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One Day in Venice, Italy for Art Lovers – The Perfect Itinerary with Maps and Practical Tips

Mosaics on the facade of St. Mark's Basilica - Venice, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Spend one day in Venice visiting the most famous art galleries, museums, and churches of the city of water. Specifically geared towards art lovers, this itinerary will reveal to you the most beautiful masterpieces and the most important works of art in Venice, Italy.

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Here is a one day in Venice itinerary specifically tailored for art lovers.

It covers eight major art galleries, museums, and churches in Venice and it includes two maps and lots of practical tips to make your art exploration of the city of water as easy and exciting as possible.

Venice is a dream place to visit for anyone who loves art. From Byzantine-inspired gold mosaics and monumental Renaissance paintings to famous works of modern art, throughout its millennial history, Venice in Italy has accumulated masterpieces in many different forms and shapes.

The city of water has also inspired and nurtured some of the most famous artists in the world: from the Venice-born Bellini brothers and Tintoretto to the working in Venice for either a period of or their whole life Andrea Mantegna, Cima da Conegliano, Giorgione, Titian, and Veronese. And this is just the Renaissance. When you add the other artistic movements from the Middle Ages to our days, then the list of artists connected to Venice becomes truly impressive.

St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Travelling to Venice in Italy specifically to see its art is a great idea. Dotted with art galleries, churches, and museums, the city of water offers enough masterpieces to make anyone with a budding or an established interest in art immerse themselves in it. Even better, such is the accumulation of art in Venice and there are so many different styles of it, that before you know it your interest grows and expands. Suddenly you develop an appreciation for a type of art or an artistic period you may not have known much about before.

This happened to me! While Venice initially attracted me for its Renaissance output, the more I visited its art galleries, museums, and churches the more interested I became in the Venetian Gothic and then the Venetian Baroque art. I discovered names such as Paolo Veneziano, Pietro Longhi, Tiepolo (father and son). And when I felt overwhelmed by all the religious scenes and all the large canvases exalting the Republic of Venice, I could always escape to places like Ca’ Pesaro and refresh my eyes with a dose of modern art.

The facade of St. Mark's Basilica and a close-up of a capital of the Doge's Palace - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

So, in this blog post today, I want to share with you a one day in Venice itinerary specifically tailored for art lovers. You don’t have to be a consummate art connoisseur to take advantage of it. I will talk you through the different art sights it covers and will tell you why they are a must-see during your day trip to Venice. From enormous canvases and hidden masterpieces to the final resting places of famous artists, there are many extraordinary spots along the way. All that is needed is curiosity and a good pair of very, very comfortable shoes.

This one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers covers in eight steps the major art galleries, churches, and museums of Venice. Each step outlines the main works of art you can see at each sight. Information about purchasing tickets and links to the respective official websites are provided, too. In addition, for most steps, I have also included a shortlist with other notable art places to see nearby.

This way, you can tweak and adjust this itinerary as you see fit. It’s completely up to you which sights you want to see on it and how much time you want to spend in the specific art galleries, churches, and museums it covers. If you don’t want to rush around, you can even split the itinerary over two or even three days!

Scuola Grande di San Rocco and Basilica dei Frari - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

At the end of this blog post, I have also included a list with many practical tips to help you streamline your art exploration of Venice. The list is followed by two maps. The first covers the eight major art sights on this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers. The second map includes both the eight major art sights and the nearby art places from the additional shortlists.

Finally, make sure that you have a look at these three blog posts:

  • 20 Venice Landmarks You Simply Have to See – for a detailed overview of the main sights to see in Venice. I mention several of these landmarks all throughout this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers below. It pays to read about them in advance, so as to follow the itinerary with ease and confidence.
  • 101 Hidden Gems in Venice – for 101 things to do and see in the city of water off the beaten track. This blog post has specific Architecture and Art sections for even more ideas about hidden art gems to discover in Venice.
  • 45 Essential Tips for Venice – for handy tips on how to navigate the city of water.

Now, let’s start!

One Day in Venice, Italy for Art Lovers - The Perfect Itinerary with Maps and Practical Tips - rossiwrites.com

One Day in Venice, Italy for Art Lovers – The Perfect Itinerary with Maps and Practical Tips

Start and End Destination

Murano glass panels at Venezia Santa Lucia Train station - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

This one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers starts from and ends at Venezia Santa Lucia train station. This is the train station of the historic city of Venice. It is an end of the line station and among the 15 largest and busiest railway hubs in Italy. On average, it serves 450 high-speed and regional trains a day and deals with 30 million passengers a year.

You can easily travel to Venice for a day from a number of large and small cities in Italy. Here are specific blog posts giving you detailed information on how to take a day trip to Venice from Milan, Verona, Bologna, and Florence.

