Ponte dell'Accademia

Bridge in Venice

Accademia Bridge In Venice (South East Exposure)
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Didier Descouens

The Ponte dell’Accademia is one of only four bridges to span the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. It crosses near the southern end of the canal, and is named for the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, which from 1807 to 2004 was housed in the Scuola della Carità together with the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which is still there. The bridge links the sestieri of Dorsoduro and San Marco.

A bridge on the site was first suggested as early as 1488. The provveditore Luca Trum proposed in the council to build two bridges across the Grand Canal, one here and the other at Santa Sofia. The members of the council, however, laughed at him, and the motion was not even put to the vote. The original steel structure, designed by Alfred Neville, opened on 20 November 1854, but was demolished and replaced by a wooden bridge designed by Eugenio Miozzi and opened in 1933,despite widespread hopes for a stone bridge.

Lovers have attempted to attach padlocks (“love locks”) to the metal hand rails of the bridge, but Venetian authorities have successfully cracked down on this.

Visiting Ponte dell'Accademia

Hours:

24 Hour


Price:

Free

Address: Ponte dell'Accademia, Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Duration: 5 minutes

Tours and Activities from Venice

With its iconic canals, picturesque gondolas, and winding streets, it’s no surprise that Venice is considered one of the most romantic cities in the world. But while the city is popular with honeymooners, it’s also a huge destination for cruisers and backpackers too.

Venice is beautiful, fun, and full of narrow streets and alleys to get lost in. It’s a magical place unlike any other. There are museums, palaces, historic town squares to explore, and endless gelato to eat.

Unfortunately, the city is also expensive and over tourism has become a real problem. No matter what time of the year, you’re going to encounter crowds. In fact, if you come in the summer, it’s going to be unbearable (and if you come when a cruise ship is docked, it’s even more unbearable!)

How to get to Venice

By Train: This is a very convenient way of getting to Venice. You will need to arrive at Venezia Santa Lucia (ignoring Venezia Mestre & Venezia Porto Marghera railway stations). A return train ticket from Padova will cost €10, from Mira-Mirano on the ourskirts of mainland Venice only €6.

Parking: You can drive to Venice although you will have to pay for parking. Tronchetto car park costs €22 for 24 hours.

Getting Around Venice

Water taxis:  Water taxis (speedboats) are a wonderful way to get around, but a bit expensive.  A trip from the train station to San Marco will cost at least €70!

Vaporettos (water buses): are busses on the water, they leave from the stop called Ferrovia right outside Santa Lucia station. You’re looking at €7,50 for a single ride and €21 for a day pass. See https://actv.avmspa.it/en/content/vaporetto. Waterbus line 1 links Piazzale Roma (where the buses and road vehicles arrive), Ferrovia (= Santa Lucia station), Rialto, San Marco & Venice Lido, and runs early until late, usually every 12 minutes or so.

Walk: The main sites are all 20-30 minutes away from the station. You will get lost but should still be able to find the main sites.

San Marco Museum Pass

A single ticket to visit the 4 magnificent buildings and museums of St. Mark’s Square: the Doge’s Palace, the Correr Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum Rooms of the Marciana Library: € 30 (€ 25 if you buy 1 month in advance from https://muve.vivaticket.it/).

Museum Pass

This gives you the same as above but also access to: Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo; Carlo Goldoni’s House; Ca’ Pesaro, International Gallery of Modern Art + Oriental Art Museum; Glass Museum – Murano; Lace Museum – Burano; Natural History Museum; Fortuny Museum. (€ 40. Buy from https://muve.vivaticket.it/)

Chorus Pass

If you want to visit more than 4 churches in Venice it is cost effective to purchase the Chorus Pass (gives free access to 18 churches in Venice): € 12.

Rialto Bridge

Ponte Di Rialto, Canal Grande
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Veronika.szappanos

There are two ways to get the the Rialto Bridge to the left of the grand Canal, through Santa Croce and San Polo or to the right through the Carnnaregio sestieri and the Jewish quarter.

Santa Croce and San Polo: Start by walking out of the station and turning left to cross the beautiful Ponte degli Scalzi across the Grand Canal, completed in 1934. It’s the elegant stone bridge you’ll see to your left when you walk out of the station. Then follow the many street signs to Rialto, keep the Grand Canal on your left about 5-6 blocks ways from you.

