Dating back to the middle of the 13th century, the construction of Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari was extended and continued until the 16th century. The church houses paintings by Titian, such as l'Assunta and La Madonna di Cà Pesaro. Within the chapel, you will find Bellini's Madonna. It also contains the tombs of Titian, Canova, Monteverdi, and Francesco Foscari. In spite of its many historical and artistic treasures, the church's large dimensions make it look spacious. Services are held daily. This is the place where you can thoroughly appreciate the religious art of the Renaissance period.
The only Venetian square to be granted the title of 'piazza', St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, is the city's political, religious and social center. The square lies at one end of the Grand Canal, surrounded by some of the city's most iconic historic edifices. The Basilica di San Marco is the focal point of the square - a 12th-century, Venetian-Byzantine church highlighted with gold mosaics and lavish carvings. On either side lie the Procuratie Vecchie, stately buildings that once harbored the offices and apartments of the procurators. Two columns erected in honor of the city's patron saints, St. Mark and St. Theodore of Amasea, stand nearby, while the splendid Doge's Palace, the towering Campanile, the Procuratie Nuove, the National Library, and a couple of museums take up the rest of the space around Venice's largest square. The city's history comes together at the awe-inspiring St. Mark's Square.
Richly adorned with gold mosaics, intricate carvings and marble arches, Saint Mark's Basilica is a glorious example of Byzantine architecture. The basilica was originally built in the 9th Century to house the remains of Saint Mark. Destroyed in 932 CE, the church was later rebuilt to a better design and served as the Doge's chapel until 1807 when it replaced the Basilica di San Pietro in Castello as the cathedral of the Archdiocese. Although the architectural plan of the church has remained largely unchanged since the 12th Century, generous adornments were added over the years, creating one of Italy's most impressive collections of ecclesiastical art. Inside, the ceilings are made of gold mosaics, full of intriguing architectural details. One of Venice's most iconic structures, the Saint Mark's Basilica sits amid Piazza San Marco at one end of the Grand Canal.
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.
Spanning the girth of the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge was once the only way to get across on foot. The majestic bridge arches over the murky waters of the canal, allowing ample room for the gondolas and water buses to pass underneath. The bridge was built in between 1588 and 1591, replacing predecessors from 12th Century onward. Designed by Antonio da Ponte, the bridge has survived unscathed for over four centuries. Today, the Rialto is only one of the four bridges that serve the canal but remains the most prominent. Small shops selling all kinds of souvenirs and curiosities run the length of the bridge while the Mercato di Rialto is a popular local market nearby.
Built over a lagoon, upon a collection of over 100 small islands, Venice is a city of extraordinary beauty. The city's scenic canals serve as major thoroughfares, reflecting the people and places that surround its teal waters. Gondolas glide past historic buildings in the pink glow of sunset. The Grand Canal forms the city's main waterway, lined on either side by an array of Renaissance and Gothic mansions, culminating at the Piazza San Marco where the eponymous basilica inspires awe. Bedecked in Byzantine mosaics, the basilica is just one of the city's many artistic treasures, while others await down narrow streets. Each morning, the city comes alive to the call of the gondoliers, while by night, Venetian bars are filled with diners eager to sample local cuisine. The lagoon itself is a thing of beauty, formed thousands of years ago and maintained by artificial means. Several small towns and cities occupy the islands, besides the city of Venice.
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.
You get a splendid view of Venice and the Basilica di San Marco from the tallest bell tower in Venice. It can be seen from the laguna and once you have reached the top, the whole laguna can be seen from above. Even though the Basilica di San Marco-Campanile was erected at the beginning of the 20th Century, it is an exact replica of the 15th-century bell tower. In 1609, Galileo Galilei exhibited his telescope here, and during the Carnevale, it was used to serve as a stage for the tight rope-walkers who entertained the doge with their acrobatics.
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.