Aim to arrive as early as possible in order to be able to see more of the art galleries, churches, and museums included in this one-day itinerary for Venice in Italy. The first sight on it – the Scuola Grande di San Rocco – currently opens at 9.30 am. You may also want to grab some breakfast or get your bearings, so factor in as much time as you need.

Please, bear in mind that this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers is almost entirely on foot. There are only two points along the way when boarding a boat is an option. They are clearly marked below. Make sure that you wear your most comfortable shoes. In summer, apply suncream and have a refillable water bottle on you. In winter wrap up well as Venice can get rather chilly. Most of the day will be spent inside art galleries, churches, and museums. Still, there is a fair amount of walking both inside the different landmarks and outside, so be prepared mentally and physically.

The walking distances between the different sights vary from around one minute to around 20 minutes. Consider that you will most likely get lost once or twice, especially if this is your first visit to Venice. This is absolutely normal. The city is very labyrinthine. Don’t panic! Find your bearings by checking your GPS app, by looking up to spot one of the many signs in yellow and black pointing towards Venice’s most visited places or by having a coffee and/or a bite to eat in a local eaterie and politely asking for directions.

1. Scuola Grande di San Rocco in the Sestiere of San Polo in Venice, Italy

Scuola Grande di San Rocco - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Start your one-day exploration of Venice for art lovers with a visit to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. An easy walk away from the Venezia Santa Lucia train station, this is one of the most lavishly decorated and most famous buildings in the city of water. It was built in the 16th century by the Confraternity of St. Roch. This was one of the charitable and devotional communities (locally called scuole) that for centuries had organised the laymen of Venice. 

The grandiosity of the facade of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is only rivalled by Tintoretto’s monumental cycle of paintings inside the building. The late 17th-century allegorical wooden sculptures by Francesco Pianta in the Upper Hall (Sala Superiore) are another of the highlights here.

In addition, the Treasure of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco holds many priceless artefacts. Among them are elaborate reliquaries keeping the fingers of St. Roch and St. Andrew. There is also an original painting by the famous artist of the Venetian School – Giorgione. It depicts Christ Carrying the Cross. Curiously enough, the painting is topped by a semi-circular painting by Titian (and assistants). As Titian was Giorgione’s student, it is interesting to compare the pictorial style and the strengths of both in such close proximity.

Tickets and Tours: You can buy your ticket on the day of your visit from the ticket office at the entrance of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice. Check the official website for up-to-date prices and opening times.

Official Website: Scuola Grande di San Rocco

More Art Nearby: The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is not only rich in art but it’s also within close proximity to several other important in terms of the history of art sights in Venice, Italy. Here is a shortlist for your interest:

  • Church of San Rocco – this church with a splendid Baroque facade stands right next to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The monumental high altar inside hosts the relics of San Rocco (known as St. Roch in English). Large canvases by Tintoretto and fragments of a fresco cycle by Pordenone decorate the interiors.
  • Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista – a monumental complex of a 13th-century Venetian confraternity. Here you can see Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque masterpieces in an architecturally stunning setting.
  • Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art – a hidden gem in Venice with a stunning collection of works of art from the 19th and the 20th centuries. The spacious rooms of this elegant Venetian palazzo on the Grand Canal are filled with masterpieces by Kandinsky, Chagall, Miro’, and a long list of Venetian and Italian artists. Exploring Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art can be a great alternative to a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (see point 5 bellow). The top floor of Ca’ Pesaro houses the Oriental Art Museum with a wonderful collection of artefacts from Japan, China, and Indonesia.
  • Church of San Pantalon – another hidden gem in terms of art in Venice. The church’s unassuming facade doesn’t prepare you for the masterpieces inside. The most impressive of them all is the enormous painting covering the church’s whole ceiling. Depicting The Martyrdom and Apotheosis of St. Pantalon, it was painted by Gian Antonio Fumiani over a period of 20 years. It is considered to be the world’s largest painting on canvas. To get a proper look at it, put a coin in the donation box near the church’s door. This will automatically illuminate the ceiling. Also in this church you can admire the wonderful Madonna of the Poppy by the Byzantine- and Gothic-inspired painter Paolo Veneziano. A side chapel has frescoes by Pietro Longhi – a lovely thing to see, especially if you decide to skip Ca’ Rezzonico (point 3 in this itinerary) in favour of other art sights in Venice, Italy.
  • Scuola Grande dei Carmini – the seat of another one of Venice’s charitable and devotional confraternities. It is richly decorated with stuccoes, frescoes, and wooden wall coverings. Particularly famous are the paintings by the renowned Rococo artist Giambattista Tiepolo on the ceiling of the Capitular Hall.
  • Church of Santa Maria dei Carmini – a beautiful church next door to the Scuola Grande dei Carmini. It stands out with masterpieces by Cima da Conegliano, Lorenzo Lotto, and Tintoretto among others.

2. Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in the Sestiere of San Polo in Venice, Italy

Basilica dei Frari - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Commonly known as the Basilica dei Frari (or simply Frari), this is an imposing church built of red bricks in the heart of the Venetian sestiere of San Polo. Its facade is strikingly bare. Inside the basilica, however, you will find an impressive collection of art and the grandiose tombs of famous Venetian artists.

A special mention deserve two imposing paintings by Titian you can admire here: the sublime ‘Assumption of the Virgin Mary’ on the high altar and the skillfully dynamic in terms of use of space and movement ‘Pesaro Madonna’.

A personal favourite of mine that you can see in the Basilica dei Frari is Giovanni Bellini’s ‘Madonna and Child with Ss. Nicholas of Bari, Peter, Mark, and Benedict’ (also known as the ‘Frari Triptych’ or ‘Pesaro Triptych’). This is one of the pinnacles of the Early Venetian Renaissance. Stand in front of the triptych to admire fully the three-dimensional effect that the painting produces.

The basilica’s wooden choir stalls are astonishing in their detail. They are adorned with complex scenes in intarsia – a technique used to create images with different species of wood in various shades. The monumental tombs of the famous artist Titian, the neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova (only his heart is buried here), and several Venetian doges and noblemen are astounding in their size and ornamentation.

Tickets and Tours: There is a small admission fee (currently set at three euros). You can buy your ticket on the day of your visit from the ticket office at the entrance of the Basilica dei Frari in Venice. Check the official website for up-to-date opening times.

Official Website: Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

More Art Nearby: For ideas on what else to see in terms of art and art history nearby, have a look at the ‘More Art Nearby’ subheading under point 1 in this blog post.

3. Ca’ Rezzonico in the Sestiere of Dorsoduro in Venice, Italy

The entrance of Ca' Rezzonico - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Ca’ Rezzonico is a must-see in the city of water if you have a specific interest in the art and culture of 18th-century Venice. This lavish palazzo on the Grand Canal is entirely dedicated to the last century of existence of the Republic of Venice. It hosts an extraordinary collection of paintings, art objects, Murano glass chandeliers, and even a whole historic pharmacy shop.

A special mention here deserve the paintings by Pietro Longhi showing scenes of Venetian life in a realistic, almost photographic style. Also in Ca’ Rezzonico, you can see the famous series of Carnival frescoes by Giandomenico Tiepolo. They depict Punchinello (known as Pulcinella in Italian) – one of the most popular characters of Commedia dell’Arte. In the past, these frescoes adorned the villa where the painter’s family lived in the small village of Zianigo in the Venetian mainland. They were transferred to Ca’ Rezzonico in 1936 after the city of Venice purchased them to prevent them from being sold abroad.

All in all, Ca’ Rezzonico makes for a lovely visit, especially as it also has a nice green garden where you can rest for a few minutes. At the same time, if you don’t have a specific interest in 18th-century Venice and/or want to focus on a different art period or a different style of art altogether, then you can skip it and potentially visit it during a return trip to Venice. 

Tickets and Tours: Click to buy tickets for Ca’ Rezzonico in Venice in advance.

Official Website: Ca’ Rezzonico

More Art Nearby: If you decide to skip Ca’ Rezzonico, then you can put a few minutes aside to see the nearby Church of San Sebastiano. It is not in vain that art lovers all around the world traditionally call it the Veronese church. Not only the Church of San Sebastiano has the most important series of paintings by the famous Renaissance artist Paolo Caliari (better known as Veronese), he is also laid to rest in it. This church is looked after by Chorus – an association working for the preservation of several historic churches in Venice. Entrance is paid for and you can purchase a Chorus pass in advance which will come in handy if you are planning to see the other Chorus churches mentioned in this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers.

4. Gallerie dell’Accademia in the Sestiere of Dorsoduro in Venice, Italy

Gallerie dell'Accademia - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

The Gallerie dell’Accademia is an impressive art gallery hosting the world’s largest collection of Venetian art dating from the 14th to the 18th centuries. From Byzantine-inspired altarpieces to Baroque masterpieces, its 37 halls trace the evolution of art in Venice.

The Gallerie dell’Accademia are, perhaps, most widely known as the place where the world’s most famous drawing – Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man – is kept. To the disappointment of many, the Vitruvian Man is not on permanent display. Due to its fragile nature, the Gallerie show it to the general public only on special occasions.

