A weekend break in Venice, Italy:
a classic and pleasant itinerary
A weekend break in Venice, besides being a romantic experience, is a classic way to dive deeper into the Venetian feel with a more relaxed attitude: the capital of Veneto is too packed with attractions to settle the matter in just one-day visit.
I’ve already mentioned some classic things to see and itineraries to follow in the lagoon town, like the unmissable St Mark Square or a boat trip along the Grand Canal admiring the most beautiful Venetian palaces from a unique point of view.
Now I am going to talk about a must-see classic itinerary, ideal during a day of your weekend break in Venice.
It is among the most beaten Venetian itineraries, and the reason is that..it is worthwhile! You will be also walking in the heart of lively Venetian districts, full of cafes and local people.
Itinerary: from St Mark square to Dorsoduro
This itinerary starts in the celebre St Mark square, the heart of Venice, and ends on the other side of the Grand Canal.
Piazza San Marco, what to say more about that iconic square? I think writers, poets, travelers wrote about it, and anything has been told about this emblem of art and architecture.
Just the square in itself would be worth a visit to the fabulous Venice: how many times did you see it in a photo, or on tv? Being there in the flesh is a great emotion that no pic can give.
I strongly recommend that you do not miss the free entrance to the imposing Basilica di San Marco whose exterior testifies to the tight relationship of the former Republic of Venice with the Middle Eastern world.
Harri’s bar and company
Just a tip in case you did not know yet: unless you don’t care about your pocket, do not have a coffee or an aperitif in the St Mark square bars...A weekend break in Venice does not necessarily mean going broke..
After having enjoyed the view of St Mark Square, take the salizada San Moisè.
In the calle Valaresso you’ll spot one of the most celebre bars of the world, the Harri’s bar, frequented by Ernest Hemingway and other past and present celebrities. The American writer was an habitue of Venice and the rest of Veneto: I am an old fan of Veneto and I’ll leave my heart here he wrote in 1948 in a letter to Bernard Berenson.
You can also have a meal in the Harri’s bar, but same rule..watch your pocket..
La Fenice Theatre
Continue forward and you’ll run into the baroque facade of the Church of San Moisè.
In the nearby Campo San Fantin lies the celebre theatre La Fenice, the main lyric theatre of Venice which hosts an important Opera season- see here the programme. The theatre was built in 1790, but was struck by fire more than once.
Continue up to Campo Morosini (aka Campo Santo Stefano) one of the largest squares of Venice, lively and with coming and going: far in the past bull rides would take place there.
Take a look at the medieval Church of Santo Stefano, built in 1294, one of the most relevant Venetian religious gothic buildings. The church- besides a marvelous portal - boasts in its interior an amazing keel-shaped wooden ceiling and three paintings of Tintoretto.
Sundays and holidays: 3pm-5.30pm.
Also note the characteristic high leaning bell tower.
The contiguous Benedictine monastery hosts city offices, and unfortunately visitors are not admitted in its two medieval cloisters.
Walk forward through the maze of calli (narrow Venetian alleys) up to the late gothic Palazzo Contarini dal Bovolo, famous for its beautiful helicoidal stairs - bovolo in Venetian dialect.
Gallerie dell’Accademia and Guggenhein Museum
In case you are interested in art, in occasion of a weekend break in Venice you may take into account a visit to the Gallerie dell’Accademia or to the Guggenheim Museum.
To get there you have to go across the Grand Canal to get to Dorsoduro, one of the six sestieri (quarters) of Venice. At this point of the itinerary the closest bridge on the Grand Canal is the Ponte dell’Accademia.
The Gallerie dell’Accademia are hosted in a convent, and they represent the most important collection of Venetian paintings spanning from the 1300s to the 1700s. Just a few artists’ names: Tintoretto, Mantegna, Carpaccio, Tiziano, Tiepolo, Canaletto.
After visiting the Gallerie, from the Accademia head eastwards for the end of the Dorsoduro sestiere.
It will take you about 10-15 minutes before arriving to the Guggenheim Museum, hosted in the beautiful Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. The prestigious museum displays contemporary works of art of the greatest importance, like paintings of Pablo Picasso, Giorgio de Chirico, Magritte, Salvador Dalì, Chagall, Jackson Pollock, just to name a few.
Continue forward to the well-known church almost facing St Mark square, the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute.
At the tip of the Dorsoduro sestiere there is the 1600s Dogana da Mar (sea custom house) with two bronzee statues holding a golden earth.
To go out with a bang in this day of your weekend break in Venice, you can take a 1.5km/0.94mi walk along the so called Zattere, that is the southern side of the Dorsoduro district facing the Giudecca canal and the homonymous island.
This is a relaxing walk along a seashore full of cafes where you can sit down and taste typical Venetian ice creams and pastries.
You might want to read about Venice tourism helpful tips (discount cards, etc)for a weekend break in Venice.
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