If you are coming to Venice for the first time, we strongly recommend starting with St Mark’s Square, the heart of the ancient Serenissima Republic. The magnificent buildings that surround it are testament to the power and splendour of the city.

We’ll start the visit at the Doge’s Palace, which was the seat of the government, the Doge’s residence and palace of justice. We’ll visit its astonishing institutional rooms, the Bridge of Sighs and the Prison, the Basilica of St Mark’s, the Palatine chapel – now a cathedral – with its wonderful mosaics, the Pala d’Oro, the Imperial Quadriga from Constantinople; the Belltower and the Clock Tower.

We’ll then head towards Rialto, the old financial district. From the rooftop terrace of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi we can enjoy breath-taking views of the city. After crossing Rialto Bridge, a masterpiece of engineering, we’ll visit the Rialto market, an area much loved by Venetians who come here to do their shopping and meet friends in the many bars that serve wine and ‘cicheti', the traditional Venetian snacks.

Feel like a Venetian for a day.

Venice is a particularly attractive place to walk around due to the lack of cars and bicycles. The largest historical centre in the world, Venice offers a wide variety of fascinating places to discover through an incredible labyrinth of narrow streets. Depending on where you are setting off from, it is easy to visit the neighbourhoods on either side of the Grand Canal.

SAN MARCO 

We’ll start our visit at the Teatro La Fenice, which along with the Scala in Milan is a fundamental part of the history of opera. Verdi composed La Traviata and Rigoletto for this theatre, which was the last of many opera houses in Venice. We’ll then move on to the Scala del Bovolo, the most beautiful tower in the city, set in a charming secret corner of the city.

CANNAREGIO

A walk around Cannaregio gives you the chance to see what living in Venice really means. Situated in the northwest part of the city, it is the most densely populated neighbourhood. It contains a system of straight and parallel canals, with wide and airy canal sides that flow south, all connected by narrow streets that intersect this neighbourhood of artisans’ homes punctuated by magnificent palaces and gardens. The most famous palace is Ca’ d’Oro, home to a branch of the noble Contarini family and now a museum. Together with the Doge’s Palace, it is the most famous example of Venetian late Gothic architecture.

The area is also famous for the churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, the Gesuiti and Madonna dell’Orto. It is also home to the Ghetto, the area where a community that contributed greatly to the life of the Serenissima Republic lived and which contains seventeenth-century synagogues.

CASTELLO

The largest and most variegated of the neighbourhoods, it is home to the Arsenale, hidden behind its crenelated walls like a forbidden city. The foundation of this shipbuilding area, which was the basis of the Serenissima Republic’s military power and the largest medieval industrial complex in Europe, had a huge influence on the urban development of this area.

We will visit the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the largest church in the city, built by the Dominicans and used for Doges’ burials. Outside stands Verrocchio’s superb bronze statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni, an absolute masterpiece of Renaissance equestrian statuary.

Standing alongside the church is the solemn marble façade of the Scuola di San Marco, an ancient confraternity, and now home to Venice’s general hospital.

Venice is a particularly attractive place to walk around due to the lack of cars and bicycles. The largest historical centre in the world, Venice offers a wide variety of fascinating places to discover through an incredible labyrinth of narrow streets. Depending on where you are setting off from, it is easy to visit the neighbourhoods on either side of the Grand Canal.

DORSODURO

Dorsoduro is a museum district thanks to the Accademia Galleries, the museum of the nineteenth century Ca’ Rezzonico, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Fondazione Pinault.

However, it is also an area close to Venetians’ hearts, thanks to its popular promenade on the Zattere, with its small bars and floating terraces, as well as the lively Campo Santa Margherita, the heart of university social life.

SANTA CROCE & SAN POLO

Enclosed by the vast bight of the Grand Canal, these are the two smallest neighbourhoods.

To the east San Polo comprises the market area of Rialto, which was once the financial district and is now famous for the bridge and the daily fish, fruit and vegetable market. This area contains the famous ‘bacari’, the bars serving traditional ‘cicheti’.

San Polo is also home to the most important monumental zone outside of St Mark’s Square: the Church of the Frari, which houses the famous Assumption altarpiece by Titian, as well as works by Giovanni Bellini, Donatello and Sansovino; and Tintoretto’s masterpiece, the Scuola di San Rocco.

This visit combines classical and modern art.

We’ll start at the Accademia Galleries where we will see the evolution of Venetian painting from the primitives to the eighteenth century with particular focus on the great masters of the golden age: Giovanni Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese. The collection also boasts the only Hieronymus Bosch paintings in Italy.

We will then head to the Guggenheim Collection. The unfinished eighteenth-century palace became Peggy Guggenheim’s home in 1949, where she showed her collection to visitors. On the great collector’s death, the collection became part of the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation in New York. It is one of the most important modern art collections in the world. All of the major movements starting from the early twentieth century and the arrival of great American painters are represented. Recently the collection has grown thanks to a sizable donation from the Schulhof family, which expands the panorama of twentieth-century art.

A tour not to be missed for all art lovers!

