Today I will show you how to visit Venice without missing the best of the city. You will find travel tips for all tastes, to make the most of your 2 days in Venice itinerary!
The city of love, carnival and canals, Venice is one of the most beautiful places in Italy and in the world. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with its lagoon.
Venice is a complete city, with art, history, romance, food and wine. Strolls along the canals, romantic gondola rides, visits to palaces, churches and squares or a nice lunch at one of the historic restaurants are just some of the many activities that the city has to offer.
That’s why today we’re going to put together a great itinerary to spend 2 days in this amazing town. If you are planning an unmissable itinerary, Venice will allow you to enjoy a unique experience.
2 days in Venice itinerary: the unmissable stops
If you’ve never been to Venice and don’t know where to start, you are in the right place. As it is a city with a thousand tourist attractions, visiting Venice in 2 days is not so easy.
So here are the top 10 things to see in Venice in two days:
- Grand Canal
- Jewish Ghetto
- Rialto Bridge
- St Mark’s Square
- St Mark’s Basilica
- St Mark’s Bell Tower
- Doge’s Palace
- Venice Palaces
- Murano, Burano & Torcello islands
- Sant’Erasmo Island
Are you ready? Let’s discover together what to see in Venice in 2 days!
The city on the water divided by the Grand Canal
As you know, Venice is the “city on water“, with no streets but with canals that serve the same function. Vaporettos (waterbuses), in fact, are the corresponding “city buses“, necessary for getting around the city. And, above all, they are suggestive, as they offer the possibility of flying over the water and admiring Venetian art by crossing its characteristic canals.
The largest one is the Grand Canal, which divides the city in two with its 4 km length, lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces.
How to get to Venice
The main points of arrival in the city are certainly fundamental references. If you arrive by plane, Venice is served by two airports: Marco Polo, located in Tessera, and Canova near Treviso. Other arrival points in the city include Santa Lucia station, if you arrive by train, and Piazzale Roma, if you arrive by car or bus.
Once you arrive at your destination, you can take the vaporetto, or the iconic gondola, to explore the beauty of the Venetian city.
What to see in Venice in 2 days – the first stages
There are many itineraries to take to spend 2 days in Venice, depending on the point of arrival. For example, you can reach the Jewish Ghetto, a few steps from Santa Lucia station in the heart of the Cannaregio district.
1. Jewish Ghetto
You’ll feel like you’re inside a matryoshka doll, as the Venice Ghetto is like “a city within a city“, outside the tourist hustle and bustle and steeped in an ancient, mystical atmosphere. If you are passionate about Jewish culture, it is well worth a visit. With five synagogues and a museum, it is the oldest Jewish ghetto in Europe.
You can admire Venice by wandering through its famous calli. For example, if you take Strada Nova, you will reach the Rialto Bridge, the oldest and most famous bridge in Venice.
2. Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge is one of the many bridges that characterise the city. There are a total of 354 of them! But it is one of the most unforgettable, both for its architecture and its history. It was built between 1588 and 1591 by the architect Antonio da Ponte, with the aim of replacing the previous wooden structure.
Today, the bridge, covered by arches, is one of the most famous photographic spots in the world. Moreover, crossing the bridge, you can reach the Rialto Market, a historical market whose origins date back to 1097.
3. St Mark’s Square: the Basilica and the Bell Tower
From here, a few minutes’ walk will take you to the heart of the city, St Mark’s Square. Built in the 9th century, 180 metres long and 70 metres wide, it is the only square in Venice.
It is the heart of the city and one of the most fascinating squares in the world, so much so that Napoleon Bonaparte called it “the most beautiful drawing room in Europe“. Here you’ll find buildings not to be missed on your trip to visit Venice in 2 days, including St Mark’s Basilica, the Campanile, the Doge’s Palace and the Clock Tower.
St Mark’s Basilica is the most important temple in Venice. Its original construction began in 828, next to the Doge’s Palace, as it was to house the relics of St Mark. However, the building later fell victim to a fire during a revolt, so it was built again. The current construction dates back to the 11th century and the building has undergone changes over time.
The Basilica, with its Latin cross plan and five domes, became the city’s cathedral in 1807. With its stunning beauty, the Basilica was widely nicknamed the “Golden Church” because of its mosaics and majestic golden design elements. A tourist attraction you can admire for free!
