The Ultimate Guide to a Weekend in Venice

Travel Itinerary

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Design  Your Italy
Itinerary by: Design Your Italy
a month ago
Business
Starts: Fridays
Duration: 3 days

Surrounded by the arresting blue waters of the Adriatic Sea and preserving millennia of history, the second to none city of Venice welcomes millions of tourists each year. And it couldn't be any other way!

Friday

14:00 - 16:00
Venice
Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
The legend has it that at noon in 421 AD, the foundation of Venice was laid by local tribes. From humble fishermen settlement, over the centuries, Venice expanded and slowly turned into the lengthiest ever-existing republic - La Serenissima or the Most Serene Republic, ruling both mainland and sea. An undisputed marvel of engineering, the floating city underwent several stages of construction and development to reach us with its splendor at the present day. Built on approximately 120 islands and crisscrossed by copious waterways, Venice unfolds its precious heritage of that glorious epoch when the city was self-sufficient and autonomous. A weekend city break is an excellent start to explore one of the most stunning cities in the world. Be aware, in Venice, it's difficult to run out of activities as the city offers plenty. But on a weekend you can cover some of the most iconic places Venice is famous for and feel its incredible and incomparable atmosphere getting closer to the local way of living. Start your trip on Friday. You can reach Venice either by car, train or plane. If you choose the first option, you must leave your vehicle at one of the public parking places. It's good to book in advance as in some periods you might not find available parking places. A train or plane are also good options as the city is well-connected by high-speed trains and international flights. However, whatever means of transportation you choose, you'll need a ticket for the public transport to stroll around, unless you decide to use the services of private water taxis as an option. This, of course, is possible if you have a higher budget. The ticket prices vary and depend on your needs. You can get single runs or 24H/48H tickets. The recommendation is to get one of the latter as they are the most convenient solution and allow unlimited rides on all urban Venice water busses. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a surcharge for larger suitcase dimensions. You can check the official website with all the detailed information to avoid some unexpected surprises. Photos: Design Your Italy
Article By: Design Your Italy
Standard 7.50 - 30.00 EUR Plus fee

16:00 - 17:00
Jewish Ghetto
Calle Ghetto Vecchio, 1139, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Well-known for its fish shape, the city of Venice is divided into six subdivisions corresponding to neighborhoods in other cities, called sestieri in Italian. Each is full of history and places to discover. In the late Friday afternoon, head to Cannareggio, the northernmost district of Venice, situated just above the very popular Canal Grande. The area is still not affected by mass tourism, yet it is one of the most intriguing. The lively and suggestive area of Canareggio is famous for its Jewish Ghetto, the first and the oldest one established in Europe. During the long Venetian rule, a specific law obliged the Jewish community to reside in this well-defined neighborhood. Still today, it is among the most interesting cultural and historical legacies the Republic of the Lion left. In this fascinating part of the city, the various synagogues and the tall buildings reaching even up to seven floors and meant to fit more people - evoke the past characteristic and way of life of Jewish, becoming a centerpiece of Jewish culture in Venice. And nevertheless, it was founded over five centuries ago, the ghetto still preserves these authentic ethnic features to explore at a slow pace. Photo: Venice to See - www.venicetosee.com
Article By: Design Your Italy

