Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers (more exactly between the Brenta and the Sile). In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice.Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.
At the height of power, this mysterious city with a dazzling past and an uncertain future controlled the West’s trade with the East and was the door to its fabulous and exotic wealth.The setting for Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Venice has put writers, poets and filmmakers under its romantic spell.That’s why many of Venice’s famous places have become some of the most photographed landmarks in Italy.Beyond the Grand Canal and St Mark’s Piazza, the islands of Torcello, Murano and Burano also offer hidden charms and plenty of things to do in Venice away from the main sights.
1/ RIDE A GONDOLA AROUND THE CANALS
|Riding a gondola on the canals|
Gondolas glide smoothly over the shimmering water next to the private water taxis that cruise up and down the canal looking for tourists willing to pay their exorbitant fare.
A goods boat pulls up alongside the dock of one of the canal-side hotels and the driver unloads some daily supplies.
Boxes of fresh eggplant, fresh limes, juicy plums, yellow capsicums and bright red tomatoes are placed in crates on the dock.
2/ FIND A VIEW OF THE GRAND CANAL
There are amazing views of the Grand Canal from many vantage points throughout Venice, including its bridges and grand hotels.
3/ WALK THE STREETS OF VENICE
If you walk the streets of Venice aimlessly, you’re guaranteed of finding a new delight around every corner.
The aroma of Italian herbs and spices waft from the many cafes as people tuck into gelato and pasta.There’s plenty of good food to eat in Venice for all palates.
4/ GO SHOPPING FOR MASKS
Often, right in the middle of a courtyard, the romance of Venice overcomes a visitor.Putting on a colourful carnival mask, he might fall to his knees and propose to his lady.
The windows of the shops are filled with elaborately decorated paper mache and leather masks of all colours, shapes and sizes.Masks have always been a central feature of the carnival since 1268.
The masks of Carnevale personify Venice, a fantasy city whose real life is hidden behind a tourist veneer and hardly ever revealed to strangers.
5/ EXPLORE PIAZZA ST MARCO
The classic beauty of Piazza St Marco’s is spoiled by the myriads of t-shirt and souvenir sellers.
Masses of pigeons flap around the tourists, landing on their arms and heads.The reactions of the people are fun to watch.
While visiting the piazza, make sure to marvel at the beauty of the 11th-century Italo-Byzantine architecture of St Mark’s Basilica.
6/ VISIT THE DOGE’S PALACE
Combine a guided tour of St. Mark’s Square and the Doge Palace, two of the city’s most well-known attractions, The Doge’s Palace was the residence of the leader of the Republic of Venice.
7/ GET LOST IN THE BACKSTREETS
As you walk around Venice, you might find yourself slipping away from the main tourist area.
The back streets of Venice are where charming shops are replaced by moss-covered walls and musty odours of Venice’s back canals.
Your heart beats a little faster as you realise you are lost but it’s all part of experiencing the charm of Venice.You walk for hours until you somehow find yourself back on the main canal.
8/ SEE THE PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal is a collection of modern art worth seeing.
9/ WATCH A MURANO GLASSMAKING DEMONSTRATION
Glassmaking is Venice’s second-biggest industry after tourism and the best glass originates from the island of Murano.
You’ll be astonished by the talent of the glassmakers who demonstrated their craft.
The tradition has continued up until today where some of the worlds finest glass products still originate from this small island.
10/ VISIT THE LACE SHOPS IN BURANO
Burano’s canals are filled with brightly coloured buildings, lace shops and cafes.
In the 16th century, it was traditional for the women of Burano to work on handmade lace creations while waiting for the men to return from the sea.Burano lace became highly sought-after throughout Europe.
11/ LUNCH LIKE THE RICH AND FAMOUS IN TORCELLO
At the island of Torcello, having lunch at Locanda Cipriani, a rustic guest house and well-known restaurant is a treat.
The Bellini cocktail, which a deliciously refreshing concoction of champagne and peach juice, was invented right there in Torcello by Giuseppe Cipriani.
12/ TAKE A PHOTO OF RIALTO BRIDGE
Venice known as the city of bridges, with over 400 that connect the Venetian archipelago.You could spend days wandering across all of these bridges while exploring the backlanes and canals.
If there’s one bridge you shouldn’t miss that would be the Rialto Bridge.The bridge was constructed in 1588 and is the spot to snap a selfie as it has a great view of the city.
13/ CRUISE TO LIDO ISLAND
A half-hour cruise in a vaporetto from San Marco will land you on a 11 km sandbar. Lido Island is a haunt for writers and film buffs.
An exciting time to go to rub shoulders with the stars is during the Venice Film Festival each September.
14/ ADMIRE VENETIAN TEXTILES
Venetian textiles have a long and rich history, so while in Venice it makes sense to visit a textile house.Rubelli has been producing textiles since 1889 and makes some of the world’s most lovely damask.
15/ ATTEND CARNEVALE VENICE
Venice is like a stage and the triangle between Rialto, San Marco and Accademia like a revolving play but never more so than during the celebrated Carnevale.
During this 10-day street party, costumed revellers fill the city’s streets but the centre of activities is Piazza San Marco.
Before Venice became a region of Italy (in 1866), it had the most luxurious court in Europe and the wild celebrations of Carnevale went on for months at a time.
Venice is indeed one of the few places that can claim to be more beautiful in winter than in summer.
While most cities are at their worst in winter, Venice is at her most atmospheric and magical.
It’s still one of the world’s greatest drawcards and the good news is, Venice hasn’t sunk – it’s better than ever.
Where to stay in Venice
Foscari Palace Hotel, Campo Santa Sofia, Venezia, tel: +39 041 5297611, email: email@example.com. Locanda Cipriani, 13 Piazza S. Fosca, Torcello, Venezia, tel: +39 041 730150.
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