St Mark’s Bell Tower also dates back to the 9th century and is one of the most important symbols of Venice, along with the basilica and the square. Affectionately called “El parón de casa” by the Venetians, it is one of the tallest bell towers in Italy. From there, you can enjoy the most spectacular and complete view over the city.
4. Doge’s Palace and the majestic Venetian palaces
In a perfect itinerary, let’s not forget the Doge’s Palace in St Mark’s Square. Formerly called “Palazzo Dogale” because it was the seat of the doge, it is one of the symbols of Venice. In the 9th century, the palace was a fortified castle. However, it was repeatedly struck by fire, rebuilt several times and finally used as a prison.
Today it houses the Civic Museum of the Doge’s Palace, encompassing an extraordinary artistic beauty, made of Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance architectural elements. Inside you will find many works of art by Titian, Tintoretto and Bellini.
Among the many attractions for your 2 days in Venice itinerary, there are also its stunning palaces. The city has many of them, overlooking the Grand Canal, the calli or the canals. Unlike the Doge’s Palace, which is recognised as an institutional building, almost all the palaces in Venice are identified by the name of the family that founded them or left its mark on them. Often, two or more successive owner families are mentioned in the name, e.g. Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, which hosts frequent cultural events.
Other buildings retain the traditional name of Ca’, which originally indicated that the building belonged to a specific family. Venice is home to several palaces: Ca’ Farsetti and Ca’ Loredan, the municipal seats, or Ca’ Foscari, the university seat, and Ca’ Rezzonico, the museum seat. All the palaces of Venice are characterised by a Gothic style with Baroque and Renaissance influences, which best represents the true essence of the city.
Enjoy Venice for two days among the islands:
1. Murano and Burano
The time has come to board the vaporetto and reach other main tourist attractions of Venice: Murano, Burano and Torcello islands. Full of colourful canals, these are the most significant islands of Venetian crafts. You will certainly have already heard of the famous Murano stained glass. So you can’t miss a visit to these fantastic places, while you are spending two days in Venice.
The first two islands, thanks to the well-known Venetian craft, have remained inhabited and active over time. After all, the world-famous art of glassblowing is a thousand years old, with techniques handed down from generation to generation, but always with an eye on innovation.
On the contrary, Torcello island, although the most populated island of the Venetian Republic until the 15th century, today has little more than a dozen inhabitants. Due to a contagion of malaria that decimated the population, the island gradually declined and power was transferred to Venice.
Nevertheless, Torcello is fundamental because it allows you to trace the origins of Venice, and because you can admire one of the oldest religious complexes in Europe, the Basilica of Santa Maria dell’Assunta. Founded in 639, it houses the marvellous 12th – 13th century Byzantine mosaic. Reaching the top of the bell tower, you can admire the enchanting panorama over the lagoon. Torcello is also famous for the Devil’s Bridge and Attila’s Throne.
Another island not to be missed is Sant’Erasmo, the second largest island in the Venetian Lagoon after Venice. It can be reached in half an hour by vaporetto. Since the 16th century this green island has been, and still is, Venice’s great vegetable garden.
Thanks to its position, its very fertile and well-drained soil, excellent and tasty vegetables and fruits grow here, such as the famous violet artichoke, an excellent product from this island. In fact, it is from here that most of the foods on sale in the stalls of the Rialto Market come. A true symbol of dedication to agriculture, reflected in the natural landscape of Sant’Erasmo. It is coloured by the boats carrying the freshest fruit and vegetables alongside the banks of the canals.
Discover in Venice in two days: calli, gondola ride or vaporetto?
As you can see, there are plenty of places to explore. You may be wondering: isn’t visiting Venice in 2 days too little? But with a little organisation and a lot of imagination, I’m sure you’ll be able to make it a full day trip! Also because, if there are so many places to see, there are just as many activities to include, perfect to make your trip more curious and inviting.
As I have already mentioned, one of the best ways to visit Venice in two days is to get lost in its calli. Fascinating is Strada Nova, an important pedestrian street in Venice that is lined with several churches and palaces. Thanks to the Venetian calli, you will be able to admire the true sense of Venetian-ness as you move from one stop to the next.
