Italy,  Itinerary

A 2-Day Venice Itinerary to Fall in Love with La Serenissima

Parked Gondolas, The Quintessential Venice Itinerary Scene

Two days are the perfect amount of time to fall in love with Venice. With this Venice itinerary, you’ll have more than enough time to see all the big sights and still have plenty of time leftover to leisurely explore Venice’s back passageways.

Venice was our first stop during a 17-day trip to Italy in the spring of 2022. Despite the jet lag, rain and just getting our bearings figured out in the new country, Venice would go on to be my favorite stop on the whole trip. Without further ado, here’s our Venice itinerary that led to me falling in love with this romantic city on the water.

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Venice Itinerary at a Glance

Below is a quick summary of my 2-day Venice itinerary. Keep reading for more info on each stop!

  • Day One
    • Late morning arrival and check-in at hotel
    • Fondaco dei Tedeschi
    • Ca’Rezzonico
    • Frari Church
    • Church of San Zaccaria
  • Day Two
    • Morning walk around San Marco
    • Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
    • San Giorgio Maggiore
    • Afternoon walk around northeastern part of the main island
    • St Mark’s Basilica
    • Doge’s Palace
    • Correr Museum
    • Evening walk around Dorsoduro

Martha at May Cause Wanderlust has another great post on things to do in Venice. Make sure to check out her top ten things to do in Venice for more ideas for your visit!

Venice Itinerary: Day One

Our first day in Venice also happened to be our first day in Italy. This meant that most of our morning was spent traveling to Venice via train from Milan. If your trip involves a similar start, expect the train from Milan to take about 2.5 hours.

We arrived around noon which still left us a decent amount of the day for sightseeing until jet lag caught up with us later that evening. We spent most of that first day doing some of the major sights farther out from Piazza San Marco.

Looking Down A Canal In Venice As We Start Our Venice Itinerary
One of our first sights in Venice from the vaporetto

Fondaco dei Tedeschi

HoursDaily from 10:45 to 7:15
Length of VisitReservations are only for 15 minutes
HighlightsPanoramic view of the Grand Canal

Built in the early 13th century and then rebuilt after a fire in the early 16th century, Fondaco dei Tedeschi was the center for German merchants. Today, it is used primarily as a shopping center.

The shopping mall is not the draw, though. Visitors are able to reserve times to visit the building’s rooftop for what is reputed to be the best view of the Grand Canal.

Unfortunately, I can only attest to its reputation. I had reserved times for us to visit the rooftop as the very first thing we did in Venice. Mother Nature had different plans for us. Because of rainy weather, the rooftop was closed for safety reasons.

Coincidentally, this also retroactively ruined our first meal in Venice. We had to rush to eat lunch because the reservations are on a timed-entry system, so we barely had time to appreciate the food. This was actually the most disappointing part of not being able to visit the rooftop!

I recommend booking ahead here to guarantee your 15-minute visit as they only allow 40 guests at a time.


HoursDaily from 10:00 to 6:00 (last entry at 5:00)
Length of VisitAround an hour
HighlightsVenetian chandeliers, frescoes, ornate furnishings

After our failed attempt at checking out the rooftop and checking into our hotel, we made our way across the Accademia Bridge to visit Ca’Rezzonico.

Ca’Rezzonico is an 18th century palace-turned-museum that shows how Venice’s elite lived at the time. I thoroughly enjoyed this museum. It’s a great window into how lavishly this particular Venetian family lived. There are many interesting paintings, decorations and furnishings to see during the tour. My favorites were the chandeliers made with Venetian glass and some delightful frescoes towards the end of the visit.

The other nice thing about Ca’Rezzonico is that it is relatively well contained. Sometimes these palaces are just overwhelming in their scale (I’m looking at you Doge’s Palace). There are so many rooms that look similar and are covered from floor-to-ceiling in art. I found Ca’Rezzonico to have just the right amount of everything.

