Things to do and see in Venice
It is always simplistic to make a list of things to do in Venice. In fact, there are so many details, glimpses, that talking about one inevitably harms the other. It is also true, however, that in a world-famous city, second only to Rome in terms of visitor flow, the “tourist” story ends up obscuring the most “unusual” but no less beautiful parts. Hence the need to try to insert other “tips” next to the essential stops (Piazza San Marco, Rialto Bridge, etc.). As for the times of the year to visit it, spring and autumn are preferable, unless you like high tide (continually monitored by the municipality’s tidal center) and Carnival. He said this. Visiting Venice, at least once in a lifetime, is always worth it, regardless of the seasons and weather conditions.
Heart of the Serenissima Republic of Venice and, at the same time, hall of Europe. Piazza San Marco has always had this “glocal” vocation: a symbol of Venice and a multicultural environment par excellence. Inevitably it is the first stop for anyone arriving in the city. A photo in the center of this trapezoidal square will also be an abused ritual, to anger some overzealous local, but it is absolutely “busy”. Around it, only works of inestimable value: from the Basilica to the bell tower and the Doge’s Palace. Wonders that everyone envies the city and Italy and therefore deserve to be treated separately.
After arriving at Piazza San Marco and having taken all the usual photos, the first thing to do is visit the Basilica of the same name. The reason is soon stated. It represents the living legacy of Roman, Byzantine and Venetian culture. Especially the latter since the inhabitants of Serenissima, a proud seafaring town, have taken measures over the centuries to beautify and decorate it with artifacts from the farthest lands of the East. After all, considering the myth of the founding of the church, it could not have been otherwise. In fact, legend has it that the need to erect a temple arose as a result of the theft of the relics of the saint in Alexandria, Egypt, by two Venetian merchants. The golden mosaics inside do not leave indifferent even the most tenacious of agnostics. See, in the Museum of the Basilica, the Four Horses of San Marco. Until the 1980s these Constantinople sculptures (stolen at the end of the 18th century by Napoleon Bonaparte and returned to the city in 1815 after the defeat at Waterloo) were placed on the Basilica’s terrace. Subsequently, the need arose to protect them from inclement weather by housing them in a specific room of the Museum set up in the upper spaces of the northwest atrium.
Along with the square and the basilica of the same name, the Campanile di San Marco is an essential stop on a visit to Venice. “El paron de casa”, as the Venetians call it, is a 99-meter bell tower, originally built for surveillance and defense purposes. Over the centuries it has undergone various modifications and renovations, the most important of which in the 16th century with the construction, by Jacopo Sansovino, of the small loggia at the base of the tower. Important interventions were also carried out as a result of July 14, 1902 when the bell tower of the square collapsed. It took 10 years to rebuild it “as it was and where it was”, according to the famous statement made during the inauguration speech (April 25, 1912) by the then mayor Filippo Grimani, the most influential politician in the city in changing the XIX and XX centuries. The San Marco bell tower is also famous for the Flight of the Angel, the opening act of the Venice Carnival. An artist, tied to a metallic cable, flies – “flies” in dialect – from the bell tower to the center of the square. Since 1962, an elevator has allowed visitors to comfortably reach the top in a very short time.
The Doge’s Palace is a must for anyone who wants to explore the historical, cultural and political importance of Venice, for centuries a bridge city between East and West. A majestic architecture, an emblem of Venetian Gothic, further embellished by the enormous amount of works of art housed in the three large buildings that make up the structure. Structure that until 1797 followed the development of the thousand-year-old República Serenissima (Palazzo Ducale was the seat of the Doge of Venice), then first passing into French and then Austrian hands, until the Italian annexation in 1866. Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the ‘ 900 the young Italian state undertook a radical restoration of the Doge’s Palace.