Carnnaregio sestieri and the Jewish quarter: You quickly reach the Chiesa dei Santi Geremia e Lucia, and cross over into the Jewish Quarter, if you want to find out more about this area detour and visit the Jewish Museum of Venice. After walking for about 3 minutes you need to turn of the street you are in to head to the right down Calle del Pistor. Generally follow this street, passing over 4 bridges. When you get to Chiesa Cattolica Parrocchiale dei Santi Apostoli turn off to cross over another bridge, turn immediately left under the arcade. From here you can follow signs for Per S. Marco.


Rialto Bridge was the city’s first bridge over the Grand Canal connecting the highest points on the Venice islands settlement. The first bridge was built in 1180 and the current solid marble one was built in 1588-92.The bridge is an elegant arch with steps and shops, a mass of water traffic passing underneath, and huge numbers of tourists and locals heading across it.
Today, Rialto Bridge is one of the most photographed images in Venice and a major stop on the tourist trail. Rialto Bridge is located about the mid-point of the Grand Canal connecting the main arrival point for visitors at the Railway Station with St Mark’s Square being the main visitor destination. In the immediate area of Rialto Bridge, on the southern bank is the main food market Mercato di Rialto.

For great views of the bridge head towards the nearby Fondaco dei Tedeschi and its rooftop terrace. Book in advance at https://www.dfs.com/t-fondaco/rooftop-terrace-booking/booking/terrace_venice_en.html.

Read more about the Rialto Bridge

St. Mark's Basilica

BenQ Digital Camera
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Gary Ullah

From the Rialto Bridge turn right as you come off the bridge from San Polo. Look for the signpost directing you to St Mark’s Square.


St. Mark’s Basilica, known in Italian as Basilica di San Marco and popularly as San Marco Basilica, is a medieval church in Venice. It is devoted to honouring the remains of St. Mark, the patron Saint of Venice. The Basilica is the pride of Venice and its history dates back to the 9th century. The marvellous architecture blends Byzantine, Romanesque, Islamic, and Gothic influences. St. Mark’s Basilica is open every day from 9:30 AM to 5:15 PM, if you have not booked in advance you need to purchase tickets to the side of the Basilica at Piazzetta dei Leoncini. Tickets cost €3 for the Basilica (although free for prayers, Mass and Service), €10 for the tower and €7 for the Museum & Loggia dei Cavalli (the balcony overlooking the St. Mark’s Square).

The Basilca and St Mark’s Campanile are a very cost effective way of seeing the splendour of Venice.

NB. You cannot bring backpacks into the Basilica.

Read more about the Basilica di San Marco

Doge's Palace

(Venice) Doge's Palace And Campanile Of St. Mark's Basilica Facing The Sea
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Didier Descouens

The Doge’s Palace is one of the symbols of Venice. The palace has been used for everything from the residence of the Doge to the prison of the Venetian republic. Originally a fortified castle founded between the tenth and eleventh centuries. The palace was partially destroyed by a fire and was rebuilt between 1172 and 1178, as was the Piazza San Marco. During this period, the Palazzo was used as a fortress and prison. The structure combines layers of different architectural styles, including Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance. This impressive building houses paintings by renowned Italian artists such as Titian, Tintoretto and Bellini. The building has been the Doges’ residence and public offices since the old castle was built in 810. Over nearly 1,000 years, 120 doges ruled over Venice from the Doge’s Palace.

The main areas yo will see are:

  • The armory, a collection of over 2,000 artifacts including a few unusual objects.
  • The courtrooms where laws were made, and cases were heard.
  • The doge’s chambers are private rooms containing a shrine, priceless paintings, and two globes showing how the world was understood at the time.
  • The secret rooms, which include cells, interrogation rooms, and a torture chamber.
  • The chamber of the Great Council, where important state meetings were hosted.

Unfortunately unless you booked a month in advance online entrance will be €30 each. (Audioguide: 5 euro extra) – But does include the The Doge’s Palace, Museo Correr, National Archaeological Museum and the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.

Read more about the Palazzo Ducale

Dorsoduro

Punta Della Dogana
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

You will head to the island to the south Dorsoduro, which holds the Venice university and will probably a more economical place to eat than St Marks Square! Head west from St Marks Square cross 5 bridges until you get to a large square – Rielo de le Erbe. Head south from here to cross over Ponte dell’Accademia to reach Dorsoduro.
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You have a number of options here. Punta della Dogana – Pinault Collection is an art museum, in a triangular former customs house, exhibiting international contemporary artworks. Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute and Gallerie dell’Accademia.

Read more about the Punta della Dogana - Pinault Collection

Tours and Activities from Venice

The famous Piazza San Marco, known in English as St Mark’s Square, is the main public square in Italy’s floating city, Venice. With a glowing reputation as one of the finest squares in the world and arguably one of Europe’s primary tourist attractions, it certainly has a lot to offer to visitors.

