What to see in Venice in 2 days

It is not easy for me to write an unbiased article about Venezia. On a par with Rome I consider it the most beautiful city in the world! What then, I think someone has yet to be born who does not like Venice. It is a unique and mysterious city, as soon as you get off the train at S. Lucia station you are catapulted back through the centuries, to the time of Casanova or Goldoni, and you almost expect to see them pop up around the corner. Venice seduces you with the incredible beauty of its ancient palaces and its canals, with its churches, its museums, its gardens, there is something wonderful in every corner. At times it can be chaotic, especially during the Carnival or the feast of the Redeemer, but it is enough to leave the main roads to find yourself alone, in silence in front of the water. Venice is a city that I love in all months of the year, both with the melancholy mist of winter and with the heatwave of summer. It is a city that relaxes me a lot! I've been there dozens of times now and I can't help but return to see her at least once or twice a year. Given that I love every single square meter of this city, in this article I will talk about things to see in Venice in two days, if you go there for the first time or if you haven't been back in years. Venice is quite cozy and in two days or a weekend you can see a lot of things, you just have to be ready to walk a lot! 

How to get to Venice

By plane

Marco Polo Airport is located 12 km from the city. From there you can then reach Venice, Murano or Lido with the ferry and is served by the Alilaguna company (tickets can be purchased first online or in the Arrivals hall at the airport - 14 euros). Alternatively you can reach P.le Roma with thebus of the Atvo (here you will find timetables and prices) or, even more convenient, you can book a shared water taxi which will take you from the airport directly to the hotel (26 euros). 

By train

Unless you arrive from far away, the most convenient way to reach Venice is by train. There Venezia S.Lucia railway station it overlooks the Grand Canal and, once you arrive, you can move directly on foot or take a vaporetto to reach your accommodation. 

By car

If you reach Venice by car, you will then have to leave it in a parking lot outside the center, in the area Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto. The cheapest parking in Venice is theInterparking at Tronchetto, and from here you can reach Piazzale Roma by shuttle or on foot (about 1 km). These are the rates: 1 hour € 3, 2 hours € 6, 3 hours € 11. Up to 24 hours € 21. Thereafter € 21 every 24 hours not divisible.

How to move in Venice

If you have no particular problems with walking and climbing and descending steps, I highly recommend that you move on foot, because you will save time and money. Taking a vaporetto is not exactly like taking a bus and the times get longer, not to mention that the single ticket for 1 ride costs 7 euros !! Here you will find all types of tickets and their costs. However, there is a way to save a minimum even with the vaporettos and you can do it by buying a ticket valid for 1, 2, 3 or 7 days. These tickets are the cheapest solution for those who want to move around Venice and its surroundings by ACTV public transport. They allow a unlimited number of trips and can be used on all means of transport on the navigation lines (excluding the Alilaguna, 16,19 and Casinò lines), the Mestre Urban Network (excluding travel to or from Marco Polo airport and the People Mover) and buses of the Lido of Venice. The ticket is possible buy online via this site and you will also save yourself the long queue at the ticket offices. 

Venice Unica City Pass 

La Venice Unica City Pass is a tailor-made tourist card with which you can visit the main attractions of the Serenissima with priority access and save up to 28%. The card allows you to enter once in each attraction included and is valid for 7 consecutive days from the moment of its activation. The cost is 33,90 euros. Among the attractions included are: Palazzo Ducale, Correr Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Marciana Library and 3 churches to be chosen from a long list. If you can first evaluate what to see in Venice in the 2 days and opt for these attractions, you will surely have a nice saving. 

Where to sleep in Venice

Home - Residenza Da Qui Venice: over the years I have tried many structures in Venice, until, the last time, I discovered this one and I fell in love with it! The Hinc Domus is a small structure (it has only 3 rooms, all with balconies), but extremely well-kept (it was renovated in 2020!), And is located in a really convenient position, between the S. Lucia Station and the Rialto. The vaporetto stop is 2 'away, but from here you can comfortably walk everywhere.  

