Ciao and welcome to this Venice one day itinerary.
Firstly, is it possible to visit Venice in one day and see everything worth seeing? If you ask me, I’d say no: you should stay for longer to dive deeper into its history and explore without rushing past the main attractions and discovering hidden gems.
To really enjoy the city slowly and ideally spend time looking out for off-the-beaten-path gems, you need at least 3 days in Venice to be honest.
Unfortunately, not everybody has always much time available, and the truth is that Venice can bewitch its visitors right from first glance.
The good news is that the Veneto region’s capital city is perfect to visit in 24 hours as all the top attractions are located along a clear walking path.
Venice one day itinerary
Below I’ll share a one day in Venice itinerary that includes useful information on its iconic landmarks and a couple of off-the-beaten-path gems that you’ll encounter on your way from one place to the other.
I also suggest when to visit each attraction based on its opening times and share some extra travel tips that might come in handy during your 24 hours in Venice.
Your day trip to Venice starts from the Santa Lucia railway station or Piazzale Roma as you most likely get to the city by train or by bus and from here you’ll walk towards Rialto Bridge where your itinerary starts.
Venice in one day walking map
Below you’ll see a Venice walking map that will come in handy once you arrive in Venice. That way, you can plan and make the most of your 24 hours in the city.
Do you want to know how to get from the airport to Venice? Or looking for advice on the best mode of transport to save you money? See my: Marco Polo airport to Venice or Treviso airport to Venice guides, where I outline all the options you have.
8.30 am – 9.30 am
Your one-day in Venice itinerary can easily start from this location and the main reason is that usually it is not too overcrowded early in the morning.
There are hundreds of bridges in Venice you can see, but only four span the Grand Canal. Among these, the best known is the Rialto Bridge, which is also a symbol of Venice. This is one of the most visited attractions of the city and a huge number of people cross it every day.
The Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) is a covered stone bridge. It’s 48 meters long and 22 meters wide. The original structure was made in wood and built in the late Middle Ages but was replaced soon after collapsing due to the weight of people that were on top.
The current stone bridge was designed by Antonio Da Ponte at the end of the 16th century. On one of its banks beside the bridge you can find the Rialto Market, the most famous indoor fruit and vegetable market in Venice.
A Gondola Tour
9.30 am – 10-15 am
Whether it’s your first time in Venice or not, a gondola ride is one of those unmissable experiences to live in the city of water!
But, what is a gondola ride in Venice all about anyway? I hear you ask. Well, the gondola is a traditional boat used to move around the Venetian lagoon.
Today it’s mainly used for tourism purposes, but around the 14th century, they represented the main mean of transport for Venetian people.
This is when the first gondolas started to be used to transport people from one bank of the Grand Canal to the other. The gondolier, is a Venetian man driving the gondola, that wears a hat, a black and white striped t-shirt and black trousers.
Depending on the time of the year you’re visiting Venice, you’ll soon realize that the Rialto Bridge area, it’s particularly overcrowded and many tourists want to ride a gondola from here to cross the Grand Canal.
For this reason, I recommend booking one of these gondola ride tours:
St. Mark’s Square
10.30 am – 11.30 am
If in Venice for a day, you must absolutely visit Piazza San Marco. There’s no doubt that St. Mark’s Square is one of the most beautiful squares in the world! It dates back to the 11th century and Napoleon used to call it ‘the drawing room of Europe’.
The piazza is surrounded by the Procuratie Vecchie and Nove, three buildings connected to each other that were built by the procurators of St. Mark.
The Procuratie Vecchie occupy the northern side of the square, whilst the Procuratie Nove stands on the south. The latter were the former residencies of the procurators and here is where the famous first bar in the world, the iconic Caffè Florian.
The eastern side of St. Mark’s Square is dominated by the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica. It’s worth knowing that St. Mark’s Square is actually the only square in Venice as the other piazzas are called instead ‘campi’.
On the adjacent small piazza (called ‘Piazzetta’) is where you’ll find Doge’s Palace, the Marciana Library and the two granite columns of St. Theodor and St. Mark.
St. Mark’s Basilica
11.30 am – 12.30 am
The St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica of San Marco) is the religious heart of Venice and, together with the bell tower (Campanile di San Marco), is one of the symbols of the city. There are more than 5 million visitors visiting it every year!
The church is also called ‘the Golden Cathedral’ for displaying thousands of gold tiles that make up various mosaics you can see on the ceilings. Expect to see an impressive 8,000 square meters of gold mosaics during your tour of the basilica.
The basilica style is a blend of Romanesque and Byzantine architecture. The church’s shape is a Greek cross with a large central dome and four side domes.
The church was built in the homonymous Piazza San Marco after the relics of the patron saint St. Mark, previously kept in Alexandria in Egypt, was brought back to Venice in the year 828. The church we can see today was consecrated in the year 1094 and follows the architectural scheme of the splendid Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople (today Istanbul).
Considering that the church is one of the most popular landmarks in Venice, I strongly recommend booking your access or tour in advance.
For example this Doge’s Palace & St. Mark’s Basilica tour (with terrace access) is the best combination of guided tours, that includes access to the Basilica and its terrace as well as priority entrance to the Doge’s Palace.
12.30 am – 1.30 pm
There are many restaurants and bars all around the St. Mark’s area. For a quick lunch, I recommend the Enoteca Al Volto, only 5 minute walk from St. Mark’s Basilica. The traditional restaurant serves a great selection of ‘cicchetti’, Venetian tapas, and lovely wines for accompaniment.
