Best High Views in Venice.

Best High Views in Venice. Campaniles and roof-top terraces, offer new perspectives on the city, as well as a truly memorable experience.

Venetian campaniles, offer 360-degree panoramic views of the lagoon and its many islands; to the north across the Veneto plain towards the Dolomite mountains, some 70 kilometres away and southwards to the narrow Lidi and Mediterranean Sea with its wonderful beaches. Built at key points in the historic centre, they had a security function, enabling both visual and sound communication. Their bell systems also functioned to mark out the working day, as well as announcing important state and administrative events. From these panoramic viewpoints, you will wonder just why and how this astonishing city was ever built and how it has survived for over around 15 centuries!

Roof-top terraced bar-restaurants can offer distant views, whilst others at a more local level; offer a more tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, such as those overlooking the Grand Canal. Many are undeniably towards the luxury end of the market, offering fabulous locations with facilities to match, exotic cocktails and fine dining. A few are more reasonable in price range, still offering a wide range of drinks and small bites and of course, great views!  If you want to impress, are a bit of a romantic, or for that special occasion; this selection of the best roof-top terraced bar/restaurants, will give you a truly memorable experience. Sunset and evenings, are particularly popular and enchanting, so expect to book in advance. Expect smart-casual dress code, in these roof-top bar/restaurants.

Finally, I had to include two other special view-points: neither a bar-restaurant nor a campanile; but the cupola of a famous basilica and the terrace of Venice’s latest luxury goods store!

This post will take you on a journey through the best high viewpoints, in the historic centre of Venice: each offering a unique perspective of the city.  It gives all the information and links that you need, together with a selection of my relevant posts; to enhance your experience of this magical city.

 


 

Recommended List – Best Views in Venice  

  • 1. Campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore Church
  • 2. St Mark’s Campanile on the famous Piazza
  • 3. Loggia di Cavelli, Basilica di San Marco.
  • 4. Scala Contarini del Bovolo. San Marco
  • 5. The Cupola of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (“Salute”). Dorsoduro
  • 6. T Fondaco Tedeshi by DFS, Roof-top Terrace, by the Rialto bridge. San Marco
  • 7. Skyline Rooftop Bar, 8th Floor, Hilton Molino Stucky Hotel. Guidecca island
  • 8. Hotel Daniele Terrace – 5th Floor – San Zaccaria waterfront
  • 9. H10 Palazzo Canova.  La Terrazza Bar. Overlooking the Grand Canal in San Marco
  • 10. Top of the Carlton Sky Lounge.
  • 11. Terrazza Panoramica at Ca’ Sagredo Hotel
  • 12. Settimo Cielo at the Hotel Bauer Palazzo (currently closed until 2025 for major refurbishment)

 

(LINKS provided at each site are colour coded: internalexternal)

 

1.  Campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore Church 

View from the Campanile on the Island of San Giorgio di Maggiore, towards the San Marco waterfront in Venice

View from the Campanile on the Island of San Giorgio di Maggiore, towards the San Marco waterfront in Venice

Sea Mists over Venice. Winter view from the Campanile on the Island of San Giorgio di Maggiore, towards the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice

Sea Mists over Venice. Winter view from the Campanile on the Island of San Giorgio di Maggiore, towards the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. They occur when the cold mountain air from the north, meets the warmer lagoon waters. 

San Giorgio Maggiore is really worth a visit, to explore the beauty and tranquillity of this site; away from the crowds. The view of the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, with its famous Palladian styled Basilica in classical Renaissance style, from the Molo waterfront at the Piazzetta San Marco; is one the great classic views of Venice and probably amongst the most admired by artists and photographers. The 360-degree panoramic view from its Campanile, is the finest in Venice. In the colder winter months, the cold air rolling off the mountains, meets the warmer lagoon air; giving rise to sea-mists, which envelope the city. The site of only the highest buildings and structures, rising above the fog is magical.

Not to be missed in the church, is the imposing high altar by Girolamo Campagna and the two great works by Tintoretto: the ‘Last Supper’ and the ‘Raccolta della Manna’. Also, of great artistic value, is the painting ‘Virgin with Child and Saints’ by Sebastiano Ricci, considered one of the masterpieces of San Giorgio Maggiore.