The popular Piazza San Marco, known amongst locals as ‘La Piazza’, is found at the southern base of the Grand Canal. Napoleon called the Piazza San Marco “the finest drawing room in Europe.” Inside it’s surrounded by stunning Baroque and Victorian era buildings and monuments.

When to visit Piazza San Marco?

Due to its popularity, we recommend that you head to PIazza San Marco first thing in the morning to avoid the big crowds. Start your day in this magical square with a sit-down coffee at one of the cafés before moving on to see the rest of Venice. Be careful when visiting during periods of heavy rain, as the square is prone to flooding.

How long is needed to visit Piazza San Marco?

You should reserve at least half an hour to visit Piazza San Marco. A little longer if you want to stop for a coffee or visit the Basilica San Marco or Museo Correr.

What should I wear to visit Piazza San Marco?

Dress comfortably on your trip to Piazza San Marco. You’re likely to be doing a lot of walking and exploring all day, so wear relaxed shoes and clothing. If you’re having lunch or dinner at a particularly exclusive venue, go for something that’s chic yet relaxed.

How to get to the Piazza San Marco?

If on foot just follow the yellow “San Marco” signs on the corners of buildings. The walk from the train station or the Piazzale Roma will take 30 minutes to an hour or more, as long as you don’t stop off on route.

When was Piazza San Marco built?

The piazza was laid out in the 11th Century, when its area was divided in half by a canal near the café tables in the picture. A century later, the canal was filled in, creating the basic shape that exists today. A major building project got underway in the 16th Century, and new stone paving replaced the old bricks in the early 1700s. 

What you will find in the Piazza San Marco?

This beautiful Piazza is surrounded by shops, caffè’s and palazzi on three sides including the historic and expensive Caffè Florian. According to local legend Napoleon called the Piazza San Marco “the drawing room of Europe.” A full breakdown is below.

Basilica di San Marco

BenQ Digital Camera
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Gary Ullah

We will start our guide looking at the Basilica di San Marco or St Mark’s Basilica.


Looking at the Basilica you will notice the four bronze horses on the loggia above the porch. originally part of a monument depicting a quadriga (a four-horse carriage used for chariot racing). The horses were placed here after the sack and looting of Constantinople in 1204   The four horses have historically been symbols of the great power of Venice.

The Basilica di San Marco was built in 832 AD to house the remains of the city’s patron, Saint Mark. The holy man’s body was brought from Alexandria, Egypt by two Venetian merchants who smuggled it concealed in the barrels of pork meat, which they rightly regarded the Muslim guards would never touch. According to legend, the night the body arrived in the lagoon, St Mark was greeted by an angel, saying, “Peace be with you Mark, my Evangelist. Here shall your body rest”. Over the centuries, this legend has inspired many works of art.

200 years later, a sumptuous temple was built upon the foundations of an earlier church, and was consecrated when St Mark’s body was interred beneath the high altar. The new basilica was modelled after the celebrated Church of the Apostles in Constantinople. To enhance its opulence, the structure was subsequently clothed in marble and mosaics depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments, as well as the lives of Christ, Virgin Mary and St Mark himself.

Many of the mosaics were later retouched or remade, as artistic tastes changed and the damaged mosaics had to be replaced, so the ones currently in place represent 800 years of artistic styles. Some of them derive from traditional Byzantine representations and are masterworks of Medieval art; others are based on preparatory drawings made by prominent Renaissance artists from Venice and Florence, such as Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Titian, Paolo Uccello, and Andrea del Castagno.

Andrea del Castagno was active at San Marco in the mid-15th century, introducing a sense of perspective largely achieved with architectural settings. Attributed to him is the mosaic in the Mascoli Chapel, depicting the Dormition of the Virgin. Tintoretto, in his turn, created the mosaic in the central nave depicting the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (16th century), while Titian designed and executed, between 1524 and 1530, the mosaic decoration of the Sacristy vault depicting Old-Testament prophets.

Read more about the Basilica di San Marco

Piazzetta dei Leoncini

Piazzetta Dei Leoncini
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

On the north side of the Basilica you will find the Piazzetta dei Leoncini.


The Piazzetta dei Leoncini (Piazzetta meaning small piazza) is named after the two red marble lions sitting in the Piazzetta that were presented to Venice by Doge Alvise Mocenigoin in 1722.

Read more about the Piazzetta dei Leoncini

Torre dell'orologio

Torre DellOrologio
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Mister No

Turning to our left (anti clockwise) to look at the Torre dell’Orologio.