The Vitruvian Man aside, the Gallerie dell’Accademia are still very much worth a visit. Here you can admire famous paintings by the likes of Giovanni Bellini, Andrea Mantegna, Vittore Carpaccio, Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese. Walking through the spacious halls, you feel like you are in a book on the history of art. Paintings that we usually see on the pages of books, here stand in front of you in all their splendour. If you have a special interest in the Venetian School, a visit here will be a highlight of your day in Venice.

Bear in mind that if you are starting to get pressed for time or if modern art is not really your cup of tea, you may consider skipping the next stop on this itinerary – Peggy Guggenheim Collection (point 5) – altogether. In this case, once you have completed your visit to the Gallerie dell’Accademia, cross the Grand Canal on the Accademia Bridge (read more about it under point 9 here). Then continue through the sestiere of San Marco to the Doge’s Palace (point 6 below) and St. Mark’s Basilica (point 7 below).

Tickets and Tours: You can buy your ticket from the official website in advance or from the ticket office at the Gallerie dell’Accademia on the day of your visit. Keep in mind that ticket prices may vary depending on temporary exhibitions and events.

Official Website: Gallerie dell’Accademia

More Art Nearby: There are several other art sights near the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. You will be spoiled for choice. Especially, if you decide to either split over two or three days this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers or adjust it to your specific art tastes and interests. Here are some suggestions to consider:

  • Palazzo Cini – a refined house museum with a beautiful collection of art and historic furniture. Among other things, here you can admire a selection of 13th- to 16th-century Tuscan paintings, sculptures, and art objects. Among them is a small painting by Botticelli.
  • Church of Santa Maria del Rosario (I Gesuati) – an imposing 18th-century Dominican church with celebrated frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo. This church is looked after by Chorus – an association working for the preservation of several historic churches in Venice. Entrance is paid for and you can purchase a Chorus pass in advance which will come in handy if you are planning to see the other Chorus churches mentioned in this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers.
  • Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute – a famous 17th-century church which is considered to be one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Europe. It houses many works of art with several canvases by Titian among them. The church itself features in dozens of paintings by celebrated artists from all around the world.
  • Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art – you will find it inside the Pinacoteca Manfrediniana next door to the Basilica della Salute.
  • Punta della Dogana – an art museum hosting temporary exhibitions in the recently restored Sea Customs House.

5. Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the Sestiere of Dorsoduro in Venice, Italy

Peggy Guggenheim Collection - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a must-see in Venice if you have an interest in modern art and/or you are starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by all the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque masterpieces you have seen so far. The abstract world of the European and American art of the 20th century offers a rather stark contrast.

The Collection is housed in the 18th-century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Dorsoduro shore of the Grand Canal. The larger-than-life figure of Peggy Guggenheim – an art patron and a woman who knew how to elevate life to an art form – permeates the many rooms. Her ashes are interred next to her beloved dogs in a corner of the palazzo’s garden.

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection exhibits many masterpieces of modern art, has a sculpture garden, organises acclaimed events, and even holds a free art workshop for children every Sunday. Even if modern art is not your cup of tea, it is a wonderful and whimsical place to visit in Venice. Not least for the great views of the Grand Canal and The Angel of the City sculpture revelling in ecstasy at the best viewpoint.

To continue on this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers, walk the short distance from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to the local traghetto stop. A traghetto is a black unadorned gondola with two oarsmen who for a small charge will row you across the Grand Canal. The traghetto line you need to catch in the vicinity of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is called Traghetto Santa Maria del Giglio. It will drop you off near the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio in the sestiere of San Marco. From here, the Doge’s Palace (point 6) and St. Mark’s Basilica (point 7) are a short walk away.

Tickets and Tours: Click to buy fast track tickets for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. For added convenience, you can get a combined ticket for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Doge’s Palace in Venice, too.

Official Website: Peggy Guggenheim Collection

More Art Nearby: For ideas on what else to see in terms of art and art history nearby, have a look at the ‘More Art Nearby’ subheading under point 4 in this blog post.

6. Doge’s Palace in the Sestiere of San Marco in Venice, Italy

Doge's Palace - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

The Doge’s Palace in Venice commands the eye with its solid yet elegant proportions. Built of carefully interlaced white Istrian stone and red Verona marble, the centuries have weathered its facade to a beautiful salmon pink colour which is especially intense early in the morning. One of the pinnacles of the Venetian Gothic style, for centuries the Doge’s Palace was the beating heart of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. 

Nowadays, the Doge’s Palace is one of the most important sights in Venice. It has an unparalleled catalogue of art, an extensive collection of historic arms, and many rooms and halls decorated by some of the most famous artists of the Venetian School like Titian and Tintoretto. To fully immerse yourself in the art of Venice, a visit to the Doge’s Palace is a must.