Apart from the Basilica, the former monastery now houses the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, one of the most prestigious international cultural institutions. You can visit this outstanding site with its fine interior courtyards and admire the extraordinary architecture of the Grand Staircase, Refectory and Library; all magnificently restored to perfection.

Finally, relax in the wonderful gardens and woods; admire the Sir Norman Foster designed Chapel and see the Glass Museum and Music Theatre.

  • The church is free to enter, but it’s €6 per person to go up the tower. The church is open from 9.30 am – 6 p.m. The bell tower is every day from 10am to 1pm and from 2 – 6pm; accessible by a small lift.
  • To get to San Giorgio Maggiore, you can take a vaporetto Line 2, from the San Zaccaria “E” or “F”, stop. The cost of this short 2-minute ride is €9.50 for a single trip within a 75 minute timeframe after validation, so consider visiting with a day pass. There is no ticket sales point on the island, so make sure you have a return ticket.

Please also see my comprehensive and illustrated blog posts:

“San Giorgio di Maggiore”        

Foundation Giorgio Cini – Website in English

 

2. St Mark’s Campanile

St Mark's Square, Venice. View towards the Basilica and its Campanile at sunset.

St Mark’s Square, Venice. View towards the Basilica and its Campanile at sunset.

Campanile di San Marco, is the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica. From the belfry loggia, there is a spectacular 360-degree bird’s eye view of the city and the lagoon.  The view north to the plain of Venetia and its mountain backdrop; is particularly fine.

It is the tallest structure in Venice at 98 metres and one of the most recognisable symbols of the city. Against the base of the campanile, is the balcony built by Jacopo Sansovino between 1537 and 1549 and decorated with fine marble and bronzes. It was also the site of Galileo Galilei’s first publicly demonstrated telescope in 1609

The original tower was used as a lighthouse for the sailors, as well as a belfry. It was restored in various occasions and its present form dates from 1515. In 1902 the tower collapsed and took ten years to rebuild exactly as it had been.

At the top of the Tower stands a golden statue that represents archangel Gabriel. The belfry houses five bells, each of which had a specific purpose during the Republic of Venice. The “Marangona”, is the largest and rang twice a day, once at the beginning of the worker’s day and one at the end. The “Malefico”, is the smallest bell and it rang with every execution. The “Nona” rang at midday. The “Trottiera” would summon the members of the Maggior Consiglio and lastly, the “Mezza terza” would announce a Senate session.

A major attraction, especially in the busiest part of the season, you would be advised to queue up in the early morning; unless pre-booking. You have the option to ascend either by lift, or by staircase.

  • Purchasing of tickets, is available at:  St. Mark’s Campanile in Venice | Tickets & Tours (st-marks-basilica.com)
  • €15 per person. At Campanile or Online
  • For a combo ticket for St. Mark’s Basilica + St. Mark’s Bell Tower. Tickets €29.45
  • From April to October: daily from 8:30 am until 9 pm
  • November until March: daily from 9:30 am until 5:30 pm
  • 1st – 15th April: daily from 9 am until 5 pm.

Please see my comprehensive and illustrated blog post for the complete history and development of the Campanile and the main attractions of the San Marco district.

“St Mark’s Campanile”      “San Marco – District and Attractions”

 

3. Loggia di Cavelli, Basilica di San Marco.

The “Loggia di Cavelli”, runs along the west and southern aspects of St Mark’s Basilica above the grand archways. Below the “Four Horses of St Mark’s”. You walk underneath them on the narrow terrace.

The “Terrace of the Horses”, runs along the west and south facades of the St Mark’s Basilica above the great archways. Above the main archway, can be seen the famous “Four Horses of St Mark”, or Quadriga. In the Piazza, the “Cavalli di San Marco” are almost as iconic of Venice as the Winged Lion. However, the group you see externally on the loggia are copies; the restored originals are kept in the Basilica inside the Museo Marciano, to avoid any further deterioration. They are the only such group surviving from antiquity in the world.

