Top Highlights
in Venice (Italy)
Cruise Port Guide

Photo of St Mark Square in Venice
Photo of St Mark Square in Venice
Photo of St Mark Square in Venice

Essential guide for cruise travelers to the top things to do and see in Venice: reviews, photos, opening times, entrance fees and all practical info.


The cruise traveler calling at the port in Venice should not miss visiting major landmarks like the Piazza San Marco, the Dodge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Rialto Bridge. But there are many other attractions not to be mised.

Some individual artworks could also be considered major highlights, such as Titian's “Assumption” (in Santa Maria dei Frari), the “Martyrdom of St. Lawrence” (in the off-the-beaten-track Church of the Jesuits) or the equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni by Verocchio on Campo di Santi Giovanni e Paolo, which are seldom ignored by many a travel guide.

Therefore it is strongly advisable to also read our reviews of major Museums, Religious Sites and Landmarks in Venice.

Piazza San Marco
(St Mark’s Square )

St Mark’s Square is considered to be one of the finest squares in the world, and is where life in Venice is centered, and revolves around.

Photo of St. Mark's Square in Venice.

St. Mark's Square, Venice

Photo ©

It is a basic symbol of this cities public life here in Venice. At one end you will find the Basilica with its rounded domes and at the other the highest bell tower in Venice. You will also note the other public buildings surrounding it including the Procuratie Nuove and Procuratie Vecchie. In the square, you will find one of the oldest cafés in Venice, Caffè Florian that was restructured back in the 1800s. The two monolithic columns guarding the square were erected back in the 12th century and was the place where public executions were held.

Basilica di San Marco
(St. Mark's Basilica)

Photo of Basilica di San Marco in Venice.

Basilica di San Marco, Venice

Photo ©

The Basilica di San Marco has been and still today is a symbol of the wealth of Venice ever since the 1300’s. It is by far the most famous church of all the churches you can visit in Venice. The Basilica was originally built and intended for the early monarchs of Venice, but as years passed it became the main worship center for the people of Venice. When entering the Basilica if you look above the farthest door to the left, you will find a 13th century mosaic depicting a very interesting piece of history. It is believed that back in 828 some Venetian merchants removed the remains of Saint Mark the Evangelist from his grave in Alexandria, Egypt and brought to Venice where they have remained in the basilica today. What’s unique about this story is that the merchants hid the remains in a barrel under many layers of pork in order to sneak them past the Muslim guards of the time.

Where: Piazza San Marco
Phone: +39 041 2708311
Open: 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM (last admission 4.45 PM) | Sunday and holidays: 2.00 PM – 4.00 PM
Entrance: Church: FREE | Museum: €5.00 | Treasury: €2.00
Website: Official Site

Campanile di San Marco
(Bell Tower)

Photo of Campanile di San Marco in Venice.

Campanile di San Marco, Venice

Photo ©

The highest bell tower in all Venice - 98.6 meters (323 ft) tall - which stands in front of the Basilica, is called the landlord, or “il padrone di casa” by local residents. From this bell tower, one has awesome views of the lagoon and city below. On top of the bell tower sits a gold plated figure of the Angel Gabriel, with wings that turn in the wind. The tower has been rebuilt many times over the years since it was originally built in the 9th century. Although the present form of the "Campanile" dates back to 1514, it collapsed in 1902 and was rebuilt ten years later (1912) exactly has it had been.

Where: Piazza San Marco
Phone: +39 041 2708311
Open: 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM (last admission 4.45 PM) | Sunday and holidays: 2.00 PM – 4.00 PM
Entrance: €8.00
Website: Official Site

Torre dell’ Orologio
(Clock Tower)

Photo of Torre Dell Orologio Clock Tower in Venice.

Torre Dell Orologio Clock Tower, Venice

Photo ©

This Renaissance clock tower was built in 1496 and is located in the magnificent Piazza San Marco. One of the favorite meeting places in Venice, after all these years, this clock still keeps accurate time. Viewing this clock tower, realize that the clock is an example of excellent mechanical, geometric and mathematical precision. There are a circle of figures that represent the Magi and Gabriel that run around the Madonna and child at the striking of the hour.

Where: Piazza San Marco
Open: Monday to Wednesday: 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Thursday to Sunday: 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM
Entrance: €12.00 - advisable to book online
Website: Official Site

Museo Civico Correr
(Correr Museum)

Photo of Museo Correr in Venice.