Among many other things, here you can see the enormous canvas Il Paradiso painted by Tintoretto and his workshop. 22 m long and 7 m high, this is one of the largest oil paintings in the world. You can admire it in all its glory in the Chamber of the Great Council – one of the biggest rooms in Europe.

Tickets and Tours: Click to buy your fast track ticket for the Doge’s Palace in Venice in advance. If you are on a tight schedule and want to see as much as possible during your one day in Venice, then consider joining a guided tour with a skip-the-line entrance. Alternatively, pay a bit more for the convenience and enjoy a guided tour with a skip-the-line entrance for both the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

Official Website: Palazzo Ducale

More Art Nearby: There is a huge proliferation of art around the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica (see point 7 below) in Venice. Once you have visited them both, you may decide to abandon the rest of this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers and instead visit one or more of the following sights instead:

  • Museo Correr – just across St. Mark’s Square from the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, you can visit this excellent museum tracing the art and history of Venice from many different historical points of view. The ticket for Museo Correr also includes entry to the National Archaeological Museum of Venice, the Monumental Rooms of the National Marciana Library, and fast track access to the Doge’s Palace.
  • Church of San Zaccaria – this 15th-century church has an incredibly rich collection of art with masterpieces by Giovanni Bellini, Tintoretto, Anthony Van Dyck, and Giandomenico Tiepolo. It also has a crypt which, nowadays, is permanently flooded. It houses the tombs of eight of the earliest Venetian doges.
  • Fondazione Querini Stampalia – this is a historic house museum with a beautiful art collection. I am especially fond of the paintings depicting scenes of Venetian life. Here you can also see how noble Venetian families used to live. Several rooms are outfitted with historic furniture, lavish Murano glass chandeliers, and frescoes dating to the 18th and the 19th centuries. The famous architect Carlo Scarpa also left his imprint on the place, particularly in the shape of a lovely small garden. Exploring Fondazione Querini Stampalia can be a great alternative to a visit to Ca’ Rezzonico (see point 3 above).
  • Palazzo Grimani – a beautiful Venetian palace with stunning frescoes and stuccoes. It used to be the home of one of Venice’s noblest families who produced a doge and several high-ranking officials. The Grimanis were some of the first to invest in collecting classical statues and sculptures thus giving a push to the development of archaeology as a science.
  • Scuola Grande di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni – don’t miss this sight in Venice if you have a particular interest in the Renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio. His pictorial cycle created for this Venetian Scuola Grande is particularly famous.
  • Church of San Lio – this small church with a very plain facade hides inside masterpieces by Titian, Palma Il Giovane, and Giandomenico Tiepolo. Above all, the famous Venetian artist Canaletto is laid to rest here.

Afterwards, if you don’t want to walk all the way back to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station, you can get a water bus or as they call it in Venice – vaporetto. Have a look at the timetable for vaporetto line 1 which will give you an idea of travel times and stops along the route. In this case, you will be able to see the beautiful facade of Ca’ d’Oro (see point 8 below) from the water as well as many other famous palaces and buildings along the shores of Venice’s Grand Canal. Click to buy your Venice vaporetto tickets in advance. To check all the different vaporetto lines and timetables in Venice, have a look at this official website.

7. St. Mark’s Basilica in the Sestiere of San Marco in Venice, Italy

The facade of St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice is one of the most splendid churches in Europe and the world. Lavishly decorated with precious marbles and complex scenes in mosaics, this is one of the most resplendent jewels in Venice’s architectural and artistic crown.

The basilica preserves many treasures. Inside it, you can lose track of time in admiration of its domes and walls covered with dizzyingly gold mosaics. The Pala d’Oro – the retable of the high altar – amazes with its meticulous craftsmanship and decoration of 1,927 gems.

The Triumphal Quadriga (also known as the Horses of St. Mark) is particularly famous. These are the four bronze horses dating back to Classical Antiquity which were brought to Venice in 1204 after the Sack of Constantinople. Nowadays, their copies adorn the basilica’s facade. The originals are kept inside. Also inside the basilica, don’t miss the St. Mark’s Museum. From illuminated manuscripts to silk tapestries, a visit to it will delight anyone with an interest in Christian art.

Tickets and Tours: There is a small charge to visit the basilica in addition to fees to see St. Mark’s Museum and the Pala d’Oro, and to access the outside terrace, the so-called Loggia dei Cavalli. It’s worth it! The precious artefacts deserve a closer look and the views of Venice from the loggia are spell-binding. Click here to check the most up-to-date prices on the Basilica’s official website. If you want to commit to a specific time of visit, click to buy a skip-the-line guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica. Alternatively, pay a bit more for the convenience and enjoy a guided tour with a skip-the-line entrance for both the St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace in Venice.

