Getting around Venice by the city’s water buses, called “vaporetti” in Italian, can potentially be expensive but one of the cheaper vaporetti tickets you can buy will take you from the area near Piazza San Marco across the lagoon a short distance to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. There you can find one of the best views in Venice as well as an escape from the crowds of the rest of the city. If you enjoy panoramic views and can spare an hour while you’re in Venice this little side trip to San Giorgio Maggiore is definitely worth it and I’ve gone there both times that I visited Venice in the past.
On San Giorgio Maggiore is a quiet church with a bell tower that you can ascend for €6. The tower has an elevator so there’s no need worry if you have difficulty climbing steps. At the top of the tower you get a sweeping view of both the city and the lagoon. Sunny days are particularly good for going up the bell tower since the colors of Venice really come out on them. You can see all the way from the west end to the east end of Venice as well as the neighboring islands. The crowds in Piazza San Marco and along the southern promenade of the city look almost like a swarm of ants, which really gives you an appreciation for just how many tourists come to Venice each day. Just as notable is the view of all the boat traffic in the lagoon. With all the vaporetti, small motorboats, gondolas, and other craft in the water it’s impressive that everyone seems to be able to navigate the lagoon without any trouble.
As a little bonus for today’s post I’m including a second photo, which I took from up in the church’s bell tower. This photo is zoomed in on the area around Piazza San Marco and the Doge’s Palace and was taken in May of 2012 on the same trip as the featured photo at the top of today’s post.