After our visit, we took a few minutes to explore the small park right outside the museum. This is a peaceful little spot if you want to rest after the museum. There are shaded benches under a canopy covered with wisteria giving off a pleasant floral scent.

The Canal-facing Facade Of Ca'Rezzonico
Ca’Rezzonico’s canal-facing facade lit up at night
Venetian Glass Chandelier In Ca'Rezzonico
A Venetian-glass chandelier in one of the rooms of Ca’Rezzonico

Tickets can be purchased online to reserve a time for your visit. While I always recommend advanced reservations if possible, you should be okay if deciding to visit on a whim.

Frari Church

HoursMonday – Thursday 9:00 to 7:30
Friday 9:00 to 11:00
Saturday 9:00 to 6:00
Sunday 1:00 to 6:00
Length of Visit15-30 minutes
HighlightsArt by Donatello, Titian and Bellini

We decided to make a quick visit to Frari Church next since Ca’Rezzonio did not take too much out of us. It’s also a short walk from the museum making it a convenient next stop.

There are a few classic pieces of art here by Donatello, Titian and Bellini worth popping your head in for. The wood statue of St John the Baptist by Donatello and Assumption of the Virgin by Titian stood out most for me.

The Exterior Of Frari Church
The entrance to Frari Church
Wooden Statue Of St John The Baptist By Donatello
Donatello’s wooden statue of St John the Baptist

I enjoyed my short time in Frari Church. However, this is something that can be skipped in favor of something else, especially if visiting old churches is not your thing.

Church of San Zaccaria

HoursMonday – Saturday 10:00 to 12:00 and 4:00 to 6:00
Sunday 4:00 to 6:00
Length of Visit20-30 minutes
Cost€1.50 to visit the crypt
HighlightsA flooded crypt, polyptych by Vivarini

The last stop for the day is the Church of San Zaccaria. Inside the church are some impressive paintings and a fabulous polyptych by Antonio Vivarini.

In spite of that, the flooded crypt is why I made it a point to visit. Venice’s close relationship with water has been both a boon and the source of its slow death. This crypt is the perfect metaphor of this symbiotic relationship.

The crypt sits below water level causing it to always be at least partially flooded. When the city floods, the entire crypt is filled with water. You can see where the walls of the crypt are decaying from the water damage.

The crypt itself is fairly basic. There is a single marble altar with a statue of the Virgin Mary on top surrounded by four columns supporting a vaulted ceiling. All this simplicity is reflected in the water below to create a hauntingly evocative scene.

The Flooded Crypt Of San Zaccaria
The relatively simple sight of this flooded crypt was one of my most memorable sights in Venice

Venice Itinerary: Day Two

Our second day in Venice ended up being one of my favorite days during our whole trip to Italy. This day featured several highlights including St Mark’s Basilica, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, and simply getting lost on the island.

It was a remarkable day and a perfect harbinger for the next 15 days in Italy.

One thing worth noting is this list is not the exact order we originally planned to do things. We were supposed to do St Mark’s Basilica and then the Doge’s Palace in the morning at 10:00 and then 11:30, respectively. However, three days before leaving for Italy I received an e-mail saying there was an unannounced visit by some dignitary.

As a result, both of these tours were pushed back to mid-afternoon. The itinerary as described below ended up working out very well. Mid-afternoon was a bit busy, but other than that it turned out to be a more relaxing day than I anticipated.

Explore Venice Before the Crowds

I woke up incredibly early this morning because of the time change. Rather than sit around in bed while Michelle slept, I decided to head out into the empty city to see what I could find.

What I found was the beating heart of Venice.

With no one else around, I had the city largely to myself as I meandered down the various alleyways and passages from one small square to another. It was an evocative experience unlike any other. I discovered how breathtakingly mysterious yet beautiful this decadent city was.

This time is also a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco without any other tourists. I was able to stand at each without being rushed by throngs of people while I admired their beauty.

I mostly stayed around the northern outskirts of the San Marco District as I didn’t want to get too lost. Regardless of where you go, if you find yourself awake, I encourage you to get out of bed and just walk. See what there is to find. You just may end up finding more than any tourist attraction can possibly give you.

