The Best Photography Locations in Venice, Italy

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Venice floods the imagination with an atmosphere of creative nautical wonder. It’s a city of incredible architecture built solely on water where cars are replaced with teak boats and gondolas.

A labyrinth of colourful canals weaves its way through islands joined by romantic little bridges and open squares play classical music that echoes between Gothic palaces. This Italian gem has my heart and it’s my favourite city in the world to photograph.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during Carnival (see photos from my trip here) or if you’ve got Venice lined up as one of your upcoming destinations then this Location Scout is for you.

Below you’ll find a list of the best six locations to capture this romantic Italian city along with a few little extras to test out if you’ve got time.

Here’s a map to get started that shows an ideal walking path that will get you to everywhere listed in this guide…


St Mark’s Campanile, Piazza San Marco

To truly get an understanding of how incredible this city is you need to get on top of it. Taking a lift 160ft up to the bell tower’s peak will do just that. From here the views are jaw dropping, you’ll stare in wonder at the scene below where terracotta roof tops pave a giant sea of lego like pieces stacked until the oceans horizon. You have a complete 360 view and can spend as much time as you wish photographing every angle and grab some unique images of Piazza San Marco and people below. What I love about this view is that the hundreds of canals you see when walking around Venice almost completely disappear when viewed from above leaving you to soak up a different perspective of this photogenic city.

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Palazzo Ducale, San Marco

The walkway around Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) for me is mesmerising. The architectural features and columns from the Venetian Gothic period photograph so well and can be a great focus for detail shots of your Venice collection. Inside the palace you can also wander around and photograph the beautiful courtyard which also offers an alternative view of Basilica de San Marco.

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Museo Storico Navale di Venezia

One of the best things to do in Venice is stroll along Riva degli Schiavone (water front promenade) at sunset from Palazzo Ducale right down to the Naval Museum in the Castello district. The walk takes you over six bridges offering views down a myriad of canals all the while being right next to the main waterway with views over to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. It’s a little touristy until about the third bridge but once you get past the Venetian mask stands and cafes your photography opportunities open up. Try out low light techniques and slow shutter shots on the moving water and gondolas with the skyline of the city behind. Right down by the edge you’ll find little staircases that lead into the water and act as great tripods to get you right up close to the water!

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Get Lost

I say get lost because I first stumbled upon little gems like Campo San Giovanni e Paolo without following a map. Sure you can try and navigate your way around but in Venice if you hit water you simply turn around and take another path, it’s like one giant beautiful maze. Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is a great middle marker, find your way here then head in the opposite direction to explore another corner of Venice where the tourists rarely visit. You’ll notice there are some main alleys that are fringed with brand name stores and lead directly from Piazza San Marco to Rialto and then onto the St Lucia Railyway Station. Vear off any of these routes to see scenes that will keep you interested for hours photographing clothes lines hanging over canals, little row boats tied up in front of colourful facades and quaint squares where artists sit and paint.

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St Maria of Salute Basilica

Offering a unique 180degree view from San Giorgio Maggiore island across the canal to Piazza San Marco, this is your go to location for scenic panoramic shots. It’s a little out of the way, not as crowded as the main waterfront walkways and you will stroll past gondola docks, quaint little stores and of course the impressive St Maria of Salute Basilica. Just past the basilica is where you’ll find the best viewing point looking out across the water.

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Ponte dell’Accademia

Want an iconic shot of Venice? This is the place to be! The Ponte dell’Accademia joins together Dorsoduro and San Marco and is one of only four bridges to cross the Grand Canal. Once you’re on the bridge, face east back towards Piazza San Marco and the perfect scene will open up before your very eyes. Gondonlas glide by alongside polished wooden water taxis, the dominant St Maria of Salute Basilica is a great point of focus and the historic facades of buildings appear to float over the canal.

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Other notable photography locations in Venice…

Burano – Read my article about this colourful village here. It’s just a short ferry ride from Venice and in my opinion the best day trip you can do!

Rialto Bridge – This is absolutely a point of interest for photographers but it’s also popular for everyone and anyone visiting Venice. This is probably where you’ll find most people so for the best shot I’d advise either shooting at sunrise or late evening once the crowds have gone.

San Giorgio Maggiore – You can jump on a Vaporetto and explore the island which is home to the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, once a monastery. There’s also a little marina with a café where you can sip a coffee and take in the views looking back to the main island of San Marco.

San Pollo – This area sits just over the Rialto Bridge (if you’re walking from San Marco) and here you’ll find the bustling Rialto Markets alive with colourful fresh fruit, vegetables and the catch of the day.

When visiting Venice I highly recommend staying at the nautic luxe Hotel Bucintoro which has views over St Mark’s Basin to watch the gondolas float by. Rooms are decorated to feel as though you’re staying in a ship…such an experience!

Otherwise here is a little list of hotels close to the photo locations listed above…

The Westin Europa & Regina – Luxury + Incredible Location on The Grand Canal, eat breakfast with one of the best views in Venice!

San Marco Canal View Apartments – Great if you’re travelling in a group or want a 2-3bdr apartment in a great location between Rialto and San Marco.

Relais Piazza San Marco – Ideally located for exploring Venice right amongst the action and heart of Piazza San Marco. Rooms are decorated in traditional Venetian styling.

Hilton Molino Stucky Venice – If you want views, this is the hotel to choose without breaking the budget! Luxury and a rooftop terrace pool to capture sunrise + sunset. You’ll need to catch a small ferry back into the main centre of Venice but along the way you can photograph the canals!

If you’ve found a special spot and want to share it I would love to hear from you via email at hello@thewanderinglens.com or feel free to use the hashtag #thewanderinglens on Instagram to share your images of Venice!

