Ignore the crowds and savor the setting.

Piazza San Marco at night

Napoleon famously described the Piazza San Marco as "Europe's finest drawing room."

In peak season, the Piazza is the busiest spot in Venice, but don't let that bother you: The crowds are good-natured, and there's plenty of room for everyone.


  • Don't picnic in the piazza. It's illegal.
  • The cafés around the square are insanely expensive, so don't grab a table casually.
  • Don't feed the pigeons. (That's illegal, too.)
  • Don't be alarmed if you see water oozing out of the drains. (Parts of the Piazza often get wet during high tide.)

Basilica di San Marco:

Venice's most famous and ornate church is awash in stolen property, from the bones of St. Mark to many of the precious objects that cover the opulent Byzantine façade and interior.

The gold glass mosaics alone make a visit worthwhile.

  • Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 2 - 5:25 p.m. on Sundays.
  • Last admission 30 minutes before closing.

  • Admission: Free. (Donation welcome.)
  • Some areas, such as the Treasury, require tickets.

  • "Skip the Line" tours: Viator, our activities partner, offers several escorted and self-guided tours that let you bypass the queue.

  • More information: Basilica di San Marco (Venice for Visitors)

Doge's Palace:

The Palazzo Ducale was the Venetian Republic's seat of government, and parts of the building date back to 1340. Allow plenty of time for a visit.

  • Hours: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. (April-October), 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (November-March). Last admission is one hour before closing, and the building starts shutting down 30 minutes before closing.

  • Admission: Click here for current prices.

  • More information: See the palace's "Plan Your Visit" pages.
  • "Skip the Line" tours: Viator, our activities partner, offers several tours that let you bypass the queue.

Campanile di San Marco:

The Piazza San Marco's bell tower is a replica of the original tower that collapsed in 1902 after nearly a thousand years.

The Campanile has an elevator and offers great views of the Piazza and central Venice.

  • Hours: 9 :30 a.m. - 9:15 p.m., with the last admission at 8:45 p.m. The bell tower may be closed in bad weather.

  • Admission: €10 for older children and adults, free for children up to 6 years of age.
  • More information: Campanile di San Marco (Venice for Visitors)

Torre dell'Orologio

Guided tours of the historic Clock Tower are available in Italian, English, and French.

You'll get to see the clock's internal workings unless you're bothered by steep steps or claustrophobia.

  • Hours and ticket prices: See "Plan Your Visit" on the Torre dell'Orologio Web site.