We had three nights in Venice, which let us explore several districts primarily on foot.
After dropping our bags at the apartment we went for our first unencumbered walk around the city. Not too far away was the famous Rialto bridge, which had lots of people taking selfies on one side (with the more classic view), less on the other (so easier to use the bridge as intended).
From there we wound our way through the narrow walkways towards the famous Piazza San Marco for our first views of the Basilica di San Marco and the Campanile.
Working our way across the Piazzetta we also checked out the Bridge of Sighs and views of San Giorgio Maggiore across the canal.
Later on in the evening lights were unexpectedly muted.
Tuesday was wet, with precipitation all day long. Our first stop was the Venice market in Rialto. There were several fish and vegetable vendors, but even more souvenir shops selling spice mixes and other trinkets. I guess that’s to be expected in a tourist-dense part of town, but it was quite underwhelming compared to some other European markets we’ve visited.
Next we walked south, dodging umbrellas in some of the tighter walkways. Near the Campo San Pantalon we found the famous Banksy “Migrant Child” on the canal side of a building.
We ducked into the Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Pantalon – the painted ceiling was amazing! And lucky for us another person had paid for the ceiling lights.
The crick in our necks from looking at that amazing ceiling was worth it!
Later that afternoon we headed over to the Doge’s Palace. We already had online tickets, so it was about a 10 minute wait in line to get in. Given the weather we were expecting the rooms to be packed with people trying to do something indoors, but were pleasantly surprised that it was busy, but reasonable.
The actual interior is overwhelming, especially the ceilings covered with paintings separated by ornate gold framing.
The palace is expansive and packs centuries of history in the walls.
The interior of the Bridge of Sighs is underwhelming, and the prisons feel like a lot of the same. However, the final rooms of the palace are really impressive, as they are massive and made to fit lots of patricians. Overall we spent about 2 hours there.
Our tickets also allowed access to the Museo Correr, so we headed across the square. The archeology portion was fairly dry and the paintings were mostly iconography, but the rooms are pretty interesting and worth a look if you have the time. It’s kind of three museums in one so there is one entrance and exit for all three sections.
Unfortunately for us, the terrace roof Galleria T Fondaco view of the Rialto bridge was closed due to the rain. Considering you need to book your free slot weeks in advance – this was just unlucky. The inside of the department store was nice, but quite pricey.
The morning started out grey, but was forecasted to become sunny in the afternoon so we crossed our fingers and set out for the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, stopping along the way to explore more canal views and several neighborhoods.
From the point (Salute) we took the vaporetto up the Grand Canal to the S. Marcuola Casino stop. 9,50€ for a one-way ticket is super pricey for one trip but we didn’t see the value of a 25€ day pass and wanted to give it a go once. Thankfully we had a decent spot on the boat which afforded some nice views and it saved us walking about 40 minutes.
Now in the Cannaregio neighborhood we explored the side streets – it is amazing how with one turn you can go from lots of tourists to nearly deserted squares.
The sun came out around 2pm! Determined to take advantage of the light we walked over the Rialto, wandering back alleys to the Accademia bridge.
From there we checked out Giardini Reali (gardens), then walked through the posh shopping area to St. Marks again.
After eating dinner in our apartment we headed back to the Accademia bridge for sunset shots, a nice capstone to our days in Venice.
The sheer tourism density of Venice definitely dampened our enjoyment, and we weren’t even there during the high season. Overall it was worth experiencing the city but I don’t think we would rush back.