Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to a perfect one day in Venice itinerary. Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world, and today we are going to lean into its beauty. We’ll indulge in the most delicious food, feast our eyes on the most gorgeous sights, and spend the evening dining in one of the most stunning restaurants in Europe. By the end of this one day in Venice itinerary, your eyes will be so stuffed with beauty they’ll be ready to explode…and you’ll like it!
One Day in Venice Itinerary
Where to Stay?
Venice can be a confusing city with an almost infinite number of winding streets. You’ll want to stay in the thick of the action, so I recommend the Hotel Al Codega for your one day in Venice itinerary. It has lovely cozy rooms, a delicious breakfast, and a helpful staff. But most importantly, it is right near every single tourist attraction you would want to visit. But since it’s in a quiet courtyard, you’ll be able to get a great night’s sleep away from drunken tourists and pigeons hammered on Aperol Spritz.
One Day in Venice Itinerary
What to Pack?
You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.
Venice is hot in the summer, so don’t forget the sunscreen. My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.
Finally, if you’re American or from the UK, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with American or British plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.
One Day in Venice Itinerary
Morning: Venice Food Tour
Italian food is known around the world, but Venetian food doesn’t get as much credit as food from some other cities. That’s why I was so excited to take the Rialto Farmers Market Tour with Venice Food Tours to start this one day in Venice itinerary.
With a highly entertaining local guide and some very fun new friends, we can experience special Venetian seafood, pastries, wine, and pasta, while getting off the beaten track to places that most tourists never get to visit.
I don’t want to spoil all the fun facts the guide shared with us or what would be the point of taking the tour? But I do want to share with you…
Approximately Top 5: Venice Food Tour
Venice is on the water, so you simply must try some of its amazing seafood when you are there. This platter served up some squid, shrimp, and sardines. They were almost as sweet as candy. Maybe we can start saying that fish are the candy of Venice! That might get more kids excited about eating seafood.
This restaurant reminded me of that scene in The Sopranos when Tony and his gang go to Italy and are freaked out by the seafood and how different the food is from Italian-American food back in New Jersey. You’re not going to find anything like this at most Italian restaurants in the US, that’s for sure. But that’s all the more reason to try it!
2) Snack Time!
Now it’s time to go to one of those funny little holes in the wall that locals know about and tourists never seem to find. Yes, you’ll have to stand because there are only three chairs and they are already occupied by elderly Italian men. And yes, you might be attacked at any moment by the opportunistic pots hanging from the ceiling.
But it will all be worth it when you bite into the mini sandwiches. There was one veggie option with artichokes and one non-veg with pork, but I suggest trying both unless you are either a vegetarian or a carnivore.
One of the greatest things about eating your way through Italy is that each region has its own food specialties. But I had no idea that Venice even has its own cookie specialty: the Bussolai Buranei. It’s that squiggly looking butter cookie on the right of my photo. Dip them in a little coffee or sweet wine and they go down smooth like buttah.
The other cookies are called sfogliatine and they are much lighter and made with puffed pastry. (Don’t confuse them with Tony Soprano’s favorite pastry, the sfogliadelle because those are much heavier. Go to Providence, Rhode Island if you want the best version of those.)
The carb-a-palooza continues apace with a warm dish of risotto and a glass of Prosecco. (I believe that’s Italian for champagne.) I never thought of risotto being something you could get super creative with, but this restaurant mixes in all kinds of creative fillings. The version we tried had endive, blue cheese, and walnuts, which made it kind of like a cross between risotto and a Waldorf salad. Who knew salad + rice could be so delicious?
Did you think I was kidding about the carb-a-palooza? I absolutely was not, Internet Stranger! No Italian carb fest is complete without several different kinds of pasta. And because this is Venice, there’s going to be tons of seafood all up in our carbs. The pasta on the left is a light penne with tomato sauce and shrimp, while the one on the right is squid ink. Don’t be scared of the black color! It tastes exactly like being a mermaid.
I have to assume that tiramisu is the national dessert of Italy because basically every food tour I tried in Italy served one. But who can find something to dislike about cream, ladyfingers, chocolate, coffee, and booze all flurmed together into one delightful concoction? Between this, all the seafood and carbs, and the Ceiling Pots of Danger, I say the Venetians really know how to live.
One Day in Venice Itinerary
Afternoon: St Mark’s Basilica
St. Mark’s Basilica is undoubtedly the most notorious landmark in all of Venice, unless you count the canals as a landmark. There’s no way you can have a one day in Venice itinerary without stepping foot inside. Unfortunately there are always a ton of crowds waiting to get in and picture taking is not allowed inside the church. But fortunately I have some tips for you to make the waiting less painful.
1) Where Should I Go First?
I suggest buying a timed ticket to visit the Campanile (Bell Tower) next to St. Mark’s Basilica first because that will enable you to avoid the crazy lines to see the views. You can buy the tickets online here. Why would you want to go to the Campanile? Do you see my photo above? That was taken with my own fair hands from the top of the bell tower. Don’t you want to see views like this for yourself? Of course you do!
I recommend doing the bell tower before the church because the line at the church is long and unpredictable and the Campanile tickets are timed. So get the Campanile out of the way and that way you can relax while enjoying the views from the bell tower and not feel stressed while on line for the basilica.
2) What’s the Big Deal with St Mark’s Basilica Anyway?
