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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.
Houses of every imaginable hue line the canals of Burano - an island in the Venetian lagoon. A collection of brightly colored fisherman's cottages form the core of this modest town, vying for attention alongside teal canals plied by equally vibrant boats. Burano is famous for its lace, a local tradition that dates back to the 16th Century. Down the narrow alleys and winding paths, local women can still be seen working on these intricate works of art. Burano's Museo del Merletto chronicles the history of this craft and showcases an extensive collection of lace. The leaning campanile of the Church of San Martino, wooden terraces and quaint bridges are other charming sights.
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.
This iconic Baroque bridge was designed in the early 17th-century by Italian architect Antonio Contino. It was built over the Rio di Palazzo to connect the Doge's Palace and the New Prisons, creating a route traveled by convicts between sentencing and imprisonment. Although many attribute the bridge's name to its popularity as a romantic spot, other accounts say that it got its name due to prisoners experiencing their last glimpses of freedom. As for its English moniker, Lord Byron is credited with translating Ponte dei Sospiri to Bridge of Sighs in the 19th century. This must-see Venetian landmark is now loved by tourists and welcomes all to see it for themselves.
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.
Construction of this church started at the end of the 14th Century by the Dominican friars. It was completed at the beginning of the 15th Century. The remains of 25 Doges are buried here and over these centuries the church has earned the status of a minor basilica. The sepulchral monuments are in the care of the Lombardi family and the monuments of Nicolo Marcello, Pietro Lombardo and Pietro Mocenigo are masterpieces by the same sculptor, whose works occupy the whole left side of the entrance. Also impressive is the monument erected in the honor of Andrea Vendramin, and the paintings by Veronese and Piazzetta. A beautiful juxtaposition of Gothic as well as Renaissance-style architecture, San Zanipolo is a must-visit.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a stunning building was built during the Renaissance period but displays traces of successive interventions up until the Baroque period. Scuola Grande di San Rocco is often used as a concert hall, and is next to the San Rocco Church with which it is often mistaken. It is dedicated to Rocco, who cured the sick during the 14th-century plague. The interior decoration of the school was entrusted to Jacopo Tintoretto, whose works, such as the Allegories, Life and Passion of Christ, and episodes from the Old and New Testaments can be admired. Among the most famous displays are The Annuciation, The Epiphany, and The Flight to Egypt. It is open throughout the year except for a few occasions.
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.
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.