Venice, the “City of Canals,” is renowned for its exquisite architecture, Renaissance history, extraordinary art, and romantic waterways. While this city is most often associated with luxury and extravagance, there are plenty of free places to visit in Venice that can make a trip to one of Europe’s most famous cities more affordable without sacrificing fun or adventure. Here are several free things to do in Venice without having to spend a penny.
1 Take Advantage Of Free Museum Days In Venice
Period Venetian dresses on display
Venice has some magnificent works of art, and thankfully, many of its museums waive entry fees on certain days. If visitors plan their trip just right, they can visit some of Venice’s most popular museums for free.
On the first Sunday of each month, the Museum of Gallerie dell’Accademia, Galleria “Giorgio Franchetti” alla Ca’ d’oro, the National Archaeological Museum Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Museo di Palazzo Grimani, and the Museum of Oriental Art are free.
2 Visit The Jewish Ghetto
An aerial view of Venice’s historic and diverse neighborhoods from St. Mark’s Campanile
The Jewish Ghetto is a historic neighborhood in Venice that was established in the 16th century when the Venetian Republic forced Jewish inhabitants to live in segregated communities under strict rules. Today, this area still plays a vital role in the lives of Venice’s Jewish population.
This neighborhood offers a glimpse into the city’s multicultural past and is home to beautiful synagogues and the Jewish Museum of Venice.
3 Visit The Museo Della Musica
View of an antique book of music and lyrics
The Museo della Musica, or the Music Museum, is one of the only free museums in Venice that always has no admission fee. Though it is a small museum, the Museo della Musica features beautiful exhibits with old and delicate instruments on display.
One of the highlights is the exhibit on Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi, one of the most influential Baroque composers of all time.
4 Stroll Through Piazza San Marco
An aerial view of St. Mark’s Square, Venice, Italy
Visiting Piazza San Marco is one of the best things to do in Venice. This beautiful plaza is surrounded by some of Venice’s most iconic and stunning landmarks, including St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Campanile.
Visitors should take a leisurely stroll through the square, enjoy live music, and soak in the city’s vibrant atmosphere and culture.
View of Venice’s Grand Canal in Italy
Though Venice is known for its romantic gondola rides, the price of these rides can quickly add up. Thankfully, it’s possible to explore much of Venice’s famous canals on foot. Visitors can wander through the narrow streets and alleys and discover hidden canals, bridges, shops, and cafés.
6 Visit The San Michele Cemetery
View of the Island of San Michele from the water near Venice, Italy
The San Michele Cemetery is located on the Island of San Michele. It is the final resting place of many famous Venetians and ex-pats, including American poet Ezra Pound, German physicist Christian Doppler, and Russian princess Catherine Bagration.
This peaceful spot offers a break from Venice’s large crowds and is a great place to reflect on the city’s rich history.
7 Visit The Rialto Bridge
The iconic white Rialto Bridge in Venice
No trip to Venice can be complete without taking in the beauty of the Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge on the Grand Canal. Though different iterations of a bridge have existed in this location since the 12th century, the Rialto Bridge’s current design was built in the 16th century.
Today, this bridge continues to stand as one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Venice. Visitors can admire this feat of architectural engineering, walk across the bridge, admire the surrounding views of the canal, and visit one of the many shops and restaurants that line the area.
Out of all the free attractions in Venice, this one is quite possibly the most photogenic and the perfect backdrop for Instagram photos.
8 Explore The Rialto Market
Rialto Market’s fresh produce stalls in Venice, Italy
The Rialto Market is a vibrant and bustling market that sells fresh produce and seafood. Many locals buy their produce and seafood in this market, and the best catches are usually sold early in the morning.
Visitors don’t necessarily have to buy anything and can simply stroll along the stalls and learn about the ingredients and spices that go into Venice’s local cuisine. For those wanting to bring a taste of Italy back home, the market has various pasta kits and souvenirs for sale.
9 Watch A One-Of-A-Kind Sunset In Venice
View of sunset in Venice, Italy
As cliché as it may sound, there’s no better way to end a day exploring the beautiful city of Venice than by finding the perfect spot in the city to watch as the sun sets and bathes the city in a glow of pink, purple, and gold.
There are plenty of places to watch the sunset in Venice that offer breathtaking views, such as Piazza San Marco, but some areas offer more distinct vistas than others. The Punta della Dogana, located at the tip of the Dorsoduro district, offers panoramic views of the city as the sun sets. The Zattere is a long promenade that runs along the southern side of Venice and is another great spot to watch the sunset over the city.
10 Visit Venice’s Churches
View of Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy.
Venice is home to some of the most beautiful churches in the world, and seeing them firsthand is one of the best things to do in Italy overall, not just Venice. Some churches in Venice might charge fees to see additional rooms and exhibits, but many of Venice’s cathedrals are free to enter at certain times of the day.
Saint Mark’s Basilica has no admission fee. Venice’s Church of San Zaccaria, the Church of Santa Maria della Salute, and the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore are also free and provide visitors with the chance to admire stunning Venetian architecture, history, and art.