Venice's Romantic Grand Canal
Venice’s Grand Canal from a random pier I found

Click here to read more about my early morning walk and some of the sights I saw!

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

HoursSummer: daily from 10:00 – 6:00
Winter: daily from 9:30 – 5:30
Length of Visit20-30 minutes
HighlightsVenetian views, evocative setting and architecture

This hidden gem in one of Venice’s backstreets was one of my favorite things in Venice. It’s a small 15th century palace with an elegant spiral staircase built on its corner facing a tiny residential courtyard.

For a nominal fee compared to its value, you can climb the 133 stairs to its top where you’re treated to some of the best views of the city in almost every direction. From this belvedere, you’re able to see St Mark’s onion domes and its campanile, La Salute Church and numerous belltowers.

Impressive as these sights are, I simply enjoyed being able to see the rooftops of Venice from this vantage point. It’s an incredible feeling looking out over these centurys’ old buildings and thinking about what Venice was like in its heyday.

Be warned: One of the things that make Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo a hidden gem is how difficult it is to find. It’s not in any obvious square like most of Venice’s other top tourist sights. Rather, you have to search through the city’s labyrinthine alleyways to find it.

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
Venice Rooftops From Palazzo Contarini Del Bovolo
The view of Venice from Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

If you are planning a visit to Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo and made a reservation or else have a busy day planned, I encourage you to seek it out beforehand when you have time to spare. This way, you’ll know where to go for your booked time.

Click here to read my full account of visiting Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo!

San Giorgio Maggiore

HoursApril – October 9:00 – 7:00
November – March 8:30 – 6:00
Length of Visit45-60 minutes including vaporetto to and from San Marco
HighlightsSpectacular views of Venice

For more great views of Venice and the lagoon, take a quick 5-minute vaporetto (Venice’s public water bus) ride over to San Giorgio to visit the church on this small island.

It’s free to enter San Giorgio Maggiore if you only want to see the church. The church itself has a large, open nave with two arcades on either side containing several paintings, two of which are from Tintoretto.

I’m a big fan of visiting old churches, so I think it’s worth a visit. However, the real reason for leaving the main island is to ascend the belltower. From the top of the belltower, there are 360-degree views all around you. What’s particularly nice about this viewpoint is the amazing view of Piazza San Marco.

Unlike climbing St Mark’s Campanile or going to the second-floor terrace of the basilica, San Giorgio’s belltower allows you to see both the campanile, St Mark’s domes and the Doge’s Palace all at once in addition to sweeping views of the area in the three other directions.

The Island Of San Giorgio Maggiore
The island of San Giorgio Maggiore from mainland Venice
Venice From San Giorgio Maggiore's Campanile
View of the northern part of Venice from the campanile
Piazza San Marco From San Giorgio Maggiore
Piazza San Marco from San Giorgio Maggiore’s campanile. Excuse the battleship blocking the view! There was some kind of honorary event for the president in Venice this day.

Take a #2 vaporetto from San Zaccaria’s dock B to get to San Giorgio. Make sure it is traveling towards Piazza Roma.

Get Lost in Venice

After the ferry back to San Marco, we had a couple hours to spare before we’d be able to visit the sights in Piazza San Marco. We decided to spend the time walking around the northeastern part of the main island. Much like my morning walk, we simply wandered around seeing what there was.

As it happened, we ended up walking through one of the more residential areas of Venice. No well-manicured decor or monumental statues, just homes and small squares for families to live and play in. The absence of touristy sights only added to the charm, imparting a sense of what it is like to actually live here.

You needn’t walk through this exact area during your downtime in Venice, but I do recommend getting away Piazza San Marco to see what the city has to offer beyond the tourist attractions.

