Free things to see and do in Venice

Sights in Venice

★★★
The mosaics of the transept (Photo by amberapparently)
Free
St. Mark's Basilica
Venice: San Marco

The gloriously mosaicked Basilica di San Marco

 
★★★
 (Photo by Pedro Szekely)
Free
Grand Canal
Venice: Dorsoduro

Cruising the Canale Grande (Grand Canal), the watery main street of Venice, Italy

 
★★☆
 (Photo by vgm8383)
Free
Murano
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

The island where Venetian glass was born

 
★★☆
 (Photo by Eric Salard)
Free
Burano
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

Burano is an island of candy-colored fishermen's houses and hand-tatted lace in Venice's Northern Lagoon

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by Murray Foubister)
Free
Santa Maria della Salute
Venice: Dorsoduro

The Church of the Virgin Mary of Good Health

 
★★☆
View from the Tower of the Cathedral of St. Mary Assumption (Photo by Zairon)
Free
Torcello
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

Glittering mosaics, breathtaking views, and a marshy proto-Venice in the Venetian Northern Lagoon

 
★☆☆
"The Last Supper" (1592–94) by Tintoretto (Photo Public Domain)
Free
San Giorgio Maggiore
Venice: Dorsoduro

An island church built by Palladio, decorated by Tintoretto and Bassano, and offering great views from the campanile

 
★★★
St. Mark's Square (Photo by Kayla Sawyer)
Free
Piazza San Marco
Venice: San Marco

The pigeon-filled St. Mark's Square

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by Miomir Magdevski)
Free
Ponte di Rialto
Venice: San Marco

The Rialto Bridge, most famous and loveliest span across Venice's Grand Canal, and the market that extends from its foot into San Polo

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by aconcagua)
Free
Squero di San Trovaso
Venice: Dorsoduro

See how a Venetian gondola is made at a gondola workshop

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Ethan Doyle White)
Free
San Simeon Piccolo
Venice: Santa Croce

The church of San Simeon Piccolo (a.k.a. San Simeone e Giuda) across the train station

 
☆☆☆
"Barbarigo Altarpiece" (1488) by Giovanni Bellini (Photo Public Domain)
Free
San Pietro Martire
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

A small Murano church loaded with paintings by Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, and Giovanni Bellini

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by BKP)
Free
Bacino Orseolo
Venice: San Marco

The gondola parking lot just off Piazza San Marco

 
☆☆☆
Devil's Bridge over the Grand Canal on the Island of Torcello (Photo by Zairon)
Free
The Devil's Bridge
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

Torcello's Ponte del Diavolo is a medieval bridge with a satanic legend

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by François Philipp)
Free
Santa Fosca
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

A medieval Byzantine-style church on Torcello

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Didier Descouens)
Free

A gondola workshop in Dorsoduro

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
Free
Giardini Pubblici
Venice: Castello

A quiet park in the Castello neighborhood

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Didier Descouens)
Free
Giardini Savorgnan
Venice: Cannaregio

small park in the Cannaregio district

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Valery Toth)
Free
Giardino Groggia
Venice: Cannaregio

A small locals' park at the edge of Venice

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Didier Descouens)
Free
Giardini Papadopoli
Venice: Santa Croce

A small park near Piazzale Roma in the Santa Croce neighborhood

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by trolvag)
Free
Giardinetti Reali
Venice: San Marco

The former Royal Gardens of Venice, just off Piazza San Marco

 

Experiences in Venice

★★★
The inquisition room (Photo courtesy of ItalyGuides)
Free

A tour that gets you—quite literally—behind the scenes, into the rooms and chambers hidden behind those lavishly decorated walls where the actual governing of the Venetian Republic happened

 
★★☆
Whenever the yellow signs point to some major tourist destination, go the other way instead. Put away the map. Discover the real Venice. (Photo by FTS-Ro)
Free

The fine art of getting lost in the backstreets of Venice and learning to love it

 

Planning a trip to Venice

Typical prices and costs in Venice faced by visitors and tourists

 

Enjoy free admission to various Venice sights and monuments (along with skip-the-line privileges), plus discounts at other attractions

 

Sights in Italy

★★★
The mosaics of the transept (Photo by amberapparently)
Free
St. Mark's Basilica
Venice: San Marco

The gloriously mosaicked Basilica di San Marco

 
★★★
 (Photo by Pedro Szekely)
Free
Grand Canal
Venice: Dorsoduro

Cruising the Canale Grande (Grand Canal), the watery main street of Venice, Italy

 
★★☆
 (Photo by vgm8383)
Free
Murano
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

The island where Venetian glass was born

 
★★☆
 (Photo by Eric Salard)
Free
Burano
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

Burano is an island of candy-colored fishermen's houses and hand-tatted lace in Venice's Northern Lagoon

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by Murray Foubister)
Free
Santa Maria della Salute
Venice: Dorsoduro

The Church of the Virgin Mary of Good Health

 
★★☆
View from the Tower of the Cathedral of St. Mary Assumption (Photo by Zairon)
Free
Torcello
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

