A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Venice

 


Venice is one, if not Italy’s most unique city; it is made up of over 100 islands and surrounded by canals. While the most common way to get around the city is through water taxis or gondola rides, it is also possible to wander around Venice by walking. The lack of cars and public transportation, as well as its compact size, make the city quite safe and easy to explore on foot. 

While there a number of walking tours of Venice provided by different tour companies, nothing beats discovering the city on your own. One of the advantages of doing a self-guided tour, aside from the fact that it’s free, is that you have total control of the details of the tour and you get to pick which stops to make. Below is our DIY itinerary of a walking tour of Venice.

Preparing for Your Walking Tour

  • Since you will be doing a lot of walking, make sure to wear comfortable footwear. 

  • Some of the stops in this walking tour involve religious institutions. Be mindful of the dress code and avoid wearing shorts or revealing clothing.

  • If you have excess items or luggage, it’s best to leave it at a Venice bag storage locker.

  • This itinerary involves stops that are mostly for sightseeing; we suggest setting aside a different day for museum visits. 

  • Download a city guide or GPS app on your phone to help you navigate the city without much hassle.

DIY Venice Walking Tour Itinerary

  1. Rialto Market

The first stop in this DIY walking tour of Venice is the famous Rialto Market, which is one of the city’s oldest remaining markets and a huge part of the local culture. This is a great way to start your day as the Venetians do. Most locals come here early in the morning to go shopping for fresh produce such as meat, fish, fruit, and more. To note, most stalls are sold out by 1:30 PM and close at 2:00 PM, so the best time to visit is early morning.

Photo of Assorted Vegetables and Fruits on Rack

https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-assorted-vegetables-and-fruits-on-rack-2473554/

The market is found on the western banks of the Grand Canal and is a center of activity in the city. Whether or not you’re looking to shop yourself, you’ll surely have an interesting time wandering around the market and seeing the stalls. Don’t forget to check out the sections of Pescheria (fish) and Erberia (fruits and vegetables). Despite the busy crowds and fishy smell, a visit to the Rialto Market is definitely worth it; this activity is as authentic as it gets.

  1. Basilica di San Marco

After your little adventure at the Rialto Market, the next thing on your itinerary is to make your way to St. Mark’s Square. Known locally as the Piazza San Marco, the square is the city’s most prominent public space and is a center of activity in Venice. It is also home to some of the most famous and significant landmarks in the city, one of which is the next stop in this walking tour – the Basilica di San Marco. 

The basilica, which was built in the 9th century as a place to bury the remains of St. Mark, is one of the best examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture in the city and has long been a major tourist attraction in Venice. The church earned the moniker “Chiesa d’Oro” (which literally translates to “church of gold”) due to the copious amount of gold used in its construction. One of the highlights of the basilica is its golden altarpiece known as the Pala d’Oro, which is covered in over 2,000 pieces of precious gems such as rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and amethysts.

The best time to visit the basilica is in the morning, which isn’t as crowded as it would be during the afternoon. While guided tours are optional, you will have to buy an entrance ticket to get inside the church. You can buy upon arrival or book online through the basilica’s official website

  1. Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace)

people standing under concrete arch during daytime

https://unsplash.com/photos/az99AJPq7fg

After you’re finished touring the basilica, head right next door to another one of Venice’s crown jewels - the Palazzo Ducale. Constructed in 1340, the building once served as the administrative and political seat of the Venetian Republic throughout its run. Also known as the Doge’s Palace, it was also used as the residence of the Doge of Venice, which is the elected leader of the Venetian Republic.

In 1923, the palace was converted into a museum and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The building is home to an array of masterpieces from the Renaissance, including the biggest canvas in the world created by artist Tintoretto. There are a number of guided tours of the palace available, but we suggest that you take the Secret Itineraries Tour, which will take you to some of the hidden areas of the building that you normally wouldn’t find on your own.

  1. Dorsoduro

When you’re done with your tour of Doge’s Palace, take a moment to stroll around St. Mark’s Square to take in the sights and sounds before moving to the last stop of this walking tour - Dorsoduro. This charming neighborhood is a quiet and hip part of Venice, giving you a glimpse of the authentic flavor of this special city. 

Known for its unpretentious and bohemian vibe, Dorsoduro is home to various restaurants, pubs, galleries, vintage shops, and some incredible museums. Some of the highlights here include the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Church of San Sebastiano, and Cà Rezzonico. If you happen to have a Venice Museum Pass, you can visit most of these attractions at no extra cost and skip the long queues.

Once you’re done with your visits to the different landmarks, you’re free to wander around the area. Don’t forget to go strolling along the Fondamenta delle Zattere, where you can get one of the best views of the Giudecca Canal. While you’re here, you should also make a stop by the Squero di San Trovaso, the gondola workshop, to watch how the iconic gondolas of Venice are made. If you feel like it, you may even end your tour by going on a 30-minute gondola ride and sail through the city of Venice. 




Sources:

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/venice/narratives/in-location/self-guided-tours

https://www.gpsmycity.com/gps-tour-guides/venice-1970.html

https://venicefreewalkingtour.com/

https://www.rometoolkit.com/venice_visit/venice_walking_tour.html

https://www.vivovenetia.com/discover-venice-one-day/

https://www.hotelarcadia.net/exhibition/self-guided-walking-tour-venice-easy-drinking-water/


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