From the terrace, you not only get a wonderful view over St Mark’s Square with all its many wonderful architectural features; but also, fabulous views across the St Mark’s Basin to San Giorgio Maggiore and the southern Venetian lagoon. Just looking down at the crowds below, is endlessly fascinating. This is a really great place for photography

Access to the terrace is via the Museum, which is really worth visiting. Go through the Grand Archway into the internal loggia and turn to the right; where you will see a rather narrow stone staircase, leading up to the museum entrance. A small fee is charged, which also allows access to the external terrace.

  • Basilica di San Marco – San Marco, 328 30124 Venice  Telephone: +39 041 2708311  Email: info@procuratoriasanmarco.it
  • Basilica di San Marco – Information
  • Ticket Prices:The regular admission ticket for the Basilica is €3 (free for children up to 6 years of age). Pala d’Oro: Supplement of €5 (free for children up to 6 years). Museum – Loggia dei Cavalli: Supplement of €7 (free for children up to 6 years).

 

Please see my related comprehensive and illustrated blog posts: 

“St Mark’s Basilica”      “St Mark’s Square Guide”

 

4 .Scala Contarini del Bovolo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is Venice’s most impressive and admired spiral staircase. The palazzo is located in the middle of the San Marco district, in a small secluded side street close to Campo Manin. It is only about a 10-minute walk due north of the St Mark’s Square.

The courtyard and staircase to the rear of the palazzo, is found a short distance up a narrow side street known as “Calle Locande”; whilst the main facade overlooks the Rio di San Luca and still preserves its pristine late-Gothic appearance.

You can admire the outside of the Scala del Bovolo and the small courtyard with its well-heads for free. However, there is an entrance fee for climbing the staircase, visiting the Sala del Tintoretto gallery on the second floor and enjoying the panorama from the domed viewing arcade, with views to the south.

The Scala Contarini del Bovolo name of this multi-arched structure, is derived from the word “bovolo”, or “snail” and features alternating red cotto bricks and Istrian stone arches. The staircase is about 28 metres high and features 80 stone steps.

It features a perfect amalgam of different architectural styles. The Renaissance capitals, Gothic construction technique and the typical Byzantine Venetian shape; make it a real rarity in the city.

Grafted sympathetically onto the rear of the existing 13th century palazzo structure in the late 15th century, the staircase features a ground floor arcade entered from a small courtyard garden with well-heads, five spiral arcades and a further top viewing platform. The architectural complexity and success of the design is apparent, because the actual Palazzo has only a ground floor and four stories – the ground and first two floors of the palazzo are much higher than the two above (see photo below).

The second level has access to a gallery and at the top is the arcaded viewing platform with great views; especially south to St Mark’s Basilica and its campanile.

Despite not affording any views of the Canal Grande, the Palazzo’s position in the central San Marco district, is nonetheless a privileged one; the building being equidistant from Rialto the economic centre and from Piazza San Marco, the political heart of the Republic.

  • San Marco 4303, 30124 Venice, Italy.
  • Opening Hours: The staircase is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. You can visit it all year round, except on January 1st, December 25th, and August 15th.
  • Standard Ticket: €7 per person.Reduced Ticket (for children aged 6 to 14, students up to 25 years old, and senior citizens over 65): €5 per person. Free Admission for children under 6 years old.
  •  Tickets are open-ended, allowing you to choose when to visit.  Please note that tickets are non-refundable, and reservations cannot be amended or cancelled. The ticket price includes access to the 80-step spiral staircase, which offers a panoramic view of the entire city. You’ll also explore an impressive collection of sculptures and paintings by renowned Venetian artists like Tintoretto, Guardi, and Sansovino.
  • Booking is recommended, especially for groups of more than 9 people. For group visits, booking is mandatory and incurs an additional fee of €1 per person.
  • You can book online through the official website.

Please see my comprehensive and illustrated blog posts below, for the history and development of the Scala Contarini del Bovolo and all the main attractions of the San Marco district:

“Scala Contarini del Bovolo”       “San Marco – District and Attractions”

 

5. The Cupola of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (“Salute”).

View from the Campanile on the Island of San Giorgio di Maggiore, towards the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice

View from the Campanile on the Island of San Giorgio di Maggiore, towards the The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice

This great baroque church is a highly visible landmark, when approaching the Piazza San Marco from the water. It stands on the narrow finger of Punta della Dogana, between the southern entrance to the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, in the Bacino di San Marco (St Mark’s Basin).

