What to do on a rainy day in Venice: Top 10 things to do in Venice when it rains

What to do on a rainy day in Venice: Top 10 things to do in Venice when it rains

What to do on a rainy day in Venice can leave you feeling spoiled for choice. Our recent articles on what to do on a rainy day in Florence and what to do in Rome when it rains have both proved enormously popular so we thought we’d add anotehr to the series. Whilst the sun may be shining in Venice today, we’re very conscious that it is a city that we recommend people visit in the Spring, Autumn and even Winter months, not just in the Summer when the sunshine is perhaps a little more guaranteed. And, even in the Summer months, the city can’t guarantee to escape rain showers completely. Average rainfall levels range from 70 mm in June, 51 mm in July to 45 mm in August. Incidentally, September tends to be the wettest month each year with 82 mm of rainfall on average.

Clearly, it’s not the best time for a gondola ride on a rainy day in Venice. But, we are always keen to ensure that a bit of rain never spoils any of our guest’s stays. To make absolutely sure it won’t, here our guide to the top 10 things to do in Venice when it rains.

1. Visit the Doge’s Palace

rainy day in Venice

The Doge’s Palace (or Palazzo Ducale) was once the centre of Venice’s political power. These days, it offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich history. Visitors who have seen the latest instalment of the Mission Impossible film franchise – Dead Reckoning Part One – will also recognise the palace as the location for a rather swanky party in the film. The intricate exterior of the palace hints at what is to come inside. Its beauty and grandeur really is spectacular and it would need a couple of hours at least to do it justice. A perfect way to while away part of a rainy day in Venice.

Book skip the line tickets for the Doge’s Palace so that you’re not queuing in the rain to get in.

2. Marvel at St Mark’s

rainy day in Venice

St Marks’ Basilica is one of the most popular sites in Venice and is the perfect site to visit on a rainy day in Venice. The original building dates back to the 9th century when it was built to house the relics of the apostle St Mark. As with the Doge’s Palace, its interior is just as impressive as its spectacular exterior. To give you an idea of the size and scale of St Mark’s, inside there are over 8000 square metres of mosaics to marvel at, many in gold, which were completed over hundreds of years. Not only that, but there are 500 columns and capitals, the majority of which date between the 6th and 11th centuries. And the high altar in St Marks’ is also made of gold, inlaid with over 1000 pearls, 400 garnets, 300 emeralds, 300 sapphires and 100 amethysts, along with ruby and topaz gems too.

If you fancy ticking off both the Palazzo Ducale and the Basilica, then why not consider a guided tour of the Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s.

3. Be amazed at the art in Venice’s art galleries

rainy day in Venice

Whatever your preference when it comes to art, Venice will probably still tick all your boxes! It is home to both the Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Whilst the former is home to a vast collection of Venetian art dating from the 14th to 18th centuries, by artists such as Titian, Tintoretto and Bellini (as well as to the famous drawing of Vitruvian Man by Da Vinci), the latter is home to works by some of most influential modern 20th century artists, such as Picasso, Dali and Pollock. Also of note is the Ca’ Pesaro, a 17th palace that is home to some incredible modern art works that have been acquired at each Biennale since 1950 including works by painters such as Kandinsky and Joan Miro. It’s also worth seeking out some of its less well known art galleries. The Casa dei Tre Oci hosts regular photography exhibitions for example. Similarly, the Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti holds art exhibitions throughout the year. And there are plenty more art galleries to discover too.

Book skip the line tickets to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection,


4. Spend time in Venice’s array of museums

rainy day in Venice

Venice is home to a plethora of museums that don’t revolve around art and a rainy day is Venice is the perfect time to enjoy them. The first of these that we would recommend is the Natural History Museum located in the Fontego dei Turchi Palace which boasts some excellent exhibits. A visit should last a couple of hours and tickets can be purchased online. Another museum is the Palazzo Fortuny. The latter was the home of Mariano Fortuny who was a Spanish designer and artist. As you would expect, it is again home to a number of artworks but it also tells the story of Fortuny himself. Similarly, at the Correr Museum, whilst again there are plenty of paintings and sculptures on display, it’s a chance to learn abut the history of Venice. Also of note are the Leonardo da Vinci museum in Venice and the Jewish Museum (Museo Ebraico di Venezia).

Alternatively, head to Burano to discover the Venice lace museum (Museo del Merletto) or to Murano to learn about the island’s history of glass making in the Museo del Vetro. Murano is best known for the Venetian craft of glass making and the museum provides an insight into the history of this artisan trade from ancient times to today. Both islands are just a vaporetto ride away across the Venice lagoon. Why not book a boat tour of Murano and Burano where you will enjoy demonstrations of both glass making and lace making. Or head there using public transport and book a Murano glass blowing demonstration in a working factory as well as visiting the museum.

