Best Sights of San Marco Walking Tour, Venice

San Marco is one of the six sestieri (neighborhoods) of Venice, set in the very heart of the city. It is known primarily as the home of the eponymous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) and other notable locations, such as Saint Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, Harry's Bar, the Palazzo Dandolo, San Moisè, the La Fenice theatre, the Palazzo Grassi and several churches. Once the seat of the Venetian government, the district is densely packed with many hotels, banks and expensive shops prompted, as of lately, by the influx of tourists. In large part, San Marco makes Venice what it is and, as such, demands exploration!
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Best Sights of San Marco Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Best Sights of San Marco Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Venice (See other walking tours in Venice)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km
Author: naomi
1
Piazza San Marco

1) Piazza San Marco (must see)

The principal square of Venice, Piazza San Marco is one of the few great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic, which is confined to Venice's waterways. It is the only urban space called a "piazza" in Venice. As the central landmark and gathering place, Piazza San Marco is extremely popular with tourists, photographers, and pigeons. The Piazza originated in the 9th century as a small area in front of the original St Mark's Basilica. It was enlarged to its present size and shape in 1177, when the Rio Batario, which had bounded it to the west, and a dock, which had isolated the Doge's Palace from the square, were filled in. The rearrangement was for the meeting of Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.

Why You Should Visit:
A visit to Venice – even not your first – is just not complete without this Piazza, and it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the sense of history & art here.

Tip:
If your time permits arrive later on the afternoon before or while it gets darker. Charming, romantic... and pretty empty.
During the day, some stalls are selling souvenirs, bags (and knock-offs) and other things at surprisingly fair prices.
The prices at the restaurants around the Piazza are not so fair, on the other hand. But that's common knowledge.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace)

2) Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) (must see)

The Doge's Palace was the symbol and the heart of political life and administration throughout the history of the Republic of Venice. Since 1923 the Palace has been open as a museum to the public. After receiving the patent, Titian became an overseer of official work and was engaged to finish the work of Giovanni Bellini, in the Doge's Palace. Also, he was hired by the dukes to paint their portraits and he finished 20 of them. You can admire the amazing work done by Titian throughout the Palace.

Why You Should Visit:
The artwork is amazing, but more the architecture and how the rooms and ceilings were built to support the artwork.
You also get to walk through the Bridge of Sighs, which is where the prisoners were transported from the courthouse to the jail.

Tip:
Book in advance for the guided "secret itinerary" tour that takes you into the old offices, meeting rooms and even torture chambers where the real business was conducted.
This "secret" tour fills up a few weeks in advance depending on the time of year, so book online early – it's well worth it.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:30am–7pm, last admission 6pm (Apr-Oct); 8:30am–5:30pm, last admission 4:30pm (Nov-Mar)
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Venice's Waterfront

3) Venice's Waterfront

Venice's Waterfront is a long, wonderful journey. Along the way, you'll see the Zaccaria and the Pieta waterbus platforms. It is a nice place to take a quiet walk and take in the open air. Zaccaria is an important stop for lots of boat lines. If you're lucky, you may see a boat like Croisi Europe's Michelangelo.
4
Giardinetti Reali

4) Giardinetti Reali

Giardinetti Reali, located near the Piazza San Marco, numbers among the few green oases in Venice. The garden was established by an order of Napoleon in the early 19th century. This public garden has a variety of trees and flowers with narrow pathways and seats were you can spend a leisurely afternoon or evening.
5
Calle Vallaresso

5) Calle Vallaresso

Calle Vallaresso is a street next to the Piazza San Marco where for centuries were situated gambling houses. Casanova was famous for his passion for money. He loved to spend money, and gambling was an easy way to get some. Gambling was for him a way of socializing, flirting and making new connections. Also, here, you will find the Ridotto theater that used to be a major gambling house during Casanova's time.
6
Parrocchia Di San Moise