Captured by many artists over the centuries, it dominates the right side of the classic view, looking across the basin from the Molo and Riva degli Shiavoni. Santa Maria della Salute was built as a votive church to the Virgin Mary, to celebrate the end of the last great plague in 1630; which wiped out a third of the Venetian population. It was built on the site of the original monastery and church, dedicated to The Holy Trinity (Santissima Trinità) and can be seen on the Barbieri map of 1500.

  • To get to the cupola of the Salute Church in Venice, you need to climb a steep staircase of 80 steps. The entrance to the staircase is located inside the church, and the climb is not recommended for people with mobility issues or disabilities.
  • The church is located on the opposite bank to the Molo embankment; near to the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. To get to the Salute, you can take the vaporetto line 1 and get off at the Salute, its first stop. Alternatively from the Academy Bridge, it’s only a 15-minute walk down narrow streets running parallel behind the palaces, lining the Grand Canal.  You pass several small private galleries, restaurants, bars and of course the wonderful Guggenheim Museum.

Please see my comprehensive and illustrated blog posts:

“Santa Maria della Salute”       “Dorsoduro – District and Attractions”      Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute Website – Italian only

 

6. T Fondaco Tedeshi by DFS, Roof-top Terrace, by the Rialto bridge.

Venice’s new culture and commercial epicentre won’t be complete without a visit to the rooftop terrace; which features a superb view of the Grand Canal and Rialto bridge. Sunset is a hugely popular time, so book your visit asap.

One of the largest buildings on the Grand Canal, T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi sits next to the Rialto Bridge; with the famed Rialto vegetable and fish markets directly opposite. Rialto (Riva alto: high bank), was the first area to be developed in Venice and became the banking and commercial centre, (St Mark’s Square was the religious and administrative centre).

It was the headquarters and restricted living quarters of the city’s Germanic (Tedeschi) merchants. The word fondaco comes from the Arabic “funduq”, which refers to an inn-like establishment for traveling merchants.

First constructed in 1228, the building was rebuilt between 1505 and 1508, after its destruction in a fire. The reconstruction produced a very functional four-floor building, surrounding a grand inner courtyard. Its architecture is typical of the Italian Renaissance style.

Over the years, the building has served as the custom base for Napoleon and a post office during Mussolini’s rule.

The visit to the terrace is free of cost, but as it can only hold up to 70-80 people at a time, the advance reservation is a must. You can make the reservation online or on their iPad terminals, when you reach the premises.

  • T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS – Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi – 30100 Venice Veneto
  • The terrace is open every day from 10:15 to 18:00.  Information call +39 041 314 2000
  • Book you visit on the link below, or when visiting in-store.       Our Rooftop Terrace | T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi by DFS
  • Access to the terrace is free of charge. Online reservations for visits are mandatory, and it is not possible to access the terrace otherwise. Each visit has a maximum duration of 15 minutes. The electronic reservation is checked at the entrance. We cannot guarantee access to the terrace outside of the reserved timeslot.  Please arrive on time. Cannot guarantee access to the terrace if you arrive late. Reservations for visiting the terrace is mandatory and can only be made online.

Please see my comprehensive and illustrated blog posts for the main attractions of the San Marco and San Polo districts.

“San Marco – District and Attractions”      “San Polo – District and Attractions”     “Rialto Fish Market” 

Fonteghi (singular: fontego Italian: fondaco) were buildings which were both a warehouse and home for foreign merchants in Venice. This popular post gives more historical information on the Fondaco Dei Tedeschi. You’ll get information on the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal and learn how to differentiate all the architectural styles of the palaces, lining the route.  “The Grand Canal of Venice”

 

7. Skyline Rooftop Bar, 8th Floor, Hilton Molino Stucky Hotel. $$$$$

This chic bar and terrace, the highest in Venice has stunning views of the Giudecca Canal and the city skyline. It serves cocktails, small bites and salads.

Located on Giudecca island, the building is a former neo-gothic flour mill, refurbished into a unique hotel and rooftop bar and above it, one of the world’s coolest and most stylish rooftop infinity pools for use by hotel guests. The hotel also offers a Spa and Wellness centre and a Fitness facility.