Official Website: Basilica di San Marco

More Art Nearby: For ideas on what else to see in terms of art and art history nearby, have a look at the ‘More Art Nearby’ subheadings under points 6 and 8 in this blog post.

8. Ca’ d’Oro Galleria Giorgio Franchetti in the Sestiere of Cannaregio in Venice, Italy

The terrace of Ca d'Oro - Venice, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Ca’ d’Oro – the Golden House – is the most striking Late Gothic Palace in Venice. Facing the Grand Canal, it grabs the eye and charms the imagination with the intricate stone openwork of its balconies.

Nowadays, Ca’ d’Oro functions as an art gallery. Inside it, you can see the collection lovingly accumulated by Baron Giorgio Franchetti – the palace’s last private owner. Originals by Andrea Mantegna, Vittore Carpaccio, Titian, and Francesco Guardi as well as by the Flemish artists Jan Van Eyck and Anthony Van Dyck can be admired here. The gallery also has the now faded and cracked frescoes that were once painted by Titian for another of Venice’s most important buildings – Fondaco dei Tedeschi.

For me, the most impressive thing to see in Ca’ d’Oro, however, is the flooring of the portego – the large covered space on the ground floor which connects the waterside portal with the landside entrance of the palace. The floor here is made of ancient marbles ordered in complex patterns. Its creation was a work of love for Giorgio Franchetti and it’s a truly wonderful thing to see and admire in Venice!

Once finished here, head back to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station. It’s a short walk away from Ca’ d’Oro. No doubt, your mind and your heart will be replete with emotions and unforgettable memories of this one day exploring the art of Venice and the Venetian heritage of art.

Tickets and Tours: Check Ca’ D’Oro’s official website for the most up-to-date information about ticket prices and opening hours. You can buy a ticket just for Ca’ d’Oro or a combined ticket for Ca’ d’Oro and another top art attraction in Venice – Palazzo Grimani – directly from the official website.

Official Website: Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ D’Oro

More Art Nearby: In terms of art and art history, there are many wonderful places to see within a short walking distance from Ca’ d’Oro in Venice. Have a look at the suggestions below and decide for yourself if you want to include them in your day in Venice or not. Alternatively, you may decide to actually skip Ca’ d’Oro in favour of one or more of them:

  • Church of Madonna dell’Orto – with a plain yet elegant facade, this church in the sestiere of Cannaregio has a rich collection of art with originals by the great Renaissance painters Cima da Conegliano, Titian, Tintoretto, and Palma Il Giovane. Even more importantly, Tintoretto himself and his daughter Marietta Robusti – an artist in her own right – are buried here. The church also has the miraculous statue of the Madonna dell’Orto made by the local sculptor Giovanni de Santi in the 14th century. Nearby, you can also see from the outside the house in which Tintoretto used to live and work.
  • Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli – a small but stunningly beautiful Renaissance church. Quite unusually, it was designed, built, and decorated by one artist – Pietro Lombardo – and his workshop. As such, it is incredibly cohesive in its style and architecture. This church is looked after by Chorus – an association working for the preservation of several historic churches in Venice. Entrance is paid for and you can purchase a Chorus pass in advance which will come in handy if you are planning to see the other Chorus churches mentioned in this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers.
  • Scuola Grande di San Marco – a building with a stunningly beautiful facade, a rich collection of historic books on medicine and medical instruments as well as large pictorial cycles and artistic masterpieces. Several of the original paintings that in the past graced this place nowadays are in the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice and the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan.
  • Basilica dei Santi Giovanni and Paolo – this is the largest church in Venice. It stands right next to the Scuola Grande di San Marco. It houses the final resting places of 25 Venetian Doges and it has a stunning collection of art. The two famous Renaissance painters Giovanni and Gentile Bellini are also buried here. The basilica has the largest Gothic polychrome stained-glass window in Venice.
  • Equestrian Monument of Bartolomeo Colleoni – standing right in front of the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni and Paolo, this is the second full-size equestrian monument cast since the Antiquity. It was designed by Andrea del Verrocchio – most famous as the teacher of Leonardo da Vinci.  After Verrocchio’s death, it was cast by Alessandro Leopardi – a sculptor and architect from Venice. 

Bear in mind that you can also easily reach these sights on foot from the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. This way, if you decide to skip Ca’ d’Oro, you can still walk all the way from St. Mark’s Square back to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station while visiting many top Venice landmarks in terms of art and art history along the way.

Practical Tips to Explore Venice in One Day Tailored for Art Lovers

A small stone lion overlooks the Grand Canal in Venice - Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Here is a shortlist with first-hand tried and tested tips to make your one day in Venice as smooth and enjoyable as possible. As you can imagine, this Venice for art lovers itinerary includes a great deal of walking and standing on your feet from early morning until early evening. So, a bit of planning and organisation are needed for maximum comfort and to streamline your efforts as much as possible.

