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CTW Explores


Country: Italy               Language: Italian               Currency: Euro (€)

Venice is one of the most picturesque cities in the world. The 177 canals are always busy with a multitude of boats buzzing up and down, and they split the city into 118 little islands. Submerse yourself in Venetian history, architecture, and artwork at some of the many museums available in the city. Or indulge in traditional Italian cuisine, as you can smell the fresh pasta and seafood in the air. When in Venice, the water bus will allow you to see the Grand Canal completely, but it will miss a lot of the small canals that are only accessible by gondola or water taxi. Much of the city can be explored on foot, but there is certainly something enchanting about seeing the city from the water.

CTW Must See

Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco is the most iconic square in Venice. St. Mark’s Basilica, the stunning Byzantine Cathedral features prominent gold mosaic and classical Italian architecture. Entry to the basilica is free, however entry to St. Mark’s Museum, the Bell Tower, the Treasury, or Pala d’oro requires a ticket. San Marco Campanile is the iconic bell tower in Piazza San Marco. The tower stands at 98.6 meters tall and can be seen from a number of locations across Venice. You can climb to the top of the bell tower for a spectacular view of St. Mark’s Square, including Doge’s Palace. 

Doge’s Palace 

The gothic style palace beside Piazza San Marco was once residence to Venetian royalty. Today it serves as an art and history museum. Doge’s Palace faces out toward the Grand Canal and connects to the Bridge of Sighs along the Grand Canal. The Bridge of Sighs was built in 1600, and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms of Doge’s Palace. The glorious pink of Doge’s Palace blends in perfectly with the gondolas and the charm of Piazza San Marco.

Santa Maria dei Derelitti 

This Renaissance-style church is tucked away in another one of Venice’s laneways, but it stands prominently along the bright and colorful Venetian architecture. In 1528 when famine broke out, this building was used as a shelter from the cold winters, providing help to those in need.

Scala Contarini del Bovolo

The iconic staircase located in Palazzo Contarini Minelli dal Bovolo is on a small laneway hidden within Venice’s less-traveled streets. It is said that the staircase was built by Giovanni Candi, the architect who created the square, in the early 1500s. The hidden Scala Contarini del Bovolo can be found on your walk toward San Marco from Rialto Bridge.

Campo San Maurizio

This square in Venice is bright and lively. Its main attraction is the Museo della Musica, which features musical instruments from the 17th century to the 20th century. The square is also home of an antique market that pops up in the square on many weekends during the year. Campo San Maurizio is an easy walk from Piazza San Marco and will bring you very close to Institute of Science, Arts, and Letters. 

Institute of Science, Arts, and Letters

Venice is full of museums and art galleries, and the Institute of Science, Arts, and Letters is one of the must sees. Its origins were founded by Napoleon, and is divided into two classes, Class of Science and Class of Humanities. Located across the bridge from the Gallerie dell’Accademia, the Institute of Science, Arts, and Letters dates back to the 19th century. The institute also prides itself in being a research center for scientific and historical research, providing grants and scholarships to many researchers.

Santa Maria della Salute

Found across the river from Piazza San Marco sits Santa Maria della Salute, a church that was built in 1698. It is one of the largest churches in Venice and is considered a small basilica. In the 1630s, a plague took over Venice and killed about a third of the city’s population. The plague survivors commissioned the construction of this church as a sign of thanks for their salvation.

Gallerie dell’Accademia

This popular art museum and a former art school. The Gallerie dell’Accademia is a short walk from Santa Maria della Salute, and located just in front of the boat dock for the water bus. The art museum holds works of many acknowledged Venetian artists, such as Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto and many more, dating from the 14th century the 18th century.

Campo San Barnaba

This traditional Venetian Square is a set deep within Venice, making it the perfect escape from the crowds. As you walk from the Gallerie dell’Accademia, you will pass many shops and many small eateries. Take your time to soak in the quaint laneways, shops, and the delicious Italian food smells! Once you reach the square, you will be greeted by the charming San Barnaba, a neoclassic church built in 1305. The bell tower that stands detached from the church stands tall in the background. Also, you may recognize the facade of the church, as it was used as the exterior of the library in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Ca’ Rezzonico

Ca’Rezzonico is a palace and museum from the 18th century. The grand marble facade can be seen from the Grand Canal, but stretches back to San Barnaba. The museum has three floors, and is full of artwork, furniture, and decorations from the 17th century.

Grand Canal 

The Grand Canal is quite a large canal filled with boats of all kinds. Water busses, private water taxis, gondolas, and cargo boats fill the canals day in and day out transporting goods and people throughout Venice. The canal is 3.8 kilometers long and stretches from Santa Lucia Railway Station all the way to Piazza San Marco. The canal features nearly 200 buildings, including hotels, museums, restaurants, and traditional Venetian housing. While there are hundreds of bridges in Venice, only a handful of them cross the Grand Canal.

Rialto Bridge

Only one bridge crossed the canal until the 19th century, Rialto Bridge, making it the oldest bridge in Venice. It was built in the late 1500s out of marble and has an iconic 7.5 meter arch. It took only 3 years to build the bridge, and has been the centerpiece for Italian artists and tourists ever since.

Scuola Grande di San Rocco 

Filled with works by Tintoretto, Scuola Grande di San Rocco is simply inspiring. The building was built in 1478. Nearly a century later, Scuolo commissioned painter, Tintoretto, to fill the building with art. Today, only Tintoretto's art fills the building, along with some works by his assistants. 


Cannaregio is a trendy Venetian neighborhood located at the top of the city near the train station. It’s the second largest district in Venice, and the second most populated. Cannaregio has many popular features. One of Cannaregio’s attractions is Santa Maria Dei Miracoli. This beautiful church, known as the “marble church” is one of the best representations of Venetian Renaissance architecture. Within Cannaregio, you will find Ca' d’Oro, one of Venice’s oldest palaces. Cannaregio is also the home to the “Venetian Ghetto”. This is where the Venetian Republic made Jewish people live before Napoleon conquered Venice. The english word “ghetto” actually derived from the Jewish ghetto in Venice. While exploring Cannaregio, bask in the calm, slightly less crowded streets of Venice.

San Giorgio Maggiore

This Benedictine church is located on an island across the water from Piazza San Marco. The first church on this island was built in 790, but was destroyed by an earthquake roughly 400 years later. The church was later rebuilt, and features a steeple that models the San Marco Campanile.

More Italian Adventures...

Italy is an enchanting country with a lot to explore! Check out our city guides for some of the most popular Italian cities...

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