Museo Correr, Venice

Photo ©

Located in the Piazza San Marco, this is the civic museum of all Venice, holding artifacts, documents, artwork, as well as maps charting the cities history. Also on display are doges’ robes, hats as well as a pair of platform shoes from La Serenissma during its best days. A fine collection of art from Antonio Canova is located in the Napoleonic Wing. Also on display are collections by Enzo Cucchi, Anselm Kieffer and Lawrence Carroll. If your interest is early Renaissance Venetian artwork, a visit to the second floor is mandatory.

Where: Piazza San Marco
Open: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM (last visit 6:00 PM)
Entrance: €19.00 - Combined Ticket to Doge’s Palace, Museo Correr and Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Website: Official Site

Palazzo Ducale
(Doge’s Palace)

Photo of Palazzo Ducale in Venice.

Palazzo Ducale, Venice

Photo ©

Between the Basilica and St. Marks Basin lies the Palazzo Ducale, a pink and white Gothic style marble building. The Palazzo Ducale for over one hundred years was the main residence of the dukes of Venice who were the reigning body, for life. This building started as a castle in the 14th and 15 centuries, and presents ornate decorations of symbols, sculptures and ornamental decorations. Upon entering the Gothic “Della Carta” door, you find yourself in a beautiful courtyard, with two bronze well rings. These rings date back to the early 1500’s, and sit among the statues of Neptune and Mars created by Jacopo Sansovino in 1554.

Where: Piazza San Marco
Open: Daily: 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM (last admission 6:00 PM)
Entrance: €19.00 - Combined Ticket to Doge’s Palace, Museo Correr and Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Website: Official Site

Ponte de Sospiri
(Bridge of Sighs)

Photo of Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

Bridge of Sighs, Venice

Photo ©

The Bridge of Sighs spans the Rio di Palazzo or Palace River and was constructed in the 17th century by Antonio Contino. The purpose of the bridge was to connect the Old Prison with the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the then New Prison located across the river. Romantic legend has it that if a couple were to kiss while enjoying a gondola under the bridge at sunset, their love would last to eternity.

Ponte de Rialto
(Rialto Bridge)

Photo of Rialto Bridge in Venice.

Rialto Bridge, Venice

Photo ©

Built in the year 1854 the Rialto Bridge remains the most ancient and famous of bridges in all Venice. Until well into the 19th century, this was the only bridge that spanned the Grand Canal, originally built as a pontoon bridge. Today you find this graceful bridge lined with both boutiques as well as tourists. The bridge itself when proposed, had many famous architects applying for the job, including Palladio and Michelangelo himself, but it was a fairly unknown Antonio da Ponte that was awarded the job. This is quite the place to view the boat traffic of the Grand Canal.

Galleria dell’Accademia
(Best Art Collection in Venice)

Photo of Galleria Dell Accademia di Belle Arte in Venice.

Galleria Dell Accademia di Belle Arte, Venice

Photo ©

Within the walls of this great museum lie the treasures of Venice’s artist’s paintings, making it one of the greatest in all Europe today. These galleries were actually founded in 1807 by Napoleon himself, occupying a set of religious buildings, namely the Scuola Grande di Santa Maria ella Carità and the Monastery of the Lateran Canons. It was at the orders of Napoleon that after emptying hundreds of convents, churches and other religious buildings of their artwork, they be transferred to this site. He also mandated that the old Accademia di Bella Arti (the Art School) be relocated here, to act as keeper of the artwork, as well as operate an art school.

Where: Campo della Carità - Dorsoduro
Phone: +39 041 520 0345
Open: Everyday: 8:15 AM to 7:30 PM except Monday (8:15 PM to 2:00pm)
Entrance: € 12.00 - online booking available and advisable
Website: Official Site

Scuola Grande di San Rocco
(Tintoretto's Best)

Photo of Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice.

Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

Photo ©

The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a school built on church land belonging to St Pantalon and Basilica of Santa Maria. The building, a beautiful example of Renaissance architecture, was dedicated to the protection of plague victims. In 1845 it was the resting place for the relics of Saint Rocco because there was need for such a large collection. Today this museum holds the greatest collection of images created by artist Jacopo Robusti - better know as Tintoretto - who lived between 1518-1594. Here lie more than fifty canvases of his, which was one of his life's master work, taking over 20 years to create.

Where: Campo San Rocco - San Polo
Phone: +39 041 52 34 864
Open: Daily: 09.30 AM to 5.30 PM
Entrance: € 10.00
Website: Official Site

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