Venice, the great Italian city built on the Po River delta, must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Constructed around a network of canals rather than roads, this gem of old Europe is home to a dazzling array of palaces. Venice is around one and a half thousand years old and for many years was a city-state of great power and wealth after the models of Rome and Athens.
As well a center of political power Venice has always been hugely influential in the arts. There was even a distinct style of painting denoted by the name The Venice School. This was mainly prevalent during the mid-fifteenth to the beginning of the seventeenth centuries and included such luminaries as Vivarini, Bellini, and Mantegna.
This tradition is maintained today with Venice still supporting a thriving community of artists and also more modern artistic arts event such as the world-renowned Venice Film Festival. It also home to many great collections of both modern and classical art including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of work by twentieth-century artists working in Italy.
One aspect of the arts in which Venice can lay claim to occupy the premier position is glass blowing. Although believed to have been originated by the Romans or Phoenicians, Venice has long been known as the home of glassblowing. Mainly centered on the Venetian island of Murano the glassblowers of Venice became famous for their intricate designs and also their secrecy to prevent the wholesale copying of their techniques.
Today you will find Venice a very busy and largely tourist-friendly city. It can get crowded at the height of the season but the locals are generally helpful and friendly being used to the annual influx of tourists. Venice is one of the must-see destinations in Europe and any time spent there will be richly rewarded with a feast of good food, great architecture, and a fascinating artistic legacy.
Venice is made up of over 100 islands, all linked together by Venice’s unique canal network. As one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Venice will not disappoint its visitors. Explore Venice’s famous canals, old bridges, stunning palazzos and great art. What to do and see in and around Venice:
St Mark’s Square
The crowded St Marks Square is probably Venices most famous square. Enjoy a coffee in one of the cafes while admiring the beautiful architecture surrounding you. Lots of Venices main attractions, such as the Campanile and the Clock Tower, can be found close by. Don’t miss the golden altarpiece in the impressive St Mark’s Basilica.
Gallerie dell’ Accademia
The Accademia Gallery has one of the finest art collections in Europe. The walls are lined with works by Venetian master painters including Bellini, Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto.
Palazzo Ducale & the Bridge of Sighs
The Palazzo Ducale was the home of the Doges from where they ran the Venetian state. You see all aspects of the life of the Doge from where he lived to where state matters were discussed and justice dispensed. Walk over the infamous Bridge of Sighs, whose name comes from the time when the bridge led from the court to the prison cells. The Prisoners saw the view of the beautiful lagoon and sighed.
Ca D’ Oro (House of Gold) located on the Grand Canal is a beautiful palazzo and a great example of gothic architecture. The Palazzo shows a fine collection of sculptures, tapestries, and paintings.
Santa Maria della Salute
Guarding the entrance to the Grand Canal is Santa Maria della Salute a Venetian landmark and a magnificent Baroque Church. The sacristy boasts paintings by Titian and Tintorettos Marriage at Cana.
San Giorgio Maggiore
The San Giorgio Maggiore church is a well known Venetian landmark designed by Palladio the famous renaissance architecture. Inside, you will find several of Tintorettos paintings including “The Last Supper”.
Its impossible to think of Venice without thinking of canals and Gondolas. Cars are not allowed in the city and all transportation is on water. Travel like a true Venetian, hop on the Vaporati (water bus) and travel along the Grand Canal. It will take you under the Rialto Bridge and is a perfect way to admire the beautiful palaces lining the Canal.
The lively Rialto Markets are open every morning. Fruit, vegetables, souvenirs, and clothing are on offer. The Fish market has been held here for 1000 years – don’t miss the live lobsters and crabs.
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is one of Venices finest art museums with an impressive collection of more than 50 of Tintorettos works.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Venier dei Leoni Palace was the home of American collector Peggy Guggenheim for 30 years. Now it is a museum with a most impressive collection of modern art. Artists represented include Magritte, Picasso, Pollock, and Kandinsky.
20 minutes by waterbus from Venice
The Lido is a long strip of sand sheltering Venice lagoon from the Sea. The islands sandy beaches make it a popular day trip destination for families and sun worshippers.
The charming city of Verona has plenty to offer its visitors including Roman monuments, impressive architecture, and delightful restaurants. Make sure you don’t miss the Roman Arena where an open-air opera festival takes place every year.
You can even walk on foot in Central Venice since it’s generally well pedestrianized.
Other popular methods of transport include inexpensive water buses and more pricey motorboat taxis. Both offer a convenient and extremely scenic way to travel around the canals.
Connected by rail to many large cities in both Italy and Europe, Venice stands on the A4 Autostrada.
The city is home to a large and busy airport. This airport is located around 8 miles / 13 km from the center and caters for many international airlines.
Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport is easy to reach by a range of transportation, such as buses, cars, taxis, boats, and rail.
With a trip in a traditional gondola, you can see many must-see sights and attractions.
The city is also home to countless trendy shopping areas, local boutiques, and specialty shops, together with a number of colorful markets.
Some of the most outstanding art galleries and museums in the city include:
The watery city of Venice is also home to a surprising number of green spaces and parklands, such as:
Throughout the year, many major events are held in the Venice area and consist of religious festivals, cultural events, and sports.
Events not to be missed include seasonal carnivals:
Venice is the “shopper’s paradise” since it’s full of trendy boutiques and independent shops. Visitors can find plenty of genuine bargains.
The best shopping areas in Venice are around the San Marco region, the Mercerie and also close to the Calle dei Fabbri.
Also, regular fish markets are held alongside the Grand Canal and are popular with both locals and visitors to the city.
With a vast selection of restaurants, cafes, and eateries, Venice offers many traditional Venetian dishes and wines.
Some of them include freshly made pizzas, pastas, paninis, cheeses, and salads.
Furthermore many other cuisine types are also available aimed at tourists visiting the city, such as fast-food outlets and bars.
Al fresco dining is particularly popular in the city and around San Marco area, known locally as ‘Piazza San Marco’.