Combo Venice: if you are in the mood for sociability I recommend this beautiful hostel of the Turin Combo chain. Housed in a renovated 12th-century monastery, the Combo Venezia is located in the Cannaregio district of Venice, behind the Ghetto, and has a bar and restaurant that are also open to outsiders. At the Combo you can stay in a dormitory, private room or apartment. Common areas include a kitchen, seating area, terrace overlooking the canal and laundry facilities.

What to see in Venice in two days

Here you will find the places to see in Venice if you have a weekend or two days available, especially if you are going there for the first time. These are the "classicons" from my point of view, the ones that you absolutely cannot miss. I do not divide them into day 1 and day 2 because the best itinerary to see them all will then depend on the area in which you will be staying. My proposal includes 1 and a half day in Venice and half a day in Burano, but you can also consider spending 1 day in Venice and 1 day among the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello (doing, for example, this very comfortable and super-cheap tour). 

Mark's Square

Among the things to see in Venice in 2 days, the first can only be Mark's Square, the "living room of Europe" and one of the most monumental squares in Italy. Piazza San Marco is the heart of Venice and its symbol, because some of the most important buildings in the city overlook here. First of all the Basilica of San Marco, a church that combines in an extraordinary way Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance architectural and decorative styles. It has 5 domes reminiscent of the mosques of Istanbul and inside there are glittering and golden mosaics that date back to the XNUMXth century, a decorated marble floor from the XNUMXth century and the Pala d'Oro behind the altar. This masterpiece of gold and enamels was created in Constantinople for the doge in 976 and then enriched over the centuries with almost 2000 precious stones! To avoid queues at the entrance, I recommend that you buy a skip-the-line ticket from the official website in advance; also remember that you must have covered legs and shoulders to enter. If you are planning to enter the Doge's Palace as well, I recommend that you buy this combined skip-the-line ticket which includes the entrance to both (Basilica + Palazzo Ducale), plus the entrance to the Correr Museum, the National Archaeological Museum and the monumental rooms of the Marciana Library, all with the audio guide (at a cost of 35 euros - you save a lot !). In front of the basilica stands the St Mark's bell tower, 'El parón de casa' as the Venetians call it, one of the tallest bell towers in Italy. The top can be reached by lift and from there you can enjoy a magnificent view over half of Venice (also in this case I recommend that you buy skip-the-line tickets). The square is also overlooked by the Clock tower (a Renaissance tower with a mechanical clock) and, under the arcades, the Correr Museum (a sumptuous museum of Venetian works of art and antiquities, dating back to the thirteenth century) and the Florian Coffee, the oldest in the world (dates back to 1720).

  • Free Tour of Venice
  • Free Tour of the mysteries and legends of Venice
  • Free alternative tour of Venice

Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs

Next to the Basilica of San Marco is the building that represented the command center of the Venetian Republic, the Ducal Palace, in Venetian Gothic style. This palace was the residence of the doge and the seat of the governing bodies, including prisons. As above, to enter I recommend that you buy the combined skip-the-line ticket. Inside you will see theDoge's apartment,Anticollegio and Hall of the College (decorated with paintings by Tintoretto and Veronese) and the Hall of the Maggior Consiglio (with a painting by Tintoretto, which is one of the largest oil paintings in the world!). Next to the building, connected with the famous Bridge of Sighs, you will find the New Prisons and Old Prisons, where Giacomo Casanova was also imprisoned. The latter can be visited with a separate ticket and with a guided tour (you can buy it at this link). In front of the Doge's Palace, on the other hand, is the Marciana Library, one of the largest Italian libraries that contains one of the finest collections of Greek, Latin and Oriental manuscripts in the world (admission is included in the combined ticket).

Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge 

The first thing you will see when you arrive in Venice will be him, the Grand Canal, the "main street" of Venice. 3,5 km long, sumptuous XNUMXth and XNUMXth century palaces overlook the Grand Canal and it is here that you will see water buses, barges (called “tope”), taxi-boats, gondolas and so on and so forth. Going along it from Piazzale Roma to S.Marco you also cross it 4 bridges; the first is the Constitution Bridge, or Ponte di Calatrava (in honor of the architect who designed it), the only modern bridge in the city, built in 2008 using mainly steel and glass. Moving forward there is then the Ponte degli Scalzi (or Ponte della Stazione), built in 1858, before arriving at the most famous one: the Ponte del Rialto. For centuries this was the only bridge over the Grand Canal, and the structure we still see today dates back to 1592. The last bridge, which was supposed to be temporary but is still there, is the Ponte dell'Accademia, built in wood in 1934 in place of a nineteenth-century iron structure. From this bridge you will have the most beautiful (and most iconic) view of the Grand Canal. Another spot from which to have a magnificent view of the canal is the new one Fondaco dei Tedeschi, near the Rialto Bridge. Its name derives from the fact that this building was the landing point of the goods transported by German merchants who stored them here. In more recent years it was owned by the Italian Post Office, before becoming a shopping center in 2016. Go up to the top floor, on the Terrace, to admire the view. Admission is contingent so you should book (free of charge) entry through the official website. Then stop at Bar Rialto da Lollonearby, an institution for sandwiches (try the one with pumpkin cream, gorgonzola and porchetta).

Dorsoduro and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

In my opinion, among the things to see in Venice in two days, neither the Church of S. Maria della Salute, nor the adjacent one Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which are both found in the Dorsoduro district. The Church of Santa Maria della Salute is one of the most recognizable in Venice and it is the one that will catch your attention from Piazza San Marco, being right in front of it, on the other side of the Canal. It is an octagonal church, famous for the frescoes on the ceiling of the sacristy made by Titian. With a 5 'walk you will then reach Palazzo Venier dei Leoni which houses the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The billionaire American collector lived here for the last 30 years of her life and left in the building an incredible collection of works by modern artists of the caliber of Picasso, Braque, Mirò and many others. The palace is surrounded by a very beautiful and relaxing garden in which Peggy herself and her 14 dogs were buried. To avoid having to queue at the entrance, I recommend that you buy tickets in advance through this site (there is no surcharge!). Then there is on the tip that divides the Grand Canal from the Giudecca Canal Punta della Dogana (which is a detachment of Palazzo Grassi / Pinault Foundation). After 2 years of restoration, it opened in 2009 with the Pinault collection, which hosts temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

Cannaregio and the Ghetto

Together with the Castello district, Cannaregio it is my favorite area of ​​Venice, the one that is still quite authentic and popular. This sestiere has remained over the centuries also the hub of the Jewish community of Venice, and that's where the Ghetto, the district of Venice where Jews were forced to reside during the period of the Republic of Venice, starting from 1516. Nowadays this area has remained fairly intact, even if the Venetian Jews are now very few and no longer reside in the ghetto . The hub of the neighborhood is Campo del Ghetto Novo, where there are several kosher restaurants and patisseries, but the whole neighborhood is full of vintage and local shops. If you happen to be here around aperitif time, go to Rio di San Girolamo and enjoy an excellent spritz with cicchetti al Al Timon before going to dinner at  Lost paradise, a historic tavern with live music. The cuisine is traditional Venetian (the main dish is fried fish) and the environment is very nice and characteristic. Alternatively you can try the Gam Gam, a small restaurant with Jewish cuisine. The Cannaregio district is undoubtedly one of the things to see in Venice if you have 2 days, and you can't miss it!

You might be interested in this tour of the Rialto and the Jewish Ghetto

San Polo and Santa Maria dei Frari

On the opposite side of the Grand Canal there is also the sestriere San Polo, which takes its name from the largest campo (square) in Venice after Piazza San Marco, that is Campo San Polo. It is a fairly small sestiere but full of artisan shops and bacari (the typical Venetian taverns where you go to drink while eating the famous cicchetti, snacks). Among those I recommend there are certainly All’Arco (near the Rialto), which you recognize from the queue outside, or To the Weigher e Bancogiro (both in Campo S. Giacomo di Rialto), two very nice taverns for drinking and eating (not just cicchetti). San Polo is also the second largest church in Venice after the Basilica of San Marco, that is Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, in the homonymous field. It is a sober church in red brick, in Venetian Gothic style and with a Latin cross. The simplicity of the interior is offset by the originality of the decorations, consisting of paintings and funerary monuments. Inside in fact it has 17 monumental altars which house many works of art, including two paintings by Titian. In Santa Maria dei Frari there are also the tombs and funeral monuments of numerous personalities linked to Venice, including the same Titian, Antonio Canova, as well as numerous doges. If you still have time and you are a lover of the works of Tintoretto you can't miss the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a religious brotherhood where you can admire some of his most famous paintings.