6) Parrocchia Di San Moise

This church is dedicated to Moses, as the Venetians have a tradition of preferring the prophets of the Old Testament. No one knows exactly when it was built, but it is known that in the 9th century the edifice was reconstructed. The facade is astonishing, and the main mural painting inside - Mount Sinai with Moses receiving the Tablets - is a masterpiece made by Heinrich Meyring.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Teatro La Fenice

7) Teatro La Fenice (must see)

Teatro La Fenice ("The Phoenix") is an opera house in Venice. It is one of the most famous theaters in Europe, the site of many famous operatic premieres. Its name reflects its role in permitting an opera company to "rise from the ashes" despite losing the use of two theaters. Since opening and being named La Fenice, it has twice burned and been rebuilt. La Fenice was rebuilt in 19th-century style on the basis of a design by architect Aldo Rossi and using still photographs from the opening scenes of Luchino Visconti's 1954 film Senso, which was filmed in the house, in order to obtain details of its design. It reopened on 14 December 2003 with an inaugural concert of Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky. The first opera production was La Traviata in November 2004.

Why You Should Visit:
One of Italy's most treasured theaters, and for good reason!
Doesn't look like much from the outside, but that's because all you need is to step inside to be transported to the elite 14th-century royalty of Italy.
The self-guided audio tour lasts around 15 mins; what will take you more time is taking pictures and admiring the intricate detail of the architecture.

Tip:
If you go on a tour while the theater hall is closed for a rehearsal, it might be best to reschedule for a later time when it is open, as that is where all of the grandeur lies.
For the cheaper tickets, it might be hard to see the stage, but you can stand and listen to the music if you fancy.

Opening Hours:
Mon: 9:45am-7:30pm; Tue-Sun: 9:45am-11pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Palazzo Bellavite

8) Palazzo Bellavite

Palazzo Bellavite is a 16th century palace located in Campo San Maurizio. Once it was a prestigious residence. Now it is a study center and an office complex. The place was home to the Venetian poet Giorgio Baffo. He was a good friend of the young Casanova and also a lover of Casanova's mother, Giovanna Farussi.
9
Campo Santo Stefano

9) Campo Santo Stefano

Campo Santo Stefano was and is the favorite meeting-point of the Venetians. Many love affairs were born through walking up and down this square and many Venetians found themselves duped into courting stupendous ladies only to discover, when it was too late, that beneath the mask was just a common woman. This square once hosted bullfights, but nowadays it hosts outdoor fairs during Christmas and Carnevale seasons.
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti

10) Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti (must see)

Erected in 1565, Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti is a palace in Venice, not far from the Ponte dell'Accademia and next to the Palazzo Barbaro on the Grand Canal of Venice. In the 19th century, it was internally modernized and externally enriched in Venetian Gothic style, with rich window framing, by a series of grand owners. The first neo-Gothic improvements were made after 1840, when the young Archduke Frederick Ferdinand of Austria (1821-1847) reassembled the property, the Palazzo Cavalli-Gussoni, which had become divided among heirs, and embarked on a complex project intended to give a more prominent Habsburg presence along the Grand Canal, as Austria-Hungary had been awarded the territories of Venice after the Napoleonic Wars. Since 1999 it has been the seat of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti and frequently houses cultural events.

Why You Should Visit:
Wonderful palace with spectacular painting on the walls and ceilings and some great contemporary exhibits.
The views of the Grand Canal can't be beaten, and the cafeteria is excellent for healthy lunch (fantastic value!).

Tip:
Check out the external courtyard with fine medieval details.
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Palazzo Malipiero

11) Palazzo Malipiero

Giacomo Casanova was born, in 1725, in a building adjacent to Palazzo Malipiero. From 1740 onwards, he lived in the Palazzo and became a confidant of Senator Alvise II Gasparo Malipiero. Here he started his first love affairs and had the opportunity to establish relations with Italy's most important people. After being caught, in flagrante delicto, with a mistress of Alvise II, he was expelled from Venice.
12
Campo San Samuele

