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12 Must-Do Experiences in Venice

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Ah Venice, a city so storied its sights often evoke a sense of deja vu in travelers who have never previously experienced them. Featured in countless films and TV shows, Venice has long been synonymous with romance, and is certainly one of Italy's must-do attractions in its own right. But when you are exploring its crooked streets and grand canals, there are some activities that just cannot be missed. To really do Venice properly, check out these 12 must-do Venetian experiences.
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The Ponte dell'Accademia is one of four bridges that span the Grand Canal, and will get you quickly from San Marco to the labyrinthine Dorsoduro neighborhood. Originally built in 1854 out of steel, the current wooden bridge was built in the 1930s...
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Riva degli Schiavoni, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
This might be one of the more crowded areas in Venice. The Riva degli Schiavoni waterfront monument is located in the Castello district of the city, right along the Bacino di San Marco and the narrow bridge over the Rio di Palazzo della Paglia....
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Campo San Giacometto, 122, 30125 Rialto, Venezia VE, Italy
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At the ground-floor wine bar, take in the view of the Grand Canal while enjoying such cicchetti as salumi and cheese. In the upstairs dining room, choose from a menu that features intriguing dishes, including cocoa fusilli with boar ragu. Campo...
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
The Ponte dei Sospiri was given its English name by part-time Venice resident Lord Byron, who wrote in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: "I stood in Venice on a Bridge of Sighs, a palace and a prison on each hand." Byron's travelogue nails it: When you...
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Campo Santa Sofia, 4198/99, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
An ornate 15th-century private palazzo has been transformed into a lavish hotel (below) that faces the Rialto market. Artworks from the 1600s meet 21st-century amenities in the 42 rooms and suites, many of which overlook the Grand Canal. Doubles...
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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Near the base of the landmark Rialto Bridge, the historic Rialto Market is well worth a wander. Seek it out in the early morning when it provides an authentic local experience (and awesome social-media ops), with fishmongers hawking their fresh...
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Piazza San Marco, 328, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
St Mark's Basilica in Venice is one of my favourite buildings in Europe because it balances decadence with delicateness without being overbearing. St Peter's in Rome, for example, I thought was too much and not particularly beautiful. St Mark's on...
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Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
There's plenty of art in Venice, from the churches to the Scuoli to the Accademia. But when you just can't look at another Caravaggio, and even Titian hair doesn't move you any more, refresh yourself with a visit to Peggy's house. The renowned...
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Piazza San Marco, 57, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
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Italy’s oldest cafe has been serving coffee on a silver tray with a water chaser and a cookie since opening in 1720. Caffè Florian features a series of ornate gilded Neo-Baroque salons with frescoes and red velvet banquettes, as well...
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Fondamenta Vin Castello, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Two things you need to know about gondola rides in Venice: 1 - They're worth it. 2 - The price is agreed beforehand, and is standard. Knowing those two things, you can happily hop aboard this traditional Venetian mode of transport and relax,...
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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Venice is extremely well supplied with bars selling the delicious local wine. But I'm more of a spirit girl, and limoncello does nothing for me. So, I was extremely happy to stumble upon this superb little bar in San Polo. It boasted a fantastic...
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
This pink-marble waterfront edifice in Piazza San Marco dates back to the 14th century, when it was the residence and seat of government for the doges (rulers) of Venice. Today the ornate Byzantine- and Moorish-influenced Gothic Palazzo Ducale is...