You can easily walk for hours in the small streets of Venice without getting a clear sense of the size and orientation of the city. I therefore always enjoy to climb to a higher point where I can admire the city as a whole.
In this post, I will share with you my 5 favorite rooftop views in Venice. Once you’re up there, you will be surprised by the large number of bell towers and churches that rise above the roofs of the houses and palazzos.
1. San Giorgio Maggiore campanile
This bell tower is without any doubt my favorite location for a view over Venice. It was built in 1791, after the previous tower collapsed in 1774. Standing at the narrow passage, you have a 360° view from a height of approx. 60 m. This does not only allow you to admire Palazzo Ducale, the San Marco campanile, Punta della Dogana and many other sites in the center of Venice, as far as the Arsenale. You can also look down on the Borges garden of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini (see my post ‘Why San Giorgio Maggiore is worth your visit’) and Giudecca. Finally, you can watch many islands spread all over the lagoon.
The campanile is located on the San Giorgio Maggiore island, which is right in front of Palazzo Ducale. You can reach it with vaporetto line 2. It takes only 3 minutes from the San Zaccaria (San Marco) stop. There are almost no waiting lines to enter the elevator and admire the view.
2. Fondaco dei Tedeschi
The Fondaco dei Tedeschi was used as a trading post for German merchants, a customs house under Napoleon and a post office under Mussolini. It originates from 1228 and was rebuilt between 1505 and 1508, after it was destroyed in a fire. In 2016, a luxury shopping center opened its doors, and its panoramic terrace. It is therefore the newest rooftop view over Venice. You have a beautiful sight over Canal Grande from 2 different angles, as well as a 360° perspective over the city. You can even see the lighthouse of Murano. Signs on the rail clearly indicate all the surrounding buildings. This makes it much easier to recognize all the towers and churches and to orientate yourself. If you want to see this view yourself before your next trip, you can watch a video I made by following this link.
DID YOU KNOW? The Fondaco dei Tedeschi has been redeveloped thanks to the financial support of the Benetton Group and based on a design of the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. You can find more about this practice in my post ‘Discover how Venice finances its cultural heritage’.
It is located next to the Rialto bridge, along Canal Grande. Access to the terrace is free, but you might have to wait in line.
3. Scala Contarini del Bovolo
The Scala Contarini del Bovolo is the most beautiful building with a view over Venice. The residential house of the Contarini family dates from the middle of the 14th century. It combines several architectural styles such as Renaissance, Gothic and Venetian Byzantine. The spiral staircase on the outside of this ‘snail house’ was added at the end of the 15th century. This was done as a symbol of the standing of the family. Even though the tower is not very high (26 m), it gives you a nice view of the San Marco basilica and campanile and other higher buildings in the city. It reopened in 2016 to the public, after being closed for several years of restoration. The arches add a special element to your pictures.
The Scala Contarini del Bovolo is hidden in the small Streets near Campo Manin (San Marco), so it doesn’t stand out from far. When you get closer, you will notice signs to show you the way.
4. San Marco campanile
The bell tower on the Piazza San Marco is certainly the best-known spot for a panoramic view of Venice. The original lighthouse dates from the 9th century. It has however been damaged, repaired and rebuilt several times before it collapsed on July 14, 1902. The current structure dates from 1912. It is an exact replica, but it was built using safer construction techniques. With a height of 99 m, it is also the highest look-out point in this list. This gives you a grand view of the city and the closest islands in the lagoon such as San Giorgio Maggiore and Giudecca.
DID YOU KNOW? During Carnevale, there are 2 people who get the opportunity and the honour to fly from the campanile to the square: the Angel (Volo dell’Angelo) and the Eagle (Volo dell’Acquila). You can find more info on this in my post on the history of carnival in Venice.
The main disadvantage of this campanile on the Piazza San Marco is the long waiting time before you can access.
5. Hilton Molino Stucky
The last scenic view over Venice can be found at the former Molino Stucky flour mill (or molino in Italian), which dates from the end of the 19th century. It was built by Giovanni Stucky, son of a Swiss immigrant, who started a flourishing international trade of wheat, flour and pasta. He became one of the richest men in Venice before he was murdered in 1910 by a former worker. The factory was closed in 1955. After years of decline, the 13 buildings of the mill have been redeveloped into a Hilton hotel, which opened in 2007. The Skyline rooftop bar has 2 large terraces. One terrace overlooks the city of Venice, while the second one gives a view on Marghera and the cruise port. It’s the perfect location to enjoy a drink before dinner (it only opens at 5 PM) while admiring the city.
The Molino Stucky is located on the Giudecca island, which you can reach with vaporetto line 2 (stop: Palanca). It’s only one stop from Zattere.
Once you’ve seen the city from above, it’s time to wander around Venice and to find the beautiful buildings which you discovered from the rooftops.
Enjoy your view!
SHARE THIS POST WITH YOUR FRIENDS ON
(The picture in the banner is a model made by Tadao Ando for the 2016 Architecture Biennale.)