In a square filled with iconic Venetian buildings, this remarkable Renaissance clock tower holds its own. Its base has always been a favorite meeting point for Venetians as it marks the entrance to the ancient Merceria, one of the busiest streets in Venice, now home to both high-end boutiques and trinket shops.

The tower’s clock itself was made the official timekeeper of Venice as far back as 1858. It notably not only tells the time but is also aid to the astrologer, matching zodiac signs with the position of the sun.

Above the clock’s face, against a field of golden stars, you can see a winged lion of St Mark, symbol of Venice found practically everywhere around the city. Beneath the lion is a statue of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus who also seem to be watching over Piazza San Marco.

The two men striking the bell at the extreme top of the clock tower are some of the most peculiar Venetian characters. Originally, these were two shepherds who, but after being reproduced in bronze, grew significantly darker with time, and thus, got the nickname of “Moors”.

If you decide to climb the tower, you may want to book a tour. There are two English tours run every day, each limited to 12 people only. On this tour you will see a secret door and then stop at every level all the way to the top to observe the clock mechanism and other curious things within the tower, along with San Marco square itself down below.

Read more about the Torre dell'Orologio

Procuratie Vecchie & Caffè Lavena

Cafe Lavena, Piazza San Marco, Venezia
CC BY-SA 3.0 / qwesy qwesy

To the left and running along the north side of the Piazza is a long arcade. These buildings built in the early 16th century are called the Procuratie Vecchie (old) and were the homes and offices of high state officials during the Republic of Venice. Today, at ground level the arcade houses shops and restaurants including the famous Café Lavena.


Established in 1750 café Lavena has its origins in the popular Venice of the 17th century. As the other cafés of St Mark’s Square, Lavena equally had its part in intellectual life in the city. The person who gave lustre to Caffé Lavena, patronizing it from his first coming to Venice and becoming an habitual customer, was the composer Richard Wagner. Almost every day from five to six in the afternoon, Wagner used to visit Caffé Lavena and stay for half an hour, conversing very often with the owner Carlo Lavena.

Other famous persons that has frequented Caffé Lavena include the Venetian violinist Raphael Frontalli, famous composers and writers along with the current plethora of famous and not so famous movie stars that visits during the annual Venice Film Festival. Café Lavena is a great place to sip coffee with your loved one in a sunny afternoon and watch the world go by.

Read more about the Caffè Lavena

Procuratie Nuovissime & Museo Correr

Piazza San Marco à Venise (Italie).
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Turn towards the east. The buildings facing the Basilica at the end of Piazza San Marco and to the left of Caffè Lavena is the Procuratie Nuove (New Procuracies) or Ala Napolenica (Napoleon Wing) so called because it was rebuilt by Napoleon in 1810. This wing is occupied primarily by shops as well as the grand staircase leading to the Correr Museum.


Museo Correr is a fine arts museum found in Piazza San Marco. From the Neoclassical Rooms in the Napoleon Wing to the spacious rooms of the Procuratie Nuove. Museo Correr offers a wonderful insights into Venetian history, culture and art. Here you’ll discover the daily life of Venetians through the ages and see fascinating examples of their art up until the early 16th century. Even if you’re not a big admirer of classical art, it’s worth a visit for the amazing views over the Piazza!

Read more about the Museo Correr

Procuratie Nuove & Caffè Florian

Procuratie Nuove
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wladyslaw Golinski

Turning left down the southside of the Piazza are the Procuratie Nuove (new) that were built starting around 1582. (Remember, the Procuratie Vecchie were built in the early 1500’s). The ground floor holds more shops as well as the very famous Caffè Florian opened in 1720. When Austria ruled Venice in the 19th century, after the fall of Napoleon, the Venetians sipped their coffee at the Florian while the hated Austrians were at Quadri’s across the Piazza. The upper floors of this section of buildings house the Correr Museum. At the far end is Sansovino’s Liberia dating from the mid-16th century. The building also houses the Museo Archeologico.


Read more about the Procuratie Nuove

Campanile di San Marco

St Marks Campanile
pixabay / Nicola Giordano

Towards the end of the Procuratie Nuove is the Campanile di San Marco


The city’s tallest bell tower was originally constructed in the 12th century, as a combined lighthouse and belfry, and was continuously modified up until the 16th century, when the golden angel was installed on its summit. Back in the day, each of the five bells here had a distinct function: the largest bell tolled the start and the end of a working day; another bell rang midday; two other bells either proclaimed a session of the Senate or called members of the Grand Council to the meetings; while the smallest of the bells gave notice of a forthcoming execution.

