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48 Hours in Venice

48 Hours in Venice

Known for its never-ending canals and bridges (177 canals and more than 400 bridges to be exact), Venezia or Venice in English most likely springs to mind when one thinks of Italian romance. With swoon-worthy views to see as you drift in one of the gondolas, Venice has made its mark as one of Italy’s must-see destinations. If you’re lucky enough to visit Venice during the famous Carnevale, make sure to check out this year’s programme for entertaining and memorable experiences! 

Let’s explore 48 hours in Venice!

Day 1 Itinerary

Before you begin your exploration, consider your transportation. One option to look into is purchasing the Venezia Unica. This city pass, “is an all-in-one pass to use for public transportation, admission to tourist attractions and cultural events in the city, and many other useful services.” Or, you just walk and walk around Venice until your happy feet can’t walk anymore!

First stop: Rialto Bridge. As Venice’s most famous bridge with millions of tourist visits per year, you will want to get there in the morning to secure a spot to actually experience its glory. And from 9-12pm, you can even check out the fresh fruit, vegetables and fish at the Rialto Market nearby. 

Rialto Bridge / Photo by Shaun Dunmall

Next, make your way to the Gran Teatro La Fenice. This breathtaking, storied opera house will quench the art-lover’s thirst. If you’re lucky, perhaps you can catch a performance there, as well! 

Surely, you will be hungry at this time but why limit yourself to only one place? Check out the guided food tour below complete with plenty of street food bites or stop in at the nearby Al Vaporetto for a quick bite or for more of an atmosphere and people-watching experience, Ristorante Quadri

Next, spend a few hours in Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square and explore all of its historical buildings, including the famed St. Mark’s Basilica and its Campanile bell tower.

Piazza San Marco / Photo by Alessandro De Marco

After, go back in time to immerse yourself in the gothic architecture of the governmental Doge’s Palace. However, if you’re a history buff who likes skipping lines, explore the following guided tour options.

Round out your eventful day with a relaxed evening gondola ride (book in advance here) before finding a local bar to sip on a spritz and munch on cicchetti, Venice’s form of tapas. Cicchetti can include everything from seafood on toothpicks, meatballs (polpette) or colorful toppings spread on crostini. Traditionally, this inexpensive snack is eaten while standing at a bar, or outside the door. To avoid drinking on an empty stomach, it is believed that this is where “cichéti” was born, which is said to come from the Latin “ciccus” meaning “small amount.” 

Day 2 Itinerary

Begin your second day of Venetian exploration the Italian way: with an espresso and a pastry. As one of the most popular pastry shops, Pasticceria Tonolo, should be at the top of your list. Plus, if you are in Venice during Carnevale, then this pastry shop is the place to try the Carnevale frittella, a fried doughnut dipped in heaven. Carnevale, which got its start in the year 1162, is a massive and exciting celebration that goes on for two weeks. Many events like the masquerade balls require invitations with expensive ticket prices, but many others, like the candle-lit parade of boats, concerts, and street performances, are free and open to the public. Today, about 3 million people travel to Venice every year for Carnevale.

Venice Carnival / Photo by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová

After, make your way to the most charming and interesting library you will ever see, the Libreria Acqua Alta where the books are kept in boats and bathtubs! Prepare yourself for a possible long line, but with its organized flow, you won’t be waiting too long to see this original bookstore

Next, plan to spend a few hours at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the 18th century former home of the American socialite and collector to see some of the best modern art in the world. But it’s highly advisable to book your tickets in advance.

You can always continue to get lost in the city of Venice, but it is recommended to hop on over to the nearby colorful and lively islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. To get there, you can either join a tour or take the water taxi, which will get you there in about 10 minutes. Bookmark this interactive water taxi map for routes.

Burano, the most colorful island of the three, is known for its lace-making, which you can dive deeper into at the Lace Museum, if desired. Next, check out the glass blowing in Murano, which is recommended to do at Colleoni. The least-inhabited island of the three, Torcello, will give you a peaceful atmosphere as you experience the beauty of its mosaics and cathedrals. 

Burano Island / Photo by Nathan Riley

With all of your exploring, don’t forget to eat! For a cozy atmosphere on the canal, stop at Osteria Al Fureghin in Burano for drinks or bites or reserve your spot at the B Restaurant Alla Vecchia Pescheria in Murano for its fresh seafood. 

As always with many cities in Italy, it can be hard to soak it all in in just 48 hours. So, if you do have more time, stay longer or at least, return! But if 48 hours is all you have now, this is a good start. Remember, you will most likely get lost in this winding town of endless streets, bridges and canals, but getting lost will never be so lovely as it is in Venice. 

Article by Mary Catherine Holcomb for Easy Milano

Featured Image by Henrique Ferreira


Easy Milano

Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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