Layer upon layer of differing architectural styles come together to form the magnificent Doge's Palace. A symbol of the Venetian government and political heritage, the historic palace was once the seat of the Doge, the chief magistrate of the former Republic of Venice. The foundations of the complex were laid during the 14th Century. Through the years, the palace was repeatedly reconstructed, extended and restored, creating a mix of artistic and architectural styles ranging from the Medieval to the Renaissance. A masterpiece of Gothic design, the palace is replete with exquisite details like sculptures, frescoes, arches and graceful columns. The original Doge's Apartments, the Armory, the Prisons, the Courtyard and Loggias have all been beautifully restored, with numerous hidden treasures around every corner. This historic icon also houses the Museo dell'Opera and its extensive art collection.
Established in 1792, Teatro La Fenice is regarded as one of the most respected venues in the history of Italian theater. Destroyed by fire three times, the theater was rebuilt, because of which it was named Teatro La Fenice (The Phoenix). Originally built by Gianantonio Selva, the later iterations were constructed by Tommaso and Giovanni Battista Meduna (1837) and Aldo Rossi (2003). Equipped with great acoustics, this premier opera house is among the best venues in town to watch superb opera performances, chamber music concerts, and ballets.
Located on the Grand Canal, Cà Rezzonico was the last building planned by famous Baroque architect Baldassare Longhena. The interior is a reconstruction of an 18th-century palace, with original restored furnishings. The Venetian decor is splendid, particularly in the ballroom with its stunning trompe l'oeil, and the nuptial room, which has richly decorated dressing tables. Today, it is a museum dedicated to the Venice of the 18th Century and comprises beautiful fixtures as well as many works of art. There are frescoes by Tiepolo and paintings by Guardi, Canaletto and Longhi that are worth checking out.
Historic landmarks come a dime a dozen in Venice, but Torre dell'Orologio (clock tower) is a bit more legendary than most. Centrally located at the entrance to one of the city's oldest marketplaces, the looming structure has stood watch over generations and generations of busy Venetians. By appointment only, visitors can enter the hulking monolith, ascend its stairways, to learn about the complex inner workings of the ancient clock and take in some astounding views of the neighborhood below.
Driven by a Gondolier, someone who is both a specialized operator and knowledgeable of the Venitian history, a Gondola is a wooden boat with a flat surface and cozy seats. Initially used by the upper-class Venetians, over the years, a gondola has become a popular activity among couples. Accessible from several landmarks, Grand Canal is one of the most popular and busiest sources of boarding a gondola. From here, you pass through popular attractions such as Palazzo Cà Dario and Chiesa della Salute and you can also learn about their significance in Venetian history.
This basilica, the most important of the city, has been dedicated to main saint of Padua, San Antonio. It was built 8 centuries ago and from then on, it became one of the most important spiritual places of the Christian world. Antonio chose Padua as his permanent home in the period in which he was travelling all over Italy. The church is owned by the Vatican and it houses the tongue of the saint, an important holy relic.
Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) is a landmark and a famous tourist destination in Venice. It exhibits Venetian Gothic architecture and historically, it was the house of the chief of the city. It has been converted into a museum that houses important historical documents of the Republic of Venice, old chambers, apartments, courtyards, prisons and armoury. While this palace offers a regular tour, the Secret Itineraries Tour covers certain sections of the castle inaccessible to the general public. Naturally, this tour costs more and requires reservations but it takes groups through interrogation rooms, attics and secret passages. One can visit the Office of the Great Chancellor, Chamber of the Secret Chancellery, Bridge of Sighs, Chamber of the Inquisitors and Torture Chamber among other important sites. Children below six years are not permitted and the tours are conducted for two to twenty five people.
Avventure Bellissime is one of the best professional touring services one can opt for. Based in Venice, they provide tours not only in the city, but also others like Florence and Rome. All their guides are certified and thoroughly professional, and also speak impeccable English, to make sure you make the most out of the tour. Their one day tours of Venice are quite popular, where one explores the city on foot and by boat. Their ghost walking tours are recommended as well. Refer to the website for details and list of tours.
The foundation of Fondazione Querini Stampalia was laid in the year 1869. It was made to order by Venetian Querini Stampalia family's last successor Conte Giovanni. The exteriors and interiors were made by the well known architect Carlo Scarpa. It holds paintings of famous artists and also exhibits contemporary art. For schedule and information on group tour visit website.
A unique aristocratic palace, Palazzo Grimani was the family house of Antonio Grimani. The charming, historic structure still stands out with its original architecture and gorgeous decorations and is now home to several splendid artworks. The permanent collection here comprises of masterpieces by Mannerists such as Francesco Salviati, Francesco Menzocchi, Camillo Mantovano and Federico Zuccari to name a few. Even without the unusual art that adorn its walls, each room inside this palace is comprises of opulent stuccowork and beautiful frescoes that any art enthusiast wouldn't want to miss. Unique in its architecture and the treasure trove it houses, Palazzo Grimani makes for a brilliant visit.