12) Campo San Samuele

Campo San Samuele is a square located on the bank of Grand Canal. The square is home to some amazing palaces of great historical, architectural and cultural importance for Venice, such as the Palazzo Malipiero and the Palazzo Grassi, to name just two. Both palaces were homes of the greatest Venetian lover of all times, Giacomo Casanova. In the center of the square is located the Chiesa di San Samuele, this is the church where Casanova was baptized.
Sight description based on wikipedia
13
Palazzo Grassi

13) Palazzo Grassi (must see)

Palazzo Grassi (also known as the Palazzo Grassi-Stucky) is an edifice in the Venetian Classical style located on the Grand Canal of Venice. It was designed by Giorgio Massari, and the building was completed between 1748 and 1772. The latecomer among the palaces on the Grand Canal of Venice, Palazzo Grassi has an academic classical style that is in contrast to the surrounding Byzantine-Romanesque and Baroque Venetian palazzi. It has a formal palace façade, constructed in white marble, and lacking the lower mercantile openings typical of many Venetian patrician palaces.

The Grassi family sold the palazzo in 1840, with ownership that followed passing through many different individuals. The Palazzo was purchased by the Fiat Group in 1983, under the late chairman Gianni Agnelli, and it underwent a complete restoration overseen by Count Antonio Foscari Widmann Rezzonico, the current owner of Villa Foscari. The group's aim was to transform Palazzo Grassi into an exhibition hall for the visual arts. It continues to be used as an art gallery today. Between 1984 and 1990, Pontus Hultén was in charge of the art museum which also contains a 600 seat outdoor theatre. Since 2006, the palace has been owned by the French entrepreneur François Pinault who exhibits his personal art collection there. It was also where Pinault's son Francois-Henri met actress Salma Hayek and it served as the location for their wedding vow renewal.

Why You Should Visit:
After seeing and admiring a mind-numbing amount of Italian Renaissance art, it is refreshing to come across this modern art museum for a change of pace.
The building itself is splendid with a wonderful staircase and stunningly ornate gold-encrusted ceilings.
Gazing out of the windows provides a further brilliant, if slightly distracting, artistic vision.

Tip:
When going to an exhibition, make sure you visit both museums sites to not only get value for money but to experience the whole collection.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 10am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
14
Chiesa Cattolica Parrocchiale S.Stefano Protomartire

14) Chiesa Cattolica Parrocchiale S.Stefano Protomartire

This is one of the largest churches in Venice and is situated in the northern part of the city. The edifice was built in the 13th century, rebuilt in the 14th and redecorated partially in the 15th. Many years of construction, reconstruction and redecoration show us today a magnificent, wonderful architectural gem with painting and design to match. The church is the resting place for a few famous persons, such as: Francesco Morosini, Doge Andrea Contarini and others.
Sight description based on wikipedia
15
Teamo Wine Bar

15) Teamo Wine Bar

Only the name of this wine bar would make you love it at first sight. Te Amo in translation means I Love You. It is a very cozy, warm and not very crowded place. The wine here is sold by the bottle too, of course. It is possible to have your wine sent directly to the hotel, so no unfortunate cases could ruin your goods.
16
Palazzo Grimani di San Luca

16) Palazzo Grimani di San Luca (must see)

The Palazzo Grimani di San Luca is a Renaissance building in Venice. It is located on the Rio di San Luca channel of the city, at the point in which it flows into the Canal Grande. The palace was built in the mid-16th century for procurator Gerolamo Grimani by architect Michele Sanmicheli, and completed after his death by Gian Giacomo de' Grigi, known as "il Bergamasco". The façade has three sectors with Corinthian columns, also inspired to the Roman architecture, in particular to the triumphal arch. The residence of the patrician Grimani family until 1806, Palazzo Grimani is currently the seat of the Venice' Appeal Court.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Venice, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Creating your own self-guided walk in Venice is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

Largely regarded as one of the most romantic places ever built by man, the city of Venice is spread across 118 islands collectively earning it the nicknames of the City of Water and the City of Bridges. Other than the bridges, though, the city abounds in museums, basilicas and other historic sights. For a chance to visit some of these and learn more about Venice, embark on this self-guided walk!

