5 free things: Venice

From bridges to a basilica in La Serenissima


Associated Press

On a sunny day, when the Grand Canal is a sparkling ribbon of aquamarine embossed with boats ancient and modern, Venice can steal your heart.

And it can do a number on your wallet, too. Knocking back a Bellini cocktail at the Hemingway haunt of Harry’s Bar will cost you beaucoup euros. And taking a gondola ride? You don’t want to know how much.

But here are five things to do in La Serenissima — as the serene city is sometimes called — that don’t cost a dime, or a pound of flesh.

•  The square: Centrally located St. Mark’s Square — Piazza San Marco — is lined with shops and restaurants and is a must-see. Go early or late to avoid the worst crowds. You can go into the church for free, although there are fees to see the museum and other areas. Completely free: window shopping, people-watching and posing for selfies with the very friendly pigeons. www.basilicasanmarco.it.

For a good map of the city, visit www.veniceonline.it/Maps/Maps.asp.

•  The bridges: Venice is brimming with bridges. The Rialto, a stone arch lined with shops that crosses the Grand Canal at about the halfway point, is the most famous. The Academy Bridge — Ponte dell’ Accademia —etween the Campo di San Vidal and Campo della Carita, also offers great views of the Grand Canal.

The Bridge of Sighs connects the interrogation rooms at the Doge’s Palace (just around the corner from St. Mark’s) with its historic prison cells. The bridge’s name described the sighs of prisoners as they were led to their fate. You have to pay to walk inside the covered bridge, but can get a good, free, view of the outside from the Paglia Bridge (Ponte della Paglia).

•  The ghetto: The word ghetto originated in Venice where a gated part of the city was designated as the Jewish quarter from the 16th century until 1797. A commonly cited explanation is that the word stems from an Italian word getto associated with an old foundry in the area. A bas relief sculpture by Arbit Blatas in the main square — Campo di Ghetto Nuovo in the Cannaregio district — commemorates the deaths of Venetian Jews killed in World War II. In addition to walking around the area, you can visit the Jewish Museum of Venice for 4 euros, www.museoebraico.it/english/.

•  The basilica: The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute — St. Mary of Health — was built after an outbreak of the plague in 1630. Its ornate dome is a feature of the city skyline. Works inside include art by Tintoretto and Titian. Located in the Dorsoduro district, across the Grand Canal from St. Mark’s.

•  The music museum: Classical music enthusiasts will enjoy the Museum of Music — Museo della Musica — a collection of instruments from the 17th to 19th centuries. The museum is in the Church of St. Maurizio, about a 15-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square, and celebrates Venice’s history as a center of instrument making. www.interpretiveneziani.com/en/museo-della-musica.php.

Read more Travel stories from the Miami Herald

This mural is a collaboration between New Zealand artist Tanja Jade and Australia artist Dabs Myla, on the wall and alleyway of a car dealership in Kakaako, in Honolulu.


    Street art is the draw in Honolulu’s Kakaako

    Honolulu is famous for gold-sand beaches and big waves. But the city’s warehouse district, called Kakaako, is famous for a different sort of attraction. You won’t find kitschy Hawaiian souvenir shops or hordes of tourists here, but you will find a thriving urban arts scene, with colorful street murals so big they stretch across walls and sometimes entire sides of buildings.

  • The travel troubleshooter

    What happened to the repair records for my damaged rental car?

    Q: I recently rented a car from Europcar in Brussels. I declined the collision damage waiver (CDW) provided by Europcar in favor of the CDW on my Capital One World MasterCard.

The number of smartphone and tablet apps that allow a user to search for and bid on the lowest prices for upscale hotel rooms has dramatically increased in recent years. Using them, along with third-party booking sites like Kayak.com and the hotel's own app or website, can net travelers some surprising savings.


    Battle of the apps: last-minute deals on upscale hotels

    If last-minute hotel booking apps make you think of impetuous travelers on a budget, think again. The market for such apps and websites is becoming increasingly crowded, making it easier for those looking for upscale hotels to find eleventh-hour discounts.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category