Equally fascinating is the classic gondola ride. You will take the characteristic Venetian boat, passing under the bridges, as in a real period film.
Or a great alternative is the vaporetto tour. It is an original and exclusive way to get to know the city, don’t you think? But, above all, it is necessary, in case you want to take a nice tour of the islands.
A mouth-watering Venice
Even for those with a sweet tooth, Venice is a perfect destination. A bacaro tour is an absolute must. But what is a bacaro?
Bacari are traditional Venetian taverns where you can enjoy a little wine or the typical spritz, paired with excellent cicchetti, local snacks, similar to Spanish tapas, ranging from meat to fish. So, the term “bacaro tour” is a fusion of a good drink and a good meal. What more could you ask for?
Indeed, Venetian cuisine is full of tasty dishes (mostly seafood-based). Iconic local dishes include risi e bisi, known elsewhere as risotto con i piselli, sarde in saor, baccala mantecato and bigoli in salsa, to name a few. Also worth a try is the famous impàde, a long biscuit made of sugar, eggs and almond paste, eaten in the Jewish Ghetto.
A visit to the historic cafés is also a must. When talking about historic Italian cafés, Venice is a perfect place to mention. In fact, thanks to its position and commercial relations, it was in this city that the tradition of cafés was established, later spreading to the rest of Italy. One of the best known of these is undoubtedly Caffè Florian, founded in 1720 and a symbol of the city. However, just as many are worth visiting, especially for fans of the history of Italian literature. Visiting Venetian cafés is a real journey through time.
Two days in Venice? Discover art and history
For art lovers, a must-see is the Gallerie dell’Accademia. It houses the richest collection of Venetian and Veneto paintings, from 14th century Byzantine and Gothic to Renaissance artists. Bellini, Titian, Giorgione and Tintoretto are just some of the great artists who created the works of art housed in the gallery. Not to mention one of Leonardo da Vinci‘s highlights, the Vitruvian Man, which is rarely exhibited.
Don’t forget the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Italy’s most important museum for 20th century European and American art. It was created by the heiress who gave it its name, Peggy Guggenheim. The museum is located in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal, and houses masterpieces by the artists such as Pollock, de Chirico, Picasso, Kandinsky and many others. I would also like to point out the Gianni Mattioli Collection, which is particularly interesting because it features the greatest artists of Italian Futurism.
Last but not least, the Venetian craft shops are a must. Apart from the big designer shops, which are perfect for holiday shopping, or the souvenir shops, which are an absolute requirement before the return trip, the true soul of Venice is contained within these shops. Shops that have made history and have maintained the traditions of the past.
Venetian craftsmanship is at its best, not only in the art of glassmaking, but also in tailoring. This is what we can admire during one of the most important events in Italy: the Venice Carnival.
The most important events in Venice
The Venice Carnival is one of the most famous and popular carnivals in the world. Its tradition dates back to the 11th century. Lasting no less than 10 days, Venice is transformed into a masked ball, with period clothes inspired by 18th century Venice and masks colouring the city. A cultural event that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. It si also a perfect opportunity to visit Venice in 2 days, surrounded by the magic of history and tradition.
Venice, on the other hand, is a complete city and hosts many important events, such as the famous Film Festival.
The Venice Film Festival takes place on Venice Lido, tending to run from the end of August until the first week of September. During those days, the city will be flooded with paparazzi and celebrities. A real opportunity to admire the greatest artists up close and visit Venice in a “spectacular” atmosphere.
Not to mention New Year’s Eve in Venice. Do you want to celebrate the end of the year in a special way? The perfect solution is on a Venice boat, among the lights of St Mark’s Basin, waiting for the fireworks that light up the city and welcome the new year. A great alternative to the usual New Year’s Eve in the most romantic city in the world.
In any case, spending two days in Venice when these events take place could be a way to join unique parties and events.
Thanks to Italia Delight, you have many unique experiences to choose from. Bacaro tour with Venetian cicchetti, Romantic Dinner in Venice palaces, Venice islands tour and local dishes are just some of the experiences available in the lagoon city.
And remember, with Italia Delight you always have the possibility to create your own tailor-made trip, to be personalised directly with the local Expert.
What are you waiting for? Book your favourite experience to spend 2 days in Venice and more. Enjoy the thousand facets of the city! 😍🎭