18:00
Bàcaro Tour
Cannaregio, 1518, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
After your stroll among the maze of tiny streets or, as locals call them - calli, of the Jewish Quarter, immerse into a very characteristic trait of the Venetian every day "dolce vita" culture - the bàcaro experience. The bàcaro are typical tiny taverns or wine bars, usually with humble rustic furniture and just a few seats or none at all. Since ancient times, Venetians used to relax with a glass of wine - the so-called Ombra de vin - and finger foods at the end of the working day. Yet, this tradition overcame time and is one of the best ways to completely experience the local delectable Venetian food, which is authentic and exquisite. But also you get a convivial moment with locals and feel the very essence of the city, escaping the tourist crowds. In these very informal places, grab a Spritz, a typical Venetian cocktail prepared with Prosecco, Aperol (or Campari) e sparkling water, or a glass of local wine and a plate of cicchetti - small savory snacks or appetizers. These delicious bites embrace a large variety of receipts and types. They could be one-bite meatballs, sandwiches, olives, fish-based or vegetable snacks, and many more. Among the most popular that can't be missing during your bàcaro tour are sarde in saor - marinated sardine fillets - and baccala mantecato - creamed codfish on toasted bread. However, each bar offers multiple types you can choose from. Usually, Venetians hop from one bàcaro to another, so the best experience this local itinerant pre-dinner ritual, do the same, rather than just staying in one bar all the time. The prices are affordable as a piece of cicchetti ranges from 1 euro to 3 euro, and a glass of wine or cocktail is also around 2-3 euro. Whatever type of cicchetti you choose, you can be sure they are all made of local products and respect the traditional Venetian cuisine. Cannareggio district is known to be home to some of the most famous bàcari. So stroll around, get a drink or more than one and a plate of appetizers, delight yourself, and immerse into the vigorous and colorful Venetian atmosphere. You can start with one of the most popular around Cannareggio - Ciccheteria venexiana da Luca e Fred, which is also very close to the Jewish Ghetto. Photos: Courtesy of Ciccheteria venexiana da Luca e Fred
Article By: Design Your Italy
Standard 1.50 - 15.00 EUR

Saturday

08:00 - 16:00
St. Mark's Column
Calle S. Basso, 312, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
On Saturday, the suggestion is to get as early as possible to the central and most iconic square of Venice - St. Mark's square. Over the centuries, the plaza has always been a gathering place for social, cultural, and political life, and today, it is still the most lively place in the whole city. If you want to avoid, at least for a while, the big crowds and enjoy its spectacular beauty - unless you are traveling in the off-season - get there ahead of time. To frame the passage to the square and welcome you are the two imposing pillars overlooking the lagoon with the two saints, protectors of the city. On the top of one of them raises the Byzantine St. Theodore of Amasea, wearing typical Roman army clothing, known as the first protector of Venice. While on the other the most recognizable symbol of Venice - the Winged Lion - representing St. Mark Evangelist. The legend has it that the columns were brought from Constantinople, and were three. However, during the unloading, one of them sunk. It still lies on the muddy bottom of the sea. Photos: Design Your Italy
Article By: Design Your Italy

09:00 - 16:00
St. Mark's Basilica
P.za San Marco, 328, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Head to the beating heart of the square to explore another status symbol of the Serenissima's wealth and authority. The St. Mark's Basilica rises sumptuously and richly decorated, reminding us that the Venetian Republic was powerful. It was the eleventh Doge of the Republic to lay its foundation, replacing the previously existing chapel. The wars and conquests in the East brought Venice tremendous artistic heritage, and the most important religious building reflects that. A harmonious blend of style, the St. Mark's Basilica also has Byzantine architecture influences. The colossal structure has five majestic domes and a beautifully adorned facade. Another iconic emblem that enhances the exterior and reminds us of the almighty leadership of the Venetian Republic is the so-called Horses of St. Mark - or Quadriglia. The unique bronze sculpture complex was brought as a memorial of the Fourth Crusade. Those on the frontage are a replica. You can see the original one inside the Basilica for an additional entrance fee. The interior is as impressive as the exterior. Stunning mosaics with dominating warm and golden colors adorn it and recall the century-old tradition of craftsmanship, giving St. Mark's Basilica the nickname "Golden Church". The visit to the Basilica is free of charge unless you want to see the various museums inside. In this case, there is an additional fee to pay. You can get tickets in advance or on-site at the ticket office on the left side of the Basilica. Also, remember to wear appropriate clothing as it's a place of worship. Photo credit: Design Your Italy
Article By: Design Your Italy
Standard 0.00 - 5.00 EUR Plus fee

