Venice Sights

It's called La Serenissima, "the most serene," a reference to the majesty, wisdom, and impressive power of this city that was for centuries the leader in trade between Europe and the Orient, and a major source of European culture. Built on and around a cluster of tiny islands in a lagoon by a people who saw the sea as a defense and ally, Venice is unlike any other city.

No matter how often

you've seen Venice in photos and films, the city is more dreamlike than you could ever imagine. The key landmarks, the Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale, are hardly what we normally think of as Italian: fascinatingly idiosyncratic, they are exotic mixes of Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. Shimmering sunlight and silvery mist soften every perspective here; it’s easy to understand how the city became renowned in the Renaissance for its artists' use of color. The city is full of secrets, inexpressibly romantic, and, in both art and everyday life, given over to an unabashed celebration of the material world.

You'll see Venetians going about their daily affairs in vaporetti (water buses), aboard the traghetti (gondola ferries) that carry them across the Grand Canal, in the campi (squares), and along the calli (narrow streets). They are skilled—and remarkably tolerant—in dealing with the hordes of tourists from all over the world, attracted by the city's fame and splendor.

Venice proper is divided into six sestieri, or districts (the word sestiere means, appropriately, "sixth"): Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo, and Santa Croce. More-sedate outer islands float around them—San Giorgio Maggiore and the Giudecca just to the south, beyond them the Lido, the barrier island; to the north, Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

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San Marco 12

Castello 11

Dorsoduro 9

Cannaregio 8

Santa Croce 4

San Polo 4

Murano 3

Torcello 1

The Lido 1

San Michele 1

San Giorgio Maggiore 1

Giudecca 1

Burano 1

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Bridge/ Tunnel 1

Building/ Architectural Site 1

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Historic District/ Site 2

House/ Mansion/ Villa 1

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Museum/ Gallery 17

Neighborhood/ Street 1

Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 4

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 29

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Venice Sights

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Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Completed in 1442, this immense Gothic church of russet-color brick—known locally as I Frari —is famous worldwide for its array...

Santa Maria dei Miracoli

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Tiny yet harmoniously proportioned, this Renaissance gem, built between 1481 and 1489, is sheathed in marble and decorated inside with...

Santa Maria della Salute

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

The most iconic landmark of the Grand Canal, La Salute (as this church is commonly called) is most unforgettably viewed from the Riva...

Santi Giovanni e Paolo

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

A venerated jewel, this gorgeous church looms over one of the most picturesque squares in Venice: the Campo Giovanni e Paolo, centered...

Santissimo Redentore

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

After a plague in 1576 claimed some 50,000 people—nearly one-third of the city's population (including Titian)—Andrea Palladio was...

Scuola Grande dei Carmini

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

When the order of Santa Maria del Carmelo commissioned Baldassare Longhena to finish the work on the Scuola Grande dei Carmini in the...

Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

This scuola was founded in the 13th century, but the actual building is the work of various Venetian Renaissance architects and dates...

Scuola Grande di San Rocco

  • Museum/Gallery

Saint Rocco's popularity stemmed from his miraculous recovery from the plague and his care for fellow sufferers. Throughout the plague-filled...

Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni

  • House/Mansion/Villa

Founded in 1451 by the Dalmatian community, this small scuola was, and still is, a social and cultural center for migrants from what...

Torre dell'Orologio

  • Historic District/Site

This enameled clock, completed in 1499, was most likely designed by Venetian Renaissance architect Mauro Codussi. Twin giant figures...

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