An orange gem resting on a blue glass plate: it’s Venice seen from above. (Henry James)
Venice was for the first time in its history drawn in detail by Jacopo de Barbari: he drew the city in bird‘s eye view from the top of the island San Giorgio Maggiore, just opposite Saint Mark’s Square and represented the city in such detail that still today historians use this map to study the history of Venetian urbanization.
Most of the visitors though decide for a view from the top of the famous Saint Mark’s Belltower, the highest one of the city. In case you don’t feel like queuing up, you could go to the tower that Jacopo de Barbari used in 1500 for his drawing of the city: San Giorgio Maggiore. The belltower is just 5 meters (about 15 feet) lower than Saint Mark’s Belltower and also the admission is nearly half the price.
Another view over the roofs of Venice hidden in the midst of the maze of streets is located at the Palazzo Contarini dal Bovolo whose famous spiral staircase winds up direction sky.
But what is a beautiful view without a good cocktail? For the foodies amongst you, there is the Hilton Molino Stucky Hotel on Giudecca Island with its famous Skyline Bar priding itself with the highest rooftop terrace in the city. The cocktails are quite expensive (€15 up), but the wonderful Venetian panorama while you sip your cocktail is included. (The rooftop bar is accessible to everyone.)
In case you are on a low budget, you could visit the luxury shopping mall Fontego dei Tedeschi: The access to the rooftop terrace with a view over the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge is for free and can be prebooked (see my blog post.)
Or are you by any chance visiting the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello? Then you should stop on the island of Torcello and climb the stairs of the belltower that bestows you with an amazing view over the lagoon.