Burano and Murano

I close this article on the things to see in Venice in two days or a weekend with its most famous islands: Burano and Torcello. As I said before, in my opinion it is worth dedicating at least half a day to the islands of Murano and Burano, or a full day if you add Torcello. I tell you already that my favorite is Burano, the island of lace, connected by a bridge to Mazzorbo, a larger and very green island with some trattorias (if you arrive this far I suggest you eat at Restaurant Alla Maddalena, an excellent fish restaurant with tables also outdoors under a beautiful pergola). Burano seems a child out of the imagination, with the fishermen's houses colored with bright colors, which originate from the desire to see their homes from afar when returning from fishing. It is a quieter island than Murano and less chaotic. Murano it is the most popular island in the lagoon (it is also the closest); it is famous for being the island of glass and crystal, since, in 1291, the glass industry was transferred from Venice to here. If you are short on time, I recommend that you take part in a tour like this one of of Murano and Burano which lasts 4h (20 euros), or this a Murano, Burano and Torcello which lasts 6h (20 euros). 

Where to eat in Venice (cheap)

Taverns and Restaurants

  • The Lost Paradise (Cannaregio): a historic tavern with live music. Traditional Venetian cuisine (the main dish is fried fish) and a very nice and characteristic environment.
  • Gam Gam (Ghetto): small restaurant of Jewish cuisine in the ghetto, good and nice
  • Al Timon (Cannaregio): restaurant famous for its meat, in the same canal as "Il paradiso perduto". It has a boat "parked" in front of it where you can also sit and have an excellent aperitif on the boat (excellent cicchetti)
  • L’upupa (Cannaregio): nice restaurant in a nice little square. I have some outdoor tables.
  • Marisa (Cannaregio): Venetian set menu in a no-frills trattoria with black and white images, wooden counter and terrace. Very good! 
  • I Cugnai restaurant (Accademia): typical cuisine with fresh fish and a very varied menu for this restaurant near the Guggenheim Collection
  • Osteria ai do Farai (Accademia): Traditional Venetian and Venetian dishes in particular, from sardines in saor to liver, etc.
  • Osteria Da Codroma (Dorsoduro): very characteristic and good-looking tavern in a beautiful setting. Excellent value for money
  • Alla Maddalena (Burano / Mazzorbo): excellent fish restaurant with tables also outdoors under a beautiful pergola on the island of Mazzorbo. All excellent and very nice environment. An oasis of peace surrounded by greenery.
  • The lever (Giudecca): a genuine trattoria located right next to the “Giudecca-Palanca” vaporetto stop. Family atmosphere, simple and good dishes. An institution on the Giudecca.

Bacari (aperitifs, cicchetti and sandwiches)

  • Al Timon (Ghetto): very good and elaborate cicchetti. You can have an aperitif comfortably seated on a boat in the canal
  • Bar Rialto da Lollo (Rialto): an institution! He is the king of the sandwich; the one to taste is with pumpkin cream, gorgonzola and porchetta
  • Nico ice cream shop (Zattere): historic bar / ice cream parlor. Excellent ice cream, but also perfect for an aperitif at sunset from the terrace overlooking the Giudecca canal
  • Alsquero e Al Bottegon (Zattere - Fondamenta Nani): two historic and excellent cicchetterie, both in the same canal in front of Campo S. Trovaso.
  • All’Arco (Rialto): you recognize it by the queue outside. Delicious cicchetti in this small place in an alley behind the Rialto.
  • To the Weigher e Bancogiro (Campo S. Giacomo di Rialto): two very nice taverns (they also have outdoor tables) for drinking and eating (not just cicchetti) in the market square under the Rialto bridge.

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