Venice (Venezia) is a place that should be enjoyed for longer than just a fleeting visit. With so much to see and do anything less than 3 days and you'll be doing yourself a disservice to this Unesco world heritage listed site. From wandering the many small winding walkways and to getting lost for hours on end Venice is a one of a kind.
Like so many cities around the world Venice is a city where I would highly recommend being up early and seeing the sights before the masses come out to play. If you enjoy running, this is a nice and easy 8-10km Running Tour that I highly recommend. (Although you will be subject to plenty of up and over bridges along this run). One thing to note in the warmer months is the humidity, so remembering to take water with you is a must even though most of the run is pretty flat. The link for this specific running tour and others is provided at the end of this article :) and if you're not a runner that's ok! All these sights you can comfortably either walk to or catch water taxi's close by.
St Marks Square and Basilica
My running guide met me at my Airbnb accomodation. This was super amazing purely based on how easily lost you can get in Venice. Google maps, imaps etc do not work very well here. So be prepared to use the old fashion paper map to figure your way around. (If you have a tour or concert starting at a specific time I would suggest allow plenty of time incase of taking a wrong turn!) Locals however know all the ins and outs and where to weave to get to where you need to go.
Our first stop wasn't far and was the Basilica in St Marks Square. I wandered here the previous afternoon and the square was a flood of people. What a difference 630am in the morning can make! Just a couple of street cleaners and locals on their way to work. On the Piazza San Marco you will find the Basilica di San Marco (Basilica of St Mark’s), the Campanile (bell tower) and the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) – just some of the buildings you will probably visit on your visit to Venice.
Bridge Of Sighs
Whilst you'll see plenty of couples taking romantic photos in front of this bridge, the sighs aren't that of love but instead those of despair. This bridge was built in the 1600s and links the Doge's Palace to that of the prison. The sighs would usually be made by convicts who knew this would most likely be the last time they would see beautiful Venice. Heading to this type of detention in this period typically meant death due to the harsh conditions, the humidity and the cold within the cold stone walls of the prison. This site is a very close distance from the Piazza San Marco, you can easily walk here.
Giardini Della Biennale
My run took me right along Venice's beautiful water front to the Giardini della Biennale. Whilst most people don't realise, Venice itself does actually have some very beautiful gardens. Although not in the main centre of Venice, a distance about 2-3km away you will find the gardens of Giardini della Biennale. You will find a lot of locals here in the mornings exercising and enjoying the outdoors. Many tourists miss this part of Venice as they are wrapped up in seeing the shops and all the mazes and alleyways, however these parks are beautiful and certainly show the beauty of Venice in its entirety. You can also catch a water taxi here if you feel the distance is a little too far by foot.
After completing the loop of the Giardini della Biennale you will come across that of the Ventian Arsenal. The Arsenal is said to be what made Venice so economically wealthy and powerful. The Arsenal is where Venice produced their maritime trading vessels which connected them to the Mediterranean and Europe.
Santi Giovanne Paolo
As one of the largest of churches in Venice, this location houses plenty of spectacular artwork and is also the home to many Doge's and famous people as their chosen burial site.
If you'd like to learn more about the history of Santi Giovanne Paolo you can visit HERE
View from the Punta della Dogana
This location has to be one of the best views of Venice. Surrounded by water on both sides due to this being the joining point for the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, you can't get anywhere with a more spectacular water view. The building of Punta della Dogana that sits on this triangular site is now a contemporary art museum. You will also be able to watch the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises here.
One of the most famous bridges in the world, the Rialto Bridge was a must see (and run over) moment in this running tour. Whilst it was still moderately quiet at this time of day, there were certainly people starting to come out and about. The views overlooking the grand canal from this bridge are truely spectacular and was first built as a pontoon bridge in 1173 before being rebuilt several times since. The Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge in Venice.
This running tour was truely my highlight of my 4 night stay in Venice. Not only did I get to see all the sights, but it gave me great insight into all the places I would go back and visit more in-depth. I've only just touched on the big sights here that I saw throughout this 1 hour running tour. Obviously there was plenty more experienced on the day and it felt like every corner we turned there was something even more beautiful to see.
If you would like to experience this tour or other running tours of Venice head HERE to check Venice by Run tours. And do yourself a favour... book one today! Ps I am not paid any promotional $'s for any of these recommendations. These are experiences I've paid for fully and enjoyed and think you would love it too!
If you have any tips, questions or recommendations for my future travel and experiences let me know below.
Until next time stay safe and keep experiencing and enjoying life!