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Lisa Michele Burns

Lisa Michele Burns

Photographer at The Wandering Lens
Lisa is the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens. As an Australian currently based in France she's never in one place for too long and is always looking for the next destination to photograph whether it be above or below the water. With 10+yrs as a professional photographer, all advice found on this site is from Lisa's personal experience on the road.
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32 Comments

  1. Hayley Simpson

    February 3, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Great photos, Lisa!

  2. Renuka

    February 5, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Venice – a classic beauty, beautifully captured by you! Love your observation and execution.

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  7. Calum

    March 7, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Ah, beautiful photos – especially the one of St Maria of Salute Basilica, with the reflecition. I visited Venice for the first time at the end of January. Have you been to the top of the church tower on San Giorgio Maggiore?

  8. William

    June 9, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Great collection. I would really love to visit this place.

    • thewanderinglens

      June 18, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks William, Venice is a magical city, hopefully one day you’ll get to see it too!

  9. Jose

    June 14, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks for this..m going 2 Vinice on Aug. n getting ready for the trip. Need all the info i can get’

    • thewanderinglens

      June 18, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      How exciting Jose! You’ll have a great trip, the best advice I can give is to wander around and soak it all up, the photos will follow!

  10. Dave

    September 8, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Absolutely wonderful photos and am curious to what camera and lenses you used? Super jealous!

    • thewanderinglens

      September 8, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks Dave! For these shots I used my Nikon D800 with the Nikon 28-300mm lens, great range for travelling!

  11. Leif Petersen

    September 27, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I’ve really enjoyed looking through your site & photographs. I went there initially looking for photos from Venice. I have 1 question about getting shots from the bell tower: are you able to go outside to photograph or are you behind glass & screens?

    Your ‘Working With Wandering Lens’ is intriguing. I might like to pursue that with you.

    • thewanderinglens

      September 27, 2015 at 8:57 am

      Hi Leif, great to hear!
      You can photograph easily from the top of the Campanile (Bell Tower) of Venice. There are no screens/glass however there is wire but it’s nice and easy to for your lens through to get a clear shot 🙂

      • Leif Petersen

        September 27, 2015 at 9:14 am

        Thanks for the quick response. We’ll also have 3 days in Florence, so have also checked out your tips there. Great stuff! What’s the best to do: climb to the top of D’Uomo or up the clock tower? I might not have time, or stamina, to do both!

        • thewanderinglens

          October 25, 2015 at 10:05 pm

          I’m probably a little late getting back to you! I didn’t see your comment notification pop up a few weeks ago…have you visited Florence yet? If not, I climbed the Duomo which wasn’t for the faint hearted haha I believe the clock tower is a little more secure at the top! The view from the Duomo was incredible but I couldn’t stay up there too long…I kept slipping on the stone and that railing is not going to stop anyone falling off! If you’ve already been I hope you had a great trip!

  12. Sandeep Mathur

    November 30, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Wonderful photographer’s guide to Venice. I wish I had read this before my visit to Venice last month. Here’s my photo diary from my trip : https://slate.adobe.com/cp/hrimk/

    Would love to get your feedback !

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  15. Mads Arnholtz

    September 19, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Really great pictures. Right now we are spending time in the Dolomites, but tomorrow we set course for Venice.
    Very happy I found your guide. It will be a nice help for the next days.
    Thank you very much.
    Best regards.
    Mads Arnholtz

    • thewanderinglens

      October 4, 2016 at 11:27 am

      Thanks Mads, great to hear you found this guide before you reached Venice! I bet the Dolomites filled a few memory cards 🙂

  16. James

    October 9, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Thanks for these tips! I’m going for 3 nights in early November and I’ve got a hotel in the city so I can get out early to avoid the worst of the crowds.

    • thewanderinglens

      October 9, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Great to hear James! Good plan to head out early…sunrise is definitely the best time to photograph, especially in November you might end up with a beautiful morning mist! Enjoy your trip!

  17. Kelv

    November 29, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Hi, just to say thank you for a really interesting and beautiful article. I’m off to Venice tomorrow, I have been before but wanted to get away from the typical snaps and needed inspiration and you have certainly helped, now just to wittle my kit down.

    • thewanderinglens

      December 19, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      Hi Kelvin, I hope you had a great trip to Venice! Did you end up getting lost in the streets and finding beautiful canals and alleyways to photograph? Great to hear my guide helped a little!

  18. Ben Abel

    December 18, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Such an amazing set of photos. They are also a great help for my pre-prep for my holiday to Venice in June. I do have a question, I have read how most places do not allow in door photography, is there anywhere that does allow it?

    • thewanderinglens

      December 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      Hi Ben, exciting to hear you’re off to Venice! You’ll find most cathedrals or museums either won’t allow photography in general or won’t allow flash photography. In either case there will be a sign displayed at the entrance signalling which if any are allowed. A lot of the times it’s simply just no flash so you need to make sure your automatic flash is turned off but you’re still fine to click away with a higher ISO to adjust to the lower light conditions inside. Have a great trip!

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  20. Ben

    June 23, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Stunning photos. Anyone visiting Venice, if you have enough time, get on a boat and head to Burano. The journey itself is lovely and Burano is just amazing. I think you need to set aside a whole day to make it worthwhile. I proposed to my wife in Venice – a very special place. Lastly, there is a festival once a year where everyone wears masks – Venice is crowded at this time but the outfits and masks make for really good photo opportunities.

  21. Andy

    July 16, 2017 at 4:40 am

    Thank you, very helpful

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