Venice is known for being one of the most picturesque cities in the world! Made up of 118 small islands and over 400 bridges, the winding canals and gondolas makes it the most scenic and charming city we have ever visited.
Venice had been on our list of places we wanted to travel too for some time but what put us off was the reputation it has for being very expensive.
After doing some research we found lots of free and cheap things to do so we’ve put together a list to help others who want to go to Venice but might be put off by the €25 price tag for a coffee in St. Marks Square!
So here is our list of 10 things to do in Venice for free!
- Admire the landscape of Venice from a 360° rooftop terrace
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, situated right next to the Rialto Bridge offers a stunning rooftop terrace which allows you to see Venice from above. You can book your visit online here or on iPads when you get there. Your visit is limited to 15 minutes each, and the terrace is open from 9:45AM to 7:15PM. We booked the last slot to catch the golden hour and watch the sun set behind the historic buildings and it was one of our highlights of Venice.
2. Walk up the staircase made of books at Venice’s coolest bookshop
The Libreria Acqua Alta bookshop translates as ‘bookstore of high water’. Venice floods easily so the shop piles the books into waterproof bins, canoes, gondolas and bathtubs to protect the books! So walk up the staircase and take a peek over the wall to the canal below or go rummaging to find the perfect book or postcard for your trip!
3. Dance in the middle of St. Marks Square to a live orchestra
St. Marks square is the heart of Venice and holds St Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. This is by far the busiest place we went to in Venice and was filled with over a thousand people so we came back here after sunset and listened to the beautiful music from the live orchestra!
4. Do a walking tour
We found this company that hosts free walking tours around Venice. They’re organised by professionals who encourage sustainable tourism who are local and love the city they reside in. All of the tours are prepared by the locals which makes it a unique and personal experience rather than being a standard script prepared by a big company or just information you can find online.
We’d suggest you do the walking tour at the beginning of your trip, that way you become acquainted with Venice and can get recommendations of where to eat and what to do from the locals who live there. You can book your tour here.
5. Visit the Gallerie dell’Accademia
The gallery is one of Venice’s most popular galleries and has a collection of Venetian paintings made between the 14th and 18th century. The admission for this gallery is usually €12 each but they have free admissions for the first Sunday of each month and they have 20 free admission days in 2019 to 2020. You can find the list of dates here.
6. Walk over the famous bridges
The Ponte di Rialto is the oldest of the 4 bridges over the grand canal in Venice and gives you a great view of the gondolas riding past.
The Bridge of Sighs connects Doges Palace to a prison. The bridge apparently got its name because the convicts would walk along the bridge to their prison cell and would sigh at the beautiful view of Venice which would be their last!
The Ponte Chiodo may be less known but is located in a quiet residential part of Venice and is known as the only bridge in the city that has no parapets (no side protection).
7. Attend a free glass blowing demo in Murano
Murano is an island that is known for its glass making and is easy to get to by boat. You can tour the glassblowing factory which is home to the world’s finest artisan glass and watch a craftsman shape molten glass through various techniques. You can book your tour here.
8. Join the locals at the Rialto market
The Rialto market is located just next to the Rialto bridge on the edge of the canal. This is where you’ll find the locals who come to buy their fresh produce.
9. Wonder through the canals and get lost in the streets.
Venice has over 150 canals, which are lined with beautiful old houses and gondolas. You’ll likely get lost at some point but that’s part of the charm of Venice! When you’re in one of the most picturesque cities in the world you don’t mind getting lost occasionally! Do some window shopping in the Italian boutiques and wonder around with a gelato in hand!
10. Visit the Library of Colours
Smalti is traditional hand-cut mosaic glass. You can visit the furnace with a guide for free, discover how the mosaic tiles are made and the phases of the process. The ‘Library of Colours’ is a very photogenic archive which catalogs over 3,000 graduations of tones and endless colour combinations which are sold all over the world. The Orsoni Furnace is open to the public every first and last Wednesday of each month.
Have you been to Venice or have any suggestions for our list? We’d love to hear about your trip to Italy!