Venice is a city unlike any other on earth, and if you’re only there for a couple of days it can tricky to know where to head to first! Following a recent trip, photographer Mark Lord has listed his top ten travel highlights from the city of water, romance and charm.
1. St Mark’s Square & the Doge’s Palace
This little area is at the heart of Venetian tourism- but trust me, its justified.
Standing in the centre of the square you can see Saint Mark’s Basilica to one end and the 14th century extension to the Doge’s Palace at the other. Each of the buildings on this square has been built with the finest materials of the time; from gold and intense blue ultramarine to the delicate marble traceries that define the Venetian gothic style. Just the other side of the Doge’s palace is the compact and detailed Bridge of Sighs.
Visit at dawn to capture the architecture in the morning light without the crowds, or return at night to see the square as the cafes and restaurants settle into their upcoming routine.
2. Riva Degli Schiavoni
This beautiful street follows the northerly bank of Canale Di San Marco and provides excellent views of Venice’s most grand buildings. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing stroll and some people watching. Riva degli Schiavoni connects with St Mark’s Square.
3. San Giorgio Maggiore
On the southern bank of the Canale Di San Marco, this island is named after the San Giorgio Maggiore, an icon of the Palladian architectural style. The island is visible from Riva degli Schiavoni, the Canale Di San Marco or you can travel across to see it directly.
4. Santa Maria del Salute
Santa Maria del Salute is a 17th century domed basilica built that epitomizes the baroque style of the time. The church was built in hopes of delivering the city after the Bubonic Plague had taken many of its residents, and the art inside the church is all inspired by the pestilence that wracked the city.
5. Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge is known for its central arched portico and iconic arched design. The earliest of the Venetian bridges, it was first erected in the 12th century- but the current bridge dates to 1591.
6. Rialto Market
A stunningly vibrant market packed to the brim with fresh mediterranean produce, that gives the Rialto bridge its name. A market has been held in this historic area since at least 1097, although the buildings were rebuilt after a 16th century fire.
7. Gondola, Of Course
The gondola is perhaps the most famous travel highlight of Venice, and is amazing for capturing photos! Save yourself a bit of stress and scope out your shots before with some journeys on the Vaporettos, which are water busses providing public transport. Alternately for €2 catch a Traghetti over the grand canal, the gondolas functional and undecorated predecessor.
8. The Back Streets Of San Marco Sestiere
Venice is is a city layered with years of the most gorgeous patina and palimpsest.
Wandering through the backstreets you can find the smallest details layered with years of history. I recommend venturing out in the golden hour to capture all this rich texture at its finest.
Burano is an impossibly charming fishing island 45 minutes ferry ride from Venice island. It’s home to charming and colourful little houses, not to mention the most sumptuous seafood you’ll eat. The evening light brings a deep intensity to this bright village and a quieter form of local nightlife.
10. Getting lost
Try walk around as much as you can, and build time into your day to become wonderfully sidetracked by something brilliant. With a subject as beautiful as Venice, spontaneity is sure to provide some excellent shots, so balance planned shoots with casual adventures. Plus, you get the additional bonus of avoiding tourist prices for your lunch and finding that unexpected and delicious little local spot!