The Most Impressive Historical Sites in Venice

Historical Sites You Don’t Want to Miss in Venice

It is very hard to choose a starting point when visiting Venice, as the city is packed with amazing things to see and do; between the iconic winding canals, the back street’s hidden gems, and the wonderful historical buildings. So whether you want to visit the iconic St. Mark’s Basilica, marvel at the greatest collection of 18th-century Venetian art, or simply float along the Grand Canal in a gondola, we have compiled a list of the most impressive historical sites in Venice for you.

impressive historical sites venice

St. Mark’s Basilica

Not only is this breathtaking church the most famous in Venice, but it is also one of the most renowned churches in the world. St. Mark’s Basilica was originally built as the Dodge’s private chapel and was filled with Byzantine treasures and fine artwork brought back by Venetian ships. With its gold-backed mosaic murals and delicate facades, you could easily be mesmerised by the church’s beauty for hours on end. However, its real beauty lies inside. Once in the building, you will see over 4,200 square meters of gold mosaic covering its walls and grand domes, each one personally designed by Titan and Tintoretto, two of Venice’s most beloved artists. Not only is the Basilica filled with the most spectacular mosaic, but it also holds the most magnificent gold altarpiece in Europe, the Pala d’Oro, with its 2,000 gems, and the most impressive treasury and wonderful Italian marble inlay floors. St. Mark’s Basilica is easily one of the most majestic historical sites in Venice (and in the world for that matter).

venice historical sites st marks basilica

Grand Canal

There is nothing more iconic than Venice’s breathtaking Grand Canal. Winding through the very heart of the city, this S-shaped body of water connects Piazza San Marco to the main island’s rail station. Measuring 3.8 kilometers, only four bridges are wide enough to cross the canal, including the famous Rialto Bridge. Moreover, as you paddle along the waterway, you will see exquisite palaces with impressive Gothic facades, almost perfectly preserved since their construction. The reason behind this is when Venice’s population started to grow, the biggest families wished to build their homes directly on the canal. So during your Venetian visit, why not take a romantic gondola ride along the glistening waters and explore the Grand Canal, one of the most enigmatic sites in Venice.

historical site venice grand canal

Ponte di Rialto

Built in 1588, the Rialto Bridge was once the only crossing point along the Grand Canal; it also marks the very first settlement spot on Venice’s island known as Rivus Altus. Today, this famous bridge is now the crossing point between two of the busiest streets in the city and is one of the most popular vantage points for tourists seeking out the perfect “Venice style” photo. Moreover, on one side of the Rialto Bridge, you can find the San Bartolomeo church, the church where the German merchants working in the German Commodity Exchange went to pray. On the opposite side of the canal, you can find one of the island’s most bustling food markets, where top chefs and local Venetians purchase their fresh produce.

 

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If you are looking for authentic artisanal shops and boutiques, many can be found along the narrow streets of San Polo, located just behind the market.

Gallerie dell’Accademia

Located on the Grand Canal is the wondrous museum, Gallerie dell’Accademia. Home to the most incredible collection of 15th to 18th-century Venetian art, most of this collection was accumulated through closing monasteries, churches, and fine palaces when the Venetian noble families began to leave the island. As the art came from many different places, the collection is extremely varied. Moreover, the Gallerie dell’Accademia’s paintings are presented in chronological order, showcasing the true evolution of Italian artistic styles.

 

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Some of the museum’s ‘must sees’ are the Madonna and Saints by Giovanni Bellini, Portrait of Christ by Vittore Carpaccio, and St. John the Baptist by Titian. For any art or history lover, this visit is a must!

Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Finished in 1560, this beautiful white marble building was the gathering place of a society dedicated to San Rocco, a Catholic patron saint of dogs. Soon after its construction, a competition was held in order to determine the artist worthy of painting the interior. It is rumoured that the 16th-century artist, Tintoretto, won the competition by wrongfully hanging his work in the exact place it was to be painted just before the judges entered the building. To the dismay of his rivals, Tintoretto proceeded to paint the Sala dell’Albergo’s central panel and later on, its walls, which are said to be his greatest masterpiece.

 

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Scuola Grande di San Rocco’s very first paintings date back to 1564, however, the most renowned piece of art is “The Crucifixion”, an extremely powerful and moving depiction.