St Mark’s Basilica

HoursMonday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. (last entry at 4:45)
Does not open till 2:00 p.m. on Sundays
Length of Visit30-60 minutes
CostStarting at €3
Skip-the-line tickets €6
HighlightsExterior facade, Pala d’Oro, view of the piazza from the terrace,
Horses of St Mark, beautiful mosaic-work

Even if you aren’t big on visiting churches when you travel, St Mark’s Basilica is one you should make an exception for. This basilica is unlike any I’ve seen before.

It’s filled wall-to-wall with stunning Byzantine-style tiling and artwork. There’s actually so much to look at, it’s a little hard to know where to turn your gaze. My advice: Don’t attempt to see it all because you’ll just be overwhelmed.

In addition to walking through the main church, there are a few different areas you can buy additional tickets for. I recommend visiting the upstairs museum if for no other reason than access to the terrace for views overlooking Piazza San Marco.

The Entrance To St Mark's Basilica
St Mark greeting you as you enter the basilica
The Interior Of St Mark's Basilica
There is gold everywhere once you enter St Mark’s Basilica
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco

You can read a more detailed guide of St Mark’s Basilica here!

Doge’s Palace

HoursDaily 9:00 – 7:00
Length of Visit45-60 minutes
Cost€25 (includes admission to the Correr Museum)
HighlightsPrisons, courtyard, Senate Hall, Hall of the Grand Council,
Bridge of Sighs (best seen from outside)

Besides St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace is Venice’s other top tourist attraction. This palace was the residence of Venice’s ruler, the doge.

It’s an imposing building with even grander interiors meant to impress and intimidate visiting dignitaries with their wealth. It certainly succeeds in that regard.

A visit starts in the courtyard where you can view the grand staircase with huge statues on either side. All visitors were forced to climb these staircases when visiting the doge. From here your tour takes you through a string of epically proportioned rooms filled with large paintings to match.

After the palace rooms, a visit proceeds across the Bridge of Sighs to the adjoining prisons. This was my favorite part of the tour. It’s such a stark contrast going from the opulent palace into the dark dungeons that it created a more lasting memory in my mind than much of the palace.

The Grand Staircase To Enter The Doge's Palace
Would you have been intimidated by the doge’s power entering the palace by these stairs?
One Of The Rooms Of The Doge's Palace
One of the palace rooms
The Bridge Of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs connecting the Doge’s Palace with a prison

You may want to consider visiting this earlier to avoid museum fatigue in this part of your day. We were supposed to, but as I mentioned, a presidential visit forced us to change plans. I was starting to get a little exhausted by this point.

Correr Museum

HoursDaily 10:00 – 6:00
Length of Visit45-60 minutes
Cost€25 (includes admission to the Doge’s Palace
HighlightsArtifacts from Venice’s maritime past

The Correr Museum includes objects and paintings that tell the story of Venice’s past glory days.

If I’m being honest, the Correr Museum didn’t impress me much. It’s possible this was due to museum fatigue, but the exhibits just didn’t strike me as being very memorable. They were interesting at the time, yet afterwards, when Michelle and I were talking about it, we could barely remember anything that was there.

Plan for this after seeing everything else. That way if you’re tired, you can pass on it.

This is the most skippable thing on this itinerary. It’s included in your ticket to the Doge’s Palace. Otherwise, I would outright say it can be skipped. If you are looking for something to do away from the crowds and heat, the Correr Museum isn’t a bad option since it’s already paid for.

Explore Dorsoduro District

Here’s your third opportunity to walk around and get lost during your time in Venice. We were near the Rialto Bridge later in the afternoon, so we decided to head across the Grand Canal to explore the Dorsoduro neighborhood.

This district is less touristy than San Marco (once you get away from the bridge) making it a nice, peaceful place to walk around at the end of a busy day. There aren’t any particular sightseeing highlights worth mentioning (but check out the Food and Drinks section below!). Much like the other two walks on this itinerary, it was fun simply walking around away from the tourists to see what more Venice’s streets had to offer.

