The top 15 must-see landmarks in Venice

From beautiful bridges to stunning palaces and islands, these 15 iconic landmarks in Venice should be on your must-see list.

Many people dream of a trip to Venice, and its beautiful historic landmarks are one of the main reasons. Whether you're traveling to Italy for a romantic vacation or a family trip, and whether you're visiting in the middle of winter or the height of summer, Venice's stunning landmarks will always amaze you.

This list covers the best historic and natural landmarks in Venice. From the epic architecture of the Doge's Palace to the delicate frame of Rialto Bridge, it's all here. Canals, churches, and more are all waiting for you in this rundown of Venice landmarks.

Historic and architectural landmarks in Venice

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1. Doge's Palace

In the era of the Republic of Venice, the Doge's Palace was the local version of the White House. Today, the days of the doges are long gone, but the palace remains a stunning testament to the power and wealth of the republic.

Highlights:

This is a huge building packed with interesting things to see, so take a guided tour of the Doge's Palace and you won't miss a thing.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza San Marco 1, 30124 Venice. Open 9:00 AM-7:00 PM Sunday-Thursday, 9:00 AM-11:00 PM Friday-Saturday.

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2. St Mark's Basilica

St Mark's Basilica is one of the most lavish churches in Italy. It looks impressive from the outside, but you have to go inside to truly appreciate it. The interior is notable for its dazzling mixture of architectural styles and the incredible amount of gold used in its decor.

Highlights:

Want to see St Mark's without the crowds? Choose an after-hours tour of St Mark's Basilica, and you'll have this spectacular landmark all to yourself.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza San Marco 328, 30100 Venice. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30 AM-5:15 PM. Opening times vary on Sundays and holy days.

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3. Rialto Market

While you're in Italy, you must sample some of the local produce. For the freshest food in town, head to the Rialto Market. This maze of stalls is where you can find freshly caught seafood, local fruit and vegetables, and hot meals bursting with flavor.

Highlights:

Can't decide what to eat? Take a Rialto Market food and wine tour, complete with tasty tips from your food-loving guide.

Address and opening hours:

Prima de la Donzella 306, 30125 Venice. Open Monday-Saturday 7:30 AM-3:00 PM.

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4. La Fenice Opera House

If you want to enjoy a night at the opera, you'll find several options around Venice. Best of all is La Fenice, a stunning opera house with a splendidly ornate interior. Its Baroque splendor is the perfect environment for watching a show.

Highlights:

Check ahead to see La Fenice’s performance program for your visit as seeing opera here is one of the most perfect Venice experiences. If there isn’t one you can catch, grab an entry ticket that includes an audioguide to explore this amazing opera house.

Address and opening hours:

Campo San Fantin 1965, 30124 Venice. Open Monday-Sunday 9:30 AM-11:00 PM. Performance times vary.

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5. Vivaldi's Church

The full name of this glorious church is the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione. Its interior is beautifully decorated, but it's best known for its musical history. The legendary Vivaldi composed the Four Seasons and other timeless works right here.

Highlights:

This church is synonymous with Vivaldi, so to see it at its best, pick up a Four Seasons concert ticket. The combination of the music and the surroundings is unsurpassable.

Address and opening hours:

Riva degli Schiavoni, 30122 Venice. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:30 AM-1:00 PM and 2:00 PM-6:00 PM.

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6. Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista

If you're interested in history or architecture, then the Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista is a must-see. The community who lived here created much of Venice's incredible Renaissance and Baroque artwork. You'll encounter intriguing religious objects, including fragments of the True Cross.

Highlights:

Don't miss a thing by choosing a Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista tour. Check out some of the gorgeous works by Tiepolo as you explore the building.

Address and opening hours:

San Polo 2454, 30125 Venice. Open Sunday-Monday 9:30 AM-1:00 PM and 2:00 PM-5:30 PM.

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7. Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto

Venice is full of luxurious palaces, relics of its glory days as a Republic. One of the finest is the Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto, a lavishly decorated palace on the Grand Canal. Today, it hosts masquerade and opera nights.

Highlights:

A promenade performance through one of the historical palaces on the Grand Canal is a mesmerizing exeperience. Book your traveling opera performance ticket before you go.

Address:

Fondamenta Duodo o Barbarigo 2504, 30124 Venice. Private performances only.

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8. Marco Polo's House

You can't go inside Marco Polo's home, but it's still worth seeing. When Marco Polo became the first European to visit China, he put Venice on the map. Today, his old house is a sight that many visitors stop to admire.

