10 Free things to do in Venice

Looking for free things to do in Venice? We’ll give you ten!

1. Cross the Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is probably the most famous in Venice. It’s an excellent place for people watching, and you can happily spend a while watching the gondolas beneath you. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit early in the morning or after sunset, when you’ll have a beautiful view of the Grand Canal.


2. Visit the Piazza San Marco

St. Mark’s Square is a common tourist destination, but a must-see when you’re in Venice. You’ll be able to take in the Basilica, the Campanile, and the Torre dell’Orologio and take a stroll under the arches of the Procuratie. There’s also a good chance you’ll make a pigeon friend or two, so don’t wear your favorite shirt!


3. Marvel at the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

When the plague hit Venice in 1630, this church was built as an offering to St. Mary in exchange for deliverance from illness. It was designed by Venetian architect Baldassare Longhena, and its dome has become an emblem of the city.


4. Take in some art

Among the numerous museums in Venice are a wide selection of privately owned art galleries. These collections are free to enter, and you’ll find works from both Italian and international artists. Try Artigianato d’Arte di Vianello Mauro, Chiostro dei Santi Cosma e Damiano, or Traghetto for starters.


5. Get lost

Wandering the streets of Venice is like hopping in a time machine. Many of the structures in the city have remained virtually unchanged since the 15th century and it’s easy to lose your way, but ask anyone to point you back towards the Piazza San Marco and you’ll be just fine. We dare you to leave your map at home!


6. Go park-hopping

Though largely known for its stone facades, there are six public gardens spread throughout the city of Venice: the Giardini Napoleonici, the Giardini Papadopoli, the Giardini Savorgnan, the Giardini Reali, Giardini Groggia, and the Pineta di S. Elena. Each is a little different: you might find romantic romantic walkways in one and historic statues in the next.


7. Visit the glass island

The island of Murano has a storied and prestigious history, and you can witness its artistry first hand. Many of the higher-end factories are closed to the public, but you can find numerous demonstrations on the island. You might find that you’re offered a free boat ride to Murano. You can accept, but be prepared for a pushy sales pitch when you arrive. It’s best to stick with the inexpensive public ferry.


8. Browse the markets

The Rialto Food Markets are an authentically Venetian experience; locals and restaurant owners come here to shop for the freshest ingredients. Visit the Erberia for fresh fruit and vegetables or check out the amazing array of seafood at the Pescheria next door.


9. Visit the Museo della Musica

Venice’s Museum of Music is dedicated largely to the life and work of famed Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi, but also has an excellent collection of antique instruments alongside an exhibit on the art of violin making.


10. Keep the music going

While not widely publicized, there are often wonderful free concerts to attend in Venice. Keep an eye out for posters and flyers, and visit Music in Venice for tickets, schedules, and information.

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