10:00 - 16:00
St. Mark's Bell Tower
P.za San Marco, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
After the visit of the St. Mark's Basilica, climb the exhilarating St.Mark's Belltower. With its approximately 100 meters (over 300 feet) in height, it is the tallest building in the lagoon city, and it's a crucial symbol of the Venetian civilization evolution. A curious note is that the local calls it "el paròn de casa" - or the master of the house. Once a humble lightship, the brick structure later became imposing and monumental. The bell-tower was the first landmark to appear to those coming from the sea. However, the last century marked a tragic event as on a summer morning at the beginning of the twentieth century, the St.Mark's Belltower crumbled, becoming a pile of rubble. So today's structure is a replica of its predecessor. The bell-tower offers a spectacular bird's eye view from the top. To enjoy it, you can get a ticket directly on-site or book in advance. You can use the elevator, which makes the task easier. The visit is for approximately half an hour. Once on the top and in good weather conditions, you can also see the closest to Venice islands. Among them, also Murano. Photo credit: Design Your Italy
Article By: Design Your Italy
Standard 8.00 EUR
Group 4.00 EUR
Students 8.00 EUR
Kids 4.00 EUR Under 18
Seniors 8.00 EUR

11:00 - 16:00
Caffè Florian
P.za San Marco, 57, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
After a visit, stroll around St. Mark's square and get a cup of mid-morning coffee. You can stop-by at the historic and very well-known Cafè Florian. Founded in 1720, the iconic place, over three hundred years old, offers an authentic atmosphere. Since times gone-by, this has been a gathering point of artists and intellectuals. Preserving experiences and memories of the Serenissima, Cafè Florian is an institution in Venice. However, you should keep in mind the prices are much higher than average. If you are looking for something more budget-friendly options, this is not your place. But you can still stop by and admire the elegant and sophisticated timeless interior that is an undiscussed journey in the eighteenth century. Photo credit: Design Your Italy
Article By: Design Your Italy
Standard 10.00 EUR

12:00 - 16:00
St.Mark's Clocktower
P.za San Marco, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
In over a thousand of years of history of the Venetian Republic, each epoch didn't fail to leave its trace. The Renaissance is no exception. One of the indelible marks on St. Mark's Square is the Moor's Clocktower. Enhancing the entrance of Mercerie, the commercial street of the city, the clock has several peculiarities. The two Moors are called the Old and the Young one. While the first beats two minutes before the exact time as a symbol of the past, the second does it two minutes later as a mark of the time to come. But the exceptional mechanism of the clock also indicates the day, the exact moon phases, and the zodiacal constellations. So, don't fail to admire it while on the square. Photo: Venice to See (www.venicetosee.com)
Article By: Design Your Italy

14:00 - 16:00
Doge's Palace
P.za San Marco, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
After lunch, explore what was once the heart of political life and a symbol of stamina of the Most Serene Republic - the Doge's Palace. An outstanding architectural masterpiece and a blend of style and epochs, it overlooks the idyllic Canal Grande. Undergoing several reconstructions over the long history of the Serenissima, the Doge's Palace remains today the most prestigious building in Venice. The magnificent facade of polychrome geometric patterns of white and pink marble resemble a stone lace - and add to its class. Splendid arcades, loggias, and courtyards are part of the century-old complex and contribute to its artistic importance, too. The inside once housed the governmental offices. It preserves precious paintings and canvas of some of the most prominent artists in the halls. But it also had a judiciary function in the Venetian Republic. It was the seat of the Council of the Ten who decided the prisoner's destiny. The Palace itself also housed the prisons. Among the most famous culprits was Giacomo Casanova. However, the world-famous lover managed to escape them, later writing a very successful memoir. To visit the Doge's Palace, the best option is to book your visit in advance in a specific time slot in order to optimize your experience and avoid long queues. You can do that easily online. The visit to the palace lasts approximately two hours. Photo: Venice to See (www.venicetosee.com)
Article By: Design Your Italy
Standard 26.00 EUR
Students 14.00 EUR
Kids 14.00 EUR Under 14
Seniors 14.00 EUR

16:00
Bridge of Sights
Bridge of Sighs, P.za San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
To connect the Doge's Palace and the New Prisons is another of the Venice emblems - The Bridge of Sight. Suspended over a tiny waterway, the bridge, of majestic Baroque architecture, is the symbol of the rigid legal system of the Venetian Republic. The bridge of white Istrian stone is entirely enclosed and has only two windows per side. The legend has it that while walking toward the harsh cells of the jail, prisoners glimpsed for the last time the beautiful lagoon and sights. Hence - the name. Photo credit: Design Your Italy
Article By: Design Your Italy

