Best things to see and do in Venice

The focal point of European culture, Venice offers some of the most enthralling activities in the world and our guide will help you make the most of your Venetian getaway.
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Brimming with art, music, architecture and culture, Venice is a hotspot of European travel for good reason. Take the worry out of your Venice holiday with our insider tipsheet for the best things to do, see, and hear in the floating city.

3 in 1—St. Mark’s Square

Undoubtedly one of the most famous locations in Venice, St. Mark’s Square is unmissable for its three main attractions: the Basilica di San Marco, Doge’s Palace, and the Torre dell’Orologio.

Reflecting the city’s links to Byzantium as well as its independence, the Basilica dominates the eastern end of the square and is nearly 1,000 years old. Doge’s Palace, a pinnacle of Venetian Gothic architecture, is now a stunning museum, while the Clock Tower provides unmatchable views from its high renaissance walls, which, while always packed with tourists, is the perfect place to get a feel for the city.

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Art masterclass—Gallerie dell’Accademia

Venice the city is inseparable from the Venice of art, and the Gallerie dell’Accademia is the paramount location for getting up close and personal with those Venetian masters.

Owing its debut to Napoleon, this gallery has been recently renovated and houses nearly 650 of the world’s most important works of art. From Titian to Tiepolo, here you can experience the history of art in one unforgettable location.

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All four seasons—Vivaldi at Teatro la Fenice

Vivaldi is as integral to the city as the canals, and no trip is complete without hearing some of those famous notes. While the city is swarming with amateurs and local groups, for an exceptional performance, check out the orchestra of La Fenice, one of the best in Europe.

Performing at the stunning Teatro La Fenice behind its breathtaking baroque façades, there’s no better place to soak up the sound of violins, Vivaldi, and Venice.

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Get contemporary—Punta della Dogana gallery

Opened in 2009 after an awe-inspiring makeover by the renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the Punta della Dogana gallery now houses one of the largest collections of 20th and 21st century art in the world.

Stealing some of the limelight from the well-established Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Dogana gallery displays the contemporary masterpieces of François Pinault’s famous collection.

Paired with Pinault’s other gallery, Palazzo Grassi, for one-of shows, this impressively restored pair brings Venetian art to the 21st century.

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Venetian taxicab—gondola excursion

Nothing says Venice like a ride in one of the famous gondolas. Be guided through the romantic canals of the city by one of the expert gondoliers and feel yourself slip back in time as you see the city from a whole new perspective.

These boats are still built in the traditional fashion and are the quintessential way to navigate the city.

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