After hearing several opinions that Venice is dirty, that it stinks, or that it is disappointing, etc, I doubted it a bit before visiting it. My original plan was to make a quick one day visit. However, my hostess in Florence (and her Argentine friend) told me “Venice in one day? No, no!” And then I decided to extend the stay to 2 days that ended up being 3. Keep reading if you want to know what you can do 3 days in Venice.
Arriving in Venice by Bus.
We arrived in Venice from Florence by bus, as the train, not having bought the tickets in advance, was very expensive. We took the Eurolines line and the bus was empty so we traveled quite comfortable. The ticket cost €24.00 and took about 4 hours to arrive. The bus dropped us off at Tronchetto Station which is about 1.5 km from the train station. It’s convenient to travel by train since Santa Lucia Train Station is right on the Grand Canal, the main thoroughfare of Venice.
We didn’t know that in Tronchetto there is a funicular or tram, which takes you to Piazzale Roma, inside Venice. The ticket for this transport costs €1.50 and you can buy it in the machines. There are few signs in this station and you feel in the middle of nowhere, almost surrounded by the lagoon. With the help of google maps, we arrived walking to Piazzale Roma which is the last point where you can enter by car. From here the canals and bridges begin.
Our hotel was somehow close to Piazzale Roma in the area known as Santa Croce. It’s called Venice Resorts and it’s a modest hotel that included breakfast. Since it’s in an old building, access to the room is through a narrow staircase. The reception was in another hotel nearby, and sometimes it was not open. A typical case in some economic hotels in Europe.
First day in Venice
The first full day in Venice we had the breakfast included in the hotel. It consisted of a croissant, toast with butter and jam, a coffee and juice, not bad at all. The Café where they served breakfast is Al 133, and a very kind woman attended us. The croissant and the cappuccino were delicious (I ordered an extra cappuccino and it cost a little more than one euro). I recommend it.
The Vaporetto is the main transportation in Venice, line 1 runs along the Grand Canal, which goes through Venice. For a single trip, the ticket costs € 7,50 and lasts 75 minutes from the moment you validate it. There are also 24 hour passes that cost € 20,00, for 48 hours € 30,00, for 72 hours € 40,00 and for 7 days € 60,00. More information here.
It’s not necessary to take the Vaporetto since Venice is perfectly walkable. You can take it if you want to see the Grand Canal, enjoy the buildings and enjoy the experience of sailing in Venice.
First Stop: Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco is the number 1 tourist destination to visit if you are staying 3 days in Venice. You will always see it crowded with tourists, pigeons and some seagulls waiting to be fed (it’s forbidden to feed them, but some people do). It measures 180m long by 70m wide. It is the lowest place in Venice so it’s the first place to flood when the tide rises, what in Italian they call acqua alta. This phenomenon occurs normally between autumn and spring. When this happens, in St Mark’s Square they set some walkways for people to walk on.
It’s surrounded by beautiful buildings, like Basilica di San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale, the Torre dell’Orologio and the Museo Correr. There are also several restaurants where there’s usually live music. Cafe Florian is the most famous establishment and one of the oldest in Italy, but it’s not cheap. It’s not allowed to eat in this square picnic style, let alone litter.
St Mark’s Basilica
The entrance to the St Mark’s Basilica is free! yes!! But inside it’s not allowed to take photos 🙁 a pity since its walls are decorated with golden mosaics. Its construction began in the year 828. But the construction of its current appearance in Byzantine style began in 1063. Many of the ornaments were gifts of wealthy merchants or from the plundering of Constantinople. They took the four golden copper horses in the conquest of Constantinople. Those in the Basilica are replicas. They keep the originals in the gallery of the Basilica.
Doge’s Palace has a Gothic style with Byzantine and Renaissance elements. It has been both the royal residence of the dukes, as well as a prison. Inside, among the many works of art, those of Tintoretto, Titian, and Bellini stand out. You can also visit the prison and the Bridge of Sighs. The ticket costs €20,00. It includes the Museo Correr, the National Archaeological Museum and the National Library of St Mark’s
Bridge of Sighs
It’s possible to see the interior of the Bridge of Sighs when entering the Doge’s Palace. It is the corridor that connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the palace. They call it the Bridge of Sighs due to the sighs of the condemned when they looked outside for the last time. The style of the bridge is Baroque and you can see it outside from the Ponte della Paglia, a bridge at the side of the palace.
After seeing the Bridge of Sighs we went to eat to Antico Forno. It’s a pizzeria that we read was one of the most recommended in Venice. We ordered to take away since it is not a restaurant where you can sit, although there are tables to eat standing. The pizzas are good and the prices reasonable. By the way, we got lost trying to find it.
The clock tower houses the St Mark’s clock. Its design is by Mauro Codussi and was built between 1496 and 1499. At the top of the tower, there are two bronze figures called “the Moors” who ring a bell every hour. The clock also marks the phases of the moon and the signs of the zodiac. You can visit by booking a ticket for €12.00
St Mark’s Campanile
The peculiarity of this bell tower is that it stands alone, it’s not attached to the church. They completed its construction in the 12th century. After suffering several damages due to lightning, they installed a lightning rod in 1776. In 1902 it collapsed completely due to a large crack they found. They reopened it in 1912, after 11 years of reconstruction
with its 98.5 meters high also functioned as a beacon for sailors. At the top of the tower, there are 5 bells and a golden statue of the Archangel Gabriel. The ticket price is €8.00.
