The long awaited moment has come: at last they gave you a ticket to visit it, a friend asked you to go on a trip, or you’ve decided to go on a solo tour. I’m talking about the amazing, fascinating, unique Venice.
So here you are thinking how to plan your dream tour in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I already imagine you tormenting yourself with one question in mind: “what to see in Venice in one day?”.
So, follow me on this itinerary I personally tested, and we’ll discover it together.
What to see in Venice in one day: departure from Piazzale Roma
If you want to go on the tour I made, you can start from Piazzale Roma. I arrived there comfortably by the ATVO bus from Marco Polo Airport in Venice. I left the car at the airport and mounted on the vehicle that led me directly to the most strategic point of the lagoon city.
From Piazzale Roma you can choose to embark on a water taxi or ferry boats departing from Santa Chiara and Parisi, or if you prefer to trust your legs, crossing the Calatrava Bridge – torment and delight of the Venetians – you will reach the city center in few minutes.
What to see in Venice in one day: in the direction of the Sestiere San Polo
As I’ve already mentioned, I chose to keep on walking across Calatrava bridge and in 5 minutes I arrived at the Santa Lucia train station. If this can be of any use, from Piazzale Roma you can get there in a moment.
I’ve set Sestiere San Polo as the target of my itinerary which develops around a large square (called “campo”), where centuries ago the Venetians carried out every type of activities: from races and bull hunting, to masked representations. It is the oldest and most fascinating sestiere of Venice, so my visit could only start from there!
Arriving at the Santa Lucia Station, I turned right to the Ponte degli Scalzi, where I lost my compass. I can’t tell you exactly what direction I took, because in Venice the alleys are so densely tangled that it seems to be in the labyrinth of the Minotaur!
However, it’s beautiful to wander around without a target, discovering the best glimpses for taking unforgettable photos. I too found myself in a very narrow alley where a lady was working the glass and other materials just outside her shop.
What to see in Venice in one day: Basilica of the Frari and the Great School of St. Roch
Walking through Calle dei Amai and Calle delle Chiovere, I finally reached the two most beautiful gems of the sestiere: the Basilica of the Frari and the Great School of St. Roch.
I won’t dwell too much on the first, which owes its fame to the monument of Canova and to the extraordinary paintings of Titian. Instead, I must absolutely jump in the defence of the second. As soon as I entered, I was dazzled by the incredible spectacle of golden stuccoes that cover the ceiling and enrich the endless series of Tintoretto paintings.
The Great School of St. Roch is one of the four Great Venetian Schools. It did not, as you might think, have educational purpose, but that of mutual assistance and charity. It was completed by the architect Giangiacomo dei Grigi in the sixteenth century and, in addition to charitable works, this secular confraternity was responsible for hosting the relics of the homonymous saint.
I enjoyed wandering through the huge salon holding a mirror bigger than me, with whom I could magnify as with a lens all the details of the ceiling … an ingenious expedient that the museum makes available to visitors!
What to see in Venice in one day: Rialto and the Rialto Market
The visit to the Great School of St. Roch was challenging… so it was time to reintegrate all the burnt calories! Therefore I stopped at Osteria da Zemei, one of the many typical bacarets that you can find if you get to San Polo.
These little Venetian inns are a joy for the eyes and the mouth: here you can find the “cicheti”, a kind of mini bruschetta with every kind of ingredient above, often zero-mile. I tasted those with gorgonzola and strawberries, salted codfish, prosciutto and pâté of olives and prosciutto and figs.
After a tremendous effort to get up from the table as I had put on 10 pounds in the meantime, I set out for the next stage: the Rialto Bridge, the center of the Sestiere and the most important bridge in Venice.
Although literally assaulted by tourists taking photos and selfies from the famous balconies, I must admit that it doesn’t cease to fascinate. If you want to know all its legends and mysteries, we’ll talk about them in this article: https://www.venice-box.com/en/venice-ghost-tour/
Survived at the foot of the bridge, I went to gad around the Rialto Market. Here, things to see are certainly not lacking, but I suggest you stop on the fish market where you can see a plaque with the sizes of the fish sold and St. James, the smallest church in Venice.
Unfortunately, I only saw what was left of the morning market: fish remains and carcasses were devoured by customers, so to speak, unusual: the seagulls! A very fun and spicy show!
What to see in Venice in one day: Palazzo Grassi
At this point if you want you can take a breath for a moment or come with me to the last stop. In fact, the latter is not in the Sestiere San Polo, but in Campo San Samuele: I’m talking about Palazzo Grassi, home of exhibitions and temporary showcase of international artists. In order to get there, in fact, I had to take 2-3 ferries, getting pretty wet because of the high tide
My goal was to go to an exhibition I longed to see: Damien Hirst’s Treasures from the Wreck of Unbelievable. If you want to learn more, I’ll talk talk about it here: https://www.venice-box.com/en/treasures-from-the-wreck-of-unbelievable/
After the exhibition I went to Piazzale Roma. Of course I couldn’t miss the afternoon snack: a delicious pizza slice, which I gobbled up on my way back.
When I arrived at Piazzale, I literally collapsed on the bus seat, tired but happy to have seen so many beauties!
Well … my adventure ends here. Now another one will start: yours! Make this Venetian tour and let me know your impressions.