Vaporetto Ride at Night

Find an excuse to take a vaporetto ride at night to see the Grand Canal lit up from the water. For us, we opted for dinner in Dorsoduro. By the time we were done, it was already dark, and we didn’t feel like walking so a vaporetto was the best option.

Like my next itinerary item and so much else in Italy, the floodlights on the buildings create the most romantic scenery. You’d be doing yourself a huge disservice to skip out on this!

Venice's Grand Canal Lit Up At Night
One of the most beautiful sights in Italy

Nighttime Stroll Through Piazza San Marco

Before heading back to your hotel, take at least a quick stroll through Piazza San Marco. Seeing St Mark’s Basilica and the campanile lit up at night is a totally unique experience compared to seeing them during the day.

It was also fun to see everyone – locals and tourists alike – congregate in this world-famous square to socialize and take in the gorgeous lights together.

We were still catching up on sleep which kept us from sitting at a cafe for a drink. Still, standing there for only a few minutes I couldn’t help but feel a little sentimental at what I was seeing.

Piazza San Marco At Night
Don’t forget a nighttime stroll through Piazza San Marco

Other Venice Itinerary Suggestions with More Time

You may have noticed a few big-ticket items missing from this Venice itinerary. Either due to time, weather, cost or some combination of those, we decided to skip some things that other people might consider essential when visiting Venice.

Here are some tourist sights you may want to consider doing instead of one or two things on this itinerary. Things you can consider removing from my itinerary to make time are Frari Church, the Church of San Zaccaria or the Correr Museum.

La Salute Church

Of these four things, not visiting La Salute Church is the one I regret the most. I love historic churches, and I try to visit every one I can, even if it’s just a quick look inside.

Unfortunately, we were never particularly close to La Salute. We would have had to go out of our way, and it didn’t seem like it would be worth the time compared to other things we had planned.

La Salute Church
La Salute Church

Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery is located in the San Polo neighborhood near the Accademia Bridge. It contains Venetian artwork from the Renaissance by some of the city’s best artists including Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese.

This art museum sounds interesting, and it offers a glimpse into life in Venice during that time. On the other hand, it lacks the historic impact of some of the other art we’d be seeing during our 2.5 weeks in Italy. Because of this, we decided to skip this particular museum since we’d be getting more than our share of amazing art later in our trip.

A Gondola Ride

You can’t go to Venice and not do a gondola ride, right? Well, yes, apparently you can.

We were already on the fence on riding a gondola because of the high price. A single ride is at minimum €80! We were both having a hard time justifying that price, and then fortunately, nature decided for us with a fairly steady stream of rain during our visit.

However, I do think this will be a priority for when I return since I won’t be doing as many other touristy things.

A Venetian Gondola Rowing Through A Canal
One of the few gondoliers we saw due to the rainy weather

St Mark’s Campanile

After climbing San Giorgio Maggiore’s belltower, St Mark’s terrace and Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, I just didn’t see a need to climb the campanile. Personally (and you can tell me if I’m wrong in the comments), I don’t think it would be worthwhile since you really only see the top of the St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace.

The views from Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo and San Giorgio seem to get the same effect except from a much better angle.

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Where to Stay in Venice

We chose to stay at Locanda Al Leon, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. My two criteria for hotels in Italy were that we were close to the action and that they had some old-world charm in them. Locanda Al Leon more than satisfied both of those!

The location could not have been much better for the price. We were only about a 3-minute walk from Piazza San Marco in one direction and vaporetto docks in the other.

The only downside to being so close to both of these things was the noise. It was a little loud at night till about 11:00 or so before dying down. It wasn’t a dealbreaker by any means but was noticeable enough that it’s worth mentioning.

The Wi-Fi was also spotty, but seriously, you’re in Venice! Get off your phone!

Apart from those minor inconveniences, the room was a delight. There was a small terrace overlooking the street with flowers in hanging baskets. The room had a few exposed beams of dark wood over a bed with a frilly headboard. It also had a few other decorative flourishes that ticked off the “old-world charm” requirement.

