The monuments that draw the largest crowds in Venice are the basilica di San Marco – the mausoleum of the city’s patron saint – and the Palazzo Ducale – the home of the governing councils. The Basilica di San Marco is the most exotic of Europe’s cathedrals. Two of the distinctively Venetian institutions known as the scuole retain some of the outstanding examples of Italian Renaissance art – the Scuola di San Rocco, and the Scuola di San Giorgio. Although many of the city’s treasures remain in the buildings for which they were created, a number have been removed to Venice’s museums. The one that should not be missed is the Accademia, a collection of Venetian masterpieces, as well as the Ca’Rezzonico and the Museo Correr, the civic museum of Venice. The famous Venetian gondola can be an entertaining way of exploring the city, and is quite affordable when the cost is split among a small group.
A distinctive aspect of the Venetian social scene is the bacaro, which is a bar that offers a range of snacks called cicheti, which will typically include beef and garlic meatballs, artichoke hearts, and baby octopus and squid. As in every Italian city, Venice’s cafes are central to its social life
Venice’s top music venue is La Fenise, which features theater, opera, and ballet throughout the year. Another major venue for classical music is the Teatro Malibran, and for jazz music the Goldoni offers less frequent performances. The most well known of the city’s public festivals is perhaps Carnevale, a 10-day celebration leading up to Lent. Another is the Venice Film Festival, the world’s oldest, which takes place in late August and early September.