs that bit.

Gallerie dell'Accademia
A comparatively unimpressive building houses the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice’s finest art gallery. Names such as Bellini, Giorgione, Titian and Tintoretto have masterpieces here, but perhaps the most famous is da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (the drawing of the two men with their arms and legs extended and surrounded by a circle and square… it’s famous, you’ll know it when you see it).

Canal Grande
If Paris were to sink, this would be the Champs-Elysees. Considered the ‘main street’ of Venice, all of the richest most well to do families had to have their homes on the Grand Canal darling! And the bigger, more ornate and luxurious, the better.

Just to the north of the central city is the island of Murano, famous for Venetian. The glass is known for being incredibly delicate and elaborate, and features prominently throughout Venice’s many cathedrals and palaces. Even if it’s not your kind of thing, just being able to watch the amazingly skilled craftsmen at work is worth the trip. You can get everything from massive chandeliers to more travel proof jewellery and small trinkets. Hey, you might even find that perfect souvenir for mum.

Another island in the lagoon, this is actually where it all started. The original Venetians lived on Torcello long before moving to Venice, and the oldest buildings in the lagoon can be found here. The reason they moved? Malaria. But thankfully that’s no longer a going concern.

This island is famous for its lacemaking, and even has an entire museum dedicated to it, the Museum and School of Lacemaking. If that doesn’t do it for you, the other reason to visit this island will. Burano’s cobblestone streets and canals are lined with beautiful brightly coloured houses. Glorious shades of pink, green, red, blue and everything else. So important is this to the village that if wanting to paint their home, residents of the village must notify the government and government officials will respond with the permitted colours that residents house is allowed to be. It was originally started so fisherman wouldn’t sail into the island during fog, but is now very much for the tourists.

> Read more about Venice here

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