First of all, it’s one of the most unusual and stunning buildings you will ever set eyes on. It seems like the basic design principle used was the song “More! More! More!” There’s so much gold, mosaics, columns, and generalized glamour that some people call it the church of gold. It’s basically the Versace dress of churches.
As I mentioned, photography isn’t allowed inside the church, so I can’t show you the wonders that I saw there. But just to give you a peek inside, in St. Mark’s Basilica you will find: 24-carat gold on the ceilings, priests yelling at people for taking photos, a stunning blanket of mosaics of the life of Christ made from Murano glass, more priests yelling at people for taking photos, the world famous enamel Pala d’Oro altarpiece, and even more priests yelling at people for taking photos.
3) Is There Anything Else to Do Around the Basilica?
St. Mark’s Basilica used to be the private chapel of the Doge if you can believe it. (The Doge was the ruler of Venice from the 8th to the 18th century. It was good to be the Doge.) Ergo, St. Mark’s Basilica is right near the historic palace of the Doge. You could definitely fit the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica and the Campanile in one jam-packed day, but probably only if you bought a skip-the-line tour to enter the Basilica.
I did not do this, so I didn’t visit the Doge’s Palace on this trip. (Sorry, Mr. Doge.) The Doge’s Palace charges about 20 Euros for admission, whereas St. Mark’s Basilica is free to visit if you don’t buy the skip the line ticket. So if you’re on a budget, take that into consideration.
One Day in Venice Itinerary
Evening: Dinner at Quadri
There are so many amazing fine dining restaurants in Venice, it’s hard to know where to start. But I recommend Ristorante Quadri, located right on St. Mark’s Square. It’s been called one of the most beautiful restaurants in all of Europe, and considering its setting, it’s easy to see why. Just don’t make a mistake and try to dine at Caffe Quadri instead. That will not offer a fine dining experience!
Quadri provides a choice of different tasting menus, but I recommend the Classico because it’s their most popular, and when it’s your first time at a restaurant, you should always go with the classics. Your dishes likely will be different from mine, but I can give you a taste of what to expect.
A tasting menu should always start with several light dishes, preferably with seasonal ingredients. Let’s start by feasting on some ripe summer vegetables from Sant’Erasmo Island. This island is located in the Venetian Lagoon and is also called the vegetable garden of Venice. It’s famous for its purple artichoke and other magical vegetables.
This is why we travel, Internet Stranger! You can’t eat magical veggies from a lagoon back home, not even if you get all your produce organic from Whole Foods.
The next dish has even more of a fairy tale quality because it’s called Little Red Riding Hood. Get ready for pure decadence with potato puree, caviar, and oysters. I’m sure this dish is an aphrodisiac, but it was a little wasted on me because I was dining alone.
Why is this dish called Little Red Riding Hood? I have absolutely no idea. Maybe oysters are a character in the Italian version of the tale, just like how in the original Italian Pinocchio, Pinocchio murders Jiminy Cricket. (That’s true! Look it up!)
We’re going to learn all sorts of delicious Italian phrases during this meal. The next is “battuta di carne cruda”, which is a sumptuous pile of chopped up raw beef. I’ve usually seen this dish referred to as steak tartare, but it makes sense there would be a different Italian term for it. This was served with a curry sauce which may be the first example of Indian-Italian fusion I’ve ever seen. Let’s hope the concept catches on more because it certainly is very tasty.
Aha! Our first pasta course arrives! This is one thing that makes Italian fine dining different from fine dining in other countries. Every single tasting menu I saw in Italy had at least one pasta course. This one is a ravioli stuffed with creamy burrata cheese served on a bed of seafood. Some people think seafood and dairy should never be served together, and I say these people are responsible for the degradation of society. If it tastes good, eat it! Who cares about rules?
Of course we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths. (Well not literally because that would be like something out of a Stephen King novel.) But this emerald-green risotto is just as fun to look at as it is to eat. The color comes from a combination of oregano and tarragon, which I can’t recall ever trying together. But if there’s any people I would trust to be masters of the oregano-related arts, it’s Italians.
On most tasting menus I saw in Italy, there was a pasta course and a risotto course followed by a seafood and then meat. And there’s no classier choice for a seafood course than lobster. This was served seared with a sour potato puree. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as sour potato. It sounds like something Oscar Madison would find in his refrigerator because he never throws out old produce. But actually it made a lovely accompaniment to the sweet flavor of the lobster.
On to the meat! This was probably the most decadent dish of the meal: guinea hen with black truffle, sour cherry, and liver pate. Cherry and liver is one of my favorite combos. I know it sounds odd, but something about the sweet-tart cherry is divine with the rich and funky liver. It’s like the Bogie and Bacall of liver dishes.
The final course was a choice between hazelnut gelato and nuvola di tiramisu. I love hazelnut gelato but I can’t imagine ordering it in a restaurant when fancier dishes were available, so I plump for the “tiramisu cloud”. You might be all tiramisued out at this point in your Italy trip, but this dish was such a light and fluffy way to get the flavor of tiramisu without the sometimes heavy texture. Highly recommend!
That’s a Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary!
What would you do with a one day in Venice itinerary? Is St. Mark’s the Versace of churches or the Oscar de La Renta of churches? And is it possible to eat tu much tiramisu? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a one day in Venice itinerary.