Let’s say you only have two days in Venice, Italy’s famous “City of Water”
... how much of it can you actually see with your own eyes? That’s the question that we asked ourselves when coming up with a 2-day tour of Venice that will cover the city’s most important landmarks, while also leaving some breathing room where you can unwind and really soak up the unique vibe of Venice. A vacation doesn’t HAVE to be stressful, even if you’re short on time!
Day One: Essential Sights & Grand Finale on the Grand Canal
St. Mark’s Basilica
The first stop on our 2-day tour of Venice will take us to a place that should be on the top of every visitor’s bucket list. Known in Italian as the “Piazza San Marco”, or simply “la Piazza”, this huge public square is filled with interesting people and surrounded by some of the most important sights in all of Venice, making it the perfect starting place for our time-efficient tour!
Very few places encapsulate the charm and beauty of Venice as much as the St. Mark’s Basilica, located at the eastern end of the St. Mark’s Square. There’s so many details adorning this colorful, imposing cathedral that you’ll be sure to discover something new everytime you take a look at it… and that’s only the exterior! Your jaw might actually hit the floor once you step INSIDE: An endless amount of highly detailed mosaics, images and other gorgeous ornaments are packed inside this beautifully lit structure which was clearly made to impress, and successfully so!
The original Basilica was built somewhere around the year 830, but the fancy version that we get to admire these days is actually a rebuild from the late 11th century, a rebuild that was commissioned by the Doge (representative figure) of Venice at the time. Speaking of which…
The “Palazzo Ducale”, or Doge’s Palace, had many use cases back in the day while also serving as the home of the Doges of Venice. But for more than a century now, the Doge’s Palace has served as a museum, which means that besides its incredible gothic-style architecture, there’s a vast amount of fine art to be admired here as well! One of the most popular attractions, however, is the so-called “Bridge of Sighs” (Ponte dei Sospiri), which connected the Palace to a former prison. No sighing prisoners are to be found here these days, though, and the only sighs that can be heard here nowadays are the love sighs from impressed on-lookers who instantly fell in love with the bridge’s stunning limestone construction!
The Grand Canal & Aperitivo
It wouldn’t be a tour of Venice without exploring the city’s trademark waterways, would it? Don’t worry, we did not forget about this essential part of your trip! Both private boat rides as well as the so-called “Vaporetto” (public waterbus) are attractive and efficient options when trying to travel along the 4km (2.5 miles) long “Canal Grande”, the city’s most important water channel. This is the channel that you see on most pictures of Venice, and usually the first thing you see when you enter the city. No matter how you choose to do it, following the Canal Grande is the most efficient and relaxing way of seeing large parts of what Venice has to offer, including many more historically significant sights that we will gladly tell you about along the way. You might even get a sneak peek of what we will explore on day two!
The only thing that the first day of our tour needs now is a fitting end, and what could be more fitting than a drink to prepare you for a delicious meal? In Italy, the so-called “Aperitivo” aims to deliver just that. A light alcoholic drink mixed with a few appetizers is not only the perfect way to prepare your stomach for a main dish of your choice, it’s also a pretty good excuse for having a drink and serves as a perfect bookend to the first part of our tour!
Day Two: Culinary Delights, Fine Art & an Unforgettable Boat Ride
Rialto Bridge & the Fish Market
In total, four bridges cross the aforementioned “Canal Grande”, but the oldest and most famous of them all is the “Rialto Bridge”, designed by Antonio da Ponte and built between 1588 and 1591. This beautiful bridge is one of Venice’s most visited landmarks for good reason: What you get atop the “Rialto Bridge” is an iconic view of the Canal Grande and the Gondoliers, who row their beautifully handcrafted boats down the city’s busiest water channel. Standing on this bridge TRULY makes you feel like you’ve arrived in Venice!
As if the “Ponte di Rialto” wasn’t legendary enough, there is also a world-famous market nearby that you just have to experience in person! The “Rialto Market” is ALMOST as essential to everyday life in Venice as its many boats and water channels. Located in an area of Venice that has served as one of the city’s most important trading centers for multiple centuries, this market offers everything from fruit & vegetable vendors to traditional butcher shops which supply the city’s residents and restaurants with high-quality products. The market's main attraction, however, is the fish market (Pescheria): Venetians LOVE their seafood, and they proudly showcase that love here by offering all kinds of fish and other seafood that is as fresh and delicious as it gets! And don’t worry: In case you already worked up an appetite during this part of the tour, there are some amazing delicacies on offer here that you can enjoy DURING our visit to the market! Just make sure to keep a bit of an appetite for our next destination…
Cantina Do Mori
The word “Bàcaro” represents one of the most important meeting places for the citizens of Venice. It is a sort of tavern that serves drinks, as well as the famous “cicchetti”, a type of finger food which can conveniently be enjoyed while standing. The “Cantina Do Mori” is one of these so-called “bàcari”, and a special one at that! It is actually one of the oldest of its kind in all of Venice, with a founding date of 1462. Allegedly, Casanova brought his dates here on multiple occasions… and yes, we are talking about THE Casanova here!
While you certainly won’t meet that guy here anymore, there is much to love about this place. The aforementioned “cicchetti” finger food can be enjoyed here, and is made to perfectly accompany Do Mori’s large selection of wines. All of this is presented in one of the most unique ambiances in all of Venice, one that will seemingly transport you back in time. If it was good enough for Casanova and his dates, you know it’s a place worth visiting, just like our next destination!
A palace made of white Istrian stone that, even among all the other countless beautiful structures along the Canal Grande, manages to stand out. The exterior of “Ca’ Rezzonico” could be considered a piece of art in itself, but there is MUCH more beauty to be admired on the inside! The “Ca’ Rezzonico” is dedicated to Venice during the 18th century specifically, a very eventful time period for Italy’s “Floating City”. Paintings by some of the greatest Venetian artists at the time are on display at the palace, accompanied by a collection of beautiful 18th century furniture and glassware. Does the name “Murano” ring a bell?
If you are overwhelmed by all this amazing art, the palace features a tranquil garden which is sure to calm your senses and prepare you for the final part of our 2-day tour!
Gondola Ride & House of Marco Polo
The moment you’ve probably been excited for even before you came to Venice will make for a fitting end to our short but efficient tour! There is a good reason why the “gondola” rowing boats are so popular with tourists: First of all, the boats themselves are beautiful pieces of art handcrafted by some of Venice’s finest artisans. Second, a gondola ride is just flat-out calming and romantic. The slower pace of the gondola, compared to motorized boats, really gives you even more time to appreciate the unique vibe of the city. Not to mention that these boats can take you to places where motorboats simply can’t reach! For example, our gondola will pass the former home of one of history’s most famous explorers and adventurers: Marco Polo.
This is but one of many interesting places that a stress-free gondola ride through Venice’s countless narrow channels has to offer, and we will gladly tell you a lot more about them as we finish our tour!
Should you be interested in a time-efficient tour in this style, then make sure to contact us!
Of course, we can customize the tour to your liking, depending on personal preferences and seasonal events taking place during your visit. Either way, we at Unfold Travel hope to hear from you soon!