Venice Sights

Historical Sights

Ponte dei Sospiri, Sestiere di San Marco, Venice 30124. Tel: N/A. Open: 24 hours a day.
Some stories tell that the Ponte dei Sospiri was named the Bridge of Sighs because it was a romantic meeting point for lovers. However, the truth tells a much sadder tale, the bridge was in fact built to convey magistrates to the courts and prisoners to their unfortunate fates. However, the baroque bridge, designed by Antonio Contino, still has a very romantic air to it and remains an important historical landmark in modern Venice.
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Basilica di San Marco - Campanile, Piazza San Marco, Venice 30124. Tel: 041 522 4064. Open: 9.30am - 4.30pm daily.
This is the tallest bell tower (campanile) in Venice, approximately 91m high; it was built between 874 and 1150, then reconstructed after it collapsed in 1902. From here visitors are able to get a beautiful panoramic view of the city. The tower can be seen from the whole of the lagoon, and once you have reached the top, the whole lagoon can be seen from above. Although today's tower was erected at the beginning of the 20th century, it is still an exact replica of the original 15th century bell tower. In 1609, Galileo Galilei exhibited his famous telescope here and during the carnival period, the bell tower used to serve as a stage for the tightrope walkers who entertained the Doge with their acrobatic manoeuvres.
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Piazza San Marco, St. Mark's Square, Venice 30124. Tel: N/A. Open: 24 hours a day.
Piazza San Marco or St. Mark's Square is one of Venice's most famous squares. What appears to be rectangle in shape is actually a trapezium and when you look up at the Basilica, the Piazza seems enormous, although in fact it is only 175m long. On both sides of the Piazza, you can find the Procuratie buildings, which housed the procurators of San Marco. The oldest of these (most likely built by Codussi) are on the left-hand side, when facing the Basilica; whereas the buildings on the right were built by Longhena in 1640. The most recent buildings, commissioned by Napoleon in 1810, lie just behind.
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Santa Maria Della Salute, Campo della Salute, 30124 Venice. Vaporetto: Salute. Tel: 041 522 5558. Open: March - November, daily 9.00am - noon and 3.00pm - 6.00pm (5.30pm December to February). Entrance: Free admission (donations are accepted).
This beautiful baroque church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary to thank her for stopping a plague, when, it was reported, 50,000 people died. Since the late 1600s, there has been a solemn procession on November 16th, which starts from Piazza San Marco, to request that the Virgin keep them in good health. Baldassare Longhena, the architect who designed and started to construct the beautiful building, died before the church was completed in around 1687. When entering the church, you will instantly notice how vast, luminous and tranquil it is. The most noticeable masterpiece inside is the famous Nozze di Canaa (circa 1551), a beautiful piece of work by Tintoretto and the ceiling is adorned with a splendid fresco by Tiziano Vecello.
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Palazzo Dario, no details available at the moment.
This small, but attractive palace can be found on the Grand Canal, at the corner with Rio della Torreselle. Its asymmetric exterior is decorated with unique reddish-purple stone and is one of the most important examples of the early Renaissance period in Venice. However, the building has been riddled with a curse sine the late 1400s; many of its owners have experienced losing their fortunes, weird diseases, as well as strange and bizarre deaths. So well know is the curse, that Woody Allen changed his mind about purchasing the building for this reason!

Grand Canal, throughout the city. Open: 24 hours a day.
When people think of Venice, one of the major things that comes to mind would be its intricate system of waterways. The city is in fact a collection of small islands (approximately 120), connected and disconnect by some 177 canals. The largest being the Canal Grande, which tenderly divides the historical centre into two and can at times reach more than 70 metres wide. The canal begins at Piazzetta San Marco and finally reaches its destination at Longhena's La Salute Church and midway it is crossed by the famous Rialto Bridge. One of the best ways to experience the sights and sounds of the Grand Canal is to travel on the vaporetto (Route No. 1). Along the banks of the canals, you will be able to admire the beautiful Palazzi, many of which have now been adapted to house museums and galleries.

Fenice Opera House, Palafenice, Isola del Tronchetto. Tel: 041 786 511. Open: Various times. Entrance: Various prices for tickets available.
Italy, and moreover Venice, is synonymous with the opera. The construction of the world-famous Fenice Opera House began in 1789, despite a law forbidding the construction of new theatres. 3 years later, on the May 16th, its doors opened for its inauguration during the festival of Sensa. The theatre has been home to many famous operas, concerts and shows and is thought to have near-perfect acoustics. This is probably Venice's premier opera houses; however, unfortunately on the 29th of January 1996 the great building had to live up to the name it was given (in English 'Phoenix'), after it was severely gutted by an arsonist attack. However, after several months, which stretched to years, of internal and external squabbles, as well as red tape, its refurbishment has recently been completed and it has been furnished to mirror its previous stature and d├ęcor and respects the original architectural structure rather than having radically changed the installations. Its doors finally re-opened to the public in December 2003, for the start of the new inauguration of its 'rebirth'. The fully restored concert hall now has a total can now seat more than 1,000 spectators and new rehearsal and conference rooms have been created below the orchestra floor.
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