Glittering mosaics, breathtaking views, and a marshy proto-Venice in the Venetian Northern Lagoon

 
★☆☆
"The Last Supper" (1592–94) by Tintoretto (Photo Public Domain)
Free
San Giorgio Maggiore
Venice: Dorsoduro

An island church built by Palladio, decorated by Tintoretto and Bassano, and offering great views from the campanile

 
★★★
St. Mark's Square (Photo by Kayla Sawyer)
Free
Piazza San Marco
Venice: San Marco

The pigeon-filled St. Mark's Square

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by Miomir Magdevski)
Free
Ponte di Rialto
Venice: San Marco

The Rialto Bridge, most famous and loveliest span across Venice's Grand Canal, and the market that extends from its foot into San Polo

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by aconcagua)
Free
Squero di San Trovaso
Venice: Dorsoduro

See how a Venetian gondola is made at a gondola workshop

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Ethan Doyle White)
Free
San Simeon Piccolo
Venice: Santa Croce

The church of San Simeon Piccolo (a.k.a. San Simeone e Giuda) across the train station

 
☆☆☆
"Barbarigo Altarpiece" (1488) by Giovanni Bellini (Photo Public Domain)
Free
San Pietro Martire
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

A small Murano church loaded with paintings by Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, and Giovanni Bellini

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by BKP)
Free
Bacino Orseolo
Venice: San Marco

The gondola parking lot just off Piazza San Marco

 
☆☆☆
Devil's Bridge over the Grand Canal on the Island of Torcello (Photo by Zairon)
Free
The Devil's Bridge
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

Torcello's Ponte del Diavolo is a medieval bridge with a satanic legend

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by François Philipp)
Free
Santa Fosca
Venice: The Northern Lagoon

A medieval Byzantine-style church on Torcello

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Didier Descouens)
Free

A gondola workshop in Dorsoduro

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
Free
Giardini Pubblici
Venice: Castello

A quiet park in the Castello neighborhood

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Didier Descouens)
Free
Giardini Savorgnan
Venice: Cannaregio

small park in the Cannaregio district

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Valery Toth)
Free
Giardino Groggia
Venice: Cannaregio

A small locals' park at the edge of Venice

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by Didier Descouens)
Free
Giardini Papadopoli
Venice: Santa Croce

A small park near Piazzale Roma in the Santa Croce neighborhood

 
☆☆☆
 (Photo by trolvag)
Free
Giardinetti Reali
Venice: San Marco

The former Royal Gardens of Venice, just off Piazza San Marco

 

Experiences in Italy

 (Photo courtesy of Paris Greeters)

Free greeter programs around the world encourage locals to welcome you to their hometown

 

Lodgings in Italy

★★☆
The Palagetto Guest House in Florence will give you a room in exchange for: Installing mosquito screens, professional photographs of the rooms, printing brochures for them, gently used bikes, installation of a shower by a professional plumber, or origami (Photo courtesy of the property)

Free lodgings in Italy: Hospitality networks (couchsurfing), home swaps, and house sitting services

 

Ways to sleep for free in Italy

 
 (Photo courtesy of Europosters)

Couchsurfing and other hospitality networks allow you to sleep for free in other member's homes

 
Getting to know some locals is a bit part of staying with a fellow hospitality club member (Photo courtesy of The Affordable Travel Club)

Hospitality networks gather folks who are willing to put up fellow members in their homes for free or for a small fee

 
This luxurious Tuscan apartment is in Pietrasanta, by the Forte dei Marmi seaside resort, halfway between Pisa and the Cinque Terre (Photo courtesy of Homeexchange)

Trading spaces isn't just a show on basic cable anymore. It's a way to live life like a local on your travels absolutely for free—so long as you let the local borrow your life (and home) in return.

 
This house in the Tuscan hills needs someone to house-sit and watch their dog for three weeks this spring... (Photo courtesy of mindmyhouse.com)

Sleep for free on vacation in Italy by watching someone's house (and, often, watering their plants and feeding their cat)

 
The Palagetto Guest House in Florence will give you a room in exchange for: Installing mosquito screens, professional photographs of the rooms, printing brochures for them, gently used bikes, installation of a shower by a professional plumber, or origami lessons by a Japanese artist. (Photo courtesy of the property)

Programs like WWOOF and Helpx let you barter your services for a free place to stay

 
Sailboats (Photo by plb06)

If you love sailing, or just have an unquenchable taste for adventure and new experiences, you can sign on to help crew a boat just about anywhere in the world, including Italy

 

Dining in Italy

Many Italian bars lay our free snacks in the evenings (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
Free

Yes, there are a couple of ways to enjoy excellent Italian food absolutely free

 

Planning for a trip to Italy

Skype is the cheapest way to make international calls (Photo by Skype)

Use Skype (and an internet connection) to make and receive free voice and video calls—or have your friends and family Skype your cell in Italy for 10¢ per minute or $3 per month.