Venice, capital of the Veneto region, is a unique city. It rises on the waters of the adriatic lagoon and its sumptuous buildings run alongside the channels on which the famous gondole sail. It is the perfect place for a weekend dedicated to art or for a little romantic getaway, unsurprisingly in fact it is also called the city of love. So here is an itinerary with a few tips on what to see on a weekend in Venice, to enjoy taking a walk on the bridges, taking a look inside the artisanal workshops and stopping for a drink in a bacaro.
What to see on a weekend in Venice: Piazza San Marco and Basilica di San Marco
A weekend in Venice cannot start in any other way than Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square), one of the most visited squares in the world. On it stand out two of the most famous monuments of the city: St Mark’s Basilica and its bell tower. The basilica, the construction of which started in the XI century, is also referred to as “the golden church” due to the rich mosaics that decorate the facade and for St Mark’s treasure: the collection of objects that the church contains and that represents the great power of the Serenissima at the time of the maritime republics. Symbol of the city of Venice is the bell tower, 98,6 meters high it is the ideal spot to have an unmatched view of the city.
Another important place in Venice, just next to St Mark’s Basilica, is Palazzo Ducale. The building was the Doge’s headquarter, the doge was the head of state of the Republic of Venice. The pink-marble facade is inspired by Byzantine architecture and it features richly decorated arches and spires. Currently, it hosts the Museo Civico of Palazzo Ducale, inside of which you can see the sumptuous hallss and the “Bridge of sighs” (ponte dei sospiri). A must-see stop in our itinerary of things to see in a weekend in Venice.
Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs)
Possibly one of the most popular tourist attractions – certainly one of the most photographed all around the world – is Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) which is a covered stone bridge with baroque decorations. It connects Palazzo Ducale to the prisons: the name in fact comes from its use by prisoners who were awaiting judgment, hence the “sigh” before accepting their fate.
Canal Grande and Ponte di Rialto
During the weekend in Venice another must is to take a trip on a boat or gondola on the Canal Grande: the main channel that crosses and divides in two parts the town center. Along its course you can see some of the most beautiful buildings in Venice among which stand out: Ca’d’Oro, Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ Pesaro, the Biennale di Venezia, the Casinò and the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Following the channel you get to the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto’s bridge), the most ancient and scenic of the four bridges that cross the Canal Grande; built in 1951, it comes with a majestic covered deck. If you walk on the bridge, on the western shore you get to one of the most vivid and lively places in town: the very old Mercato di Rialto, in activity since 1097.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Overlooking the Canal Grande, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni is the venue of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The museum is certainly on the list of things to see on a weekend in Venice, and meets the taste of modern art lovers: a miniature version of New York’s Guggenheim museum, it exhibits an important number of works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalì, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Brancusi, Jackson Pollock, Lucio Fontana, Claes Oldenburg and many others.
Punta della Dogana
Just a fews steps from the Guggenheim Museum there Punta della Dogana, where the Canal Grande flows into the St Mark’s Basin. It owes its name to the complex of the Dogana del Mar, located at its extremity, even though the more famous building is the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. Build in 1630, as a sign of devotion to the Madonna thanking her for freeing the city from the plague, the monumental basilica is a clear expression of Venetian baroque style. The particularity of the building is in the octagonal plan combined with a towering dome.
If you want to see a typical Venetian palace then Ca’ D’Oro is what you are looking for. The facade of the building displays particular decorations typical of the gothic style and the structure is that of a fondaco house usually owned by Venetian nobles. The spaces at the ground floor, once used as warehouses, stand out for their marble details that characterize with geometrical motifs both the floors and the walls of the hall. The panoramic view on Canal Grande from the higher balcony is worth a visit to the palace.
What to see on a weekend in Venice: Murano and Burano
A weekend in Venice cannot be complete without a trip to the islands of Murano and Burano, both of which can be reached through the town center with the water bus. Murano is known all around the world for the traditional glass workmanship; on the island you can see, in the craftsmen’s workshops, the creation of works of arts all made of blown glass. On the other hand, Burano owes its fame to lace-making: if you are lucky it is possible to see local women sew in their houses. Furthermore, the island is very picturesque thanks to the colors of its houses that you get to see all around between a bridge and an alley.