Everybody knows the beauty of Venice, and the longing to immerse yourself among monuments and famous places is great. Unfortunately there is not always a lot of time available, sometimes the possibility of staying in the city is limited to one day and one night.
What can you do in Venice in such a short time? Much!
The city is small, and in one day you can see so many of its wonders.
But it is also true that not everyone is able to extricate in the maze of calluses that allow you to reach key points and you end up finding yourself always bridled in the usual paths that make you waste so much time!
I have designed for you, 2 itineraries, one for the day and one for the evening: starting from Piazza San Marco between monuments and open spaces, they will be your Ariadne's thread in the intricate Venetian labyrinth.
Don't be afraid if they seem long, Venice is small and the distances are short, but you have to walk a lot, a little on foot and a little by vaporetto, so arm yourself with comfortable shoes!
After having traveled the city far and wide, before diving into the night of the Lagoon you need to rest and then I also recommend a fascinating place to stay, right behind Piazza San Marco, in the shadow of the Campanile.
Are you coming with me?
Day Itinerary: let's dedicate ourselves to art
There is no place in Venice that does not narrate its millenary history of splendor and power, of wealth and well-being: a historical-artistic stratification of great importance and charm. Starting from Piazza San Marco, there are many places of historical and artistic interest to be reached on foot.
And then let's start right from Piazza San Marco, whose complex of monuments and museums goes under the name of Marcian area. We begin our itinerary from the Palazzo Ducale, a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic art, the ancient home of the Doges. The charm of this structure is given by the constructive singularity that creates almost a static paradox: slender and thin columns that define the two lower floors go to support the majestic bulk of the main body, completely closed, except for round arched windows of Arabic taste.
The Palazzo is accessed from the Porta del Frumento and you are immersed in a series of timeless masterpieces: the Porta di Carta, the Scala dei Giganti, the Scala d'Oro, the Loggiato sul Bacino San Marco, the Prigioni and the Sala del Maggior Consiglio with the immense wall painting by Tintoretto, representing Paradise. A crime to leave Venice without having visited it!
Right next to the Ducal Palace, the Basilica of San Marco stands out with its arabesque domes embracing us with the golden reflections of its mosaics, guardian of Mark's holy remains, brought back from Alexandria by two Venetian merchants to their homeland. The Treasure of San Marco, the Pala d'Oro and the golden mosaics, the iconostasis and the precious marble floor, are just some of the wonders kept inside. The wealth of the exterior makes it an emblem of the entire city. About an hour for a guided tour. One hour well spent!
The Paron de casa, as the Venetians like to call the Campanile of San Marco, stands out right in front of it: rebuilt "as it was and where it was" after the terrible collapse of 14 July 1902. It is the highest point of the city from which the view takes your breath away. A pity not to go up there.
Once off the heights of the Campanile we head towards the Clock Tower, even if we don't have time to climb up: a fifteenth-century work, it contains a sophisticated and ingenious mechanical device that marks the passage of time. On its summit two giants of bronzes called "i do mori" beat the hours with a hammer on a large bell; in the lower part there is a music box that twice a year lets the Three Wise Men and the Annunciation pass under the eyes of the Madonna and Child, wooden statues that make reverence; at the lower level a dial with a circular shape in gold and blue enamel indicates the hours, minutes, moon phases and signs of the zodiac. Such was the beauty of this work that the Maggior Consiglio, led by the Doge, blinded its builders to prevent them from replicating the realization. At least that's what the legend says.
We leave the Marcian area and head to the Orseolo Basin, and from here we take the Frezzaria to reach Campo Sant'Angelo, and then keeping left, we arrive in Campo San Samuele, dominated by the imposing Palazzo Grassi: last patrician residence built on the Grand Canal before the fall of the Serenissima, today it is owned by the French magnate Francois Pinault. A lively and creative place, it hosts interesting exhibitions of contemporary art and the extraordinary private collection of Pinault. A sharing of art and ideas in which you can take part.
Through Calle Malipiero with a zig zag between the streets we reach Campo Santo Stefano and cross the Accademia Bridge. Instagrammabile place, so we pause for the usual photos. We turn to the right, more or less straight between Fondamenta Ospedaleto and Calle del Bastion we arrive at the foot of the majestic Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, familiarly called simply Salute. Baroque work of that genius of Baldassarre Longhena was realized as a votive promise as a sign of thanksgiving to Madonna for the liberation from the plague that struck the city in the seventeenth century, from which derives the nickname "of health", that is of salvation. Placed on a large five-sided staircase, it is difficult not to be struck by its bulk and its beauty, even at night when the waters of the Grand Canal become dark, and the whole loses the color scheme of the day, leaving us a wonderful and fascinating framework in black and white. The peculiarities of this church are undoubtedly "the snails", corresponding to the internal pillars that support the dome, that like ribbons ready to reveal themselves towards the Grand Canal support the majestic dome: the most recognizable sign that characterizes the entire area.