Everything else about the hotel was perfect, too. The man who tended the check-in desk was pleasant. The hallways and stairs were lined with a plush red carpet and old paintings of places around Venice. Locanda Al Leon also has a breakfast, but we didn’t pay extra for this amenity.

The only real downside to the whole hotel is the stairway. Our room was at the very top of many, many steep steps. However, we quickly learned this was the norm for much of Italy. If you have mobility issues, make sure to request a room on a lower floor.

Getting Around Venice

By Water

The easiest way and most convenient way of getting around Venice is by vaporetto. Once you arrive in Venice, head to the nearest vaporetto ticketing station to purchase your tickets. You can either purchase a single-use ticket for €7.50 or a multiday pass which gives you unlimited rides within the timeframe.

For this itinerary, I recommend the 48-hour pass for €30. It’s easy to use the pass at least five times which makes this a good value. Here’s an example schedule for your multiday pass:

  • Vaporetto from the train station or parking garage to San Marco
  • Returning to San Marco from San Polo on the first day when you’re exhausted and don’t want to walk anymore
  • Going from San Marco to San Giorgio Maggiore
  • Taking a vaporetto along the Grand Canal at night
  • Returning from San Marco to the train station or parking garage at the end of your trip

Besides being an excellent value, having a multiday pass eliminates the need to waste time purchasing a ticket for each use. Just check the board to see which dock you need to be on and swipe your ticket in the machine at the gate.

There are also private water taxis available. However, these are much more costly than a vaporetto and take you to the same places.

Hoofing It

Venice is by no means a big island. If you are staying in San Marco, you can walk from almost any hotel to a tourist attraction in around 10-15 minutes.

The vaporetti are there when you need them, but part of the fun of Venice is exploring the many small streets and alleyways.

See my tips below for advice if you happen to get lost.

Eats and Drinks in Venice

For as much as I loved Venice, our meals here were, with one exception, some of the least memorable during our time in Italy. They weren’t necessarily bad; they simply lacked the wow factor of many of our other meals in Italy.

(I should add a lot of this was due to jet lag. By the time we ate dinner both nights, I was literally falling asleep while eating.)

Now, with that said, we did stumble upon some great bars that made up for the lack of great meals. Here are some of the highlights from our two days.

Cafe Noir

We stopped at Cafe Noir in the San Polo district after our visit to Frari Church. We were exhausted and ready for a drink. Cafe Noir fit the bill.

It didn’t seem quite as crowded as many of the bars we walked by. It also had a dark, somewhat moody looking interior that I enjoy in a bar. To top it off, once we walked in, I saw their beer menu had several excellent Belgians on tap.

If you’re looking for a bar with a dark interior and good beers, keep an eye out for Cafe Noir!

Ristorante al Cavallo

During our walk around the northeastern part of San Marco, we happened upon Ristorante al Cavallo near Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo. The setting in front of the church with canals to the left seemed like a perfect spot to stop for some lunch, especially after being reeled in by the friendly waiters standing outside.

I had one of their gnocchi’s while Michelle had a pizza. I wish I could say which type of each specifically. Sadly, I take terrible notes when it comes to food and restaurants. Nonetheless, I can attest that both were very good.

Ristorante al Cavallo was the one restaurant I would definitely go to again when in Venice!

Caffè Florian

If you’ve done any research on places to have a drink in Venice, you’ve likely heard of Caffè Florian. It’s two biggest claims to fame are its ideal location right in the middle of Piazza San Marco and their live orchestral music during most hours of the day. In addition to these features, the inside has several small rooms with various themed artwork.

The downside to being popular and well known is that Caffè Florian is very expensive. You’re paying for the experience of sitting in the piazza while an orchestra performs right behind you. While I understand all that, I still think Caffè Florian was ridiculously overpriced.

We had an obligatory drink there. It was nice, but I was mostly annoyed at how much money we were spending for a drink. My advice is it to stand around for the music while you take in Piazza San Marco. Get a drink somewhere else, though.

