Are you planning a trip to Venice and wondering how to make the most of your one day visit without missing the most important attractions?
Venice attracts thousands of visitors every year and although it faces many new challenges due to the influx of day trips to the city, there are initiatives in place to help it become a smarter city for the future.
These improvements will not only ensure visitors are aware of these challenges but also work to improve the quality of life for the locals.
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One day in Venice Itinerary
We believe Venice is worth visiting and below we’ll share an itinerary to explore Venice in one day including useful information on its famous landmarks as well as suggest unmissable off-the-beaten-path gems.
Many locals who’ve spent years in the city still feel as though they haven’t explored most of what this beautiful floating city has to offer.
This means, it would be impossible to see all of Venice in one day!
However, this itinerary gives you the best chance of seeing the most popular attractions, while giving you a glimpse into the Venetian lifestyle.
Venice Itinerary (1 Day)
The suggested itinerary is just one of the many ways you can explore the city, but there are different walking routes to consider when you’re here.
You can also visit the main touristic spots in the order you prefer. We’ll leave it entirely up to you to decide how to make the most of Venice.
But, if you prefer to move slower: see our 2 days in Venice itinerary which allows you to see these attractions at a much calmer pace.
Our Tip: be ready to get lost (and NEVER 100% rely on Google Maps!)
Let’s jump in, shall we?
Campo Santa Margherita + Campo San Barnaba
Strolling around these two ‘campi’ or city squares in Venice will guarantee you a full immersion in the Venetian atmosphere!
Whilst on your way to St. Mark’s Square, take time to stop off at two of the most authentic places of Venice:
Aside from university students running to class, you’ll be surrounded by locals doing grocery shopping or relaxing with a glass of Aperol Spritz.
During your one day in Venice tour, don’t miss the chance to take a look at what’s going on in these ‘campi’. Campo Santa Margherita is located in the Dorsoduro sestiere and quite close to the Ca’ Foscari University.
This square is one of the most loved and lived by locals and tourists and during the week you’ll also find the fish market.
The best time to come back is during happy hour or ‘aperitivo’ time!
In fact, we highly recommend using this neighborhood as a base if you’ll be spending the night in Venice (purely to make the most of it).
Why? Because you have Casa Accademia: a budget hotel that is one of the few places you can stay in Venice for less than 50 euros per night.
Campo San Barnaba
By crossing the Pugni Bridge, you’ll reach Campo San Barnaba. Here you’ll find the unique floating fruits and vegetable market!
Literally a boat on the canal where Venetian people go to buy fresh products from the land. From there follow the signs towards Ponte dell’Accademia, walking down the ‘Sotoportego Casin dei Nobili’.
Optional Stop at: Squero of San Trovaso
We’d say that this is one of the most interesting and well hidden gems in Venice you can visit because not many tourists know about it (yet). 😉
This ‘squero’ dates back to the seventeenth century and is located along the Rio di San Trovaso. In the past, these boatyards were used to build all types of boats but now is just the place where to repair gondolas.
There are two different meanings of the word ‘squero’. One derived from the Venetian dialect word ‘team’ with reference to the team work necessary to build a gondola or any other boat used in the lagoon.
Interestingly, the other meaning is connected to one of the special tools of the trade which can be found being used by carpenters that work here.
If you look closely at the image above… You’ll see the sloping square that allows access to the boats and the wooden building called ‘tesa’ which protects the gondolas when it’s raining (and to store the work tools).
The master craftsmen originally came from the mountains (from the Cadore area), and that’s the reason why they look like a boatshed which is very similar to the typical Alpine architecture.
Accademia Bridge and Galleries
Now, on your way to St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, you’ll cross the famous Accademia Bridge!
As you will already know, Italy is famous for its historic museums and it is here that you’ll find yourself in front of one of the most important art museums in Venice (and the whole of Italy): Gallerie dell’Accademia.
These are both located in the sestiere Dorsoduro and you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Grand Canal when crossing the bridge.
This is one of the three bridges crossing the canal that divides the city into two parts.