As a descendent of Byzantium, Venice would develop an art strongly influenced by the eastern capital of the Empire. When the Renaissance began to spread, in Venice it took on its unusual characteristics thanks to the works of Giovanni Bellini, Titian, Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese.

We’ll start our visit at the renowned Church of S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari which contains masterpieces such as Titian’s Assumption and Pesaro Altarpiece, Donatello’s John the Baptist and Giovanni Bellini’s Pesaro Triptych.

Next to the Frari is the Scuola di San Rocco, Jacopo Tintoretto’s masterpiece. The great artist worked on decorating this confraternity for 24 years of his life and, incredibly, the building did not suffer sacking during the French occupation. It also offers a rare chance to admire a perfectly preserved sixteenth-century interior.

We will then move on to the Church of San Sebastiano, decorated with frescoes and canvases by Paolo Veronese, who is also buried here. The church was recently restored thanks to the generous contribution of Save Venice.

Nothing beats visiting Venice on a comfortable boat where you can relax and admire the famous palaces on the Grand Canal. And it’s true that Venice was built to be seen from the water. An hour-long cruise down the Grand Canal gives us the chance to see the palaces, from the oldest to the most recent, which line the city’s main thoroughfare. We can appreciate the different types of architecture and learn about the people who built and lived in these prestigious homes.

It is also fun to see the smaller canals to get an idea in person of how complicated transport was and to appreciate the incredible know-how of the various boatpeople, from the gondoliers to the vaporetto pilots.

To make the cruise even more romantic, we have chosen sunset when the sun lights the sky and caresses the city with incredible hues of pink – the same pink that the great Tiepolo used in his canvases and frescoes.

Venice and its lagoon islands are part of a single ecosystem. Visiting Venice’s lagoon islands means going back in time to the dawn of the city’s history. First of all, we’ll visit the island of Murano, situated approximately 1.5km north of Venice. In the thirteenth century the island became the glass production centre when all of the glassworks, which had previously been located in Venice, had to move to Murano in order to prevent fires in the city. Here we will visit one of the most important glassworks.

After that, we will move on to Burano, a charming fishermen’s island, famous for its brightly coloured houses, leaning belltower, fish restaurants, lace and biscuits.

For lunch you can choose between staying on Burano or going to Torcello, the most important of the islands. Today it is barely inhabited but Venetians love visiting it for its restaurants and green spaces. After lunch, we will visit the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta where we can see the first documentation of the history of Venice and one of the most important mosaics in Italy. On our return to Venice we will visit the Grand Canal, Venice’s main thoroughfare, with its magnificent palaces standing on the water.

When you walk around Venice, it’s easy to catch a glimpse of treetops or bushes but, except for rare exceptions, it isn’t possible to see inside the gardens. Yet they exist and there are actually a lot more of them than you might expect. In the past it was said that there were about 500 gardens and botanical gardens. This fact is even more extraordinary when you consider the lack of space in a city that for centuries was one of the most populated in Europe.

Before the fall of the city in 1797 to Napoleon, the gardens were a luxury that only the wealthiest families could afford. Owning a garden in a city like Venice was also a challenge due to the saltwater, the supply of freshwater and often the scarcity of light in many gardens, which were generally enclosed by high walls.

We’ll begin our visit with a hidden gem, the modern garden designed by Carlo Scarpa for the Fondazione Querini Stampalia. We’ll then move on to the garden of Palazzo Contarini Dal Zaffo, which is extremely famous and was even painted by the great Venetian artist Francesco Guardi. Not far from there, we will finish our visit at the garden of Palazzo Rizzo Patariol where you can enjoy a well-earned aperitif.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could enter a private home?

And if this private home also had a delightful garden? This visit takes us on a discovery of two palaces on the Grand Canal, which is Venice’s main thoroughfare but also the city’s most prestigious residential area. We can admire homes that have been perfectly decorated according to the eclectic Venetian taste which bears witness to this cosmopolitan city’s international relations and to the Venetians’ love for materials and precious objects.

We’ll start our visit at Palazzo Barnabò Malipiero, which has what is considered the most beautiful garden in Venice: a green oasis, visible from the Grand Canal, which is transformed into a cloud of roses in May. Palazzo Malipiero is the ideal place to recall one of Venice’s most famous sons, Giacomo Casanova, who was born and took his first steps in this neighbourhood.

We’ll then continue to the other side of the canal to visit Palazzo Nani Bernardo, which also has a wonderful garden lovingly tended by its owner.

Between the 1600s and the 1700s Venice was home to around thirty theatres, but music was played everywhere in the city, from its palaces to its churches.

Famous throughout Europe were the ‘putte’ orchestras from the four charitable institutions that helped poor orphans. The children learnt singing and performing and their concerts were held in the churches annexed to the institutions.

We’ll start our visit at the Pietà Church where Antonio Vivaldi worked as a violin and concert teacher. The church, which was designed with particular attention to the acoustics, was beautifully decorated by Giambattista Tiepolo.

We’ll then head to the Music Room of the Ospedaletto. The eighteenth-century fresco of this charming room was financed by the youths to honour their teachers. Our visit ends at the Fenice, one of the most important opera houses in Europe, and an exceptional witness to the troubled years under French and Austrian occupation.

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