With its collection of islands in a lagoon and its Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance mix, Venice looks like a dreamscape resembling an iconic stage or film set.
It has been firing up its visitors’ imagination for centuries and its narrow passageways, elegant buildings and crystal-like canals have been portrayed by artists, philosophers, writers, photographers.
Are 24 hours enough to discover Venice?
Venice is fully pedestrianized, since there are no roads wide enough for vehicles, and that’s wonderful for all of you who would like to get to know the city on foot. It will actually take you around 1 hour to cross the city from north to south!
And, if you’re not really in the mood for walking, you can use the vaporetti which are the city’s public waterbuses.
#1 Walk to the Rialto Bridge & Rialto Market
Built between 1588-91, the picturesque Rialto Bridge was constructed by the architect, Antonio de Ponte, who beat out Michelangelo in a design competition. It traces the geographical center of Venice and is lined with local shops selling leather, silk, jewelry.
Spend your time like a true Venetian by visiting the historic Rialto Market which is almost 1,000 years old. It’s one of the most bustling places in the city, so, make sure to arrive early in the morning.
Rialto Bridge Address: Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Rialto Market Address: Calle Prima de la Donzella, 306, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
#2 Dive in Culture
Explore the most important museum of European and American art of the 20th century in Italy: the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. A personal collection consisting of magnificent modern artworks (such as by Picasso, Dalí, Miró, Kandinsky), a sculpture garden as well as temporary exhibitions, all set in an 18th century palace.
Or head to the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice’s fine art museum, where you’ll find art from the old grandmasters which will take you back in time.
#3 Visit Teatro La Fenice
Destroyed by fire already 3 times, the Teatro La Fenice is one of the most famous opera houses in the world and a real “Phoenix” – like its name literally indicates – continually rising from its ashes. Add it to your Venice bucket-list and either watch a concert there, or enjoy a daytime visit to marvel at its interior design.
#4 Admire the Architecture of the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
Almost five centuries old, the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo went through many transformations because of its different owners. Its most famous feature is a graceful early-Renaissance spiral staircase known as the Scala Contarini del Bovolo (bovolo is a venetian word which means “snail”) leading to an arcade, the perfect spot for you to soak in the impressive city views.
#5 Stroll Around St. Mark’s Square
St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), built around the early 10th century, has been a loyal observer of countless pageants, political activities, processions, carnival festivities and is definitely worth visiting during your 1 day in Venice.
There, you’ll find many things to see and do, among which: shops, cafes, restaurants and St. Mark’s Bell Tower (Campanile), the most recognizable landmark in Venice standing at 98,6 m, also used by the famous Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei as an observatory to study the sky.
Address: P.za San Marco, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
#6 Go Inside the Unique Doge’s Palace
The Doge’s Palace dates back to the 15th century and it has not only an intriguing gothic exterior but also fascinating interiors with its overall architecture showing the power of the former Kingdom of Venice. Make sure to climb its iconic Giant’s Staircase with the tall statues of Mars and Neptune standing at the left and right setting the right mood.
Address: P.za San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
#7 Live the Venetian Dream in a Gondola
Observing the magic of Venice from the seat of a gondola is an unforgettable experience, during which you get the chance to see the city the way it was meant to be seen. Rent one and get ready to be utterly dazzled. A must-do in case you have only one day in Venice!
#8 Cherish the Canal Grande from Above
Visit the Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS department store, near the Rialto Bridge, and combine shopping and dining with marvelous views from its rooftop terrace on the top floor (access to the rooftop is totally free of charge).
Address: Rialto Bridge, Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
#9 Look for the Most Venetian Bookstore of the City
During your 24-hour stay in Venice, the Libreria Acqua Alta will surely catch your eye.
A one-of-a-kind, creative bookstore whose name itself means “bookstore of high water.” Due to Venice’s constant risk of flooding, this bookstore’s books, magazines, maps, and ephemera are all safely placed inside bathtubs, waterproof containers and bins, and a full-sized gondola in one room.
At the back of the shop, you’ll find a staircase made out entirely of books that allows you looking at the canal just behind the store.
Address: C. Longa Santa Maria Formosa, 5176b, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
#10 Try Local Cicchetti
Venice has excellent cuisine consisting of many local dishes. Our favorite? Cicchetti: small snacks which include crostini (small bruschetta/toasted open sandwiches), tramezzini (triangular white bread half-sandwiches), panini (small sandwiches on crusty rolls), and polpette (fried balls of meat, cheese, potatoes or tuna). These popular and delicious local appetizers are perfect for accompanying your evening drinks, or for snacking on them all day long. Search for them in the informal bars (bacari) and casual eateries (osterie).