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.
Just around the corner from the Galleria dell'Accademia, on the Grand Canal is one of Venice's premier museums. This world-famous museum is run by the same institution, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, that manages the renowned Guggenheim Museum in New York. Peggy Guggenheim, was interested in contemporary art and came into contact with various artists who guided and educated her, including Alexander Calder and Marcel Duchamp. This museum houses her collection of contemporary art such as works by Bacon, Balla, Brancusi and Chagall. You'll also find masterpieces by the likes of De Chirico, Kandinsky, Klee, El Lissitskj, Magritte, Man Ray, Picasso and Pollock.
Punta della Dogana is a stunning art gallery located on the triangular piece of land that separates the Grand Canal from the Giudecca Canal. Set in the former customs house, a beautiful 17th-century building, this gallery houses the permanent collection of world's numero uno art collector, Francois Pinault. Here, you will find his famous personal collection, besides several other exhibits pertaining to contemporary art.
The Venice Jazz Club was born in 2006 after the closing of the Around Midnight Club. The Venice Jazz Club quartet is the group that usually plays here, but sometimes other jazz musicians come here as well. The club has great wine, sometimes hosts art exhibitions and is located between Campo Santa Margherita and the Accademia Bridge.
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.
Located in the Procuratie Nuove, two minutes from Biblioteca Marciana Marciana, this is one of the oldest museums the city has to offer. Built at the bequest of Domenico Grimani in 1523. Museo Archeologico houses findings of Egyptian, Assyrian-Babylonian, Greek and Roman origin. This includes coin collections, Grimani statues dating from the 4th and 5th Centuries BCE, as well as pieces from the classic and Hellenistic periods, Latin epigraphs, vases and male busts from the imperial era. The museum is slightly off the tourist trail, which makes it all the more interesting.
Arriving to the Palazzo delle Prigioni by the Bridge of Sighs, you will reach the famous prison where Casanova (1725-1798) was held captive in the middle of the 18th-century. The building was erected in the mid-16th Century to improve prisoner's comfort from the Institutional Chambers's housed prisons. In 1755, the famous writer, traveler, adventurer, lover, Casanova was imprisoned here, from which he escaped the following year, becoming in that act the legend of 18th-century Venice. This historic site also hosts concerts and other cultural events regularly.
There is a silent and almost respectful ambiance in this museum. Visitors enter Museo Correr by means of a staircase, originally built as a grand entrance to the Napoleonic Wing. From here, the tour continues through neoclassical rooms, the Royal Palace, the Canoviana Collection, Venetian Civilization, Antique Art, and Renaissance Bronze. There are many sculptures by Canova and decorative objects by Francesco Hayez. Venezia by Jacopo De' Barbari can be admired in the entrance.
The best way to travel across Venice is through its curious waterways. Consorzio Venice Water Taxi offers boat tours and rides across the Grand Canal and other smaller channels. The organization also offers guided tours where knowledgeable employees help you navigate your way to the historic places, popular restaurants and other Venetian attraction, starting right from your hotel! The service is fast, moderately priced and not to mention, convenient. Check the website for more details.