Second day: Ponte Rialto and Gallerie dell’Accademia
Another famous point in Venice is the Rialto Bridge. It’s the oldest bridge of the four that cross the Grand Canal. It was originally a floating bridge and was replaced by a wooden one around 1250. It takes its name from the market that is on the edge of the Canal. The current stone bridge was built between 1588 and 1591 based on a design by Antonio Da Ponte.
Since its construction in wood, it’s had an economic importance due to the market and the stores on both sides.
The Correr Museum is the most important in Venice. Exhibits objects, documents, and artworks about the history and daily life of Venice. The ticket price is €19,00 and includes the Archaeological Museum and the National Library of St Mark’s
The Archaeological Museum exhibits bronze and marble sculptures. The National Library of St. Mark’s has two rooms open to the public. They display works by Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese, as well as ancient manuscripts. We did not visit the Correr Museum, instead, we chose the Gallerie dell’Accademia
This is the gallery created by the Accademia di Belle Arti and houses one of the largest collections of Italian art in the world. It is in the Scuola della Carità near the Accademia bridge. Its inauguration was in the year 1807 and the collection has been growing since then. They highlight the works by Giovanni Bellini, but there are many artworks by Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese, Giorgione, and Carpaccio.
We saw the museum in about 3 hours, the good thing is that there’s where to sit. The price of the ticket is €15,00. I don’t know if for you it will be worth visiting it. I like art and in every city, I try to visit at least one art museum.
Even though I did not live the experience, I can not stop mentioning it. I’d have liked it but the truth, my budget did not allow me. The ride costs €80.00 for half an hour. It’s possible to bargain, depending on the time of day and the season. If you are up to 6 people, it’s more convenient since the price is per gondola, not per person. In this site, you can find more information and tips for your gondola ride.
Changing our hotel
We had to change hotels because we decided to stay one more night and there was no availability where we were staying. We found a hotel called Casa Caburlotto very close to our previous hotel. It’s a little complicated to walk in Venice with suitcases, due to the stairs, bridges and narrow streets but we finally arrived at our new accommodation. The staff is friendly and they also included a buffet breakfast.
Third day: Shopping or Murano and Burano.
Burano is a little further away from Venice, 7 km away. The most outstanding of this island are the colorful facades of its buildings. There is also a museum dedicated to the famous lace of Burano, The Merletto Museum. You can visit the Galuppi Square where the Church of San Martín Vescovo is located, which has a slightly sloping tower.
You can get to these islands using the Vaporetto. The most advisable is to buy some of the passes.
The charm of Venice
We preferred to explore in our 3 days in Venice and leave the visit to the islands for another occasion. The most memorable part of Venice for me was walking down its alleys, enjoy its bridges, steps, architecture, and boats.
Venice is one of those destinations that you can enjoy not having to visit museums and without spending a lot. I remember sitting on the banks of the lagoon and relaxing with the gondolas swinging. After a long walk on Piazza San Marco, it was quite nice.
I loved observing and imagining everyday life on this peculiar island. For example, the markets in gondolas, the clothes hanging on the clothesline on the canals (what if the clothes drop in the water?). The signs throughout Venice, that sometimes, instead of orienting you, makes you get lost. To turn in an alley and find yourself on a labyrinthine dead-end. All that is part of the charm of Venice.
Shopping: Venetian souvenirs and masks
The most typical souvenirs of Venice include Murano glass, Burano lace, and handcrafted masks. There are a lot of Chinese origin plastic masks and some which claim to be Italian.
The original handmade masks are usually expensive. There are some famous shops such as La Bottega dei Mascareri and Ca’ Macana. The latter can boast of being the creator of the masks for the movie Eyes Wide Shut starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Prices vary depending on the complexity of the design.
There are several mask stores, some not so well known, where you can buy one. Walking near my hotel I found a shop called La Bauta. They have several models from simple to more elaborate and are handmade. As I didn’t want to leave Venice without a mask, I bought a simple Colombina type that cost me €20.00. The address of this store is Scaleter street, 2867. This is the link to their site labauta.com
Near the Ponte di Rialto, there are several little shops where you can browse. I’m sure you’ll find something according to your taste. The gifts and souvenirs I bought were a mug, magnets for the refrigerator, ink for calligraphy, and many postcards.
By the way, there is a famous bookstore in Venice called Acqua Alta. They have many books, both new and used; also posters, maps, and vintage postcards. The peculiarity of this library is that the arrange of the books is somewhat chaotic. There are pyramids of books, steps made with books and even a gondola with books. One of the many curiosities of Venice.
Is it true that Venice is dirty?
Although I had heard opinions that Venice is “dirty and stinks”, my experience was the opposite. It’s true that the buildings look somewhat worn out due to humidity, but it is completely normal and add to its charm. I suppose that in times when the lagoon is waved, natural odors come from it, but when I was there, I didn’t feel it either.
Venice is a romantic, charming and peculiar city. Do not try to visit it in 1 day, you’ll not want to leave. I consider that the least is to spend 3 days in Venice, but if you spend more time there, you’ll not get bored either.
I hope you enjoyed this publication and that it’ll be useful when planning your trip to Venice. Do not forget to leave your comments ⇓ and share on your social networks if you liked it. Ciao!