For a full list of essential tips for Venice have a look at this blog post. Otherwise, this shortlist will give you lots of points to consider before your arrival in the city of water.

Pick Carefully Your Shoes and Clothes – make sure that you wear your most comfortable shoes and clothes for a long day of sightseeing and art appreciation. Practical and comfortable are the keywords here. Bear in mind that this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers includes (and suggests) visits to several churches. Even in the heat of summer, they require a certain dress code. So, make sure that shoulders and knees are covered both for men and women at all times.

Check Opening Times – check in advance the current opening times for all sights you will want to visit during your one day in Venice. These may change depending on the season, particular celebrations or any special and/or extraordinary events. I have provided the links to the official websites of the art galleries, churches, and museums included in this itinerary. Alternatively, you can check their respective Facebook pages for the most up-to-date news.

Pre-purchase Tickets – where possible, aim to purchase tickets in advance for the art galleries, churches, and museums you want to see. Not every sight in Venice offers this ability but the most well-known and the most visited ones do. Where possible, I have included links giving you a chance to purchase entry tickets and/or organised tours. They are very useful if you are planning to be at a particular sight at a particular time slot during the day and you want to avoid wasting time standing in line. This is especially valid during the high season.

Start as Early as Possible – there is lots of art to see in Venice, so the earliest you start, the more you will be able to see. At present, the first sight on the above art itinerary – the Scuola Grande di San Rocco – opens at 9.30 am. If you arrive in Venice around 8:50-9:00 am, you will have time to grab a quick brioche and a coffee for breakfast and then cover on foot the ten-minute distance from the train station to the Scuola Grande right as it opens its doors for the day.

Use a GPS app – Venice can be a bit of a shock to the system, especially for first-time visitors. The streets tend to be narrow and with unexpected curves, often ending on the edge of a canal. Make sure that you have a good look at the map before your visit so that you have a general idea as to where in the city of water the sights that you want to see are located. Ideally, use a GPS app or a Maps app on your phone during your visit, too. At the same time, be aware that sometimes such apps can get a bit confused in Venice and lead you in circles rather than straight to the place you want to see. Don’t panic! Keep an eye out for the signs in yellow and black pointing you in the direction of the most visited spots in Venice. These signs are usually painted or attached above eye level to the facades of the Venetian houses and buildings. Alternatively, stop for a coffee and/or a bite to eat at a small bar along the way and ask for directions.

Expect to Get Lost – getting lost is a given in Venice and a big part of the charm of the city of water. If it happens, don’t worry too much. Most probably, you are only a few minutes away from where you want to be anyway. On the other hand, you most probably will come across another wonderful sight to explore, too. For example, churches are dotted all over Venice and they are incredibly rich depositories of art and historic artefacts. And Venetian facades are simply wonderful to look at with their barbacani, patere, and finestrati (see what these are under the Architecture section in this blog post). So, take your chance and see something that was not originally on your list but that you came across by yourself during your day in Venice.

Take It Easy – don’t force yourself to see it all and do it all in a day. Venice is 1,600 years old, so you can’t expect to cover it all and all its art from dawn till dusk. It is not a competition, anyway. It’s best to pick a couple of the large art galleries and museums on the list above and really focus on them. Then, you can spend the rest of the time popping in and out of wonderful historic churches and exploring their art. This way, you will have some strong points of reference rather than everything becoming one huge blur in your mind.

Improvise a Bit – I think the best tip that I can give you about exploring Venice in a day is not to be too strict in terms of expectations and plans. Venice is a place that keeps wonderful secrets and hidden gems around each and every corner. So, while having a general itinerary for the day is a wonderful thing, at the same time it does pay to improvise in situ a bit. In any case, you will end up seeing lots of wonderful art. Just don’t force it and if you miss a particular sight, don’t despair. There are many others right next to it.

Book a Guide – seeing Venice with the help of a highly qualified Venetian guide is an experience in itself. A guide knows all the shortcuts and will smoothly take you around Venice showing you just what you want to see. I always recommend Luisella Romeo from SeeVenice and Erika Cornali from WhenInVenice.

Spend More Time in Venice – if you can, either spend more time in Venice or return to the city of water as soon as you can. The above itinerary can be comfortably split between two, three or even four days. And yet, there will be many more art sights and places left to explore in Venice. So, if you have only a day at your disposal now, use it as best as you can with the help of this art itinerary and then plan a return visit to continue your explorations of Venetian art and art in Venice.

Maps of this One Day in Venice Itinerary for Art Lovers

Porta della Carta of the Doge's Palace - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

These two maps show you the locations of the art galleries, museums, and churches mentioned in this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers. Use them to get a good initial idea of distances, walking directions, and the general layout of the city of water.