St. Mark’s Campanile
1.30 pm – 2.30 pm
The Campanile di San Marco, with its 98.6 meters of height, is one of the most famous symbols of Venice in the world. Also called ‘el paròn de casa’, or the Venetians’ landlord, it stands on the homonymous square, right in front of St. Mark’s Basilica.
In the year 912, Venetians plan a new lookout tower that has been restored several times due to lightning or fires. Towards the end of 1400, they add a statue in wood and covered in copper of the archangel Gabriel which indicates the direction of the wind.
Around the mid-1500s, Jacopo Sansovino designed a loggia at the base of the tower, called ‘Loggetta di Sansovino’. On 13th July 1902, the bell tower completely collapsed and after 10 years a new one was inaugurated. There are 6 bells and each one of them plays a note that was announcing to Venetians imminent events such as the start of the Senate meetings.
Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs
2.30 pm – 4 pm
The Doge’s Palace in Venice is another symbol of the city. Located in the magnificent nearby small square of St. Mark’s Square, this was the Doge’s residence and the seat of the municipality and city’s assemblies.
The doge was the chief magistrate of the Serenissima Republic. Even the judicial power was administered here, where there was a system of prisons and an armoury.
The Doge’s Palace is considered one of the most beautiful examples of Venetian Gothic architecture in the city and was built in 1340 using white and pink tiles for the exteriors.
The interiors of the palace are stunning and all chambers are worth visiting. You’ll find both institutional rooms and Doge’s apartments. You can access the building from the Porta del Frumento on the ground floor where there’s also the imposing Scala dei Giganti.
On the first floor, you can stroll around different rooms, in some of which are collected Venetian artists’ masterpieces, such as the some of the most sought after artworks by Tiepolo, Titian, Tintoretto and Canaletto.
By booking this Doge’s Palace admission ticket you can also have access to the prisons and cross the Bridge of Sighs. In fact, what is considered the most romantic bridge of Venice has a sad story behind.
The bridge was connecting the Doge’s Palace to the prisons. All prisoners had to go through this narrow passage to receive the final sentence that could have condemned them to a bitter fate. From those grates, perhaps for the last time, they could observe – sighing – the sea and the Venetian lagoon.
Scala Contarini del Bovolo
4.30 pm – 5.30 pm
The Contarini del Bovolo is an off-the-beaten path landmark you can add to your one day in Venice itinerary as it’s quite close to the main attractions mentioned above. The magnificent external spiral staircase (called ‘bovolo’ staircase in Venetian dialect) makes the facade of the palace such a unique one.
The 80 steps staircase was built in Istrian stone and is 26 meters high. According to legend, the nobleman Pietro Contarini had the staircase built not only as a pure symbol of power, but also because he wanted to reach his bedroom directly from his horse!
What I really love about the staircase are the incredible views of the city you can admire by climbing it, step by step. You can also get your ticket in advance following this link: Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo entrance ticket.
6pm – 6.30pm
The Accademia Bridge (Ponte dell’Accademia) is the only wooden bridge of Venice and one of the few crossing the Grand Canal.
From here, you can admire beautiful views of the city, in particular during sunset. It’s easy to spot the Santa Maria della Salute Basilica’s dome and Punta della Dogana. The bridge is based in the Dorsoduro district, a lively neighbourhood of Venice that I recommend exploring even after sunset for its bars and restaurants.
It’s been named ‘Accademia’ for the nearby Accademia delle Belle Arti di Venezia and the museum Gallerie dell’Accademia.
The original bridge was made of stone by the Austrians to create a faster connection between the railway station to St. Mark’s Square. Venetian didn’t like its industrial design and for this reason, has been replaced by the actual one and built in only 37 days!
Aperitivo at Osteria Al Squero
6.30 pm – 8 pm
What do the locals do after 5 pm? Aperitivo! This is an extra activity I suggest adding to your day in Venice. It’s a way to immerse yourself in the culture and feel like a real Venetian. Walking around, you’ll notice many small tavernas and bars.
This is where locals like meeting up for a meal or aperitif before dinner. Normally prices are not too high unless you choose a fancy one, for example in the St. Mark’s Square surrounding area.
One of the best ones in the Dorsoduro district is the Osteria Al Squero. It’s a cosy bar that have a vast selection of delicious cicchetti made from local and fresh produces, wines and beers.
Here you can really get an idea of how Venetian have aperitivo! On the other side of the canal where the ‘bacaro’ is located, you can spot the Squero San Trovaso, one of the few gondola boatyards left in the city.
Venice 1 day itinerary highlights
To recap, this is my suggested itinerary for one day in Venice:
Will you be spending more than a day in the city? If so, be sure to see this list of best hotels with canal view in Venice for spectacular overnight stay.
Got travel insurance for Venice?
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1 day in Venice FAQ Guide
Here are some questions people ask when it comes to visiting Venice:
Venice one day itinerary
Now you have a clear idea of how you can spend 24 hours in Venice. You can change the itinerary based on your preferences, extend it or make it shorter.
This is my suggestion, suitable for first-time visitors that want to have a great time, without rushing into the next attraction and that includes my local tips to make the most of this one day in Venice.
Are you wondering what else you can see around the lagoon or in the Veneto region? Check out my day trips from Venice article for more inspiration!
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