A city of romance and faded grandeur, Venice bathes in golden light and gently crumbles into the edges of her many canals. But this is a city packed with art, architecture, and innovation too, where you can marvel at old masterpieces and see the new being created before your eyes. Read more.
A city of romance and faded grandeur, Venice bathes in golden light and gently crumbles into the edges of her many canals. But this is a city packed with art, architecture, and innovation too, where you can marvel at old masterpieces and see the new being created before your eyes.
Venice is built across hundreds of islands in the Venetian lagoon, so water is ubiquitous, forming transport ways and even rising above the level of the streets several times a year when there is an acqua alta (high water). Take to the water with a tour of the Grand Canal, once a busy thoroughfare for merchant ships and still the main transport line for the city, it now provides the best views of the palazzi - traditionally the grand homes of the city’s notable families. To explore the network of small canals that weave through the city, hop on one of Venice’s famous wooden gondolas, surely the most relaxing and romantic vantage point from which to marvel at colourful houses crowding over narrow waterways.
If you’re planning to meander through the city, a great place to start is at the Basilica di San Marco. Presiding over the plaza of the same name, the Basilica is an architectural feat that took almost 800 years to complete. It is built around the bones of Saint Mark and filled with frescoes, statues and treasures, some dating back to the crusades. While it’s still morning, make your way to the Rialto Markets where stalls overflow with fresh produce - if you’re early enough you’ll see the famous fish market in full swing. At lunch time cool down with a gelato; the best is said to be at Boutique del Gelato, then in the afternoon go to see Venice’s artistic treasures at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, magnificent not only for its collection, but for its location inside three buildings dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. For a contrast, fantastic contemporary artworks can be found at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of 20th-century masters. In the evening enjoy some of the world’s finest classical music from the Venice Baroque Orchestra, then relax by the water with a local spritz (white wine, Campari and sparkling water), or a prosecco from the nearby hills of the Veneto region.
How to Get Around
The world’s only fully pedestrian city, there are no cars in Venice, just canals and bridges. The nearest airport is Marco Polo Airport, about 20 minutes from the city centre by bus or the Alilaguna water taxi. Once in the city, you’ll find it small enough to traverse by foot, or you can jump on the Vaporetti (small water taxis) to get around. For the vaporetti you can purchase tickets that are valid for a range from 60 minutes, to 7 days. There are also private water taxis available - convenient, but far more expensive.
Where to Stay in Venice
Venice is divided into six districts. In the city centre, areas like San Marco, San Polo and Santa Croce are great for easy access to sights, while Dorsoduro to the southwest and the area around the Rialto are lively and great for nightlife. They can be busy and noisy however, so if you’re booking last minute or looking for a quieter place to stay, you might want to look on The Lido - an island that lies between Venice and the Adriatic - or to Mestre on the mainland. Still close to the city, these areas are quieter and often cheaper.
Landmarks in Venice
- Ca' Foscari University of Venice (594)
- Ca' d'Oro (832)
- Academy Gallery (501)
- Doge's Palace (739)
- Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo (846)
- Procuratie Nuove (772)
- The Ghetto (374)
- Fortuny Museum (886)
- Grand Canal (756)
- Rialto Bridge (899)
- Railway Station (413)
- St Mark's Basilica Venice (778)
- St Marks Square (753)
- Cruise Line Terminal (20)