5. Go to the opera

rainy day in Venice

The 19th Teatro La Fenice, or simply La Fenice, is one of the most famous and important opera houses in the world. It is known all over the world for its beautiful architecture and stunning performances. Over the years, it has hosted many important opera premieres and has witnessed numerous famous opera singers perform on its stage, among them Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras. It has been devastated by fire twice in its long history but it remains one of the most beautiful and iconic venues for opera in the world.

Even if you can’t attend an opera performance, you can still admire the incredible avant-garde design of the theatre and learn about its history with this skip the line entry ticket to La Fenice. Or, if you prefer, you can enjoy a guided tour of La Fenice at Get Your Guide. Set aside an hour to do it justice. Again, buying tickets in advance will mean you can avoid having to queue in the rain.

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6. Eat!

rainy day in Venice

There is a tradition in Venice of cicchetti. These are probably best described as small plates of food, sometimes no larger than a mouthful and are, in a way, similar to the concept of tapas in Spain. These can be accompanied by small glasses of wine – ombra – any time from the early morning onwards in one of Venice’s many bacari (bars)! So, if you’re searching for things to do when it is raining in Venice, then it’s not a bad idea to the nearest bar and start eating and drinking.

Alternatively, a cooking class could be the perfect solution of what to do when it’s raining in Venice. Each region of Italy has its regional cuisine and there is no better way to learn than a hands on cooking class.

Of course, you can always enjoy a food tour of Venice in the rain but don’t expect to be able to avoid the showers entirely. You’ll need to take an umbrella to get you from place to place!

7. Head to Venice’s library

rainy day in Venice

The Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana is Venice’s public library. The library was opened in 1560 but the roots of the library date back to the 14th century when a poet donated his books to the city so that they could start a collection. It is necessary to book in advance if you want to look at one of the rarer books or manuscripts but if you’re happy to just browse the shelves and explore the rooms, then you are welcome at any time, making it the perfect place in St Mark’s Square to escape from the rain!

8. Learn about the history of mask-making

rainy day in Venice

The origins of mask-making in Venice date back to the 14th century. Originally they would have been worn to conceal one’s identity since it was forbidden for different social classes to mix and thus, they effectively encouraged inclusiveness. Nowadays, they still play a prominent part in costumes for Venice’s Carnevale and Venetian papier mache masks are still made using the same techniques as they would have used centuries ago. It’s great fun to discover more about the history of this tradition from an experienced instructor and to have the opportunity to design and make your own papier mache mask. Book your Venice mask making experience at Get Your Guide.

9. Visit Venice’s other churches

what to do on a rainy day in Venice

Whilst the Basilica di San Marco may be Venice’s most famous church, it is by no means the only one. The city is home to 139 churches in all, although only 88 of these are still operating as churches. Probably the most famous of these is the beautiful domed 17th century Santa Maria della Salute Basilica which overlooks the Grand Canal and is an iconic symbol of Venice. Built on a patch of land where the St Mark’s Canal and Grand Canal meet, it is a setting that means that the church is visible from far and wide. Other churches of note and worthy of a visit include the Churches of St Pantalon, San Zaccaria, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari along with the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo. But there are plenty of others to discover in Venice too.

10. Go shopping

rainy day in Venice

A rainy day in Venice is the perfect time to indulge in some retail therapy. The Fondaco Dei Tedeschi is a beautiful shopping centre with floor floors of luxury goods and souvenirs to browse and purchase. Situated in an old and beautifully restored palazzo, it’s a great place to enjoy some shopping until the rain eases. If there is a break in the rain, then head to the rooftop terrace where you can enjoy spectacular views of the nearby Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal. You will need to book ahead to access the terrace and you will be given a strict 15 minute time slot for entry but it’s well worth it.

Another option is to head to what is arguably Venice’s most famous shop – the Libreria Acqua Alta. This book shop is filled with both new and second hand books, some of which are displayed rather unusually in gondolas and bath tubs. It does definitely get crowded and you will find many visiting to secure that elusive instagram photo rather than to browse the book shelves but if you are a bit of a book worm, then it would be easy to lose an hour discovering the books on sale here.

For those visiting Venice in the sunshine, then check out our Venice travel guide, containing all the information you need to know when visiting this unique city. And don’t forget to check out our top tours and experiences in Venice here.