The Gallerie dell’Accademia is a collection of Venetian masterpieces up to the eighteenth century and if you are an art lover, you should definitely book a tour online or just take a couple of hours to visit it by yourself.
A few major artists represented are: Canaletto, Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea Mantegna, Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese.
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Optional Stop at: Contarini del Bovolo Staircase
Contarini del Bovolo Staircase
Scala Contarini del Bovolo is another enchanting hidden gem in Venice.
If you have some time, book your visit online or just take a look at the spiral staircase from outside. In this area, you can also take advantage of a night’s stay at the San Zaccaria Apartments which are very close by.
This is considered one of the most beautiful staircases in Venice dating back to the Serenissima Republic days and the architecture includes elements of the Byzantine Gothic and Renaissance styles.
Walking up the staircase allows you to enjoy a breathtaking and unique view of Venice. This was constructed during the fifteenth century along with a ‘loggia’ and following the Renaissance architectural guidelines.
The uniqueness of the staircase resides in the spiral shape and cylindrical tower called bovolo which in dialect means snail and the alternation of red cotto bricks and white Istrian stones.
Did you know? You can actually book your visit online to the staircase and Tintoretto hall by selecting date and time in advance.
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St. Mark’s Square
One of the most beautiful town squares in the whole world is St. Mark’s Square or Piazza San Marco (in Italian) which dates back to the eleventh century. Venice is famous for this square and people visit to stand here.
This has always been the vital and vibrant point of the city, and the place where important events in Venice still take place.
It’s surrounded by the Procuratie Vecchie and Nove (old and new procuracies where the procurators of St. Mark were living) and the Correr Museum.
The eastern end of the square is totally dominated by the magnificent St. Mark’s Basilica. Next to it, it’s pretty easy to spot the Doge’s Palace and the St. Mark’s Campanile.
One of the ways we suggest accessing the square is from the lagoon.
Take the vaporetto (ferry) and stop in front of the columns: ‘Colonne di San Marco and San Todaro’ to enjoy the best view of this unique ‘piazza’!
Also, it is worth noting that this area (San Marco) makes the perfect place to stay in Venice because you have the luxurious Gritti Palace Hotel which is literally just a 5 minute walk away from the square.
Whilst walking around St. Mark’s Square you can also stop by the Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio), with direct access to the Mercerie street.
On the front façade, see the sculptures of the Lion of St. Mark, the statues of the Moors, who strike the hours, the bell, the clock, and the figures of the three wise men.
While here you’ll find this is also a great area to pick up your gifts from Italy or souvenirs you may want to purchase to carry back home.
St. Mark’s Basilica
The St. Mark’s Basilica is the religious heart of Venice. The basilica overlooks the widest part of the square.
Take your time to look at the front façade characterized by deep entrance arches, columns, sculptures, and pinnacles.
Follow the lives of Christ and St. Mark narrated in the internal golden mosaic. The shape of the basilica is a Greek cross with five domes.
All the decorations you can find inside it, consist of the perfect combination of Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic art.
While you are inside the majestic cathedral don’t forget to pay a visit to the Pala d’Oro, Cappella di San Giovanni and all the other transept chapels as well as the St. Mark’s Tomb.
The tours organized by the basilica are temporarily suspended but you can check out this legendary St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace Tour for skip-the-line access for both the Basilica and Doge’s Palace.
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The Doge’s Palace is a masterpiece of a civil building built in the Venetian Gothic style. Together with the St. Mark’s Basilica, this is a not-to-be-missed landmark for your one day in Venice itinerary.
This palace was the formal residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority during the Serenissima Republic period.
In the early years of ‘900, it became part of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia (MUVE), a museum network, and all of them are worth a visit. Especially if you’re staying for more than a day in Venice.
Do you want to learn more about the history of Venice? Then you should definitely include the Doge’s Palace in your itinerary.
The ancient foundations date back to the fifteenth century, the conspicuous inserts to the Renaissance period and the sumptuous signs represent a strong historical testimony of the Mannerism artistic style.
The most beautiful room is the Chamber of the Great Council, decorated with a fresco and where many famous Venetian artists worked.
