By Monica Cesarato in Venice—
Venice, as everybody well knows, is one of the most expensive cities to visit in Europe. Hotels, restaurants and gondola rides can quickly and adversely affect your budget. So we decided to list 10 favorite activities that Venice offers for under €10. Who says Venice has to be expensive?
Let’s start with some activities for art lovers:
1. Visit the Gallerie Dell’Accademia
The Accademia is the world’s greatest museum for Venetian Renaissance art. It hosts an amazingly rich collection of Venetian paintings from the Byzantine and Gothic 14th century. Feast your eyes on works by Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Veronese, Tintoretto and Tiziano, not to mention Tiepolo and Canaletto, Guardi, Bellotto and Longhi.
Entrance near the Vaporetto Stop: Accademia – Line 1 and 2
Hours: Mon 8:15 a.m.-2 p.m., Tues-Sun 8:15 a.m.-7:15 p.m.
Admission: €6.50, reduced €3.25
2. Tour the Museo Arte Orientale Ca’ Pesaro
The Museo Arte Orientale Ca’ Pesaro offers one of the most important collections of Japanese art of the Edo period in Europe. The collection was acquired by Prince Henry II of Bourbon during his travels to Asia, between 1887 and 1889. You can admire more than 30,000 artifacts, like swords and daggers, Japanese armors and precious porcelains, with wide sections dedicated to Indonesian and Chinese art.
Entrance near the Vaporetto Stop: San Stae, line 1
Hours: from November 3 to March 31: Tues to Sun, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed Mondays)
Admission: €5.50, reduced €3. The ticket permits entrance to both the Oriental Art museum and the International Gallery of Modern Arts.
Now for some religious activities:
3. Visit the Basilica San Marco
Boasting an incredibly rich ensemble of domes, columns, statues and mosaic-covered interiors, the Basilica San Marco (“St. Mark’s Church”) is the true heart of Venice, and the final resting place of Saint Mark. There are always long queues outside, but you can follow our guide on how to avoid crowds.
Entrance: Near the Vaporetto Stop San Zaccaria – Lines 2, 51 and 41
Hours: October to April, Mon to Sat: 9:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; May to Sept: 9:45 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Sun and public holidays: From 2 p.m.
Admission to the Pala d’Oro: €2, reduced fees €1. Entrance fee to the treasury: €3, reduced fee €1
4. Take a guided tour of the Jewish Museum and synagogues
This is the world’s first ghetto and it hasn’t changed since it was created back in the Middle Ages. The museum was opened in 1953 and displays valuable artifacts, sacred furnishings and the nuptial contract of the Jewish community that for centuries has lived in this neighborhood. The tour also includes a visit to the five synagogues of the city, all founded during the 16th century.
Entrance near the Vaporetto Stop: Guglie, line 42 or 52
Hours: From June 1-September 30, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; from October 1-May 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission: €8.50, reduced €7.00
5. Visit the Chiesa dei Frari
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, a religious treasure situated in the middle of the Venice, makes up one of the largest groups of buildings in the city. The massive church, commonly called “Frari,” dominates the area of San Polo with its Gothic forms and creative use of bricks. Inside, gaze at amazing masterpieces by Titian, Donatello and many more local artists.
Entrance near the Vaporetto Stop: San Toma – Line 1
Hours: Weekdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sundays in July and August.
Admission for visiting: €3
How about some outdoor activities, with perfect spots for panoramic photos of Venice?
6. Take a vaporetto ride to San Giorgio Island
This important Benedictine monastery was built on the small island of the same name by Andrea Palladio. It is designed around the church and two cloisters. Since 1951, it has been run by the Giorgio Cini Foundation. Take the short vaporetto ride to the island and enjoy the view.
Entrance near the Vaporetto Stop: San Giorgio – Line 2
Hours: May to September, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.; October to April, 9.30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 2.30 p.m.-4.30 p.m.
Admission: Free to visit the church; bell tower €3, students €2
7. Walk the beaches of Lido
Take a boat out to the sandy beaches of Lido, where the city’s aristocrats used to stroll during the summer. If you head over during the Venice Film Festival, you might chance upon some movie stars. The beach is free and there are some very nice restaurants in the area.
8. Park it
Immerse yourself in one of the few green spots in Venice: the Giardini, created by Napoleon (after knocking down many old churches and convents) when he conquered the city in 1807. The rubble was used to create a small hill, which now hosts the Padiglione della Biennale.
And last, but not least, two of my own favorites:
9. Tour the Squero San Trovaso: Find out how gondolas are built
This boatyard is located along the Rio San Trovaso and dates back to the 17th century. This squero (“boatyard”) is one of the few still operating in Venice. Take a tour and see gondolas being built and repaired. The tour usually lasts 30 minutes and is free.
Also, note the unique boathouse, the building shaped like a mountain house. The reason for its sloping shape is twofold: Both the carpenters and the timber came from Cadore (a mountain area of the Dolomites); and secondly, the slope was useful in case of rain, and serves as storage for tools.
10. Take a Cheapo Vaporetto tour
Take Vaporetto Line 51, relax and take in the view of the lagoon. The vaporetto circles around the city and connects the Lido to Fondamenta Nove, on the northern lagoon side of Venice’s historic center. From there, it continues through the Cannaregio Canal to the train station and Piazzale Roma before heading up the Giudecca Canal with stops at San Zaccaria, Giardini and S. Elena on its way back to the Lido. The tour only costs the price of a normal Vaporetto ticket, and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the city!
Your favorite cheap activities in Venice?
Have anything to add to our list of great things to do in Venice on the cheap? Tell us about it in the comments section.