Venice Weekend Breaks: Planning the Perfect Italian Getaway

by MarissaLana

Visiting Venice for the Weekend? Here are the city's must-see attractions during your weekend away.

Benvenuti a Venezia, a beautiful Italian city where the roads are made of water, the food melts in your mouth and the locals are just as friendly to tourists as they are to their peers. If you’re based in Europe, it’s the perfect place to travel for a weekend away, regardless of what time of the year you decide to go. While there is much to see and time is limited, the main attractions can easily be explored in just a couple of days.

Experience much of the city’s historic Renaissance architecture while traveling in a gondola along both the main Grand Canal (Canalazzo) and the backstreets.  Hop on at St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) and enjoy a relaxing ride throughout the city’s narrow streets of water. Admire the architecture when looking up and  passing under the famous white limestone Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). Don’t miss the oldest building on the Grand Canal, Ca’ da Mosto. You’ll see this Veneto-Byzantine style building looking like it’s sinking as the water rises over its basement. Another building to admire is the Ca’d’Oro, which is more like a palace with its Venetian Gothic style. Make sure you glide under The Rialto Bridge and take in the beaty of this Italian city.

Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs
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When the gondolier drops you back off at St Mark’s Square, buy some corn, sprinkle it on yourself and have a friend take pictures while a swarm of pigeons eat off the top of your head.  It may not sound like fun now, but once you’re there and see the smiles on everyone else’s faces, you’ll soon give in to tradition. Next, tour the inside of the Saint Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) and then climb to the top of the Bell Tower (Campanile Di San Marco) across the piazza to see the city’s most stunning views. 

Saint Mark's Square
Venice Italy
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When hunger strikes, enjoy a scrumptious meal at one of Venice’s many outdoor cafes and restaurants and get a taste of Italy with fresh pastas and pizzas. Just make sure you don’t eat or drink anything that you don’t want to pay for. It’s custom for waiters to bring you bread and bottled water you didn’t order and then add it to the tab. And no matter how cold it is outside, why not join everyone else in the city and complete your lunch with some creamy Italian gelato.  


Afterwards, embark on an adventure and take a stroll along the narrow walkways and bridges without a map and see what you can find.  Hidden shops, eateries and live entertainment add to the city’s charming character.  And don’t go home without a bit of shopping.  Venice has some of the most exquisite boutiques. Try on some Italian leather boots or Armani jeans.  Go on, treat yourself. You deserve it!  

Boats Pass Through Murano During the Annual Venice to Murano Race
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Start the next day off with a water taxi ride over to the island of Murano to see glassmaking at its finest at one of its many glass factories.  Here you can take a guided tour and have the opportunity to experience the local glassmakers in action. You will learn about how glass is made from start to finish of a product.  You can also purchase these handmade items in the gift shop to take back home for souvenirs or gifts for friends and family.  


If you’re planning a vacation to Venice in the winter months try to make your way over in February so you can take part in the Carnival of Venice (Carnevale di Venezia). Dress up in your best masked attire and experience this famous annual festival with its parades, contests,  concerts, balls, dance lessons and more.  Originally started so Venetians could express themselves without being able  to distinguish one another’s social class behind their masks, this is a great way to celebrate with the locals as well as thousands of visitors who flock to the area for one of the most famous carnivals in the world.   

Venetian Paper Mache Mask
Venetian Paper Mache Mask Worn for Carnivals and Festive Occasions, Venice, Italy
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When you only have a couple of days to spend in Venice, you’re not going to get to see everything. But instead of hurrying around in a panic to see as much as you can, try to relax, enjoy the beauty, the people and the culture of this amazing city.  Socialise with the locals, eat food off the hidden track for some real Italian cooking and immerse yourself in the local customs and environment to see what this city has to offer.  And before you leave Venice and go back to reality, indulge in a little more gelato, because you can never have enough.  Delizioso!


Venice, Italy

A Wanderer in Venice

This book is part of the TREDITION CLASSICS series. The creators of this series are united by passion for literature and driven by the intention of making all public domain book...

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Top 10 Venice (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides)

DK Eyewitness Top 10 Guides make any destination accessible by offering dozens of lists of the 10 best restaurants, bars, neighborhoods, hotels, local attractions, and much more...

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Frommer's Northern Italy: with Venice, Milan and the Lakes (Frommer's Color Complete)

Full-color throughoutFree full-color, foldout mapInsider advice on avoiding the crowds as you explore some of northern Italy's greatest gems, from Venice's canals to the fishing...

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Updated: 09/13/2012, MarissaLana
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


MarissaLana on 09/21/2012

Great to hear I've convinced you! Italy is amazing. I've been many times and it's always gorgeous. And if you decide to go in the summer you can still fit in the warm sandy beaches :)

katiem2 on 09/20/2012

Sounds heavenly, I often opt for the warm sandy beaches anywhere but you've sold me on an Italian getaway. Gonna send this to my bf as he is always looking and planning a great weekend getaway. Thanks :)K

Mike_W on 09/13/2012

Welcome to Wizzley. Terrific first article!

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