Venice needs no introduction, and its exceptional cultural heritage speaks for itself. For those who choose to spend just one day in Venice, therefore, it can become difficult to decide what to visit!
That's why we thought of preparing this guide to the city, presenting you with the ideal itinerary, with all the must-sees. Looking forward to seeing you in the city, but also to seeing you again when you can deepen your visit for more time!
Arrival in Venice: visit of San Marco Square
No matter whether you arrive by bus or train, we believe that the first thing to do is to walk straight to Saint Mark’s Square as early as you can, to avoid crowds.
Whatever the time of year and whatever the weather, the so-called "Living Room of Europe" will know how to welcome you in the best possible way. If you then see the square on a high-water day, do not be discouraged. Instead, admire the elegant reflection of St. Mark's Basilica on the water. It will be a moment you will never forget.
Once you arrive at St. Mark's Square, take your time to explore it at your leisure. It will take you more than a few minutes to admire the rich masterpiece of St. Mark's Basilica from the outside: if you have time, however, consider going inside, because it will be a visit that will dazzle you.
A little farther on, between St. Mark's Campanile and the Palazzo della Zecca, is another Venetian jewel: the Libreria Marciana, on whose spectacular rooms such names as Tintoretto and Titian worked. Please note that a visit to the Monumental Rooms is included in the VenicePass!
If, on the other hand, what you want is a restorative break, step into one of the cafes in the square or push yourself to explore the alleys hidden behind the Procuratie, the elegant palaces that rim St. Mark's. You will discover wonderful corners of Venice just a few steps from its beating heart.
These are the most treasured and iconic landmarks in the entire city. There is simply no reason to miss them!
Finally, from San Marco, you can choose to take the ferry or rely on Prontopia's personal help to show you the best way to get around the floating city.
Reserve your ticket in advance via VenicePass if you prefer not to spend too much time in line.
Rialto Bridge and Rooftop View
After visiting St. Mark's Square, head to the Rialto Bridge, the city's oldest bridge
over the Grand Canal and among the most important things to see in Venice in a day.
Apparently, it was originally just a pontoon bridge before a wooden structure was erected in the 12th century. After numerous vicissitudes, including numerous collapses, the bridge was built in stone at the end of the 16th century to a design by Antonio Da Ponte.
Nowadays it is frequented by thousands of tourists, fascinated by the presence of numerous stores on it, but above all by the possibility of capturing glimpses of the Grand Canal in the snapshot of a photo.
And if you are looking for the perfect shot, we have a suggestion for you. In fact, just a few steps from the bridge is DFS's Galleria T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a high-end luxury shopping center located inside a charming historic building.
Although it's probably not the best place for souvenir shopping, go inside and, without being too dazzled by the interiors, go right up to the top floor! Here you will find access to the magnificent rooftop terrace from which you can enjoy the view of Venice from an unprecedented perspective. Entrance to the terrace remains free of charge, but you must book access in advance.
Don't forget, then, to explore the alleys around the Rialto area. Mask stores, souvenir stores, but also the inviting scent of the many bacari
scattered in the most unthinkable corners of the city (do not miss our bacari tour
With any luck, you might see the elegant Rialto Bridge again from ever-new views!
Rialto Mercato and Gondola Ride
The popularity of the Rialto area, however, did not come about because of the bridge, which was built rather late, as we have seen.
It all came about because of the growing importance of its market, which needed faster and faster communication routes.
After centuries, it is still located northwest of the Rialto Bridge in the San Polo sestiere
. Every day (Tuesday through Friday) from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., it in fact hosts Venice's most famous fish market
Right next door, the fruit and vegetable market also takes place, every morning from Monday to Saturday.
This will be a special visit, also because of the particular building that houses the market. Although it was built in the neo-Gothic style and thus appears quite old, it is actually only a little over a century old!
From here, if you are willing to see the city from the water, you have two options. On the one hand, right next to the market is the Santa Sofia
public transportation stop (included in the VenicePass
). On the other hand, right next to it, you will find what is probably the best place to take a gondola in Venice
. An experience of about half an hour that you will surely look forward to reliving by endlessly telling your friends about it.
Finally, the next stop on our Venice in a Day is decidedly goliardic!
Fondamenta della Misericordia (Spritz!) and the Jewish Ghetto
Our next suggestion on what to see in Venice in a day is to walk to the Fondamenta della Misericordia, a very lively area with some of the best restaurants and bars.
This is a relatively unknown area because it is slightly detached from the tourist area of Strada Nuova. Yet here you will find an absolutely unmissable selection of osterie and cicchetterie.
On this Fondamenta, you can indeed stop for Venetian delicacies called "cicchetti," or to enjoy the spritz, the Prosecco-based aperitif whose origins are disputed between Padua and Venice.
On one side, you will gaze at the elegance of Venetian palaces, on the other at the water lapping against their walls. It will be a cheerful break, away from the hustle and bustle, and in typical Venetian style.
After that, to end the day, set out for the Jewish Ghetto.
Did you know that the term 'ghetto' comes from here? In fact, this area of Venice was home to a copper foundry, whose 'geto,' or 'casting of molten metal', had precisely given the neighborhood its name.
Strolling through these areas at dusk is very atmospheric. Let your instincts guide you and walk through the alleys and fields of what was the world's first ghetto.
What to visit in Venice in one day: the Venetian nights
From the Ghetto, you are very close to both the bus and train station. So it is up to you! If you have time, you can enjoy some touring in a less-crowded Venice after 5:00 PM.
In fact, this is the time when cruise ship visitors go back on board and the city gets more walkable. Take the chance to go back and see the most touristic spots like Rialto and San Marco!