Highlights:

Marco Polo's house is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Venice. You can book a spot on a hidden gems walking tour to get there, or make your own way down atmospheric alleyways and cross stunning piazzas, making it a great way to see the city.

Address:

Corte Seconda del Milion 5852, 30121 Venice.

Outdoor landmarks in Venice

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9. Rialto Bridge

Venice is full of bridges, but none are quite as famous as the Rialto. While you're in town, you'll find many different ways to admire this legendary arch. Walk across it, admire it from the canal, or drift underneath it in a gondola.

Highlights:

Dial up the romance with a private gondola ride. To make a memorable day even more special, choose the option with a singer and an accordionist to serenade you as you travel under the bridge.

Address:

Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venice. Start times vary.

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10. Grand Canal

Venice is the city of a thousand canals, but this is the daddy of them all. Your trip to the city won't be complete until you've sailed down the Grand Canal, just like generations of Venetians down the centuries.

Highlights:

For the most traditional experience, choose a private gondola on the Grand Canal and you’ll be serenaded to the sound of O Solo Mio.

Address:

Grand Canal, 30100 Venice. Start times vary.

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11. Venetian Lagoon

Venice is the floating city, so many of its natural landmarks focus on water. The Venetian Lagoon is a gorgeous body of water dotted with tiny islands and beautiful buildings.

Highlights:

There are several options for lagoon trips, but for something exceptional, try a Venetian Lagoon tour and dinner aboard a galleon. You'll enjoy a gourmet meal as you cruise along the bay.

Meeting points and start times vary.

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12. Burano Island

Burano is just a short boat ride from the center of Venice, but this delightful island is not to be missed. As soon as you see the façades of the houses, each in a different, brilliantly vivid color, you'll feel like you've entered the pages of a storybook.

Highlights:

Take a guided tour of Burano Island to see all the sights. You'll also get to watch a demonstration of lace-making, an ancient art practiced here for centuries.

Address:

Burano Island, 30142 Venice.

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13. Giardini della Biennale

The Giardini della Biennale is a cross between a park and an open-air art museum. Stroll through the lawns, and admire the incredible displays. If you're not into modern art, you can still enjoy the remarkable surroundings.

Highlights:

There are 30 pavilions within the park, and each shows artworks from a different nation. Seeing different global styles is part of the charm of this attraction.

Address and opening hours:

Calle Giazzo, 30122 Venice. Open Monday-Sunday 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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14. Bridge of Sighs

While the Rialto Bridge is best known for its beauty, the Bridge of Sighs is famous for its dark history. For centuries, condemned prisoners crossed the bridge on their way to execution. Today, it's steeped in legends and mysteries.

Highlights:

You can visit the Bridge of Sighs as part of your tour of the Doge's Palace. The bridge is known for its dark past, but it also offers great views across the lagoon.

Address:

Piazza San Marco 1, 30124 Venice.

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15. San Michele Cemetery Island

The Isola di San Michele is one of the most peaceful, wooded islands in the lagoon. The reason for its uniquely quiet atmosphere is that it is a cemetery island. Its majestic tombs and ornate headstones are worth a visit.

Highlights:

A guide will lead you to the highlights on a San Michele Cemetery Island vaporetto and walking tour. If you're looking for peace and calm in Venice, this is where you'll find it.

Address:

Isola di San Michele, 30100 Venice.

FAQs

What is the oldest historic landmark in Venice?

The oldest building in Venice is the Torcello Cathedral on the small island of Torcello. Another venerable historic landmark is the Ca' da Mosto, the oldest palace on the Grand Canal. It dates back to the 13th century.

What are some free landmarks to visit in Venice?

Venice's many bridges are free to visit. Museums and archaeological sites owned by the state are free on the first Sunday of each month.

Are there any guided tours that focus on the architecture of Venice's landmarks?

Yes. Venice primarily attracts cultural tourism, so it's easy to find an architecture tour. You'll see attractions like the Doge's Palace, St Mark's Basilica, and some of the lavish palaces on the Grand Canal.

How can I get the best views of scenic landmarks in Venice?

Often, the best way to get a good view in Venice is to take to the water. If you want to admire the sights of St Mark's Square, try visiting the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore and climbing to the top of the church campanile.

What are some natural landmarks near Venice worth visiting?

The entire city of Venice stands in a natural landmark: the magnificent Venetian Lagoon. Some of the islands you should visit include colorful Murano Island and peaceful San Michele.