Osteria i Rusteghi

I found this charming enoteca tucked away in a small residential square during my morning walk through Venice. It has a few seated areas along the walls with an old cistern sitting in the middle of the square and some other rustic decorations scattered about. I knew we would have to return later that day.

And that’s just what we did. I loved this place. The wine menu had wines that are a little less common than what most places carry which is what I like (because I’m a total snob when it comes to my booze). It had a relaxing atmosphere without a lot of tourists. To top it all off, the owner was…let’s say, quirky.

Some might call him rude. He’s the type of server who does things on his own time and doesn’t seem to put up with any nonsense. I definitely get why some people would not like this (the customer is always right, right?), but me? I loved it!

Asides from that, I had an absolutely remarkable 2005 Chianti for only €9 because he ran out of the newer vintage on the menu. You just can’t beat that.

A Boarded Up Window With Dusty Wine Bottles On Display
This dusty window displaying empty wine bottles convinced me to come back for wine later in the day

Pane Vino e San Danielle Rialto

This was another fun place where the waitstaff really put it over the edge for me. We sat down outside on a side road in Dorsoduro at a wine barrel with wobbly stools when the waitress came over and sat right down with us. It was a bit shocking, but I appreciate that type of in-your-face friendliness. I loved how not stuffy it was.

We only had drinks here, but they had a food menu that looked delicious and the inside smelled great. I could have stayed longer for dinner had we not wanted to go walk around a bit more before dinner.

Pane Vino e San Daniele Rialto is cash only.

Trattoria Pizzeria la Rivetta

This dinner was one of the casualties of how tired I was. We found Trattoria Pizzeria la Rivetta in the San Polo neighborhood. It looked popular with locals (there was even a kid dribbling a soccer ball outside) which was what we were looking for.

We had anchovies and a fish risotto, a dish Venice is known for. It was a good meal. However, I was quite literally falling asleep while eating due to jet lag. I think it should have been better than I remember.

Tips for Venice

Purchase Timed Entry Tickets in Advance

Once you know the date of your visit, purchase timed entry tickets as soon as they become available. These tickets may come with a small additional fee, but they are absolute lifesavers!

By purchasing these tickets, they guarantee your entry at a time most convenient to you. They also allow you to skip the line of people who didn’t know to buy their tickets in advance because they didn’t read my blog. (You may also see these tickets called skip-the-line tickets.)

Not everything in Venice requires advance tickets. St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace are the two things that are a must. Fondaco dei Tedeschi and Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo are another two I would recommend purchasing reservations for as both of these only allow a small number of visitors at once.

Related: Tips and Thoughts for Planning a Trip to Italy

Free Water

Venice – and every other place we visited in Italy – is filled with free, clean public water fountains. Bring your water bottle and utilize these great resources.

It’s a smart way to reduce your waste in the city and save money. I would even plop my water bottle on the table during lunch or dinner to avoid spending my euros on the bottled water that Italian restaurants give you instead of tap water.

Sometimes fountains can be a bit scarce. Make sure to refill whenever you get a chance. I noticed fountains tended to exist wherever a decorative fountain would be. It became something of a scavenger hunt for me trying to find them.

Michelle Using One Of Venice's Free Public Water Fountains
These free water fountains may not look like much, but they’re safe to drink from and can be found all over Venice

Get Lost

You’ll see lots of travel experts say this about Venice, but it bears repeating: Don’t be afraid to get lost in Venice. There are so many layers of history throughout Venice that it’s one of those cities best experienced by walking through its streets to see what you can find.

You don’t even have to think about when to find time to get lost. I was kind enough to include three different instances of when to do this in my itinerary.

Venice is filled with secret wonders. Go find them!

Look Up for Directions

If you do actually get lost, keep a look out on the corners of buildings several feet above the ground for directions. They’re not everywhere, but they are common enough that you can’t go too far without seeing one.