It was at the top of this belfry that Galileo Galilei famously demonstrated his telescope to the Venetian Doge on 21 August 1609 – the event commemorated by a plaque at the tower’s observation deck. Still, the most dramatic event associated with the Campanile took place on 14 July 1902, when the tower fell down shortly after giving a sound of warning to the leisurely coffee drinkers at piazza below, sending them run for their lives!

The Venetians put the Campanile back “where it was and how it was”, and the tower is now safe to climb to the very top. Unlike other belfries where you have to brave a narrow, steep spiral set of stairs to reach the top, the Venetian one has an elevator so you can easily get a pigeon’s eye view just for a fee.

Standing 99 meters high, the Campanile is the tallest structure in Venice; an ideal vantage point for observing the cupolas of the San Marco basilica and further afield, including the surrounding lagoon.

Read more about the St Mark's Campanile

Biblioteca Marciana

Biblioteca Marciana
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Venicescapes

Behind the Campanile di San Marco lies the Marciana Library.


The Marciana Library or Library of Saint Mark is a public library in Venice, Italy. It is one of the earliest surviving public libraries and repositories for manuscripts in Italy and holds one of the world’s most significant collections of classical texts. It is named after St Mark, the patron saint of the city.

Read more about the Biblioteca Marciana

Piazzetta di San Marco

Piazzetta Di San Marco
Pixabay / Edmund Hochmuth

The Piazzetta di San Marco is an open space connecting the south side of the Piazza to the lagoon, The Piazzetta lies between the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and the Biblioteca Marciana (St. Mark’s library).

At the open end of the Pizzetta di San Marco are two large granite columns. Sitting on top of the first column is Saint Theodore, the patron saint of the city prior to St. Mark. Saint Theodore is holding a spear with a dragon / crocodile that he is said to have slain. This is a copy of the original which is housed in the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace). Sitting on the second column is a winged lion of Venice, the symbol of Saint Mark. The original columns are thought to have been erected in 1268. Much activity has taken place between these two columns including gambling and public executions.


Read more about the Piazzetta di San Marco

Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy,

Doge’s Palace In Venice, Italy
pixabay / Max

The Palazzo Ducale or Doge’s Palace in Venice is one of the main landmarks of the city. The building is an unmistakable testament to Venice’s historic wealth and power. Its facade features a gorgeous pink Verona marble – is a real Gothic masterpiece. For almost 1000 years it was the building from which 120 Doges (or chief magistrates) wielded their awesome power and decided Venice’s fate. This seat of government housed a Senate, court facilities, the secret police, and also prisons. It was also the residence of the Doge of Venice, who – once elected – would remain in his position for life.

The Palace is key to understanding the city’s history. Built on the foundations of a 9th-century fortress, this palace is unquestionably the finest secular European building of its time which, in the course of centuries, had served many purposes, including Doge residence, seat of the Venetian government, court of law, civil office, and even a prison.

First built in the 14th century, much of the original palace was destroyed by fire in the 16th century reducing to ashes most of the art treasures held inside. Some of the greatest Venetian masters of the time, such as Tintoretto, Veronese, Titian, Bellini, and Tiepolo, contributed to restoring the palace to its former glory, recreating gilded stucco, sculptures, frescoes, and canvases.

The interior of the palace – spectacular furnishings and paintings, marvelously adorned ceilings – reveals lavishness on the scale that is hard to match. The most outstanding is the Grand Council chamber, featuring Tintoretto’s “Paradise”, reportedly the world’s largest oil painting. Running up to it, in terms of grandeur, is the Sala dello Scrutinio or the “Voting Hall” embellished with paintings depicting Venice’s glorious past.

By the end of the 13th century, Venice was one of Europe’s richest cities, mostly due to trading spices, silks, and wool between Europe and the Middle East. Its wealthy citizens became patrons of the arts, commissioning fabulous sculptures and paintings to decorate their palaces.

Read more about the Palazzo Ducale

Bridge of Sighs

Antonio Contin Ponte Dei Sospiri (Venice)
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Didier Descouens

The best vies of the Bridge of Sighs is from the Ponte della Paglia, between the Doge’s Palace and the Prisons’ Palace.


Another grand Venetian landmark, the Bridge of Sighs runs between the Palazzo Ducale and the prisons. The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge’s English name was bequeathed by Lord Byron in the 19th century as a translation from the Italian “Ponte dei sospiri”,from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.

A local legend says lovers will be granted eternal love if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge of Sighs as the bells of the Campanile are ringing.

Read more about the Bridge of Sighs

Tours and Activities from Venice