I’ll never forget that overwhelming joy I first experienced as I paused on the Ponte Della Costituzione, staring across the canals.
I remember thinking to myself how beautiful this place was, it was exactly how I had imagined after pining over hundreds of photos online.
Watching gondolas effortlessly glide down the narrow canals, rays of blue and green hues from the water reflecting the light from the sky.
Old crooked buildings, colours faded from the years of being beaten by the sunlight.
Venice was a bustling city, a beautiful chaos, humming with hundreds of inaudible voices chattering away, the clack clack clack of suitcases rolling across the cobblestone pathways.
Venice has always been a very alluring and romantic place and given the sights, I can see why.
Venice is a floating city made up of over 100 islands connected by bridges and canals, a geographically unique city situated in the Northern Adriatic sea.
Navigated by gondolas which have caressed the canals for over tens of centuries.
The winding and seemingly endless streets accompanied by piazzas scattered throughout, waiting for wanderers to inevitably get lost. Every corner presenting a picturesque surprise.
Venice certainly holds both a laid back as well as a romantic element offering a rich history and culture and with over millions of visitors each year I can see why.
So here is a short list of some of my favourite things I saw in Venice.
1. Grand Canal
The largest and most well known feature is the Grand Canal, curving it’s way through the floating city.
Along the edge you can see the beautiful old 13th century architecture hugging the edges of the canal, which stretches over two and a half miles.
2. Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Tucked away in the center of Venice stands a small Palazzo best known for its spiralling staircase which wraps it’s way all around and up. From the top you will be greeted by magnificent views of the city, including the bell towers of St Marks Basillica.
3. Rialto Bridge
The arguably the most famous (and oldest) bridge in Venice. Designed by a Venetian designer Antonio da Ponte, Rialto bridge is one of four bridges which arch 24 feet high and over 100 feet long over the Grand Canal.
A crossing between the districts of San Marco and San Polo and a popular landmark for groups and travellers to gather.
4. Squero di San Trovaso
One of only a handful remaining boatyards which are still in use today. Squero do San Trovaso is where boats and gondolas go for maintenance and repair. These skilled craftsmen are the heart and love behind keeping Venices gondolas servicable throughout the city canals.
Even though you can’t enter the workshop you can grab a view from Ponte Longo Bridge.
5. Piazza San Marco
The largest square and most famous is Piazza San Marco, the heart of Venice. A truly beautiful scene. If you’re like me and enjoy a spot of people watching with a gelato in one hand and a coffee in the other (no shame) then look no further.
Admire the stunning marble exterior of the surrounding architecture.
Bare in mind that what ever time of year you visit, the square will be packed with tourists. If your not one for crowds (which is hard to avoid in Venice) I recommend visiting late at night or super early before sunrise.
6. High Tide
Known as Acqua Alta to the Venetians, the high tide commonly seen in St Mark’s Square where the entire floor surface if flooded. This is caused by conflicting winds from the Adriatic sea causing minor waves into the Venetian lagoon.
Honestly I’ve witnessed this myself and have seen nothing else like it.
7. St Mark’s Basillica
Easily the most popular stop on any Venice itinerary and certainly a must see. St Mark’s Basillica is the most famous church in Venice and for you architectural fans, a perfect example of Gothic and Byzantine works.
St Mark’s Basillica sits at the far eastern end of Piazza San Marco which is connected to the Doge’s Palace.
(Unfortunately during my visit there was reconstruction work going on so I was unable to snap a decent shot of the Basillica) Bummer!
Ps; Entry is free but mind the long queues.
8. Libereria Acqua Alta
One of the oldest and most unique bookshops in Venice, each room piled high with dusty classics along with stacks of ancient travel guides and atlases.
One room in particular which houses it’s very own book filled gondola proudly displayed to admire. A book lovers dream but also eye-catching to the casual browser.
One for the photography lovers (to be honest all of Venice is) be sure to take time to visit the quaint island of Burano situated North East of Venice and can be accessed by boat or ferry.
Burano is considered to be one of the moat colourful towns in the world with its streets upon streets of popping colours. Burano’s traditional industry is fishing and used to be its biggest business.
Fun fact; the residents of Burano must seek government approval before painting their homes.
10. Ponte dell’ Accademia
During my visit I could literally not move due to the swarms of tourists squirming their way through for a photo view (Rialto bridge was even worse) however take a closer look you will find rows up on rows of lovelocks affixed to the railings of Ponte dell’ Accademia.
The Venetian government have set out plans to ban the use of love locks due to their heavy weight load causing the bridge to weaken and protect this already sinking city
In all fairness I do agree that love locks should be banned.
11. Caletta Varisco
Did you know that the narrowest street in Venice is called Caletta Varisco and only has a width of 53cm, infact one of many narrow streets of Venice.
Just be careful not to get wedged if passing through with a bulky backpack.
12. Ca’dario Palazzo
Also known as the curses palace, Palazzo Dario is a Renaissance building overlooking the grand canal is believed to be cursed, including a series of unexplainable deaths which occurred, here I’ll include a link on this intriguing history click here.
13. Rialto Market
No trip to Venice is complete without checking out Rialto market. Visiting early on in the morning will guarantee you some of the freshest fish and local produce on offer. Located right next to Rialto bridge you’ll have no excuse to miss it.
14. Bridge of Sighs
Ever wondered where the name came from? It is told that the bridge of Sighs was once held as a passage where prisoners would pass and sigh over their last views of the city, whilst being escorted to their cells.
Nowadays the Bridge of Sighs is now associated with romance, the story goes that if any lovers kiss beneath the bridge at sunset, the the bells of St Marks will chime, forever interlocking their eternal love.
15. Explore at sunrise/sunset
Venice is a crowded city no matter what time of year you visit but I always recommend a visit during the early hours of sunrise.
My list of favourite places and activities could literally go on all day however I condensed it down to just 14 for now.
Honestly I could upload hundreds of photos of Venice… it’s just unbelievably stunning.
However if you would like to keep up on Instagram you can find me here.
However if there is anything you feel I’ve missed or should definitely check out then leave a comment below.
Happy travels, buona notte!