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

Piazza San Marco is the main square in Venice. This is a place that enriched the cultural, social and economic life of Venice in the course of its history. The square is the host of the famous Venice landmarks as the Doge's Palace, Basilica San Marco and the Procuratie. Piazza San Marco is always full of people and pigeons.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 km
Lido Island Walking Tour

Lido Island Walking Tour

Lido is the largest island of Venice city. It is long, but not wide at all, very different from the circular form of the main city. Lido is known for its very popular places, a movie was made here and there are some other secrets that this particular guide offers you. Ready for adventure? Ride on!

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Casanova's Tour

Casanova's Tour

Giacomo Casanova is one of the most famous personalities of Venice. He was a man of great culture. His interests ranged from love affairs and gambling to writing and alchemy. Born in a family of theater actors in 1725, he grew up surrounded by high society. He became an important personality in his own right, starting with his adolescence. This tour will show you places of great significance in the life of Casanova.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
San Polo Walking Tour

San Polo Walking Tour

San Polo is the smallest and one of the oldest districts in Venice, established circa 9th century AD. It has hosted the city's main market since 1097, and been linked to the eastern bank of the Grande Canal, via the Rialto Bridge, since the 13th century. Apart from the bridge, other attractions in the area include the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, the Campo San Polo, the House of Goldoni, the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, the Church of San Rocco and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. If you're in love with Venice, you'll find plenty to see in this part of the city!

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Murano Island Walking Tour

Murano Island Walking Tour

Murano is often called the Glass Island, since it is home to the most impressive and renowned Venetian glass factories. The glass makers here have preserved their centuries-old techniques. The island is full of shops were you can admire and purchase these adorable glass items. Some factories have special showrooms where you can see the full process of glass making.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

Venice has been a tourist mecca for over a century now, with millions of visitors flocking in every year to see this unique place on the face of the Earth. Many, if not all, of these people seek to obtain something memorable as a token of their stay in this city. By far, not all of them know which...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Venice for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Venice has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Venice's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Official All Venice City Pass, Venezia Unica Tourist City Pass, 72-Hour Venice Transportation Pass, or Venice Museum Pass.

A city pass combines all of or multiple Venice's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Venice hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Hotel Concordia, Hotel Al Ponte Dei Sospiri, Baglioni Hotel Luna.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Venice, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Venice typically costs from around US$20 up to more than US$200 per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat to view all of Venice's top attractions while listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route as often as you like.

- Experience Venice from dry land and water on the combo of 2-hour walk and half-hour gondola ride around the historic center, marveling at the Byzantine monuments and gliding down the canals of this marvelous city.

- Have a double pleasure for your eyes and ears combining a 30-minute gondola ride with a serenade, wafting by the fascinating sights of Venice in the company of a traditionally-dressed gondolier and a singer aboard.

- Having quenched your appetite for sightseeing, don't forget to treat yourself to some delicious specialties of Venice as well. Take a 2.5-hour tour led by a local guide to see the city's highlights on waters, plus check out several notable eateries to savor authentic Venetian delights.

- Discover the Jewish side of Venice from a culinary standpoint on a food tour of the historic Jewish ghetto. Guided by a food-connoisseur, you will visit a number of joints offering authentic local dishes thus acquainting yourself with the rich culture and food traditions of the Venetian Jews.

- Architecture-wise there's so much more to Venice than just St. Mark's Square. Be welcome to prove it to yourself on the guided walk exploring the artistic richness of Venice away from the trodden tourist paths.

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Venice, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Verona, Valpolicella, Florence, or the Dolomite Mountains. For as little as US$140+ to US$180+ per person you will get a chance to visit one of the most romantic cities in Italy (hometown of Romeo and Juliet), learn about Veneto’s winemaking heritage and sample the local wines, visit the Tuscan capital of Florence, soak up the bracing mountain scenery, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Venice, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minibus or train to the destination of your choice and back again.