Located in a beautiful lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, and having more than 100 small islands, no roads, just canals, a rich history, amazing architecture, and mind-blowing cuisine, Venice is a must-visit city in northern Italy’s Veneto region.
If you want to spoil yourself with a memorable city escape, continue reading this article and find out how to spend a sensational weekend in gorgeous Venice.
Day 1: Welcome to Venice
There is no better place to begin touring Venice than Saint Mark’s Square, the epicenter of the city and, of course, the place where all the events happen. Many believe that Piazza San Marco is the most beautiful square in the world, but that is something you will decide as soon as you get there. It is also where the main gatherings, parties, and events have been held for centuries.
Therefore, you should begin your first day exploring the iconic square and the attractions around it. Usually, the square is filled with both locals and many amazed travelers, admiring the monuments, impressive buildings, like Saint Mark’s Basilica, and St Mark’s Campanile, or just indulging in a cup of coffee at one of the many coffee shops and listening to the live music bands in the square.
At the end of the square, you will find a beautiful church called Saint Mark’s Basilica. After you visit the basilica, check out the Campanile, which is the most famous tower in the city, as well as the tallest structure in the square and a former lighthouse for ships coming into Venice.
Before you leave Saint Mark’s Square, enjoy a few relaxing moments at Cafe Florian, Italy’s famous 1700s cafe. Admire its neo-baroque appearance, indulge in the delicious coffee, and listen to the unwinding music of the live band.
Many famous people loved this cafe. For instance, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Henry James, and Casanova stopped at Cafe Florian, and so did Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie while filming “The Tourist”.
After a few moments of pampering, head to the most photographed bridge in Venice, the little charming Bridge of Sights. End the day by crossing another beautiful bridge, the 16th-century Rialto, which is the oldest of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, and the only bridge with shops.
Day 2: History, Art, and Local Parties
You can begin your second day in Venice by visiting a superb palace, which is historically Venice’s most important building, Doge’s Palace, the former home and headquarters of the Doge. Explore its rooms, galleries, and gardens, and learn more about the history and Venice, while also admiring the impressive artifacts of the city’s heyday and the art collections displayed.
To satisfy your thirst for art, continue with visiting the most prestigious art gallery in Venice. Galleria Dell’Accademia presents amazing Venetian art collections signed by amazing artists including Tiziano, Carpaccio, and Canaletto, as well as many changing temporary exhibits. And, for even more artistic excitement, continue your tour with a stop at Madonna dell’ Orto Church, a Gothic 14th-century church still functioning, that hosts a Mother and Child moving statue and incredible works signed by Tintoretto, one of Venice’s most loved artists.
To make the most of your second day in Venice, get closer to the local vibe of the city, and spend your evening partying with the locals in Campo Santa Margherita, a bustling square favored by the locals since the 14th century when it was created.
Surrounded by eateries where local food at lower prices is served and filled with bars and friendly locals, this is the perfect place to end a beautiful day in Venice.
Day 3: Murano & Burano
Spent your third day visiting two of the most beautiful islands of Venice, Murano and Burano, both made famous by their crafts.
Considered by many Venice’s best island, Burano is your first stop, and it promises to instantly amaze you with its waterfront multicolored houses. Enjoy a relaxing walk before visiting The Lace Museum to learn about the lace craftsmanship, see traditional works of art, and get closer to the heart of the island.
Have lunch in Burano and then hop on a Vaporetto, heading to the island of Murano, world-famous for its fine artisan glass products.
Visit the delightful Museo del Vetro – Museum of Glass, see the artisans work and learn all about the art of glass blowing. Afterward, adventure into a picturesque shopping session, browsing the artisan shops located on the waterfront of the island. As you probably imagine, the best souvenir you can buy is Murano glass, and you can find it in different forms, like ornaments and jewelry, as well as superb, larger sculptures.
Where to Stay and Where to Eat
If you are planning a luxury escape, Palazzo Venart is a superb 5-star hotel located only a few steps from Venice’s grand canal, and it is waiting for you with sumptuous rooms that make you feel like royalty. After all, this is a revamped palazzo.
Also, a great stay in Venice, is the chic and modern Palazzo Morosini Degli Spezieri, a beautifully renovated 15th-century palace that is now a small hotel with nine rooms in the San Polo district.
If you are looking for fine dining, Local is a restaurant with a modern setting that supports the farmers, fishers, and craftspeople by serving fancy dishes, made with locally grown, organic ingredients. Another great spot for foodies is Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti, a cozy, traditional Venetian tavern, where you can eat delicious local meals, including amazing seafood.
To have a complete culinary experience, don’t miss indulging in the locals’ favorite, known as Cicchetti. These are small portions of food that you can enjoy as appetizers in any typical Venetian bar, known as Bacaro. Whether you prefer deep-fried food, fish, vegetables or cheese, pair your Cicchetti with a tasty Spritz.
Helpful tips for a perfect weekend in Venice
Taking the gondola is something many people do when visiting Venice, especially if they are on a romantic trip. The gondola, however, is very expensive, and a tourist trap. So instead, skip it and take a cheap Vaporetto, for a ride up the grand canal.
Also, keep in mind that wherever you go, locals are friendlier if you speak or at least try to speak their language. And Italy is no different. A few words in Italian will take you a long way, especially when you need help from a local.
Don’t run from one attraction to the other. A weekend might not feel like enough to discover a place, but Venice is small, and you have plenty of time to see its most important part. And, even if you don’t see all the touristic points, it is better to slow down and enjoy the weekend in Venice than be in a continuous hurry, guided by the fear of missing out.
Last but not least, don’t ignore the gelato vendors. No trip to Italy, no matter if Venice or another Italian city is your destination, is complete without indulging in the delicious gelato and enjoying a strong Italian coffee.