They serve mainly to just point you in the right direction of significant landmarks. Think: Turn right for St Mark’s or left for Rialto. The problem is you sometimes make the turn, but then there isn’t another sign to tell you where to go at the next intersection. Regardless, as long as you pay attention, you’ll eventually find another sign to guide you to your destination.

If you’re still so lost that even these signs aren’t helping, pop into a hotel to ask for a business card. Most will have a map with symbols for where you are and where the main tourist sights are.

Small Road Signs On Venice's Buildings
They can be hard to miss, so keep your eyes peeled for these signs if you get lost

Screenshot Your Tickets

I figured this trick out for myself during our trip and now I’m going to recommend it for everything. The night before while you’re having your nightcap vino or gelato, go through the next day’s itinerary and screenshot all your tickets. Since most tickets now include a bar code or QR code, ticket scanners don’t need to see the original anymore.

This is an excellent way to reduce the stress of having to frantically scan your emails for a ticket right before entering an attraction. Further, most of the emails I received from Italy’s tourist attractions were in Italian making it very difficult to find tickets in the spur of the moment.

Piazza San Marco In The Early Morning Light
Waving goodbye to Venice

More Resources to Help Plan Your Trip to Italy

Here are my other guides to the other cities we visited in Italy!

Resources to Book Your Trip to Venice

Whether you’re looking for tours, hotels or flights, here are some tools to help get you started planning your trip to Venice!

Look for activities and tours offered through GetYourGuide or Viator!

Search Flights

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Check out my travel essentials pages for more of my recommendations.

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  • Mitch - Very Tasty World

    What a lovely post! It’s very clear how much you enjoyed your visit to Venice and fell in love with the city. We have spent two days there and, aside from the Doge’s palace and St Mark’s Basilica, didn’t get to see many of the places you mentioned. So this post is bookmarked and will be a great reference for when we return – as we plan to do one day. Shame about the weather scuppering some of your plans and how very rude of the dignitary to push back the times of your visits! Like you, we loved just wandering the streets, getting lost and discovering wonderful places – it’s an essential part of visiting Venice.

    • paulpassingthrough

      I know, right! Though to be fair, when I read the beginning of the email saying something along the lines of “Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances…” I expected the rest to say we weren’t going to be able to visit at all. That would have been devastating. I do wish we had gotten to go to that rooftop, though. Oh well, it clearly wasn’t a complete loss 😉

  • Barry

    You achieved a lot in the limited time you had in Venice – I know there is just so much ro see. I enjoyed reading about the places you went to that I didn;t, the variety was great and there is so much usefuk info and tips you gave throghout the post.
    I deliberately stayed out of the centre for fear of the very thing you encountered – noise at night . Early mornings for sightseeing here s a must to avoid the crowds, as you say., thus early nights with no noise was a pre-requisit for me.
    I didn;t know about the ooking up to see street signs for places – I must remember that next time I’m there.

    • paulpassingthrough

      I try to always have a decent amount of variety. Too many churches and museums and Michelle gets bored. Too much lounging and viewpoints and I start getting bored. It’s a fine line haha I know what you mean about the noise as I’m a pretty light sleeper. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I’ve adapted to only sleeping like 6 hours a night, so I’m used to it.

  • Martha

    Great post! Such a shame you had bad weather when you went to Fondaco dei Tedeschi. The views are pretty cool! And I agree about Cafe Florian: I spent 11 euros on a cup of tea and it was rubbish – luke warm and weak.

  • Tess

    Such an informative & well-formatted post. It sounds like you got to see/do a little bit of everything during your time there which is amazing! I’m saving this for reference as I’d love to revisit Venice someday (-:

  • Wanderingkellers

    Great post as usual. You guys squeezed a lot in without appearing over scheduled and still having time to wander. Definitely need to get to Venice next time we are in Italy.

  • Peggy Zipperer

    I feel like you’ve really captured the magic of Venice. It was also my favorite stop in Italy, I completely fell in love. Patti hasn’t been and after reading your Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo post yesterday I was inspired to text her that she MUST see Venice and we’ve got to get a trip planned!

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