We return to the road traveled and at the foot of the Accademia Bridge we take Campo de la Carità and then Calle del Pistor; we continue keeping to the right and we reach Campo San Barnaba, and from here always straight between Calle della Madonna and Calle Foscari, we pass the bridge and reach Campo dei Frari: here we find the largest church in the city, Santa Maria Gloriosa del Frari. Work in the late Venetian Gothic style with simple and essential lines, it is the spiritual building most rich in monuments and works after the Marcian Basilica. Place of burial of doges and artists, it holds within it the remains of Antonio Canova, in a funeral monument made by the designs of Titian, and by Titian himself. The interior, rich in sculptural and pictorial works, is dominated by the beauty of Titian's Assumption, the background of the high altar that Canova called the most beautiful painting in the world. Let's trust Antonio Canova and enter to fill up with beauty!
Leaving the church, let's move on to the more hidden Venice: take Calle Tintoretto, then Calle Chiovere and turn right into Fondamenta Sacchere, continue left onto Calle Sacchere and then Calle Traghetto Vecchio. We returned to the Grand Canal, cross it with the Ponte degli Scalzi and turn right into Lista di Spagna, then straight on between Rio Terà San Leonardo, Rio Terà Maddalena and finally Strada Nova and then turn into Calle Cà d'Oro: we arrived at the famous Cà d'Oro that with its undeniable beauty manages to charm those who look at it, the emblem of an entire city, which has become one of its most characteristic symbols. An expression of the highest in the late Gothic period, called flowery, the building dominates the left bank of the Grand Canal with its rich and asymmetrical façade, completely covered with polychrome marble in pastel shades of green, white and rosé, chiselled like a burean lace, embroidered more by the darkness of the voids than by the full ones. Its history is tortuous and fascinating, today it houses the private collection of Baron Giorgio Franchetti, in which emerges the work to which he was most attached, the most precious, the "San Sebastiano" by Andrea Mantegna. Let's immerse ourselves in beauty and history!
The evening fell, our day itinerary ends here, let's get ready for the evening!
Night Itinerary: Venice in the open, between spritz and cicchettini
After a day touring museums and monuments, it's time to relax and enjoy the most beautiful hours, when the city is depopulated by the morning crowd, the lights turn on, the Grand Canal becomes a blue silk and... the magic begins: the beauty of Venice at night is priceless!
I recommend places, helping you to reach them, where you can serenely walk, caressed by the evening breeze, sip an aperitif and enjoy a typical Venetian dinner.
From Piazza San Marco it is easy to reach the Riva degli Schiavoni: let's head towards the Basin and then turning right, we take the Riva, long and wide foundation that from the square reaches the Giardini della Biennale. Once it was the "gateway to the sea", the point of arrival and departure of boats and galleons, crowded with merchants and foreigners, wooden sheds and sales counters, among the bustle of men and goods, the main artery that connected Piazza San Marco, seat of political and religious power, and the Arsenale, a place where that power was built through the art of the navy. Today it is an elegant promenade lined with numerous bars and classy restaurants, a very touristic area, but lively and joyful, with a priceless view of the Lagoon: the Giudecca on the right, San Giorgio with its bell tower and the Lido in the distance. A dinner with a breathtaking view!
If you are looking for something less formal, I suggest you head to Rialto, when the market is closed sellers give way to clubs and bacari that are populated by young people. From Piazza San Marco we reach the Orseolo Basin and then straight towards Campo San Luca; then turn into Calle del Teatro and then straight towards Campo San Bartolomeo; we turn to Salizada Pio X and after the Rialto Bridge we turn to the right. Do not miss the aperitif at the Campo dell'Erbaria, once, home to the fruit and vegetable market, today moved further inside. We are in one of the narrowest points of the Grand Canal, where the shore is low and seems you can touch with your hand the palaces of the opposite shore, in the shadow of the Rialto Bridge. Populated by bacari and little places, it is the historical heart of the city that will make you immerse in the atmosphere of the real Venice, the one frequented by its inhabitants: a thousand voices, colors, scents, it is the unmissable place to consume a spritz with cicchettini, typical snacks of Venetian cuisine. The golden hour of sunset is the best one!