This is considered one of the largest rooms in Europe! The Great Council was the most important political body in the Republic and their meetings were held in this chamber.
Don’t forget to visit the prisons after crossing the Bridge of Sighs.
The origin of the bridge’s name goes back to the Romantic period and was supposed to refer to the sighs of prisoners who were taking the last look at freedom and to the lagoon whilst crossing it.
Book this Doge’s Palace tour for the sought after skip-the-lane access which will allow you to avoid the queues with a guided tour of the palace.
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St. Mark’s Campanile
For your one day in Venice itinerary, you can’t miss the best bird’s eye view you can get of the city and the lagoon.
From where? From the St. Mark’s Campanile. The campanile is 99 meters high and it was built in the 12th century.
This is the symbol of Venice and the Venetian people also call it in dialect ‘el parón de casa’ (the master of the house) for its importance over the years and dominant presence in the city.
The initial function of it was as a watchtower and lighthouse. On the top of it, you can see the golden statue of the Archangel Gabriel.
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A Gondola Tour
Another one-in-a-lifetime experience you can add to your one day in Venice itinerary is the gondola tour. These rides normally last 30 mins and are slightly longer during the night.
The cost for a gondola tour is the same everywhere: €80.00 for the day ride and €100.00 for the night ride (from 7 pm to 8 am).
The maximum number of people per gondola is five: The duration of the tour could vary for a few minutes due to traffic, tide, or weather conditions. See tips on how to get around in Venice here for more ideas.
You can start your tour from different points all around the city and where you spot the sign ‘servizio gondole’.
It’s a popular way to get around Venice and see the palaces, bridges, and streets from a different perspective.
You’ll be glad to know that there are some cheaper ways to get onto a Gondola tour if you can purchase your ticket in advance.
Don’t forget: to ask the gondolier where he’s planning to go and to include less touristic canals as well as the Grand Canal.
Gondoliers are local Venetians that can share precious information about the city… be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge and the ancient economic heart of Venice. There are four bridges spanning the Grand Canal and this is must see all during your one day in Venice.
While walking back to the train/bus station, from St. Mark’s Square proceed on Mercerie street and in 10 mins you’ll reach Rialto Bridge.
We believe that, even though it is the busiest and most touristic bridge in Venice, it’s still the most beautiful and an absolute must-see in Venice.
Enjoy romantic views of the Grand Canal and take a look at the shops located on the internal part of the bridge. After crossing it, stroll around the stands of the Rialto Market which dates back to 1097.
By the time you reach the Rialto area, it’s going to be ‘aperitivo’ time and there’re a couple of ‘bacari’ (traditional Venetian bars) we suggest:
Cicchetti costs around 2/3 euros and prices vary based on the ingredients you have on top (fish and seafood are more expensive).
From here you can walk back to the train/bus station by following the signs ‘Ferrovia – Piazzale Roma’. Or, if you like this area so much you decide to stay, check out Hotel Ca’ Nobile Corner for easy access.
Venice Itinerary Map
For this one day in Venice itinerary, we’ll share a map!
We suggest walking along Strada Nova, a spacious street built with the purpose to connect easily and in a faster way from St. Mark’s Square to the train/bus station.
Venice Itinerary 1 day
This is our suggested itinerary for one day in Venice.
Remember that using Google Maps on your cell/mobile phone won’t be of much help here. The satellite signal is pretty unreliable.
As mentioned earlier, there are signs everywhere so if you get off track it won’t take long for you to find your way again.
Our Venice itinerary:
Have you already got travel insurance sorted for your trip to Venice?
If not, be sure to get a FREE quote from SafetyWing to get the right (and timely) support when it comes to unforeseen travel compilications.
One day in Venice
Now you have some great ideas on how to spend a day in Venice.
Some of these attractions are the most popular with people who are visiting Venice for the first time. You can go in any order or skip any one of the attractions and you will still have a great time.
Book your trip to Venice and follow some of our sustainable travel tips to ensure that your trip has a positive impact on the local environment.
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