The first map includes just the main eight points of the itinerary. The second map includes both the main eight points and the numerous additional suggestions that appear under the ‘More Art Nearby’ subheadings above. This way you can decide if you want to stick to just the main itinerary or adjust it to your specific interests in art.

There is no right or wrong way. It all depends on you, what you want to see, and how much time you have and want to spend at each sight.

I made both maps in Google Maps, so you can zoom in and out, use Street View, and work with them just as with any other map in Google Maps.

1. Map of the Main Points of This One Day in Venice Itinerary for Art Lovers

2. Map of the Main Points and the Additional Sights of This One Day in Venice Itinerary for Art Lovers

In Conclusion

Church of San Rocco next to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco - Venice, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Venice is a wonderful city with a long history and rich accumulation of art. A visit to it can make the heart of any art lover aflutter with excitement at the thought of all the stunning works of art that are kept in the Venetian art galleries, churches, and museums.

From Byzantine-inspired mosaics and Gothic altarpieces to Renaissance masterpieces, Baroque frescoes, and even modern and contemporary art pieces there is so much to see in Venice if art is something that you love.

If you have always wanted to visit the city of water specifically for its art, this blog post gives you a one day in Venice itinerary specifically geared towards art lovers. It covers the major repositories of art here and it also includes several additional options so that you can adjust and expand your sightseeing plans in line with what interests you the most.

I have also included lots of first-hand tried and tested practical tips to make your art exploration of Venice as easy and smooth as possible, especially, if this is your first visit. Two handy maps provide you with the exact locations of each sight covered in-depth or briefly mentioned here, too.

I hope that you will make good use of this one day in Venice itinerary for art lovers. You can follow it as it is, expand on it, split it over several days or combine it with other interests that you may have.

Venice has a lot to offer and it inspires you in many different ways.

Enjoy the city of water and discover its art for yourself!

Now get ready quick for your trip to Venice in Italy!

More Helpful Venice Info for You

Venice: Main Landmarks, Essential TipsHidden GemsNearest AirportsVenetian Carnival, Venetian Masks, Boats in VeniceHaunted VeniceArco del Paradiso
Day Trips from Venice: Venice to Padua, Venice to Verona, Venice to Milan, Venice to Lake Garda
Day Trips to Venice: Verona to Venice, Milan to Venice, Bologna to Venice, Florence to Venice
Venice Videos: Grand CanalSt. Mark’s Square at CarnivalSt. Mark’s SquareView from Rialto BridgeView from Accademia BridgeVenetian gondolasHistorical Regatta, Squero di San TrovasoPalazzo Contarini del BovoloFondazione Querini StampaliaPalazzo GrimaniRialto Fish MarketCa’ MacanaFesta della Madonna della Salute

More Helpful Italy Info for You

Best of Italy: Italian PiazzasItalian FoodItalian MarketsItalian Coffee Culture, Types of Italian CoffeesRules of Italian BreakfastItalian Breakfast Foods and Drinks
Northern Italy: 18 Best Cities to Visit, Major Airports
Lake Garda:
 Best TownsNearest AirportsTravel OptionsLake Garda with KidsMalcesineRiva del GardaTorri del Benaco, Milan to Lake Garda, Verona to Lake Garda
Lake Como: Things to SeeNesso
Veneto: Best Cities to Visit30 Prettiest Small Towns, Top 15 Places30 Adventures15 Most Colourful Places, Most Beautiful Lakes
Friuli Venezia Giulia: VenzoneMost Beautiful Villages
Emilia Romagna: BolognaRavennaComacchioMost Beautiful Villages
Marche: 6 Reasons to VisitGradaraFrasassi CavesTemple of Valadier
Verona: Things to Do in One DayDay Trips from Verona
Padua: Things to Do in One Day101 Facts About Padua10 Reasons to Visit PaduaDay Trips from Padua
Vicenza: Things to Do10 Must-See MuseumsDay Trips from Vicenza

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5 Comments

  • I Love Venice I have visited Venice twice. Once by myself and once with my mother and friends Went on the water bus long the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge. and saw the major sights of Venice and walked along a side street at the Back of Piazza San Marco. Lovely City

  • I have found that the best way to see the San Marco Basilica is to go to mass. I am not a catholic but greatly enjoyed sitting among the congregation admiring my surroundings in peace, copying others over standing/sitting, and generally feeling part of it. No fee, no queue, no being hurried round and out again.

    • This sounds like an interesting experience. However, my worry as a visitor/tourist is always about supporting as best as I can the local sights.
      The fee to visit St. Mark’s Basilica is not high and there is much history, architecture, and art to admire inside.
      Best wishes,

      Rossi 🙂

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