17:00
Zan Zaccaria Church
Campo S. Zaccaria, 4693, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
A stone's throw from the Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sights, the San Zaccaria Church is another place not to be missed. This place of worship was once the most relevant female religious institute of Venice. Closely linked to the Doge and the Venetian nobility, it is among the most valuable churches in the city. The inside is rich in artistic masterpieces and is a burial place for many Venetian Doges. Another unique peculiarity of the church is the crypt, where the Corps of San Zaccaria rest. However, it is also known as the Flooded Crypt. Situated below sea level, the water is present permanently in the crypt and creates an unusual yet fascinating atmosphere. During the exceptional events of acqua alta or floods, the water level increases even more. The entrance to the church is free of charge. You have to pay an additional fee only for the crypt. You can get the tickets only on-site. Photos: Graziella Cogolati (Instagram: @grazy54)
Article By: Design Your Italy
Standard 0.00 - 2.00 EUR

20:00 - 21:00
Gondola Ride
Calle Vallaresso, 1323, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
End the day in Venice with a gondola ride. This experience is among the most expensive but if you want to live and enjoy the city from another point of view then this is a must-do. Alternatively, relax in one of the many bars or cafes dotted around with a glass of wine or a cocktail.
Article By: Design Your Italy
Standard 80.00 - 129.99 EUR

Sunday

09:00 - 16:00
Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge, Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
On Sunday morning, head to one of the four bridges that span over Canal Grande. Rialto Bridge, the oldest and the most renowned in Venice, is situated in what was known as the most commercial part of the city. However, the area around Rialto Bridge has maintained the mercantile environment, and not far from it is the Rialto Market, one of the most ancient in the city. Initially built as a simple wooden bridge, today is considered one of the architectural masterpieces of the lagoon city. Of curious note is that some twelve thousand wooden pilings support the structure. The bridge has three roadways. The central one is the biggest, while the two lateral house twenty-four tiny artisan shops. The bridge offers a spectacular view of the thoroughfares while the base reliefs depict and recall the legendary foundation of the Venetian Republic. Photo credit: Design Your Italy
Article By: Design Your Italy

10:00 - 16:00
Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Rialto Bridge, Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
The hustle and bustle of trading merchants coming from different places was the norm in the area. Another evidence of the commercial essence of the Venetian Republic is the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Since ancient times the community of Nord European merchants, Venetians called them Germans to summarize them all, in the lagoon was impressive. An example of Venetian Byzantine civil architecture was the residential place and warehouse for German merchants. After experiencing some renovation, today, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi has returned to its earliest origins and carries on again a commercial activity as a silent witness of the century-old Venetian tradition. Photo: Venice to See (www.venicetosee.com)
Article By: Design Your Italy

12:00 - 16:00
The Spiral Staircase - Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Scala Contarini del Bovolo, 4303, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Your next stop in Venice is just a few minute's walk from the Rialto area and is the Scala Contarini del Bovolo. Of late Gothic influence, the Spiral Staircase is among the most original and renowned staircases. Almost hidden, in a small courtyard at the end of a narrow calle, it rises in all its elegance. A dazzling combination and contrast of bricks, white Istrian stone, and magnificent loggias, the cylindrical staircase is approximately 30 meters (100 feet) high. Once a property of the patrician Contarini family, it reflects the timeless charm of the Venetian nobility. From the top, you can admire the spectacular view over the Venetian rooftops. If you want to visit the Contarini Palace, you need to pay an additional fee. Finish your weekend in Venice and be ready to return, as the lagoon city is nothing short of exhilarating, and each visit is a discovery of the legendary Serenissima. Photo: Graziella Cogolati (Instagram: @grazy54)
Article By: Design Your Italy
Standard 0.00 - 7.00 EUR

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About the author

Hello, I am Vanya, a long-time veteran in the Hospitality industry and founder of Design Your Italy, an independent consultancy firm for tailor-made trips based in Milan. It was my passion for traveling and love for Italy that, over time, had led me to become a professional Travel Designer, helping independent travelers translate their ideas into unforgettable trips. I am happy to share itineraries you can draw inspiration from for your next Italian adventure. Enjoy!

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