The closest Vaporetto stop to the Hotel is “Palanca” (Lines 2 or 41), which is just a 500m walk over two bridges. For resident guests, there is a shuttle service to St Mark’s and the Zattere.

 

8. Hotel Daniele Terrace – 5th Floor – San Zaccaria $$$$$

View from the Danieli terrace, towards the “Salute” church and the Dorsoduro peninsular, at sunset.

Located on top of the luxurious Hotel Danieli, overlooking the Bacino di San Marco and a short distance from St Mark’s Square; the terrace has two of Venice’s most classic views – south to the Island of San Giorgio di Maggiore and west to the Salute basilica (the sun sets behind it).

Enjoy Italian fine dining for lunch and dinner year-round and during the warmer months out on the terrace, which then is also open for afternoon drinks. Great service in a fantastic and luxurious setting. History: The splendor of Hotel Danieli is interwoven with the rich history of Venice. The hotel spans three interconnecting palaces, dating back to the 14th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Namely: The oldest palace, Palazzo Dandolo, is Venetian Gothic style and was the former home of the noble Dandolo family.
The 19th-century Palazzo Casa Nuova served as the city’s treasury.
The most modern is the 20th-century Palazzo Danieli Excelsior, redesigned by Jacques Garcia in 2008.

Please see my comprehensive and illustrated blog posts:  

 

9. H10 Palazzo Canova.  La Terrazza Bar – 4th Floor San Silvestro $$$

Located on the Grand Canal, in the heart of Venice, this Indoor-outdoor rooftop bar, has spectacular views of the Rialto Bridge. Drinks and light snacks/meals served.

The rooftop features two different areas: one stylish and covered indoor lounge with bar and an open-air terrace.

Residents of at H10 Palazzo Canova can enjoy breakfast on the terrace, while outsiders are welcome from around noon to midnight.

  • H10 Palazzo Canova       Riva del Vin, 744, 30125 Venezia VE         Mon – Sun. 12 – 24.00
  • +39 041 520 0172      reservations.hpc@h10hotels.com     H10 Palazzzo Canova – Restaurant.
  • Very close to San Silvestro vaporetto stop and about 300 metres from the Rialto stop.

Please see my comprehensive and illustrated blog posts about food and drink in the region and two other spots to hang out and be seen! 

 

10. Top of the Carlton Sky Lounge $$$$

Branded as ‘a real sitting room in the sky’, the airy and elegant terrace in Santa Croce district, offers extraordinary views over the Venice skyline, the Grand Canal and views towards the modern Constitution Bridge. The rooftop menu features a vast choice of cocktails, as well  Venetian and Mediterranean cuisine traditions.  Open in Spring and Summer, from May to September.

  • Top of the Carlton. Fondamenta del Monastero, 578, 30135 Venezia VE, Italy
  • +39 041 275 2200     info@carltongrandcanal.com    Opening Hours. Monday to Sunday,  18.00 – 00.00
  • Top of the Carlton Sky Lounge

Please see my comprehensive and illustrated blog post:  “San Croce – District and Attractions”

 

11. Terrazza Panoramica at Ca’ Sagredo Hotel

Located on the rooftop of the luxurious Ca’ Sagredo Hotel in Cannaregio, that was originally a 14th C palazzo; it offers a fantastic view of the Venice rooftops and the action on the Grand Canal. Open during the warmer months May to October

Situated on the Grand Canal, next to the famous Ca d’Oro and its vaporetto stop and overlooking the Rialto Markets.

The bar’s interior is elegant and sophisticated, with comfortable seating and a relaxed atmosphere. The cocktail menu is extensive, with a variety of classic and innovative concoctions and their signature cocktail, the “Ca’ Sagredo Spritz”.

 

12. Settimo Cielo at the Hotel Bauer Palazzo

Note: the rooftop bar and restaurant is closed until 2025 for an exciting major refurbishment and expanded facilities

Closed until 2025, Settimo Cielo, meaning ‘Seventh Heaven’, lived up to its name offering a heavenly view of Venice from the city’s highest rooftop terrace. Located atop the five-star Bauer Palazzo, the terrace provided a panoramic view of the lagoon and the city.

The location of Settimo Cielo, on the rooftop of the Bauer Palazzo, offered a unique perspective of Venice, so close to St Mark’s square.

 


 

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