The parks of Venice

A gondola rowing lesson in Venice
The Giardini Pubblici in Venice.

Parks, gardens, and green space in Venice

Venice isn't much of a city for parkland—real estate has always at an absolute premium here, since every inch of land has had to be created from mudflats and swampy islands.

There is precious little plant life—and even fewer trees—much of it confined to small, private gardens and the outlying islands.

There are, however, a few small public parks around the edges of central Venice.

Giardini Napoleonici, VeneziaGiardini Pubblici - Also known as the Giardini Napoelonici or Giardini Biennale (since they sometimes host Biennale art and sculpture exhibits), the largest patch of green space in Venice consists of formal public gardens way out near the far end of the Castello neighborhood, past the Arsenale... » more
Giardini Papadopoli, VeneziaGiardini Papadopoli - In the corner formed by two canals, just across the footbridge from Piazzale Roma, this 19th century park was laid out by a set-painter for La Fenice opera house... » more
Giardini Papadopoli, VeneziaGiardinetti Reali - The Venice park hidden in plain sight: a pocket-sized garden wedged between Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal—once part of Napoleon's royal palace, now zipped past by many visitors (the main tourist office occupies a small building here)... » more
Giardini Savorgnan, VeneziaGiardini Savorgnan - Giardini Savorgnan was laid out in the late 1600s as the private gardens for Palazzo Savorgnan (now a school). It provides a cool, refreshing spot near the train station to stroll under linden, chestnut, plane trees, oak, and yew... » more
Giardini Groggia, VeneziaParco di Villa Groggia - At the northern edge of Cannaregio, this small Romantic-style park of laurel and palm trees houses a ludoteca (small children's play center), pool, and a tiny 19th-century theater... » more

Tips & links

How to find the Venice sights that will interest you

There are several ways helps you browse the sights of Venice, each neatly tucked into its own box below. You can get quick lists of all the top sights—the ones no one wants to miss when they visit Venice—or of all the attractions that are free of charge.

Or you can check out Reid's List, a thoroughly subjective compendium of some of my favorite, slightly less famous sights and experiences.

If you prefer thematic categories, you can see all the major museums or churches or palazzi at once, or if you're looking for something else to see or do nearby a major sight, you can peruse everything by neighborhood.

If you like to leave the planning of the daily itinerary to others, you can also sign up for a guided tour or two.

Or, if you want help cramming as much of it all as possible into your visit, you can peruse our perfect itineraries for one, two, or three days in Venice.

The top half-dozen or so sights listed under each category above are just a sampling. If you want to read short, one-line reviews of all sights within a category, click on the category title (or you can click on an individual sight for a quick link to its full description).

About the star ratings

I have rated every sight and experience in Venice from zero to three stars.

Three stars, two stars, etc. are fairly self-explanatory—but note that it's not that the "no-star sights" are not worth the bother.

In fact, in any other city they'd probably rank much higher. They're just cursed to be in Venice, competing for your precious vacation time alongside St. Mark's Basilica, the Accademia Gallery, and a gondola ride—all solid three-stars.

This is a purely subjective rating, but it will help you get a sense of which sights pack the highest wow factor—and where to spend your time. In fact, you could view the starts thusly:

  • Anything rated three stars you should try to see even if you only have one day in Venice.
  • With two days, you can try to pack in as many two-starred sights as well.
  • With three or four days, you'll have time to fit in some one-star sights around the edges of your sightseeing schedule.
  • If you're lucky enough to be in town for more than four days, you might take the time to visit some of the no-starred sights.
Tours, walks, & activities
How long does it take to see Venice?

Planning your day: You could spend an afternoon in Venice, a day or two, or a week and never run out of things to do and new corners to discover.

I would try to give Venice at least a day and a half. Three days would be better, but most people don't have that kind of time, even for Venice.

I have suggestions for how to spend anywhere from half a day in Venice up to three full days on the Venice itineraries pages.

Venice is a city that, at first glance, seems excessively touristy and overrun. Some visitors can't wait to move on to someplace that feels a bit less like a canal-rodden Disneyland.

However, given time (and purposefully getting lost once or twice), Venice reveals its serenissima side and begins to seduce even the most jaded of travelers.

Venice itineraries

Venice sightseeing passes

There are several cumulative ticket museum passes and discounts for pre-booking Venice:

  • Museum Pass ★★ (covering 11 civic museums and sights)
  • Chorus Pass (covering 16 major churches)
  • Venice Connected (a pre-booking service for sights and services offering minor discounts)
Venice links & resources

Share this page

Intrepid Travel 25% off


Venice tourist information
Giardini ex Reali, San Marco (between Piazza San Marco and its western ferry stop)
Vaporetto: San Marco–Giardinetti Reali
tel. +39-041-529-8711

Useful links
Train tix

Shortcuts to popular planning sections:

Airfares, Cars, Trains, Tours, Packages, Cruises, Lodging, Itineraries, Info, Packing, Prep, Comm

Follow ReidsItaly
Follow ReidsItaly on Twitter  Join the ReidsItaly fan page  Follow Reids Italy Adventures blog