If you are looking for a more hidden Venice, then we must reach the Cannaregio district with Fondamenta Ormesini and Fondamenta della Misericordia: from Campo San Bartolomeo we proceed straight towards Salizada San Giovanni Grisostomo and then straight towards Campo Santissimi Apostoli and Strada Nova; once arrived in Campo Santa Fosca lets' reach Fondamenta della Misericordia. It is one of the most authentic areas of Venice, it is one of the favorite evening and night meeting points for young and not-so-young Venetians, especially for the presence of exotic restaurants and live jazz clubs. Young and freak!
If you are not attracted by the exotic or the jazz then let's head to Campo Santa Margherita: from Piazza San Marco we reach Calle Larga XXII Marzo and then straight on to Campo del Giglio, Campo San Maurizio and Campo Santo Stefano; we pass the Accademia Bridge and take Campo de la Carità and then Calle del Pistor; we continue keeping to the right and we reach Campo San Barnaba, we pass the bridge and then straight towards the Campo. Here the air is always festive and cheerful because it is linked to the young student universe, as the Universities of Cà Foscari and Iuav are just a few streets away. The Campo is littered with bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants, like a cheerful and lively Latin neighborhood where you never get bored: the energy of young students is contagious and you get involved. In this field one never remains alone!
A few steps from Campo Santa Margherita you can reach Zattere even just for a quiet walk and an ice cream: from the Ponte dell'Accademia we continue straight on to Rio Terà Foscarini and reach the Fondamenta Zattere. Formerly called Carbonaria for the loads of coal that arrived there, today it owes its name to the large rafts loaded with timber that were brought here from the mountain. Water walk overlooking the wide Giudecca Canal, populated by bars and restaurants, many of which have external rooms on stilts. A dinner "immersed" in the waters of the Lagoon.
We walk along the Zattere to the left and reach Punta della Dogana, located at the point where the Grand Canal opens itself into the San Marco Basin, and together they unite in the Giudecca Canal, with its triangular shape it seems to dominate the lagoon in front of San Marco, with the Palla d'Oro, a sculptural complex made up of two atlases supporting this "golden world", dominated by the statue of Occasio, of Fortune that rotates and indicates the direction of the wind, but also represents mutability and the instability of luck: there aren't clubs, there is no music, but there is only the beauty of a city unique in the world! I took you to this tiny city triangle to let you enjoy Venice and the Lagoon with the lights and calm of the waters, in the tranquility of a deserted place, with a priceless view under a starry sky: in the shadow of the statue of Fortune, a real luck to be able to enjoy such wonder!
It's already night, it's time to go to sleep.
A dream night: the Hotel Rosa Salva in the shadow of the Campanile
When you are in Venice for so little time it is advisable to stay in a central place, where everything is "within reach". I started the two routes from Piazza San Marco, the heart of the city, and the best solution is to be able to stay there. Just behind the Piazza, behind the Procuratie Vecchie I recommend the Rosa Salva Hotel: small and delightful, it is located on Calle Fiubera, and is a jewel of contemporary design, just renovated. Developed on 3 floors, it is equipped with an elevator, making the structure accessible to everyone, such as the elderly and the disabled.
Furnished with a modern, simple and essential language, but at the same time recognizable and of great personality, thanks, above all, to the custom-made wooden furnishings, room by room. The ceilings originate from the Venetian architecture of epochs: long wooden beams that expire the environment, eliminating the impersonality of the usual false ceilings. The walls are enriched with precious and hypoallergenic fabrics that make the atmosphere warm and welcoming, and that create a continuity with the floors, parquet and moquet, which strongly characterize the environments. The bathrooms in each room are spacious and equipped with all comforts. All the rooms, spacious and airy, are equipped with every service and have large openings and the luckiest ones open with the view of the Campanile di San Marco.
The breakfast room is on two levels, of which the first has a bay window overlooking the street, and the buffet is one of the things that will make you fall in love with this small hotel: the Rosa Salva family is indeed an excellence for the Venetian gastronomic art, above all the confectionery one, boasting secular generations of pastry chefs, and therefore the continental breakfast is embellished with high quality, always fresh, artisan products, for all tastes and for all needs. For those who wish, the hotel even offers direct access to the patisserie, located just a few steps from the hotel, for an alternative breakfast.
Finally, the staff is always attentive to the needs of its guests, kind and welcoming, prepared and available to all your requests.
A dream stay in the heart of the most beautiful Venice!